AQHA Executive Council Introduces Jerk-Down Rule
The AQHA Executive Committee approved several recommendations from the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission at the association’s 2017 AQHA Convention. The recommendations ranged from adding specific medications to the AQHA forbidden drugs or substances list to creating educational efforts for specific animal-handling procedures to a recommendation to use all drug- and animal welfare-related fines to support the AQHA steward program.
Most directly affecting ropers is the instatement of a jerk-down rule in the tiedown roping.
The rule, approved by the Executive Committee, states:
“Effective Jan. 1, 2018, a no-jerk-down rule for tie-down roping will be implemented. The rule will read: “In the tie-down roping class, an exhibitor will receive a no score for that run if they bring the animal over backwards with the animal landing on its back or head with all four feet in the air.”
The Association is asking ropers to handle their slack so the calves are switched instead of jerked down. By switching the calves, it is less stressful on the calves and provides for more consistency when judging the class, the AQHA elaborated in a statement May 18.
The AQHA Animal Welfare Commission, created by the Executive Committee in 2012, reports directly to the Executive Committee, which evaluates all proposals in relation to the current state of the industry. The Animal Welfare Commission serves as AQHA’s primary body for rules, policies and procedures related to all areas of animal welfare. In addition, the commission oversees the educational processes associated with AQHA officials responsible for animal welfare.
“We all want to protect our events, and I understand it,” AQHA professional horseman and multiple-time AQHA world champ JD Yates said. “I’d like to know who will call the jerk down rule to be sure we have enough knowledgeable people to call it. I know in the PRCA we don’t, so I’d like to know why the AQHA thinks they do. I see it being a big issue for a while. It is what it is, so we’ll abide by the rules and move forward, though. AQHA judges are supposed to be watching the horse, not the calf. It will be tough to change a lot of the thought for a lot of the judges.”
The AQHA Judges Committee will develop the necessary education for handling jerk downs and educating judges prior to the rule taking effect, the May 18 statement added. —Some reporting courtesy AQHA