The American Quarter Horse Journal reports, ” Beginning with the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show in November, the following training equipment, in addition to that listed in the AQHA rulebook, will not be allowed at any AQHA shows:
1. Prohibited training equipment at all AQHA shows include riding in a curb bit without a curb strap, wire or solid metal curb straps no matter how padded; wire cavessons; wire or cable tie-downs; bumper bits; metal bosals, no matter how padded; chambons; headstalls made of metal (even if encased in a protective material); twisted rawhide or rope (3/8-inch rope may be used with a slip (gag) bit with a smooth mouth piece only); running martingales with curb bits; or draw reins attached between or around the front legs.
2. No one is allowed to ride a horse with a curb bit without a properly adjusted, approved curb strap or curb chain.
3. A running martingale may be used with a snaffle bit only.
4. Draw reins may be used on the show grounds as a training device so long as they are attached no lower than the elbow of the horse.
We aren’t show people and don’t really claim to be, but the rules make a whole lot of sense. If you have a well-trained horse, you shouldn’t need a lot of these things. A properly trained horse will present without having to use harsh mechanical gear or unnecessary force. The new rules appear to help level the playing field so good trainers can do their job and not have to compete with those who want to take short cuts rather than spend the time required to do the job right.