Youth FAQs

Youth Contests

Q: Do I need to tell AMHA if I’m having a Youth Contest?

A: Yes! Please fill out a Youth Contest application and send it in to AMHA. 

Q: What do I do when the contest is over?

A: Please submit a Youth Contest Report and send it in to AMHA.

Q: Do I need to be a youth member to participate in Youth Contests?

A: No, youth under the age of 22 do not need to be an AMHA member to participate in Youth Contests at a local/regional level. They do need to be members to compete in the Youth of the Year Contest at the Morgan Grand National and World Championship Horse Show.

Q:  Who is required to achieve the Sherman Badge?

A:  Senior youth (ages 14-21) need the Sherman Badge in order to compete at the Grand National Youth Contest. Juniors do not need it, although the first three badges of the Horsemastership program include knowledge that juniors and seniors may find helpful to learn in order to be successful in the contest.

Q: Do I need to do the pattern on my own horse? 

A: No, you can ride the pattern on any Morgan. It can be a lesson horse or a show horse.

Q: Where do I find speech topics or patterns?

A: You can create your own, or you can contact AMHA for speech topic ideas or patterns.

Q: Do I need to create the written tests?

A: You can create your own, or you can contact AMHA to receive a pre-made test and answer key.

Q: Does a contest need to be held at a show?

A: No, the contest can be held at a farm or stable.

Q: How is a Youth Contest scored?

A: There are four divisions for each contest: the written exam, the horse judging division, the oral
presentation and the horsemastership division. Each of these four components is worth 250 points. AMHA can provide you with scoresheets for each section

Q: How does a youth qualify for the Grand National Youth Contest?

A: They must win a local/regional contest or score over 800 points at a local/regional contest with three or more senior contestants. If there are not 3 senior contestants, the winning individual must achieve a score of at least 70% overall to qualify.

Q: What if there is no In-Hand division at the horse show for my kids to judge?

A: While it is ideal for the youth to judge real Morgans, the youth can judge photos of In Hand horses provided to the contest coordinator by AMHA.

Q: Do patterns have to be done the day of the contest?

A: No. Contestants could ride the pattern and have it videoed and then submit this video to a designated YouTube account created by AMHA. Then the videos of these patterns would be judged.

Q: Should I use the same pattern for riding and driving?

A: You may use a separate pattern for drivers. The important thing is that all riders in the contest ride the same pattern and all drivers in the contest drive the same pattern.

Q: Does it cost money to participate in a Youth Contest?

A: Your local or regional show may charge a fee to participate in their Youth Contest so you should ask your contest coordinator. AMHA does require a fee to be paid in order to participate in the Grand National Youth Contest.

Q: What does the winner of the Grand National Youth Contest get?

A: The champion receives a cooler, a trophy, and a prize package valued at $3,500 they can customize themselves. For example, they could use the funds to travel to a clinic, to design a new show outfit, to pay for more equine endeavors, or to further their equine knowledge. The reserve champion receives a cooler, a trophy, and a prize package valued at $1,500.

Q: I qualified for the Grand National Youth Contest. Now what do I need to do?

A: You should contact AMHA and tell them you plan to participate in the Grand National contest. You will need to achieve the first three badges of the Horsemastership Program: Bulrush, Woodbury, and Sherman. AMHA will give you an entry form, a waiver and a press release form you will need to fill out.

Q: What if a youth contestant has a learning difference and needs additional assistance to complete portions of the contest?

A: We want to set kids up for success, and we want AMHA’s youth programs to be as inclusive as possible! Please contact Nikki Scovotti at AMHA if you have any special circumstances, and she will help the contest coordinators address your needs or challenges.

Horsemastership Program

Q: What are the workbooks?

A: There are five levels to the Horsemastership program that are named after famous Morgan stallions. Each work book is a little more challenging and hands on than the last so youth continue learning about the breed and developing their horsemanship skills. The levels are Bulrush, Woodbury, Sherman, Black Hawk and Justin Morgan (in their respective order).

Q: Can I use the first two workbooks, Bulrush and Woodbury, with any other youth besides AMHA members?

A: Yes, please do! We want you to show off our workbooks at your 4-H meetings, your barn meetings, or work on them with your local Morgan youth club. They are a great activity at horse camps, too. Not only will the workbooks teach youth the basics of horse care, but they’ll promote our wonderful breed. We want them to be used and enjoyed by as many people as possible which is why they’re free to download on our website!

Q: I finished the first two badges, and now I need an examiner to help me complete and review the third badge. How do I know who to talk to for help?

A: We have a list of examiners who can review your completed badges or who can help you get to the next level. Just contact AMHA and we’ll give you a list of names with their contact information. If you want to be an examiner, you can apply and become one to help the future generations enjoy this program too.

Q: How come only the first two workbooks are online?

A: The third through fifth badges, Sherman, Black Hawk and Justin Morgan, are much more hands on and require youth to complete riding/driving portions of the test. Therefore we don’t have workbooks for these levels. These three badges need to be approved by an official examiner. If you want to know what is included in these three levels, Customer Relations Coordinator Nikki Scovotti can give you the Leader’s Manuals that explains each task.

Medal Classes

Q: Do you promote the medal classes or winners of medal classes?

A: Yes! If you submit a photo to Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #ShowMyMedalMonday on a Monday, we’ll repost your picture.

Youth Council

Q: I want to join the Youth Council. How do I learn more about it? Am I eligible?

A: AMHA welcomes all youth interested in governance and leadership roles to run for the positions that form the Executive Committee. If you are a youth and would like to run for one of the above positions, please fill out a Declaration of Intent and submit it to Nikki Scovotti in the AMHA office. We are often looking for more youth to fill a position. If the position you want has already been filled, you can either wait and apply next year or talk to Nikki about how else you can help get involved. If you are a current AMHA member who is over 12 years old and under 22, you can run for a position!

For more information about AMHA’s Youth Programs, contact Nikki Scovotti at or (802) 985-4944 ext. 404.