ASCENT Program


AzQHA has developed an innovative scholarship program designed to encourage membership and reward excellence. Arizona Youth members who are going to college are eligible to compete for a portion of the scholarship funds.

Why do we call it ASCENT?  Ascent means to a rise to an important position or a higher level.  The AzQHA is passionate about our youth and committed to doing all things possible to see our future generations rise up to the next level through education.

The ASCENT program awards scholarships to Interscholastic Equestrian Association competitors at a competition during the Arizona Fall Championship Show. In order to qualify for these awards, they must be AzQHYA members and show at two of the three No Bling Shows. This program has added many new youth members, as well as competitors and spectators at our shows.

The Arizona Quarter Horse Association will offer an Interscholastic Championship Invitational at the 2018 Arizona Fall Championship show. There will be three classes of Horsemanship and one class Reining to 6th– 8th grade students.  Four classes horsemanship and two classes reining to 9th-12th grade students. Each class (ten classes) to award $1000 worth of scholarships. Each class to pay three places $500 to 1st, $300 to 2nd. $200 to 3rd.


With your help, we can continue to expand this program. The need is great, the kids are amazing and donations are a well-spent investment in the future.

Thank You To Our 2020 Scholarship Sponsors:

Dr. Joni Hegel

2020 Scholarship Interview Awards

Emily Jernigan

Abby Whitlock

Erica Severson

Aubree Leyva

Anaya McKnight

Molly Thigpen

Britton Hukill

Lexi Santos

Tyler Burgess

Quin Hagan

2020 Scholarship Show Awards

In total, $7,800 was awarded to the youth riders with the winner of each class receiving $500, while second and third place banked $300 and $200 respectively.

Future Beginner W/J/L

Brittan Hukill on Indie $500, Tyson Gilette on Big $300, Quinn Hagan on Lady Di $200

Future Int Horsemanship

McKenna Bein on Lena, $500, Taylor Burgess $300

Varsity Intermediate Horsemanship

Kenndy Buchanan on Crocett, $500, Aubree Leyva on JJ $300, Abby Whitlock on Hope, $200

Varsity Intermediate Reining

Abby Whitlock on Whiskey, $500, Olivia Felderhoff on Sadie, $300, Kennedy Buchanan on Whiskey, $200

Future Intermediate Reining

McKenna Bein on Roc, $500, Taylor Burgess on Lena, $300

Varsity Open Horsemanship

Molly Thigpen on Hope, $500, Kaci Rodriguez on JJ, $300

Varsity Open Reining

Kaci Rodriguez on Harley, $500, Molly Thigpen on Phoenix, $300

JV Novice Horsemanship

Erica Severson on Bud, $500, Annabelle Hagan on Harley, $300

JV Novice Reining Prep

Erica Severson on Indie, $500, Aubree Leya on Phoenix, $300, Annabelle Hagan on Traviata, $200

Future Novice Horsemanship

Carson Spetka on Bud, $500, Gracie Guadagnolo on Cruise, $300

Future Reining Prep

Gracie Guadagnolo on Crocket, $500 , Carson Spekta on Indie, $300


Ashley Wilson-Hammer-

Holly Hover-

Jessica Bein-

Samantha Walker-

Tamra Hardin-

Criteria to compete:

  • Youth must be an AzQHYA member the year of competition prior to their first no bling show competition. Memberships may be purchased at the shows or online at
  • IEA current year member (IEA memberships must be paid by Nov. 1, of the preceding year to be a future year member)
  • Youth must compete in at least one class at 2 of the 3 AzQHA No Bling shows

Funds earned by exhibitors are kept in a restricted account by the AzQHA until they graduate from high school; then, the funds are paid directly to the college, trade school or university that student attends.

This is a wonderful incentive for youth to participate and compete in horse shows each year. Over time, it can add up to a significant boost to their education fund.

Many thanks to Dr. Joni Hegel for sponsoring AzQHA’s Youth Scholarship programs.


When can I redeem my scholarship?  Once you declare which accredited college or trade school you will be attending.  A disbursement form will be available from the AzQHA.

When are the requests due? Once the recipient declares which college they will be attending they must contact AzQHA with the respective colleges financial department contact information. AzQHA will send the funds directly to the college the recipient requested, in the students name.

What is accredited school?

Educational accreditation is a type of quality assurance process under which services and operations of educational institutions or programs are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. If standards are met, accredited status is granted by the appropriate agency. AzQHA will leverage the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs reported to the U.S. Department of Education as a validation source. (

The recipient will have up to two calendar years after their graduation from High School or GED to request their scholarship and begin attendance at the college, trade school or university.   After 2 years the scholarships expire and monies will be allocated for future eligible students.

Disbursements allowed up to $4000 per semester and or $8000 annually. (Disbursement amount per semester may not exceed the students account  billing)

AzQHA Board of Directors reserves the right to determine eligibility criteria and enhance the program as needed.