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America's Horse Weekly reports:

This year, core Rookie classes (showmanship, horsemanship, hunt seat equitation, western pleasure, hunter under saddle and trail) will be featured at the Nutrena East and SmartPak West AQHA Level 1 (Novice) championships for Level 1 (formerly Novice) exhibitors.

Qualifying to compete in a Rookie class is simple - exhibitors just need to be Rookie-eligible as of January 1, 2014. There is no additional qualifying method for Rookie classes. The Rookie classes, designed for beginning competitors, will be run separately from the current line-up of Level 1 classes.

To be eligible in a Rookie-level class, the horse or exhibitor must have earned 10 or fewer lifetime points in that class in any division (open, amateur or youth). The eligibility is from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2013. To verify Rookie eligibility, visit www.aqha.com/leveling and use the online level verification system.

Ranch horse pleasure will also debut at the Nutrena East and SmartPak West Level 1 championships.

As a reminder, if a horse and rider competed in reining, performance halter or ranch horse pleasure at the 2014 Zoetis AQHA Cattle Novice Championship, the horse and rider will not be able to compete in those classes at either 2014 SmartPak West or Nutrena East Level 1 championships.

The national qualifying period is July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014, for the 2014 Nutrena East and SmartPak West Level 1 championships. Competitors may qualify through either national methods, state methods or place in the top 10 at an Merial AQHA Regional Championship in a Level 1 class. Qualifiers may choose which of the two Level 1 championships to attend. Visit www.aqha.com/novicechampionships to view the Level 1 qualifying methods.

Rookie and Level 1 are the two levels of AQHA competition designed for beginner to minimally accomplished competitors, respectively. The Level 1 championships were designed to celebrate the accomplishments of these riders and their horses in an environment that provides education and fun competition.

For more information on the Level 1 championships, visit www.aqha.com/novicechampionships.