The Merit Award program is based on an accumulation of points earned by registered horses at various shows throughout the year. Awards are presented to the top three point earners throughout the year in halter classes, mare cart and the registered gelding cart. Points for each show are weighted based on the number of horses exhibited. The Sire, Dam and exhibitor with the most points are also recognized each year.

Merit Program Standings

Updated 11.16.21

2021 Belgian Merit Program

Points updated on…. Changes or edits can be reported to Michelle Keaffaber at [email protected] or 260-563-3205. All shows that have turned in results are in.
State Shows


Regional Shows


  1. Open to all registered Belgian draft horses.
    • Weanlings have until September 1st to be registered with their respective breed registries or forfeit weanling points and standings.
  2. There is no entry fee or sign up necessary to participate.
  3. Canadian breeders, owners, and horses will be recognized in the same manner as American breeders, owners, and horses.
  4. It will be the responsibility of the owner or exhibitor to monitor their animal’s points through the show season on the Corporation’s website and address all concerns and questions to the Belgian Alliance immediately.

Participating Shows

  • Each state is allowed one show to represent them in the Belgian Merit Program®. In the event that the state does not have a state fair that represents the Belgian draft horse then a show can be chosen by the Belgian Draft Horse Alliance Board of Directors to represent the breed for that state.
  • If there is more than one show in the state that has a well attended Belgian draft horse show, the show may petition the Belgian Draft Horse Alliance prior to December 1st to be accepted into the Belgian Merit Program the following year, provided it meets the following criteria:
    • Must maintain an index level of 3 for 2 years out of 3 years. If you do not achieve this, the Merit show status will be pulled until the show can provide a revised plan and show success at maintaining the requirement.
      • *Barring unforeseen circumstances it is the discretion of the merit committee to determine if the two out of three-year guideline would be extended*
    • Show must be open and unrestricted to all registered Belgians.
  • Following are the current recognized state shows:
    • Georgia National Fair, Idaho State Draft Horse Show, Illinois State Fair, Indiana State Fair, Iowa State Fair, Kansas State Fair, Keystone International Livestock Exposition, Michigan Great Lakes International Show, Minnesota State Fair, Missouri State Fair, National Western Stock Show, Nebraska State Fair, New York State Fair, North American International Livestock Exposition, Ohio State Fair, South Dakota State Fair, West Virginia State Fair, Wisconsin State Fair
  • Following are the current recognized regional shows:
    • Mississippi Valley Fair
    • La Porte County Draft Horse Show
  • Each state can have no more than 2 Merit recognized shows.
  • Shows that are supported by the Belgian Alliance will be recognized shows:
    • National Belgian Futurity
    • National Belgian Show
    • North American Belgian Championships
  • Following are previously recognized Merit state shows:
    • Maryland State Fair, New  England Show, North Carolina State Fair, Oklahoma State Fair, Vermont State Belgian Show, Virginia State Fair, Washington Extravaganza

Points Awarded

  1. The first five animals of each class will get the following awarding of raw points:
    • 1st gets 10 points
    • 2nd gets 7 points
    • 3rd gets 5 points
    • 4th gets 3 points
    • 5th gets 2 points
  2. The following twelve halter classes will be recognized:
    • Stallions 4 years old and over
    • Stallions 3 years old
    • Stallions 2 years old
    • Stallions 1 year old
    • Stallions weanling
    • Brood Mares Five and Older
    • Yeld Mares Five and Older
    • Mares 4 years old
    • Mares 3 years old
    • Mares 2 years old
    • Mares 1 year old
    • Mares weanlings
    • Registered Geldings 4 and Over
    • Registered Gelding 3 and Under
      The participating shows must have classes to match those of the Belgian Merit Program for points to be awarded. Example: Stallion classes of 3 and over would be accepted but stallion classes of 2 and over would not be accepted. Mare classes of 4 and over would be accepted along with mare classes of 5 and over, but mare classes of 3 and over would not be accepted.
  3. Classes must be registered. Classes allowing non-registered horses will not be counted. Classes can be combined breed classes as long as the show indicates the horses that were Belgians.
  4. The champions will get the following awarding of raw points:
    • Senior champion gets 2 additional points
    • Junior champion gets 2 additional points
    • Reserve senior champion gets 1 additional point
    • Reserve junior champion gets 1 additional point
    • Grand champion animal gets 4 additional points
    • Reserve grand champion animal gets 3 additional points.
      Recognized hitch classes:
    • Registered Gelding/Stallion Cart
    • Registered Mare Cart
  5. These overall raw points will then multiplied by the index of the show to give the animal the total points earned at that show.
  6. Index multipliers are determined by the number of registered animals shown (not the number entered) at that show that year. The index of the show will not be known until the completion of the show. Recognized cart classes must be for registered animals only. Registered cart classes may be mixed breeds. The index is determined as follows:
    • Index of 9 if > 200 registered head shown
    • Index of 8 if 176 to 200 registered head shown
    • Index of 7 if 151 to 175 registered head shown
    • Index of 6 if 126 to 150 registered head shown
    • Index of 5 if 101 to 125 registered head shown
    • Index of 4 if 76 to 100 registered head shown
    • Index of 3 if 51 to 75 registered head shown
    • Index of 2 if 26 to 50 registered head shown
    • Index of 1 if 1-25 registered head shown

Show Season

  1. The show season will run from January 1st to November 25th of each year.
  2. As soon as the points are received by the Belgian Draft Horse Alliance and tallied they will be posted on the Corporation’s website for viewing. No additions or changes will be accepted after the friday following NAILE.
  3. It is the responsibility of the owner or exhibitor to proof their animal’s points as they go through the show season and address any concerns or questions to the Alliance immediately. Results furnished with “entry” rather than the name of the animal will not be listed.
  4. Exhibitors will be responsible for reporting the horses used in the Registered Mare and Gelding Cart classes if the information is not received from the show staff. All names must be reported by the Monday following NAILE. The committee will not track down the exhibitors to get the information.


  1. The recognition of the top three individuals of each class will be done at the annual meeting of the Belgian Draft Horse Corporation.
  2. The owner of the animal will be awarded a gold, silver, or bronze plaque.
    • If the animal has been transferred during the show season the owner who accumulated the most points will receive the award.
  3. The breeder of the animal will be recognized with a gold, silver, or bronze plaque.
  4. The gold, silver, and bronze winners for each class will be featured in the Belgian publications.
  5. In the event of a tie it will be broken by adding the total points earned at shows where the two animals were shown against each other and the animal with the most points will be declared the winner of the tie. If the tie cannot be broken by this method both animals will be recognized as a true tie and awarded in a similar manner.

Recording of Points

  1. The points for the current year will be recorded and tallied on the Corporation website for viewing and inspection.
  2. At the conclusion of the year the points for each and every animal will be transferred to the animal’s registration records.
  3. All points earned in an animal’s lifetime will be stored on their registration record.

J.D. Conner, Jr. Sire and Dam Awards, Premier Exhibitor

Sire and Dam Awards: Awarded annually to the sire and dam with the high point offspring from the current year.
Premier Exhibitor Award: Awarded annually to the exhibitor with high point in all Merit categories. The exhibitor will be considered the owner of the horse.