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Horse Industry Organizations and Designated Qualified Persons

A Designated Qualified Person (DQP) is a person who may be appointed and delegated authority by the management of any horse show, exhibition, or auction, to detect or diagnose horses which are sore or to otherwise inspect horses and records to enforce the HPA.

The USDA does not license DQPs on an individual basis. Licensing of DQPs is accomplished through certified DQP programs maintained by Horse Industry Organizations (HIOs). An HIO is an organized group of people engaged in the promotion of horses through, among other things, the showing, exhibiting, sale, auction, or registration of horses. An HIO must apply to the USDA to certify its DQP Program. The USDA will not certify or will de-certify any DQP Program that is not in compliance with the HPA Regulations.

Licensed DQPs receive inspection assignments to various shows and sales through certified HIOs. While affiliation with a certified HIO and the use of licensed DQPs is not mandatory, most horse show and sale managers choose to use DQPs to reduce their liability under the Act if a horse is shown or sold while sore. When the management of a show, sale, auction, or exhibition does not affiliate with a certified HIO to secure inspections by a licensed DQP, show management and other responsible individuals are held accountable for any violations of the HPA that occur at the event.

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