9 and horses perform or are exhibited free of prohibited substances that could affect their performance.
Safety is a concern of everyone, but AQHA does not assume responsibility for it.
AQHA’s limited purpose for sanctioning a show is to promote fair competition.
DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES The AQHA Executive Committee is the forum within AQHA that, initially or ultimately, hears or reviews evidence of alleged violations of rules and regulations by members and/or participants in AQHA-approved events.
A member may be disciplined, suspended, fined and/or expelled from the Association, and any non-member participant may be denied any or all Association privileges.
Association rules pertaining to prohibition of drugs, surgical alteration or any inhumane treatment of the horse provide for absolute responsibility for a horse’s condition by an exhibitor, trainer, participant and/or the owner, thereby making the exhibitor, participant and/or the owner eligible for possible disciplinary action upon proof of the presence of such prohibited drug by laboratory analysis, existence of surgical alteration or any inhumane treatment of the horse.
ENHANCEMENT OF PENALTY AQHA reserves the right to independently direct disciplinary action or sanction against individuals coming under the jurisdiction by participation in AQHA-approved shows, contests, race meets or other events.
The AQHA Executive Committee may enhance or initiate suspension, fine and/or otherwise penalize repeat offenders of Association rules and regulations, and/or those of other jurisdictions; and include owners or lessees who have placed the care and custody of their horses to such repeat offenders.
SPECIFIC AQHA RULES AND POLICIES TO PROMOTE THE WELFARE OF THE AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE Racing AQHA expresses concern for the health and welfare of the racing athlete through rules and through financial support of worthy industry initiatives.
These include support of a racing surface research project, support of the industry’s Racing Medication and Testing Consortium and national movements through Racing Commissioners International for uniform medication rules.
For example, in 1988, the Enhancement of Penalty Rule was adopted as part of the AQHA Official Handbook, rule 302, in response to concerns of AQHA’s membership over the use of illegal drugs in the racing American Quarter Horse.
AQHA has adopted the following rules limiting the participation of two-year-olds as referenced in Rule 300(b).
To further increase incentives for racing older horses, AQHA implemented the Bank of America Quarter Horse Racing Challenge, a regional racing program with bonus awards.
The Challenge’s goal is to increase racing opportunities for older horses.
In the Challenge, 83 percent of the purse monies of the races offered are for older horses.
In Challenge Races, 2-year-olds are restricted to racing after May 1, and the distance is limited to 350 yards.
AQHA and the AQHA Racing Council will continue to seek ways and opportunities to ensure the welfare of the racing American Quarter Horse.
The AQHA Racing Committee ensures that rules and policies regarding the welfare of racing American Quarter Hors- 10 es are continually revised and updated as directed by the AQHA Statement of Position.
Shows Shows sanctioned as approved events by AQHA are regulated by some of the most strict rules enforced within the equine industry, designed to ensure that the safety and welfare of American Quarter Horses competing in approved events are not jeopardized.
A number of rules from the AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations are a testament to the fulfillment of these aims and purposes.
Prohibited Conduct, rule 441, states an overview of AQHA’s stance on unsportsmanlike conduct and/or inhumane treatment of a horse.
Policy on Controlled Substances and Tail Alteration: AQHA’s policies concerning the administration of controlled substances (drugs) are well-documented as being among the most stringent in the equine industry.
AQHA began drug testing at AQHA-approved shows in 1973 and was among the first, if not the first, equine breed association to do so.
AQHA and some of its affiliates perform random testing throughout the year.
Rule 441 outlines AQHA’s policy concerning the administration of controlled substances.
Additionally, AQHA has funded research in an effort to determine techniques for evaluation of altered tails in horses, the results of that were presented to equine veterinarians from the United States in October 1992 at a seminar at Colorado State University entitled, “Techniques for Evaluation of Normal and Altered Tail Function in the Equine Utilizing Physical Examinations and Electrodiagnostics.” Some of these same techniques are still utilized by AQHA in random testing at the three World Championship Shows.
The Association has spent more than $3 million since 1980 to test for evidence of drugs and/or tail alteration in horses competing in AQHA-approved events.
Beginning in 1993, American Quarter Horses competing in non AQHA-approved events may also be subject to testing for drugs and evidence of tail alteration.
The AQHA Executive Committee has taken action — including investigation, prosecution, suspension of privileges and/or fines being levied — on all cases where substantial evidence existed of violations of AQHA’s drug and tail alteration rules.
Since 1980, 340 people have been fined, suspended or placed on probation for violations of AQHA’s drug and tail alteration rules.
And in 2005, AQHA shows in the United States began collecting a $3 per horse drug testing fee to enhance AQHA’s ability to enforce its controlled substance policy.
Humane Treatment The welfare of American Quarter Horses exhibited in AQHAapproved show events are safeguarded under comprehensive rules 104(a) and 401, that provide for their well-being.
The AQHA Executive Committee has taken action — including investigation, prosecution, suspension of privileges and/or fines being levied — on all cases where substantial evidence existed of violations of AQHA’s animal welfare rules.
Since 1980, 50 people have been fined, suspended or placed on probation for cruel and inhumane treatment of American Quarter Horses.
Bits and Equipment To enhance the humane standards by that American Quarter 11 Horses are subjected to when competing in AQHA-approved arena performance events, uniform guidelines regarding bits and equipment are listed in rules 442, 443 and 444.
In western classes, horses 5 years old and younger may be shown in a snaffle bit, hackamore, curb bit, half-breed or spade bit.
Horses 6 years old and older may only be shown in a curb bit, half-breed or spade bit.
Chin straps are required and must meet the approval of the judge, must be at least one-half inch in width, and must lie flat against the jaw of the horse.
Prohibited equipment in western classes include jerklines, tiedowns with bare metal in contact with the horse’s head, and tack collars.
Prohibited equipment in English classes include draw reins and roweled spurs.
Standing or running martingales are also prohibited except in working hunter, jumping and equitation over fences.
Lameness and Movement American Quarter Horses are easily identified by their unique conformation, that allows the breed to be versatile in a variety of athletic endeavors.
With these thoughts in mind, lameness is of paramount importance.
The evaluation of lameness is a major factor in judging American Quarter Horses competing in arena performance events and is subsequently stressed in AQHA’s Judges Workshops, conducted several times throughout the year and designed to educate AQHA’s approved judges.
Rule 446 demonstrates AQHA’s emphasis on lameness and movement.
Lameness and movement are further emphasized in the judging of both western pleasure and hunter under saddle classes at AQHAapproved shows.
The judging criterion for western pleasure is based primarily on rule 465B(a).
The judging of AQHA’s hunter under saddle class likewise places a premium on movement, as evidenced by rule 466B(a).
In both western pleasure and hunter under saddle, the condition and conformation of the horse also is considered.
At the discretion of the judge, a horse may be penalized or eliminated from a class “if the horse appears sullen, dull, lethargic, emaciated, drawn or overly tired.” Cattle Classes In AQHA classes that involve the use of cattle, AQHA strives to safeguard the welfare of the cattle, as well as the welfare of both the horses and riders competing in the class.
All shows are encouraged to have a veterinarian on call, and are encouraged to provide proper equipment and medication should accidental injury occur.
In both cutting and team penning, an optimum number of cattle are prescribed for the class, and the cattle may not be worked more than once within a go-round.
Cattle used in the working cow horse class may only be used once within a go-round.
Cattle used in roping events may not be used in other classes.
In all heading and heeling classes, cattle shall be protected by horn wraps.
Additional rules in the AQHA Official Handbook outline specific guidelines within each class regarding proper care and handling of cattle.
At the judge’s discretion, contestants may be penalized or disqualified.
Speed Events During the course of a speed event, including barrel racing, pole bending and the stake race, contestants may utilize a riding crop to 12 enhance the horse’s natural ability to race.
However, in all speed events, the judge, at his discretion, “may disqualify a contestant for excessive use of a bat, crop, whip or rope in front of the cinch.” AQHA and its Show Committee will continue to seek ways and opportunities to ensure the welfare of the American Quarter Horses exhibited in AQHA-approved events.
An Animal Welfare Subcommittee operates as a part of the AQHA Show Committee to ensure that rules and policies regarding the welfare of American Quarter Horses exhibited in AQHA-approved events are continually revised and updated as directed by the AQHA Statement of Position.
EQUINE RESEARCH AQHA’s Equine Research Committee was established as a means of funding equine research at colleges and universities in an effort to better diagnose, manage and prevent diseases not only in American Quarter Horses, but in all equine breeds.
The Equine Research Committee annually allocates more than $500,000 in support of a diverse range of research projects related to the health, welfare and utility of the horse, and of importance to the horse owner and horse industry.
Funding decisions are based on the project’s scientific merit, clinical application and or potential benefit to the horse and horse industry.
Breakthroughs include the prevention, treatment and management of colic; metabolic pathways, genetic inheritance modes, diagnostics and preventive measures for various genetic diseases; pathology and prevention of equine pulmonary disorders; reproductive pathology and disease prevention; as well as other advancements for a wide range of diseases have been accomplished via AQHA’s Equine Research Committee.
Research findings are published by AQHA in The American Quarter Horse Journal and The American Quarter Horse Racing Journal in order that AQHA members, owners, breeders, trainers and other participants in the industry may make knowledgeable decisions regarding the health and welfare of all horses.
EDUCATION Since beginning publication of The American Quarter Horse Journal in 1948 and The American Quarter Horse Racing Journal in 1988, AQHA has made an ongoing commitment to educate owners about the health, safety, nutritional, sanitation and shelter needs of American Quarter Horses.
The American Quarter Horse Journal, The American Quarter Horse Racing Journal and America’s Horse, AQHA’s official member publication, provide comprehensive editorial coverage designed to educate and inform horse owners on proper feeding, health care and training matters concerning American Quarter Horses.
The Association also has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in producing brochures on such topics as tips on purchasing a horse and equine health.
AQHA has produced dozens of educational films and videotapes, in cooperation with horse industry experts, that cover humane, correct training techniques for AQHA-approved events. “America’s Horse,” AQHA’s television series, features horse health care segments on many episodes in cooperation with expert veterinarians.
AQHA, through its partnership with trusted manufacturers such as Fort Dodge Animal Health and Universal Trailer Manufacturing, provides greater accessibility of quality health, nutritional, handling and tack products to its members. 13 SUMMARY The American Quarter Horse Association has ensured not only the integrity and welfare of American Quarter Horses, but also these concerns as they apply to the entire horse industry.
The Association continually revises its policies concerning animal welfare via the Public Policy Committee and an in-house Task Force on Animal Welfare.
Through these many avenues, as well as industry leadership, advisory and council roles, the American Quarter Horse Association is able to expand upon its proven efforts to safeguard the welfare of American Quarter Horses, as outlined by the AQHA Statement of Position. 14 CORPORATION BYLAWS ARTICLE I Title, Objects, Location, Corporate Seal ARTICLE II Members ARTICLE III Directors ARTICLE IV Executive Committee ARTICLE V Elective Officers & Duties ARTICLE VI Executive Vice President & Treasurer ARTICLE VII Amendments ARTICLE VIII Indemnification Corporation Bylaws — 5/16” to 3/4” (8 to 20mm dia.) AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE ASSOCIATION 135 maximum, with rollers and covers acceptable.
Broken mouthpieces, halfbreeds and spades are standard. (4) Slip or gag bits, and donut and flat polo mouthpieces are not acceptable. (d) Except for hackamore/snaffle bit classes or junior horses shown with hackamore/snaffle bit, only one hand may be used on the reins, and the hand must not be changed.
The hand is to be around the reins; index finger only between split reins is permitted.
In trail, it is permissible to change hands to work an obstacle.
Violation of this rule is an automatic disqualification. (e) Whenever this handbook refers to romal, it means an extension of braided material attached to closed reins.
This extension shall be carried in the free hand with a 16-inch (40 cm) spacing between the reining hand and the free hand holding the romal.
When using romal reins, the rider’s hand shall be around the reins with the wrists kept straight and relaxed, the thumb on top and the fingers closed lightly around the reins.
When using a romal, no fingers between the reins are allowed.
The free hand may not be used to adjust the rider’s length of rein in any reining class listed under Rule 451.
During reining, the use of the free hand while holding the romal to alter the tension or length of the reins from the bridle to the reining hand is considered to be the use of two hands and a score of 0 will be applied, with the exception of any place a horse is allowed to be completely stopped during a pattern.
In all other classes, including the reined portion of working cow horse, the free hand may be used to adjust the rider’s length of rein. (f) The romal shall not be used forward of the cinch or to signal or cue the horse in any way.
Any infraction of this rule shall be penalized severely by the judge. (g) Junior horses competing in junior western pleasure, western horsemanship, reining, working cow horse, western riding and trail that are shown with a hackamore or snaffle bit may be ridden with one (refer to 443(d)) or two hands on the reins.
The tails of the reins must be crossed on the opposite side of the neck when riding with two hands on split reins except in working cow horse and reining.
Closed reins (example mecate) may not be used with a snaffle bit, except in working cow horse and reining, where a mecate is permitted. (h) In all western classes, horses will be shown in a western saddle and appropriate bridle, snaffle bit or hackamore for the duration of the class.
A western saddle is a common type of saddle distinguished by a large noticeable fork on which there is some form of horn, a high cantle and large skirts.
Silver equipment will not count over a good working outfit.
Horses 5-years-old and younger may be shown in a snaffle bit, hackamore, curb bit, half-breed or spade bit.
Horses 6-years-old and older may only be shown in a curb bit, halfbreed or spade bit.
When a curb bit is used, a curb strap or curb chain is required, but must meet the approval of the judge, be at least one-half inch in width and lie flat against the jaw of the horse.
Curb chains cannot be tied to the bit with string or cord.
A broken strap or chain is not necessarily cause for disqualification. (1) Optional equipment (A) Rope or riata; if used, the rope or riata must be coiled and attached to the saddle. (B) Hobbles attached to saddle. (C) Tapaderos, except in working cow horse where they are not allowed. 136 (D) Protective boots, leg wraps and bandages are allowed in reining, working cow horse, team penning, barrel racing, pole bending, stake racing, jumping, tie-down roping, breakaway roping, dally team roping – heading, dally team roping – heeling, cutting and western horsemanship. (E) Tie-downs for roping, speed events, team penning and ranch sorting. (F) Running martingales for speed events, team penning and ranch sorting. (G) Spurs; not to be used forward of the cinch. (2) Prohibited Equipment (A) Protective boots, leg wraps and bandages are prohibited in western pleasure, trail, halter, western riding and showmanship. (B) Wire chin straps, regardless of how padded or covered. (C) Any chin strap narrower than one-half inch. (D) Martingales and draw reins, except for speed events and team penning. (E) Nosebands and tie-downs, except for roping, speed events and team penning.
However, these cannot have any bare metal in contact with the horse’s head. (F) Jerk lines for roping. (G) Tack collars for roping. (i) In roping, speed events, team penning and ranch sorting western type equipment must be used.
Use of a hackamore (including mechanical hackamores) or other type of bridles is the optional choice of the contestant; however, the judge may prohibit the use of bits or equipment he may consider severe. 444.
ENGLISH EQUIPMENT (a) In all English classes, an English snaffle (no shank), kimberwick, pelham and/or full bridle (with two reins), all with cavesson nosebands and plain leather brow bands must be used. (b) In reference to mouthpieces, nothing may protrude below the mouthpiece (bar).
Solid and broken mouthpieces must be between 5/16” to 3/4” (8 mm to 20 mm) in diameter, measured 1” (25 mm) from the cheek and may have a port no higher than 1 1/2” (40 mm).
They may be inlaid, synthetic wrapped, including rubber or plastic or incased, but must be smooth.
On broken mouthpieces only, connecting rings of 1 1/4” (32 mm) or less in diameter or connecting flat bar of 3/8” to 3/4” (10 mm to 20 mm) measured top to bottom with a maximum length of 2” (50 mm), which lie flat in the horse’s mouth, are acceptable.
Snaffle bit rings may be no larger than 4” (100 mm) in diameter.
Any bit having a fixed rein requires use of a curb chain.
Smooth round, oval or eggshaped, slow twist, corkscrew, single twisted wire, double twisted wire mouthpieces and straight bar or solid mouthpieces are allowed. (c) In the jumping class only, mechanical hackamores may be used. (d) Bits of any style (pelham, snaffle, kimberwick) featuring mouthpieces with cathedrals, donuts, prongs, edges or rough, sharp material shall be cause for elimination.
Square stock, metal wrapped or polo bits shall be cause for elimination.
If a curb bit is used, the chain must be at least 1/2” (15 mm) in width and lie flat against the jaw of the horse. (e) Saddles must be black and/or brown leather of traditional 137 hunting or forward seat type, knee insert on the skirt is optional.
Saddle pads should fit size and shape, except when necessary to accommodate numbers on both sides, for which a square pad or suitable attachment may be used.
Saddle pads and attachments shall be white or natural color with no ornamentation. (1) Optional equipment (A) Spurs of the unrowelled type that are blunt, round and no longer than one inch (B) Crops or bats (C) Gloves (D) English breast plate (E) Braiding of mane and/or tail in hunt style (F) Standing or running martingales in working hunter, jumping and equitation over fences only (G) Protective boots, leg wraps and bandages are allowed in hunt seat equitation on the flat and hunt seat equitation over fences. (H) Colored saddle pads or pads with AQHA’S corporate logo can be used on saddle pad in jumping only. (2) Prohibited equipment (A) Draw reins (B) Rowelled spurs (C) Standing or running martingales except in working hunter, jumping and equitation over fences (D) Figure 8 or flash cavessons except in jumping (E) Protective boots, leg wraps and bandages are prohibited in pleasure driving, hunter under saddle and boots of any description (except outdoors during inclement weather) in hunter hack, green working hunter and working hunter. (F) Rubber reins (except jumping) (G) Slip on spurs (f) Pleasure driving equipment shall include a whip suitable to the cart, light horse breast collar harness to include surcingle with shaft tie-downs and crupper, standard bridle, overcheck or check reins.
Only traditional driving bits: half cheek snaffle, liverpool, elbow driving bit and Bradoon overcheck bits are acceptable.
Mouthpieces must be of the same dimensions as required in Rule 444(b).
If a curb chain is used, it must be at least 1/2” (15 mm) in width, and be flat against the jaw of the horse.
The exhibitor shall be the only person permitted in such cart while the horse is being exhibited, and no pets shall be allowed in such cart during such exhibition.
The cart shall be a pleasure-type two-wheel single horse cart with seats for one or two persons.
All carts must be basket-type, equipped with 24-inch (60 cm) through 48-inch (1.2 meters) cart wheels.
No stirrup-type carts or sulkies will be allowed.
Dash and basket cover optional. (1) Optional equipment (A) Blinders (B) Breeching, shaft keepers or thimbles (C) Running martingales (D) Cavesson nosebands (2) Prohibited equipment (A) Wire chin straps, regardless of how padded or covered (B) Excessive ornamentation on harness, bridle or cart shall be penalized. 138 AMERICAN QUARTER HORSE ASSOCIATION 139 445.
ATTIRE (a) In halter, speed events, team penning and other western classes, appropriate western attire is required which includes pants (slacks, trousers, jeans, etc.) long sleeves and collar (band, standup, tuxedo, etc.) western hat and cowboy boots.
Special exception because of religious reasons or physical handicap must be requested by filing a written request to AQHA and obtaining written approval prior to participation.
The hat must be on the rider’s head when the exhibitor enters the arena.
Spurs and chaps are optional. (b) It is mandatory for riders in all hunter, jumper and equitation classes, including hunter hack, where jumping is required and when jumping anywhere on the competition ground to wear properly fastened protective headgear that meets ASTM/SEI standards or equivalent international standards for equestrian use.
The helmet must also be properly fitted with harness secured.
It is optional that an exhibitor may wear a hard hat with harness in all classes; however, it is mandatory that all youth and recommended that amateurs wear a ASTM/SEI approved hard hat with harness in all over fence classes.
It is mandatory that all exhibitors wear a hard hat in all over fence classes and when schooling over fences. (c) In all English classes, riders should wear hunt coats of traditional colors such as navy, dark green, grey, black or brown.
Maroon and red are improper.
Breeches are to be of traditional shades of buff, khaki, canary, light grey or rust (or jodhpurs), with high English boots or paddock (jodhpur) boots of black or brown.
Black, navy blue or brown hard hat (with harness for youth in any over fence classes) is mandatory.
A tie or choker is required.
Gloves, spurs of the unrowelled type, and crops or bats are optional.
Hair must be neat and contained (as in net or braid).
Judges must penalize contestants who do not conform. (d) In pleasure driving, the exhibitor shall be neatly attired.
A coat, tie and hat of choice may be worn.
No part of the exhibitor’s legs may be exposed above mid-calf. (e) Judges, at their discretion, may authorize adjustments to attire due to weather-related conditions. 446.
LAMENESS (a) The judge shall examine and check for lameness of all horses brought into any class.
The judge has the authority to excuse any horse from the class, due to lameness, at any time while being judged.
This is essential regardless of whether or not the competition indicates it is necessary. (b) Obvious lameness shall be cause for disqualification.
Obvious lameness is: (1) Consistently observable at a trot under all circumstances; (2) Marked nodding, hitching or shortened stride; (3) Minimal weight-bearing in motion and/or at rest and inability to move. 447.
GAITS (a) The following terminology shall apply in all western classes: (1) The walk is a natural, flat-footed, four-beat gait.
The horse must move straight and true at the walk.
The walk must be alert, with a stride of reasonable length in keeping with the size of the horse. (2) The jog is a smooth, ground-covering two-beat diago- 140 nal gait.
The horse works from one pair of diagonals to the other pair.
The jog should be square, balanced and with straight, forward movement of the feet.
Horses walking with their back feet and trotting in the front are not considered performing the required gait.
When asked to extend the jog, it moves out with the same smooth way of going. (3) The lope is an easy, rhythmical three-beat gait.
Horses moving to the left should lope on the left lead.
Horses moving to the right should lope on the right lead.
Horses traveling at a fourbeat gait are not considered to be performing at a proper lope.
The horse should lope with a natural stride and appear relaxed and smooth.
It should be ridden at a speed that is a natural way of going.
The head should be carried at an angle which is natural and suitable to the horse’s conformation at all gaits. (b) The following terminology shall apply in all English classes: (1) Walk is a natural, flat-footed, four-beat gait.
The horse must move straight and true at the walk.
The walk must be alert, with a stride of reasonable length in keeping with the size of the horse.
Loss of forward rhythmic movement shall be penalized. (2) Trot is a two-beat gait, comprising long, low, groundcovering, cadenced and balanced strides.
Smoothness is more essential than speed.
The knees should remain relatively flat, exhibiting minimal flexion.
Short, quick strides and/or extreme speed shall be penalized.
When asked to extend the trot, there should be a definite lengthening of the stride. (3) Canter is a three-beat gait; smooth, free moving, relaxed and straight on both leads.
The stride should be long, low and ground covering.
Over-collected four-beat canter is to be penalized.
Excessive speed is to be penalized. (4) Hand gallop should be a definite lengthening of the stride with a noticeable difference in speed.
The horse should be under control at all times and be able to halt in a smooth, balanced manner. (c) The following terminology shall apply to Pleasure Driving: (1) Walk; a natural, flat-footed, four-beat gait.
Loss of forward rhythmic movement shall be penalized. (2) Park gait; a forward, free-flowing, square trot with impulsion.
Loss of forward, rhythmic movement or jogging shall be penalized. (3) Road gait; an extended trot showing a definite lengthening of stride, with a noticeable difference in speed.
Short, quick, animated strides and/or excessive speed shall be penalized. (d) The following terminology is a description of western pleasure gaits: The Walk (1) Poor walk – uneven pace and no cadence.
Has no flow and may appear intimidated or appear to march. (2) Average walk – has a four-beat gait, level top-line and is relaxed. (3) Good walk – has a flowing four-beat gait, level topline, relaxed and is bright and attentive.
The Jog (1) Extremely poor jog – cannot perform a two-beat gait and has no flow or balance in the motion. (2) Very poor jog – hesitates in the motion.
Does not keep an even and balanced motion or a level top-line.
May appear to shuffle. (3) Poor jog – average motion but has negative character- 141 istics such as; walking with the hind legs, dragging the rear toes or taking an uneven length of stride with the front and rear legs. (4) Correct or average jog – has a two-beat gait, a level top-line and a relaxed appearance. (5) Good jog – has an average motion with positive characteristics such as balance and self-carriage while taking the same length of stride with the front and rear legs. (6) Very good jog – is comfortable to ride while having a consistent two-beat gait.
The horse guides well, appears relaxed and has a level top-line. (7) Excellent jog – effortless and very efficient motion.
Swings the legs yet touches the ground softly.
Confident, yet soft with its motion while being balanced and under control.
Moves flat with the knee and hock and has some cushion in the pastern.
Has a bright and alert expression and exhibits more lift and self-carriage than the “very good jog”.
Moderate Extended Jog (1) Poor extended jog – never lengthens the stride and may appear rough to ride. (2) Average extended jog – moves up in its pace and appears smooth to ride. (3) Good extended jog – has an obvious lengthening of stride with a slight increase in pace while exerting less effort and appears smooth to ride.
The Lope (1) Extremely poor lope – does not have a three-beat gait.
Has no flow, rhythm or balance.
Uncomfortable to ride. (2) Very poor lope – appears to have a three-beat lope but has no lift or self-carriage.
The horse shuffles, has no flow and bobs his head, giving the appearance of exerting a great deal of effort to perform the gait.
Also may appear uncomfortable to ride. (3) Poor lope – has an average motion but exhibits negative characteristics like head bobbing, not completing the stride with the front leg and leaving the outside hock well behind the horse’s buttocks. (4) Average lope – has a true three-beat gait with a level top-line and very little head and neck motion.
He is relatively straight (not over-canted), guides well and has a relaxed appearance. (5) Good lope – has an average motion but exhibits positive characteristics in his performance like self-carriage, a steady topline, relaxed appearance and is responsive to the rider’s aids. (6) Very good lope – has more lift and flow than the average horse.
He has a strong but smooth drive from behind.
He may bend his knee slightly yet still has a level top-line while exhibiting self-carriage with a relaxed appearance.
Appears comfortable to ride. (7) Excellent lope – has a round back with an effortless strong, deep stride with the rear legs and a flat swing with the front legs.
He keeps a level top-line, a relaxed yet alert and confident appearance and is correct but soft.
A special horse with a great degree of lift and self-carriage.
The Back-Up (1) Poor back-up – is resistant and heavy in front.
May gap the mouth and throw his head or back crooked. (2) Average back-up – backs straight and quietly with light contact and without hesitation. 142 (3) Good back-up – displays balanced and smooth flowing movements.
Backs straight with self-carriage without gapping the mouth with light contact and without hesitation. 448.
HALTER CLASSES (a) A halter class is defined as a class where the horse is judged based upon its conformation. (b) The purpose of the class is to preserve American Quarter Horse type by selecting well-mannered individuals in the order of their resemblance to the breed ideal and that are the most positive combination of balance, structural correctness, and movement with appropriate breed and sex characteristics and adequate muscling. (c) The ideal American Quarter Horse shown at halter is a horse that is generally considered to be solid in color and possesses the following characteristics: the horse should possess eye appeal that is the result of a harmonious blending of an attractive head; refined throat latch; well-proportioned, trim neck; long, sloping shoulder; deep heart girth; short back; strong loin and coupling; long hip and croup; and well-defined and muscular stifle, gaskin, forearm and chest.
All stallions 2 years old and over shall have two visible testicles.
These characteristics should be coupled with straight and structurally correct legs and feet that are free of blemishes.
The horse should be a balanced athlete that is muscled uniformly throughout. (1) All horses whose registration certificates are marked with a Parrot Mouth notation (see Rule 205(a)), cryptorchid notation (see Rule 205(b)) or excessive white notation (see Rule 205(d)) are ineligible to compete in halter classes. (2) One of the most important criteria in selecting a horse is conformation, or its physical appearance.
While it could be assumed that most horses with several years’ seasoning and past performance have acceptable conformation, the goal in selection should always be to find the best conformed horse possible. (3) Rating conformation depends upon objective evaluation of the following four traits: balance, structural correctness, breed and sex characteristics, and degree of muscling.
Of the four, balance is the single most important, and refers to the structural and aesthetic blending of body parts.
Balance is influenced almost entirely by skeletal structure. (d) Halter Equipment (1) Lip chains: The following horses may not be shown with any chain through the mouth including but not limited to lip chains: (A) Mares (B) Geldings (C) Weanling stallions (D) Performance Halter stallions, mares or geldings (2) Stallions 1 year of age and older may not be shown with any chain through the mouth with the sole exception that they may be shown with lip chains with unsecured keepers so long as at least two links of the chain remain outside of halter before attachment of keeper or leather part of lead shank. (e) PROCEDURE FOR JUDGING THE CLASS: (1) Horses will walk to the judge one at a time.
As the horse approaches, the judge will step to the right (left of the horse) to enable the horse to trot straight to a cone placed 50 feet (15 meters) away.
At the cone, the horse will continue trotting, turn to the left and trot toward the left wall or fence of the arena.
After trotting, hors- 143 — 213 imum of 70 percent for individual fence work and a maximum of 30 percent for work on the flat. (g) Faults over fences will be scored as in working hunter class.
Horses eliminated in over fence portion of the class shall be disqualified.
See rules 461(d)(e)(f ).
Faults (to be scored accordingly, but not necessarily cause disqualification during the rail work) include: (1) Being on wrong lead and/or wrong diagonal at the trot (2) Excessive speed (any gait) (3) Excessive slowness (any gait) (4) Breaking gait (5) Failure to take gait when called (6) Head carried too low or too high (7) Nosing out or flexing behind the vertical (8) Opening mouth excessively (9) Stumbling (h) Faults, which will be cause for disqualification, except in novice amateur or novice youth classes, which shall be faults, scored according to severity: (1) Head carried too low (such that the poll is below the withers consistently). (2) Over-flexing or straining neck in head carriage so the nose is carried behind the vertical consistently. 465A.
GREEN WESTERN PLEASURE (a) The purpose of green western pleasure is to allow a horse to compete on an entry-level field with horses of the same level of experience.
The green western pleasure is a stepping –stone to the more advanced level of competition with seasoned horses.
This class should be judged according to the purpose of its intent. (b) Horses regardless of their age, may be ridden with one hand and a standard western bit as approved by AQHA equipment rules or with two hands and a snaffle bit or bosal as described under AQHA equipment rules. (c) With the exception of eligibility and equipment requirements, the same rules apply in green western pleasure as apply in western pleasure. (d) Horses eligible to compete: (1) Horses in their first year of showing in AQHAapproved shows in western pleasure (2) Horses that have shown during previous years in AQHA-approved green western pleasure, open western pleasure, amateur western pleasure or youth western pleasure, but have not won more than 10 points or won more than $1,000 in these classes as of January 1 of the current show year.
Points from all divisions will count and are cumulative in determining eligibility.
Novice points will not count. (e) Green western pleasure will not be held as a World Show class. 465B.
WESTERN PLEASURE (a) A good pleasure horse has a free-flowing stride of reasonable length in keeping with his conformation.
He should cover a reasonable amount of ground with little effort.
Ideally, he should have a balanced, flowing motion, while exhibiting correct gaits that are of the proper cadence.
The quality of the movement and the consistency of the gaits is a major consideration.
He should carry his head and neck in a relaxed, natural position, with his poll level with or slight- 214 ly above the level of the withers.
He should not carry his head behind the vertical, giving the appearance of intimidation, or be excessively nosed out, giving a resistant appearance.
His head should be level with his nose slightly in front of the vertical, having a bright expression with his ears alert.
He should be shown on a reasonably loose rein, but with light contact and control.
He should be responsive, yet smooth, in transitions when called for.
When asked to extend, he should move out with the same flowing motion.
Maximum credit should be given to the flowing, balanced and willing horse that gives the appearance of being fit and a pleasure to ride. (b) A show may have up to three western pleasure classes. (1) If three western pleasure classes are to be held, they shall be the following: (A) Senior western pleasure shown with a bit. (B) Junior western pleasure shown with either a bit, hackamore or snaffle bit. (C) 2-year-old western pleasure shown with hackamore or snaffle.
This class will not be approved prior to July 1 of the year for which approval is requested. (2) If two western pleasure classes are to be held, they shall be the following: (A) Senior western pleasure shown with a bit. (B) Junior western pleasure shown with either bit, hackamore or snaffle bit. (3) If only one western pleasure class is to be held, it is to be for all ages. (A) Horses 6 years old and older must be shown on a bit. (B) Horses 5 years old and younger may be shown in either bit, hackamore or snaffle bit. (c) No horse may be entered in both junior western pleasure and 2-year-old western pleasure at the same show. (d) Entries in the 2-year-old class may be shown with one or both hands on reins.
If riding with two hands reins must be crossed with the tails of the reins on the opposite side of the neck.
The rider’s hands should be carried near the pommel and not further than four inches (10 cm) out on either side of the saddle horn.
Rider’s hands must be steady with very limited movement. (e) This class will be judged on the performance, condition and conformation of the horse. (f) Horses must work both ways of the ring at all three gaits to demonstrate their ability with different leads.
At the option of the judge, horses may be asked to extend the walk, one or both ways of the ring.
It is mandatory that a moderate extension of the jog be asked for in at least one direction with the exception of novice classes, the youth 11 and under, the youth 13 and under, select western pleasure and 2-year-old western pleasure.
However, the moderate extension of the jog remains optional in the above classes.
A moderated extension of the jog is a definite two-beat lengthening of stride, covering more ground.
Cadenced and balanced with smoothness is more essential than speed.
Riders should sit at the moderated extension of the jog.
Horses are required to back easily and stand quietly.
Passing is permissible and should not be penalized as long as the horse maintains a proper and even cadence and rhythm. (g) Horses are to be reversed to the inside (away from the rail).
They may be required to reverse at the walk or jog at the discretion 215 of the judge, but shall not be asked to reverse at the lope. (h) Judge may ask for additional work of the same nature from any horse.
He/she is not to ask for work other than that listed above. (i) Rider shall not be required to dismount except in the event the judge wishes to check equipment. (j) Horses to be shown at a walk, jog and lope on a reasonably loose rein or light contact without undue restraint. (k) Faults to be scored according to severity: (1) Excessive speed (any gait) (2) Being on the wrong lead (3) Breaking gait (including not walking when called for) (4) Excessive slowness in any gait, loss of forward momentum (resulting in an animated and/or artificial gait at the lope) (5) Failure to take the appropriate gait when called for (during transitions, excessive delay will be penalized) (6) Touching horse or saddle with free hand (7) Head carried too high (8) Head carried too low (tip of ear below the withers) (9) Overflexing or straining neck in head carriage so the nose is carried behind the vertical (10) Excessive nosing out (11) Opening mouth excessively (12) Stumbling (13) Use of spurs forward of the cinch (14) If a horse appears sullen, dull, lethargic, emaciated, drawn or overly tired (15) Quick, choppy or pony-strided (16) If reins are draped to the point that light contact is not maintained. (17) Overly canted at the lope. (when the outside hind foot is further to the inside of the arena than the inside front foot) (l) Faults that will be cause for disqualification, except in novice amateur or novice youth classes, which shall be faults scored according to severity: (1) Head carried too low (tip of ear below the withers consistently) (2) Overflexing or straining neck in head carriage so the nose is carried behind the vertical consistently. 466A.
GREEN HUNTER UNDER SADDLE (a) The purpose of green hunter under saddle is to allow a horse to compete on an entry-level field with horses of the same level of experience.
The green hunter under saddle is a stepping-stone to the more advanced level of competition with seasoned horses.
This class should be judged according to the purpose of its intent. (b) Horses must be ridden with equipment that is approved as per AQHA equipment rules for hunter under saddle. (c) With the exception of eligibility requirements, the same rules apply in green hunter under saddle as apply in hunter under saddle. (d) Horses eligible to compete: (1) Horses in their first year of showing in AQHAapproved shows in hunter under saddle. (2) Horses that have shown during previous years in AQHA-approved green hunter under saddle, open hunter under saddle, amateur hunter under saddle or youth hunter under saddle, but 216 have not won more than 10 points or won more than $1,000 in these events as of January 1 of the current show year.
Points from all divisions will count and are cumulative in determining eligibility.
Novice points will not count. (e) Green hunter under saddle will not be held as a World Show class. 466B.
HUNTER UNDER SADDLE (a) Hunters under saddle should be suitable to purpose.
Hunters should move with long, low strides reaching forward with ease and smoothness, be able to lengthen stride and cover ground with relaxed, free-flowing movement, while exhibiting correct gaits that are of the proper cadence.
The quality of the movement and the consistency of the gaits is a major consideration.
Horses should be obedient, have a bright expression with alert ears, and should respond willingly to the rider with light leg and hand contact.
Horses should be responsive and smooth in transition.
When asked to extend the trot or hand gallop, they should move out with the same flowing motion.
The poll should be level with, or slightly above, the withers to allow proper impulsion behind.
The head position should be slightly in front of, or on, the vertical. (b) This class will be judged on performance, condition and conformation.
Maximum credit shall be given to the flowing, balanced, willing horse. (c) Horses to be: (1) shown under saddle, not to jump. (2) shown at a walk, trot and canter both ways of the ring.
Horses should back easily and stand quietly. (3) reversed to the inside away from the rail. (d) Horses may be asked to change to canter from the flatfooted walk or trot, at the judges discretion. (e) Faults to be scored according to severity: (1) Quick, short or vertical strides (2) Being on the wrong lead (3) Breaking gait (4) Excessive speed at any gait (5) Excessive slowness in any gait, loss of forward momentum (6) Failure to take the appropriate gait when called for (7) Head carried too high (8) Head carried too low (such that poll is below the withers) (9) Overflexing or straining neck in head carriage so the nose is carried behind the vertical (10) Excessive nosing out (11) Failure to maintain light contact with horse’s mouth (12) Stumbling (13) If a horse appears sullen, dull, lethargic, emaciated, drawn or overly tired (14) Consistently showing too far off the rail (f) Faults which will be cause for disqualification, except in novice amateur or novice youth, which shall be faults scored according to severity: (1) Head carried too low (such that poll is below the withers consistently) (2) Overflexing or straining neck in head carriage so the 217 nose is carried behind the vertical consistently (g) At the option of the judge, all or just the top 12 horses may be required to hand gallop, one or both ways of the ring.
Never more than 12 horses to hand gallop at one time.
At the hand gallop, the judge may ask the group to halt and stand quietly on a free rein (loosened rein). 467.
PLEASURE DRIVING (a) A pleasure driving horse should carry himself in a natural balanced position with a relaxed head and neck.
His poll should be level with, or slightly above the level of the withers. (b) Maximum credit should be given to a horse that moves straight, with free movement, manners and a bright expression. (c) The horse shall be severely penalized if he carries his head behind the vertical, is overflexed, excessively nosed out, the poll is below the withers or exhibits lack of control by exhibitor. (d) This class will be judged 80 percent on the horse’s performance and suitability for assuring a pleasurable drive, with a maximum of 20 percent on condition and conformation. (e) Horses must be shown with natural American Quarter Horse hoofs and standard shoes.
No extended hoofs, heavy shoes or toe weights allowed. (f) Horses shall enter the ring in the same direction.
Each horse shall then be exhibited at the walk, park gait and road gait in both directions of the show ring.
The recommended class procedure is walk, park gait, road gait, park gait and walk.
Consistently showing too far off the rail shall be penalized according to severity.
At the direction of the ring steward, such change of direction shall be accomplished by the horses crossing the show ring on the diagonal while walking only. (g) Each horse shall also be required to back easily and straight and stand quietly. (h) No exhibitor shall drive a horse while standing, kneeling or using a seat extension in the cart at any time.
An exhibitor may momentarily rise if circumstances warrant.
No horse shall be unbridled or unattended while hooked to a cart.
Excessive noisemaking by exhibitors shall be penalized according to severity. 468.
ROPING EVENTS (a) The purpose of an AQHA roping class is to provide an opportunity for the horse to demonstrate and be judged on its natural talent and ability, its willingness to perform, and the level of training that makes it suitable for competitive timed roping events outside the AQHA arena.
The rope horse will be evaluated through a series of individually judged maneuvers that when combined result in a score that most accurately exemplifies that rope horse’s ability to allow its rider to catch and handle a calf and/or steer most efficiently and effectively. (b) Horses must start from the roping box. (c) Calf roping and heading horses only (whether being judged or not) in dally team roping must start from behind a barrier (an electronic barrier is acceptable). (d) Only the horse’s performance, including manners behind the barrier and at all other times, is to be judged. (e) The contestant shall not attempt to rope the animal until the barrier flag has been dropped.
Any attempt by a contestant to position his horse behind the barrier enabling the contestant to rope the animal without attempting to leave the box shall be disqualified. 218 (f) Breaking the barrier, or any unnecessary whipping, jerking reins, talking or any noise making, slapping, jerking rope or any unnecessary action to induce the horse to perform better, will be considered a fault and scored accordingly. (g) The judge may at his discretion award new cattle to enable contestant to show his horse’s ability on the cow including: (1) The cow won’t run or stops (2) Chute or barrier malfunctions (3) Cow turns back immediately (4) Cow leaves arena (h) Participation in jackpots paid on time in roping events must be at the contestant’s option. (i) In all roping events a run must be completed within a oneminute time limit. (j) All heading and heeling cattle shall be protected by horn wraps. 469.
TIE-DOWN ROPING (a) The roper may throw only two loops and must be done so within a one-minute time limit from the time the calf leaves the chute. (b) In open competition, if more than one loop is thrown, the roper must carry a second rope tied to the saddle, and this rope must be used for the second loop. (c) Youth or amateurs who desire to throw the second loop, may recoil rope or use a second rope tied to saddle. (d) If the roper fails to catch, he will retire from the arena with no score. (e) Any catch that holds is legal, but rope must remain on calf until tie is completed and roper has mounted horse. (f) If calf is not standing when roper reaches calf, the roper must re-throw calf by hand, crossing any three feet, and tie with not less than one complete wrap and a half hitch. (g) Rope must be run through a foul rope around the horse’s neck, and may, at the discretion of the rider, be run through a “keeper”.
If a keeper is used, it must be attached to the noseband of the tie-down but never in front of the head stall and cannot be attached to the bridle or bit. (h) Only the roper may touch the calf while the horse is being judged.
Roper may dismount from either side and leg or flank calf. (i) Scoring will be on the basis of 0-100, with 70 denoting an average performance.
Each maneuver will be scored from a plus three to a minus three, in 1/2 point increments. (j) The tie-down roping horse will be judged on four different maneuvers: (1) box and barrier (2) running and rating (3) stop (4) working the rope The following deductions will result: One (1) Point •dragging the calf while being tied, deduct one point for each three feet moved up to 12 feet.
Two (2) Point •freeze-up in the box (refusing to move) •jumping the barrier •setting up or scotching 219 — 224 shank in the right hand near the halter with the tail of the lead loosely coiled in the left hand unless requested by the judge to show the horse’s teeth.
It is preferable that the exhibitor’s hand not be on the snap or chain portion of the lead continuously.
The excess lead should never be tightly coiled, rolled or folded.
When leading, the exhibitor should be positioned between the eye and the mid-point of the horse’s neck, referred to as the leading position. •both arms should be bent at the elbow with the elbows held close to the exhibitors side and the forearms held in a natural position.
Height of the arms may vary depending on the size of the horse and exhibitor, but the arms should never be held straight out with the elbows locked. •the position of the exhibitor when executing a turn to the right is the same as the leading position except that the exhibitor should turn and face toward the horse’s head and have the horse move away from them to the right. •when executing a back, the exhibitor should turn from the leading position to face toward the rear of the horse with the right hand extended across the exhibitor’s chest and walk forward beside the horse with the horse moving backward. •when setting the horse up for inspection, the exhibitor should stand angled toward the horse in a position between the horse’s eye and muzzle, and should never leave the head of the horse.
It is recommended, but not mandatory that exhibitors use the “Quarter Method” when presenting the horse.
The exhibitor should maintain a position that is safe for themselves and the judge.
The position of the exhibitor should not obstruct the judge’s view of the horse and should allow the exhibitor to maintain awareness of the judge’s position at all times.
The exhibitor should not crowd other exhibitors when setting up side-by-side or head-to-tail.
When moving around the horse, the exhibitor should change sides in front of the horse with minimal steps and should assume the same position on the right side of the horse that they had on the left side. •leading, backing, turning and initiating the set-up should be performed from the left side of the horse.
At no time should the exhibitor ever stand directly in front of the horse.
The exhibitor should not touch the horse with their hands or feet, or visibly cue the horse by pointing their feet at the horse during the set-up. (B) Presentation of Horse •the horse’s body condition and overall fitness should be assessed.
The hair coat should be clean, well-brushed and in good condition.
The mane, tail, forelock and wither tuft may not contain ornaments (ribbons, bows, etc.), but may be braided or banded for English or Western.
The length of mane and tail may vary, as long as they are neat, clean and free of tangles.
The mane should be even in length or may be roached, but the forelock and tuft over the withers must be left.
The bridle path, eyebrows, and long hair on the head and legs may be clipped, except where government regulations prohibit. •hooves should be properly trimmed and if shod, the shoes should fit correctly and clinches should be neat.
Hooves must be clean and may be painted black or with hoof dressings, or shown naturally. •tack should fit properly and be neat, clean and in good repair. (2) PERFORMANCE (10 POINTS) •the exhibitor should perform the work accurately, precisely, smoothly, and with a reasonable amount of speed.
Increasing speed of the work increases the degree of difficulty, however, accuracy and 225 precision should not be sacrificed for speed.
The horse should lead, stop, back, turn and set up willingly, briskly and readily with minimal visible or audible cueing.
A severe disobedience will not result in a disqualification but should be penalized severely, and the exhibitor should not place above an exhibitor that completes the pattern correctly.
Excessive schooling or training, willful abuse, loss of control of the horse by the exhibitor, failure to follow prescribed pattern, knocking over or working on the wrong side of the cones shall be cause for disqualification. •the horse should be led directly to and away from the judge in a straight or curved line and track briskly and freely at the prescribed gait as instructed.
The horse’s head and neck should be straight and in line with the body. •the stop should be straight, prompt, smooth and responsive with the horse’s body remaining straight. •the horse should back up readily with the head, neck and body aligned in a straight or curved line as instructed. •pull turns to the left should be 90 degrees or less.
On turns of greater than 90 degrees, the ideal turn consists of the horse pivoting on the right hind leg while stepping across and in front of the right front leg with the left front leg.
An exhibitor should not be penalized if their horse performs a pivot on the left hind leg, but an exhibitor whose horse performs the pivot correctly should receive more credit. •the horse should be set up quickly with the feet squarely underneath the body.
The exhibitor does not have to reset a horse that stops square. (3) FAULTS: Faults can be classified as minor, major or severe.
The judge will determine the appropriate classification of a fault based upon the degree and/or frequency of the infraction.
A minor fault will result in a 1/2 to 4 point deduction from the exhibitor’s score.
A major fault will result in a deduction of 4 1/2 points or more from the exhibitor’s score.
An exhibitor that incurs a severe fault avoids elimination but should be placed below all other exhibitors that complete the pattern correctly.
A minor fault can become a major fault and a major fault can become a severe fault when the degree and/or frequency of the infraction(s) merits. (A) Faults in the Overall Presentation of Exhibitor and Horse include: •poorly groomed, conditioned or trimmed horse •dirty, ragged, or poorly or ill-fitted halter or lead •poor or improper position of exhibitor •excessively stiff, artificial, or unnatural movement around horse or when leading •continuous holding of the chain portion of the lead, or lead shank tightly coiled around hand or dragging the ground •changing hands or placing both hands on the lead, except when preparing to show the horse’s teeth Faults of the Performance include: •drifting of horse while being lead •horse stopping crooked or dropping a hip out when stopping, setting up or standing •backing, leading, or turning sluggishly or crooked •horse not set up squarely or excessive time required to set up •failure to maintain a pivot foot during turns or stepping behind right front leg with left front leg when turning to the right •horse holding head and/or neck crooked when leading, stopping or backing 226 •failure to perform maneuvers at designated markers, but horse is on pattern (B) Severe Faults of the Overall Presentation of Exhibitor and Horse (avoids disqualification but should be placed below other exhibitors that do not incur a severe fault) include: •leading on the off or right side of the horse •complete failure to move around horse by exhibitor and obstructing judge’s view •exhibitor touching the horse or kicking or pointing their feet at the horse’s feet during set up •standing directly in front of the horse •exhibitor wearing spurs or chaps Severe Faults of the Performance (avoids disqualification but should be placed below other exhibitors that do not incur a severe fault) include: •severe disobedience including rearing or pawing; horse kicking at other horses, exhibitors or judge; or horse continuously circling the exhibitor (C) Disqualifications (should not be placed) include: •loss of control of horse that endangers exhibitor, other horses or exhibitors, or judge including the horse escaping from the exhibitor •failure of exhibitor to wear correct number in a visible manner •willful abuse •excessive schooling or training, or use of artificial aids •knocking over the cone or going off pattern SUGGESTED FINAL SCORING shall be on a basis of 0-20, with an approximate breakdown as follows: 20: Excellent performance.completes pattern accurately, quickly, smoothly and precisely; and demonstrates a high level of professionalism.
Horse is fit and groomed well.
Exhibitor is neat, clean and appropriately dressed. 18-19: Generally excellent performance with one minor fault in the execution of the pattern or in the appearance of exhibitor or horse.
Overall execution of the pattern is excellent and exhibitor is highly professional. 16-17: Good pattern execution with one or two minor faults in performance or appearance of exhibitor and horse.
Exhibitor is reasonably professional in presentation of horse. 14-15: Average pattern that lacks quickness and precision, or commits two or more minor faults in performance or appearance of exhibitor and horse.
Horse is not presented to its best advantage. 12-13: One major fault or several minor faults in the performance and/or appearance that prevents an effective presentation of the horse. 10-11: Two major faults or many minor faults in the performance and/or appearance of exhibitor and horse 6-9: Several major faults or one severe fault in the performance and/or appearance of exhibitor and horse.
Exhibitor demonstrates complete lack of professionalism in showing the horse or commits a severe fault. 1-5: Exhibitor commits one or more severe faults, but does complete the class and avoids disqualification. 474A.
NOVICE YOUTH AND NOVICE AMATEUR WALK/TROT HORSEMANSHIP.
Available only at all-novice shows.
The same rules apply in walk/trot western horsemanship as 227 apply in western horsemanship, except loping is prohibited both in pattern and rail work. 474B.
Available only in the amateur and youth divisions. (a) The western horsemanship class is designed to evaluate the rider’s ability to execute, in concert with their horse, a set of maneuvers prescribed by the judge with precision and smoothness while exhibiting poise and confidence, and maintaining a balanced, functional and fundamentally correct body position.
The ideal horsemanship pattern is extremely precise with the rider and horse working in complete unison, executing each maneuver with subtle aids and cues.
The horse’s head and neck should be carried in a relaxed, natural position, with the poll level with or slightly above the withers.
The head should not be carried behind the vertical, giving the appearance of intimidation, or be excessively nosed out, giving a resistant appearance. (b) It is mandatory that the judge post any pattern(s) to be worked at least one hour prior to the commencement of the class; however, if the judge requires additional work of exhibitors for consideration of final placing, the pattern may be posted.
Pattern(s) should be designed to test the horseman’s ability.
All ties will be broken at the judges discretion. (c) CLASS PROCEDURES: All exhibitors must enter the ring and then work individually, or each exhibitor may be worked from the gate individually.
When exhibitors are worked individually from the gate, a working order is required.
Exhibitors should be instructed to either leave the arena, fall into line, or fall into place on the rail after their work.
The whole class, or just the finalists, must work at all three gaits at least one direction of the arena.
The following maneuvers are acceptable in a pattern: walk, jog, trot, extended trot, lope or extended lope in a straight line, curved line, serpentine, circle or figure 8, or combination of these gaits and maneuvers; stop; back in a straight or curved line; turn or pivot, including spins and rollbacks on the haunches and/or on the forehand; sidepass, two-track or leg-yield; flying or simple change of lead; counter-canter; or any other maneuver; or ride without stirrups.
A back should be asked for at sometime during the class.
Judges should not ask exhibitors to mount or dismount. (d) SCORING: Exhibitors are to be scored from 0 to 20 with 1/2 point increments acceptable.
Ten points should be allocated toward overall appearance of exhibitor and horse and 10 points allocated toward performance of the pattern. (1) OVERALL PRESENTATION OF EXHIBITOR AND HORSE (10 POINTS) – The exhibitor’s overall poise, confidence, appearance and position throughout the class as well as the physical appearance of the horse will be evaluated. (A) Presentation and Position of Exhibitor Appropriate western attire must be worn.
Clothes and person are to be neat and clean.
Position of Exhibitor •the exhibitor should appear natural in the seat and ride with a balanced, functional and correct position regardless of the maneuver or gait being performed.
During the railwork and pattern, the exhibitor should have strong, secure and proper position.
Exhibitors should sit and maintain an upright position with the upper body at all gaits. •the rider should sit in the center of the saddle and the horse’s back with the legs hanging to form a straight line from the ear, through the 228 center of the shoulder and hip, touching the back of the heel or through the ankle.
The heels should be lower than the toes, with a slight bend in the knee and the lower leg should be directly under the knee.
The rider’s back should be flat, relaxed and supple.
An overly stiff and/or overly arched lower back will be penalized.
The shoulders should be back, level and square.
The rider’s base of support should maintain secure contact with the saddle from the seat to the inner thigh.
Light contact should be maintained with the saddle and horse from the knee to mid-calf.
The knee should point forward and remain closed with no space between the exhibitor’s knee and the saddle.
The exhibitor will be penalized for positioning the legs excessively behind or forward of the vertical position.
Regardless of the type of stirrup, the feet may be placed home in the stirrup, with the boot heel touching the stirrup, or may be placed with the ball of the foot in the center of the stirrup.
The rider’s toes should be pointing straight ahead or slightly turned out with the ankles straight or slightly broken in.
Riding with toes only in the stirrup will be penalized.
Those exhibitors that can maintain the proper position throughout all maneuvers should receive more credit.
When riding without stirrups, the exhibitor should maintain the same position as previously described.
Both hands and arms should be held in a relaxed, easy manner, with the upper arm in a straight line with the body.
The arm holding the reins should be bent at the elbow forming a line from the elbow to the horse’s mouth.
The free hand and arm may be carried bent at the elbow in a similar position as the hand holding the reins or straight down at the riders side.
Excessive pumping of the free arm as well as excessive stiffness will be penalized.
The rider’s wrist is to be kept straight and relaxed, with the hand held at about 30 to 45 degrees inside the vertical.
The rein hand should be carried immediately above or slightly in front of the saddle horn.
The reins should be adjusted so that the rider has light contact with the horse’s mouth, and at no time shall reins require more than a slight hand movement to control the horse.
Excessively tight or loose reins will be penalized. •the rider’s head should be held with the chin level and the eyes forward, and may be directed slightly toward the direction of travel.
Excessive turning of the head to the inside of the circle, or down at the horse’s head or shoulder will be penalized. •the exhibitor should not crowd the exhibitor next to or in front of them when working on the rail and should pass to the inside of the arena.
When reversing on the rail, the exhibitor should always reverse to the inside of the arena. (B) Presentation of Horse •the horse’s body condition and overall health and fitness should be assessed.
The horse should appear fit and carry weight appropriate for the body size.
A horse which appears sullen, dull, lethargic, emaciated, drawn or overly tired should be penalized according to severity. •tack should fit the horse properly and be neat, clean and in good repair. (2) PERFORMANCE (10 POINTS) •the exhibitor should perform the work accurately, precisely, smoothly, and with a reasonable amount of promptness.
Increasing speed of the maneuvers performed increases the degree of difficulty; however, accuracy and precision should not be sacrificed for speed.
Exhibitors that perform the pattern sluggishly and allow their horse to move without adequate impulsion, collection or cadence will be penalized. •the horse should perform all maneuvers in the pattern willingly, 229 briskly and readily with minimal visible or audible cueing.
Severe disobedience will not result in a disqualification, but should be severely penalized, and the exhibitor should not place above an exhibitor that completes the pattern correctly.
Failure to follow the prescribed pattern, knocking over or working on the wrong side of the cones, excessive schooling or training, or willful abuse by the exhibitor is cause for disqualification. •the horse should track straight, freely and at the proper cadence for the prescribed gait.
Transitions should be smooth and prompt in the pattern and on the rail, and should be performed when called for on the rail.
The horse’s head and neck should be straight and in line with their body while performing straight lines and slightly arched to the inside on curved lines or circles.
Circles should be round and performed at the appropriate speed, size and location as requested in the pattern.
The counter-canter should be performed smoothly with no change in cadence or stride unless specified in the pattern. •the stop should be straight, square, prompt, smooth and responsive with the horse maintaining a straight body position throughout the maneuver.
The back should be smooth and responsive. •turns should be smooth and continuous.
When performing a turn on the haunches, the horse should pivot on the inside hind leg and step across with the front legs.
A rollback is a stop and 180 degree turn over the hocks with no hesitation.
Backing during turns will be penalized severely. •the horse should step across with the front and hind legs when performing the sidepass, leg-yield and two-track.
The sidepass should be performed with the horse keeping the body straight while moving directly lateral in the specified direction.
When performing a legyield, the horse should move forward and lateral in a diagonal direction with the horse’s body arced opposite to the direction that the horse is moving.
In the two-track, the horse should move forward and lateral in a diagonal direction with the horse’s body held straight or bent in the direction the horse is moving. •a simple or flying change of lead should be executed precisely in the specified number of strides and/or at the designated location.
A simple change of lead is performed by breaking to a walk or trot for one to three strides.
Flying changes should be simultaneous front and rear.
All changes should be smooth and timely. •position of the exhibitor and performance of the horse and rider on the rail must be considered in the final placing. (3) FAULTS: Faults can be classified as minor, major or severe.
The judge will determine the appropriate classification of a fault based upon the degree and/or frequency of the infraction.
A minor fault will result in a 1/2 to 4 point deduction from the exhibitor’s score.
A major fault will result in a deduction of 4 1/2 points or more from the exhibitor’s score.
An exhibitor that incurs a severe fault avoids elimination, but should be placed below all other exhibitors that complete the pattern correctly.
A minor fault can become a major fault and a major fault can become a severe fault when the degree and/or frequency if the infraction(s) merits. (A) Faults in the Overall Presentation of Exhibitor and Horse include: •loose, sloppy, dirty or poor fitting clothing or hat; or loss of hat •over-cueing with reins and/or legs •poorly groomed, conditioned or trimmed horse; or poorly or ill fit- 230
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