Western Division

Date/Time:

  • Classes 401 through 407 - Tuesday, August 27, 2024, beginning after Western Ranch.
  • Classes 408 through 419 - Wednesday August 28, 2024, beginning at 10:00 am.

Location:  Silver Spur Arena, except for Classes 403 & 404 which will be held in the Sabin Arena

Each exhibitor may enter as many classes as they would like to ride in. An exhibitor will be allowed to scratch from a class but for no reason will an exhibitor be allowed to add a class after the entry form has been submitted. 

All entries must accompany the cover page with Exhibitors Information and a copy of the rabies and Coggins for the horse to be shown. All entries are due by Friday, August 2, 2024.

  • Class 401 Western Showmanship, Jr.
  • Class 402 Western Showmanship, Sr.
  • Class 403 Western Trail, Jr.
  • Class 404 Western Trail, Sr.
  • Class 405 Western Pleasure, Pony
  • Class 406 Western Pleasure, Jr.
  • Class 407 Western Pleasure, Sr.
  • Class 408 Western Roadhack, Pony
  • Class 409 Western Roadhack, Jr.
  • Class 410 Western Roadhack, Sr.
  • Class 411 Western Horsemanship, Pony
  • Class 412 Western Horsemanship, Jr.
  • Class 413 Western Horsemanship, Sr.
  • Class 414 Western Discipline Rail, Pony
  • Class 415 Western Discipline Rail, Jr.
  • Class 416 Western Discipline Rail, Sr.
  • Class 417 Western Stockseat Equitation, Pony
  • Class 418 Western Stockseat Equitation, Jr.
  • Class 419 Western Stockseat Equitation, Sr.
  • Required
    • Approved protective helmet
    • Long sleeved western shirt or short sleeved shirt with jacket. ** shirts must have collars **
    • Western type boots with distinguishable heel
    • Western riding pants or denims
  • Optional
    • Western style tie
    • Vest - to be worn with long sleeved shirt only
    • Jacket
    • Chaps
    • Slicker or raincoat
    • Sweater
    • Gloves
    • Blunt rowelled or unrowelled spurs – must have strap
    • Standing martingales, running martingales and training forks will be allowed for warm-up and practice.
  • Prohibited
    • No t-shirts, sweatshirts or crew type necklines
    • Clip-on spurs
  • Required
    • Approved curb straps - 1/2" flat, single leather or chain
    • Western/stock type saddles (including barrel racing saddles, Australian stock saddles with or without a horn)
    • Western curb bit and bridle
    • *Note – Some catalogs or magazines may not use the snaffle, shank or curb terms correctly when marketing bits. By true definition if there is a shank and the reins are attached to the shank it is a curb bit.
    • Western style pad, fleece, Navaho blanket
    • Acceptable western style girth (If backstrap is used, a connector strap is required.)
  • Optional
    • Breast collars
    • Solid or jointed mouthpiece bits
  • Prohibited
    • Bit shank longer than 8-1/2". Bit Port height greater than 3 ½ “.
    • English bits - (Except in Dressage classes - refer to Dressage rules)
    • Half breed bits
    • Flat polo mouthpieces
    • Roping bits
    • Spade bits
    • Hackamores and bosals - (Except for junior equines in bosals - refer to Western Division, section IV)
    • Cavessons and dropped nosebands
    • Whips, quirts, bats, etc.
  • Allowed in practice and warm-up rings
    • Tie downs and martingales
    • Draw reins, side reins, chambon, nose reins, gogue and similar training devices
    • Please Note: If there is any doubt, talk with the Division Chairperson or Equine Show Superintendent. If a decision needs to be made, it will be made by the Equine Show Committee.

*Junior equines may be shown in a snaffle bit, bosal or hackamore - Refer to Section IV.*

  • Stock Seat Equitation - Only the rider is being judged, therefore any equine that is suitable for this style of riding and is capable of performing the required class routine is acceptable. The results as shown by the performance of the equine are not to be considered more important than the method used in obtaining them. The rider should present the appearance of being relaxed and comfortable, while at the same time being in complete control of the equine.
    • Scoring - Emphasis in the class will be placed on the rider's ability to effectively control the equine and maintain the basic position while doing so. To be judged on the rider's position, use of aids and cues, and control of the equine.
    • Basic Position - The rider should sit in the saddle with legs hanging straight forward to the stirrups, or with the knees slightly bent. Weight should be directly over the balls of the feet. In either position, the stirrups should be just short enough to allow the rider's heels to be lower than his toes. He should sit in the deepest part of the saddle and maintain this seat at all times.
    • Hands and Arms - Only one hand is to be used for reining. The hand chosen (either right or left) shall not be changed during the class. If a rope is carried on the saddle, it must be attached to the side opposite the reining hand. One finger is allowed between the reins except when romal reins are used. The rider may hold the romal or ends of the split reins provided it is held at least 16" from the reining hand. The reining arm should be bent at the elbow with the hand being held slightly above and in front of the horn. The position of the hand not being used for reining is optional, but it should be kept free of the equine and equipment. It should be held in a relaxed manner, close to the rider's body or leg at all times.
    • Position in the Saddle - The rider should sit to jog and not post. At the lope, he should be close to the saddle. All movements of the equine should be governed by the use of imperceptible aids and the shifting of the rider's weight or leaning in either direction to obtain the proper lead is not desirable.
    • Class Routine
      • All contestants will enter the ring at the walk in a counterclockwise direction until otherwise directed by the judge. They shall then go at least once around the ring at each of the three gaits - walk, jog and lope. They shall then be reversed and repeat the same procedure in the other direction. The reverse may be done by turning away from or toward the rail. Entries will then be lined up for close inspection and each exhibitor asked to back his or her equine 3 to 5 steps in a straight line.
      • After all equines have been worked as specified above, the judge may then dismiss any not to be further considered in the class.
      • The judge may continue to work the remaining entrants at the walk, jog and lope as before, or he may ask any of the riders to execute an appropriate test of their riding skills. Suggested tests from which the judge might choose include:
        • Back in a straight line at least 15'.
        • Figure 8 at the jog.
        • Lope and stop.
        • Figure 8 at the lope, demonstrating simple change of leads.
        • Ride without stirrups.
        • Change of leads down the center of the ring, demonstrating a simple change of leads.
        • Extend the jog while sitting in saddle and maintaining basic position - extreme speed will be penalized.
        • Execute 360 degree turns.
        • Ride serpentine course, demonstrating flying changes of lead at each change of direction.
        • Any combinations of the above or others at the discretion of the judge.
  • Western Pleasure - A good pleasure equine has a stride of reasonable length in keeping with his conformation. He has enough cushion to his pastern to give the rider a pleasant, smooth ride. He carries his head in a natural position, not high and over flexed at the poll or low with the nose out. The equine should be relaxed but alert and ready to respond to the rider's commands without excessive cueing. When asked to extend the jog, he moves out with the same smooth way of going.
    • Scoring - Emphasis in this class will be placed on the equine's suitability as a pleasure mount as evidenced by both the performance in the class and its general type, conformation, and soundness. Scoring will be based on performance and on conformation.
    • Class Routine
      • Gaits
        • The walk is a natural, flat-footed four-beat gait. The equine 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 equine.
        • The jog is a smooth ground-covering two-beat diagonal gait. The equine works from one pair of diagonals to the other pair. The jog should be square, balanced and with a straight, forward movement of the feet. Equines walking with their back feet and trotting on the front are not considered performing the required gait.
        • The lope is an easy, rhythmical three-beat gait. Equines moving to the left should lope on the left lead. Equines moving to the right should lope on the right lead. Equines travelling at a four-beat gait are not considered to be performing at a proper lope. The equine should lope with a natural stride and appear relaxed and smooth. He should be ridden at a speed that is natural in way of going.
      • All equines will enter the ring in a counterclockwise direction at the walk until they are otherwise directed by the judge. They will then go at least once around the entire ring at each of the three gaits - walk, jog and lope. All equines will then be asked to reverse and work the same way in that direction. The reverse shall be done by turning away from the rail.
      • After all equines have been worked, the judge may then excuse equines not to be considered further in the class.
      • The judge may ask for additional work from any of the remaining equines.
      • All equines being considered for an award shall be asked to back in a straight line a minimum of 3 steps.
      • Only one hand is to be used for reining. The hand chosen (either right or left) shall not be changed during the class. If a rope is carried on the saddle, it must be attached to the side opposite the reining hand. One finger is allowed between the reins except when romal reins are used. The rider may hold the romal or ends of the split reins provided it is held at least 16" from the reining hand.
  • Discipline Rail Class - Disciplined rail is a class that tests the skills of both the horse and rider, as they execute specific gaits, transitions, and/or movements as requested by the judge. The horse should do what the rider asks with the least possible effort on the part of the rider and the least amount of resistance from the horse. The member will be judged on correct posture, smooth gait transitions, and effective use of aids, with special emphasis on light hands. The performance of the horse is not to be considered more important than the methods used by the rider in obtaining that performance.
    • The judge is encouraged to call for reasonable tests of horsemanship with the rider demonstrating overall equitation as related to seat and hands; performance; and member and appointments.
    • This is not a game (i.e. "Simon Says") or an elimination/out class.
  • Tack, Equipment. and Appointments: Same requirements as per the respective seats of the Equitation Division.  The following are some, but not all, of the maneuvers the judge may ask you to perform:
    • Enter ring on right track.
    • Transitions to and from any gait, such as trot to canter, hand gallop to halt, halt to canter, trot to counter canter, etc. You may also be asked to perform a gait for a specific number of steps or strides.
    • Extension and collection of any gait.
    • Lope/canter on correct lead
    • Starting and traveling on the incorrect lead/counter canter.
    • Hand gallop/extended canter/extended lope (depending on seat and/or number of exhibitors)
    • Change leads-simple, interrupted, or flying (Example: "As you pass in front of the judge, perform a simple change of lead.")
    • Ride without irons/stirrups and drop and pick up irons/stirrups
    • Haunch or forward turn (need forward motion), judge may ask for specific number of degrees.
    • Turn on forehand and turn on hind quarter (once each way).
    • Leg Yield such as away from and back to the rail.
    • Side pass both away from the rail (at least five steps) and then back to the rail.
    • Transition from any gait to a balanced halt/stop
    • Starting into a lope from a halt.
    • Reverse at a jog/trot (but not at lope)
    • Change of diagonals (English)
    • Back
    • Walk "on the buckle".
    • Stand for inspection or stop and stand quietly on a loose rein.
    • Mount and dismount
    • Answer questions from 4H project materials
    • Judge may ask for additional safe work reflective of horsemanship and equitation
  • Western Riding - This class is a competition in the performance of a sensible, well mannered, free and easy moving ranch equine, which can get its rider around on the usual ranch chores, over the trails, and will give a quiet, comfortable and pleasant ride in open country over obstacles. Special emphasis shall be given to the rider's methods used in obtaining the equine's performance.  Western Riding Pattern 1
    • Scoring - The equine in this class will be judged on riding quality and smoothness of gaits, changes of leads, response to rider, manners, disposition and intelligence. Scoring will be based on performance and on conformation.
    • Flying changes of lead should be executed quietly and smoothly in the equine's performance. Contestants will be penalized when the equine changes leads in front but not in back, when the equine shows signs of resistance to lead changes (tail wringing, head tossing, etc.). When the equine is asked to go over the obstacle, he should do so smoothly and calmly. When asked to back, he should do so in a relaxed, obedient manner.
      • Class Routine
        • All equines shall follow the exact pattern as illustrated in this book unless specific changes are indicated in the show rules. Any equine not following the exact pattern will be disqualified.
        • The eight small circles in the pattern represent markers (plastic or rubber cone-shaped markers recommended). These should be spaced a uniform distance apart. The preferred distance lengthwise between the markers is 40', but if arena space is limited, they may be spaced as necessary. See diagram above.
        • The rectangle represents an object just high enough to break the equine's stride. A small log or ground pole is recommended.
        • The long and sometimes twisting line indicates the direction to travel and the gaits at which the equine is to move. The dotted (...) line indicates the walk; the dash (---) line, the trot; and the solid ( ) line, the lope.
        • The exhibitor will enter their equine in the ring and then proceed on the pattern as indicated. In completing the pattern, the rider will go to the center of the pattern and back their equine as indicated by the judge.
        • If a equine runs into a marker, the exhibitor should be penalized but not disqualified.
        • Only one hand on the reins will be allowed. The method of holding the reins is the same as described for Stock Seat Equitation. While the equine is in motion, the rider's hands should be clear of the equine and saddle.
        • Spurs shall not be used forward of the cinch.
      • Disqualifications
        • Fall of equine or rider.
        • Off pattern which includes failure to obtain the required gaits.
        • Use of prohibited tack or appointments.
  • Horsemanship Class - All exhibitors must perform an individual pattern which is not to exceed 1 minute. Pattern will be of the judge's choosing and will be posted prior to the beginning of the class.
    • The judge may use the individual work to determine the top riders that will be called back for rail work; this procedure will be optional and at the judge's discretion.
    • Tack, equipment and riding style shall be as in Stock Seat Equitation.
  • Western Road Hack Class - Equines are to be shown at a walk, jog, extended jog, lope and extended lope both ways of the ring. The equine should be similar to the Western Pleasure mount in that it should move in a consistent, relaxed and willing manner.
    • Scoring - Emphasis in this class will be placed on the equine's ability to show a moderate lengthening in strides when softly cued. Equines should remain smooth and consistent throughout all gaits and transitions.
    • Class Routine
      • Gaits
        • The walk is a natural, flat-footed four-beat gait. The equine 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 equine.
        • The jog is a smooth ground-covering two-beat diagonal gait. The equine works from one pair of diagonals to the other pair. The jog should be square, balanced and with a straight, forward movement of the feet. Equines walking with their back feet and trotting on the front are not considered performing the required gait.
        • The extended jog is a moderate lengthening of stride; ability to extend stride rather than merely increasing speed. The rider should sit to the extended jog, not post.
        • The lope is an easy, rhythmical three-beat gait. Equines moving to the left should lope on the left lead. Equines moving to the right should lope on the right lead. Equines traveling at a four-beat gait are not considered to be performing at a proper lope. The equine should lope with a natural stride and appear relaxed and smooth. He should be ridden at a speed that is natural in way of going.
        • The extended lope is a moderate lengthening of stride; ability to extend stride rather than merely increasing speed.
      • All equines will enter the ring in a counterclockwise direction at a walk until otherwise directed by the judge. They will then show in all gaits specified above, then asked to reverse and show in all gaits as specified above in that direction. The reverse should be done by turning away from the rail.
      • After all equines have been worked, the judge may then excuse equines not to be considered further in the class.
      • The judge may ask for additional work from any of the remaining equines.
      • All equines being considered for an award shall be asked to back in a straight line a minimum of 3 steps.
      • Only one hand is to be used for reining. The hand chosen (either right or left) shall not be changed during the class. If a rope is carried on the saddle, it must be attached to the side opposite the reining hand. One finger is allowed between the reins except when romal reins are used. The rider may hold the romal or ends of the split reins provided it is held at least 16" from the reining hand.
  • Junior equines will be 3-5 years of age. The following criteria must be met.
    • If a registered animal, the age of the equine will be determined from the registration papers. The age of the equine shall be computed on the basis of a calendar year starting January 1 of the year foaled.
    • For example: A equine foaled anytime in 1993 was considered to be one year old on January 1, 1994, and two years old on January 1, 1995.
    • If an equine is not registered, a veterinarian certificate will be required. The certificate must document the veterinarian's estimate of age as a three, four-, or five-year old for the current show year. Age will be estimated by the veterinarian by examination of its teeth. Determination by tooth examination is to be made in accordance with the "Official Guide for Determining Age of the Horse" as adopted by the American Association of Equine Practitioners. The certificate must be dated January 1 through June 1 of the current year. A new certificate is required each year that an equine is shown as a junior animal in a snaffle or bosal. The veterinarian certificate must identify the equine by age, sex, color, markings, etc. similar to Coggins papers or the 4-H equine ownership certificate.
    • An equine shown as a junior animal must never have been shown in any event in a bridle (other than a snaffle bit and bridle).
    • Care and consideration of the animal must be taken when the decision is made as to which classes a junior equine will be exhibited in. A junior equine should not be shown in any class for which the training and ability level of that animal is not sufficient or the animal is unruly or posing a danger to others. The judge, ring master, division chair or equine show superintendent may dismiss a equine and rider from any class. All equines will be treated humanely. Please refer to the N.Y.S. 4-H General Equine Show Rules for clarification.
    • The equine MUST be shown with both hands on reins, maintaining light contact with the equine's mouth. The rider's hands should be carried near the pommel and not further than 4" out on either side of the saddle horn. The rider's hands must be steady with limited movement. Rider's hand's should be visible to the judge(s) at all times. Find acceptable and unacceptable hand positions below.
    • The judge shall have the authority to require the removal or alteration of any piece of equipment which is unsafe, or in his opinion, would tend to give the equine an unfair advantage. Equines’ mouths and noses may be inspected for signs of broken skin, rawness or bleeding. These equines will be excused from the class, the same as for any other evidence of inhumane treatment of an equine by a piece of equipment or by a rider.
    • Acceptable equipment.
      • Equines to be shown in standard, plain, or silver headstalls (browband, shaped ear or split ear). Smooth snaffle bit with broken mouth-piece (conventional O-ring, egg butt, or D-ring) with ring no larger than 4" and no smaller than 2". From the cheek to one inch in from the cheek must be a minimum of 3/8" diameter with a gradual decrease to the center of the snaffle. Optional loose curb strap (leather or nylon only and must be attached below the reins).
      • Reins are to be attached above the curb strap.
      • A braided rawhide or leather bosal may be used in lieu of a snaffle bit, no more than 3/4" in diameter at the cheek; must be a minimum of a 1-finger space ( approximately 3/4" ) between the bosal and nose; absolutely no metal under the jaw or on the noseband in connection with the bosal. Bosals shall be soft and flexible. The bosal should be properly fitted relative to the equine's size and conformation. Hair bosals and mechanical hackamores are NOT permitted.
      • Standard, leather, or woven leather split reins are mandatory, hair reins are not permitted with snaffle bits, but are acceptable with a bosal. Bosal reins are not split, but one continuous rope with a third rope rein around the horn.
      • Training devices such as martingales, nose bands or tie downs are prohibited in the show arena and designated warm-up arena at all times. During warm up, equines must be ridden with the same equipment as required in the event
      • Please Find Typical Examples of Acceptable Bits or Bosal Below

These Rules Patterned After The National Snaffle Bit Association Rules From The 10th Edition Revised January 1, 1995.