Section 10 - Mounted Games
To promote the education and safety of exhibitors and equines while developing teamwork and sportsmanship, to improve and reinforce riding skills using an activity which can be enjoyed by any well-practiced level horse and rider partnership, as accuracy is the key.
- Provide an opportunity to showcase the best 4-H team skills on horseback in New York
- Games is a total team effort, there are not individual scores, members must work together to succeed, members develop teamwork and sportsmanship.
- Riders of any seat may play
- Young and inexperienced members can enjoy games: games encourage beginners to tap natural riding instincts.
- Game horses can be any size, large horses might be faster but small horses or ponies make picking up objects easier.
- Game horses do not have to be fast or fancy or perfect conformation. Most important is the horse’s attitude and ability to cope with what is being asked.
- Teams allow riders to make new friends with the same interests and have fun while learning.
- Games are a fair and friendly competition, committed to the safety of both horse and rider.
- Team games require practice to achieve accuracy: the accuracy is often times more important than speed.
- Games are a good change of pace, stimulating, and keep both rider and horse from getting bored.
- Games develop coordination, balance and proper use of aids, hastening the rider’s progress while easing pressure on the horse.
- Games practice is more relaxed than formal equitation lessons, riding skills are improved and reinforced, the rider gains confidence.
- Games are a good introduction to competitive riding.
- Games’ clear goals are motive to train and practice regularly, ultimately resulting in a more fit rider and horse.
- Inexpensive equipment.
- Fun to watch for spectators!
Please note: Since the Team Mounted Games Division allows riders from all the seats, you need to know the personal appointments and attire for the seat you are riding. If there is a conflict in the listings, the Team Mounted Games Division takes priority.
- Approved protective helmet (white helmets need a dark cover)
- Approved matching team shirt which should be a long or short sleeved shirt with a collar (no T-shirts).
- Proper equestrian footwear with a distinguishable heel, appropriate for seat ridden.
- Long pants appropriate to seat ridden
- Last rider in each game needs to be wearing a white helmet cover (or remove dark cover from white helmet)
- Knee or shin protection
- Spurs of any type
- Misuse of any equipment
Please note: Since the Team Mounted Games Division allows riders from all the seats, you need to know the tack and equipment for the seat you are riding. If there is a conflict in the listings, the Team Mounted Games Division takes priority.
- Saddle, saddle pad, and girth/cinch appropriate to seat ridden.
- Bridle and bit appropriate to seat ridden.
- Bell boots, skid boots, splint boots, or any other tack offering protection to the equine’s legs with the exception of leg wraps.
- Standing martingales and tie downs.
- Hackamores with shanks less than 6 inches.
- Crops, bats, whips, quirts, etc.
- Jockey or trick saddles
- Any item deemed too severe by the judge or show committee manager
- Gymkhana Reins
- Draw reins, side reins, chambon, nose reins, gogue and other similar training devices (this includes use in the warm up ring or practice).
- Leg Wraps – such as polo wraps or similar products
- Each county may have two teams (junior, senior or mixed teams). If a county does not have enough youth to make a team, two or more counties may combine to make a mixed county team.
- Members of a team may ride in different seats (western, huntseat, dressage or saddleseat).
- Each mounted games team shall consist of:
- A minimum of 3 mounted riders
- A maximum of 4 mounted riders. This is recommended even though only 3 riders will compete per game, some horse and rider combinations are better suited for certain games and allows flexibility of your team. Additionally, in the case of injury/sickness to a horse/rider there will still be the minimum of 3 needed to compete.
- One unmounted member who acts as a captain to the team providing support, leadership and guidance (i.e. determining order of riders, assuring proper equipment is used, assisting members in and out of the ring etc.) to their fellow team members.
- On the entry form, you may designate one alternate, this alternate will not participate unless one of the 5 designated team members (which includes the captain) is unable to compete. You may register an alternate only if you have a four person team.
- Any particular horse or rider can only compete on one team in this division.
Individual and Team Eligibility – All teams must have gone through an appropriate qualifying event at the county or regional level to be entered.
- All team members must be enrolled in a 4-H horse project in the county they represent and must meet all age and participation requirements of that county and of the State 4-H Horse Show.
- All teams must be entered in accordance with all rules and regulations of the State 4-H Horse Show.
- An official 4-H Horse Show Entry Form is to be submitted for each team member and alternate through your county Cooperative Extension office on an official NYS Fair entry form.
- Each team is required to supply two volunteers to help with the running of the games. These names must be submitted on the teams entry form.
- Each competition will have no more than eight games chosen from the list below.
- Special Delivery
- Mug Race
- 4 Flag
- Tennis Tournament
- Junk Mail
- Straight Line
- Pyramid Race
- Veggie Stew
- Ball and Cone
See score sheet and forms at end of division rules.
- Each team will have an inspection which will evaluate the following:
- Proper use and safe application of tack, equipment and attire (fit, condition, appropriateness, safe)
- Cleanliness of tack, equipment and personal appointments
- Cleanliness of horse and rider. Horse and rider neatly groomed and prepared
- Arena – recommended minimum size 200’ x 100’ feet, allowing for no more than 4 lanes, 25 feet wide. See diagram below. Depending on the environment and situation, there may be less than 4 lanes.
- Demarkation of the start/finish line. Demarkation of the Turn Around Line
- There will be an assigned overall judge who is the final decision maker to the event, orients and oversees the line judges and technical delegate/s.
- Line Judges, you will need 2, one on either side of the ring adjacent to the start/finish line. These judges determine false starts, determine order of finish and time if necessary.
- Lane Judges, you will need one judge adjacent to each lane. You will need 4 lane judges if you operate with 4 lanes. These judges should be positioned outside the arena near the turnaround line. These judges determine if a mistake is made and whether or not it is corrected.
- A Technical Delegate (TD) – will conduct Pre-Game Inspections (see Pre-Game Inspections under III., D) evaluating the appropriateness, cleanliness and safety of appointments and equipment prior to the start of games. Additionally, the TD will be stationed at the arena gate during gaming to screen horse/rider participants before entering the ring.
Prior to the start of competition, the judge will select a “tie breaker game” from the list of games being played. At the end of competition, if there is a tie the score keeper will use the results of the previously played “tie breaker game” to break the tie.
- Each game will be ridden by three team members, all 3 members should enter the arena together and proceed to their assigned lane (teams rotate lanes with each new game). If there is a fourth team member not riding in a particular game, this member will remain outside the ring. Please note: an exhibitor (horse and/or rider) may compete only once in any one game.
- Rider #1 stands behind the starting line (see diagram), no running starts allowed. The other two riders should be behind the holding line. A line judge will start the race by the drop of a flag. If a false start occurs a whistle will blow and the game will be started again.
- Once started, the game follows game/class descriptions noted in the rule book. Games may be played at any gait, accuracy is more important than speed.
- If during play a whistle is blown, all riders must halt immediately and play is stopped until notification.
- All hand-offs between riders must occur between the holding line and the starting line. No one else should be in this area.
- During game play, if a mistake occurs such as an obstacle is knocked over, drop a mug, or a ball does not go in a bucket, etc. this mistake needs to be corrected. The rider can fix the problem while mounted or may dismount and fix the problem.
- The third and last rider in each game needs to wear a white helmet or put a white helmet cover over their dark helmet. This is necessary so the judge can easily tell when the last rider on each team has completed the game. The game is finished when the third rider of a team crosses the finish line. If it is a “mounted finish” according to game rules, the rider must be mounted with one leg on each side of the horse.
- In the event of a tied game, the teams involved in the tie will be asked to perform the game again as a tie breaker.
- In the event of too many teams, during the heat ride-offs, teams may be assigned a timer who would keep their time and record it. It is advisable to have a backup timer running for each heat, in case of malfunction. After all teams have run their heats within a game, winning teams may be determined by fastest times.
- All horses and riders should remain in the arena and mounted until all exhibitors have finished the game and the entire group is dismissed.
- Riders may switch order of go within their team at any point as long as they remember to have the last rider wear the white helmet. Riders should also rotate who plays if there is a 4 person team.
This division is a team competition and there are no individual scores.
The Games - The first place team in a given game would get the most points (equal to the number of teams playing that game), second place team would get one less point and so on down the line. If a team is disqualified from a game no points will be awarded for that particular game only. At the end of all the games, total points for each team will be calculated.
Pre and Mid Game Inspection – There will be an official score sheet and the points earned from the team members or a factor of points earned will be added to the final score. The pre-game inspection is mandatory and a shortened version of the pre-game inspection will be used mid game if needed.
The teams will be placed based on final scores which are cumulative points earned from the games and pre-game inspection. The team with the highest score will be first and then teams ranked accordingly based on final scores.
There will be no protests. Only Team Captains may approach the judge for clarifications. The judge for the day is the final word in all matters related to the event.
The team with the highest score will be first. In the case of a tie, the tie is broken by referring to the results of the “tie breaker game” that is selected prior to the start of the competition, (i.e. if the judge selects the mug race as the tie breaker at the start of the event, then the teams involved in a tie will have their results of the mug race already run during the day determine breaking the tie).
- Disqualifications from game
- Horse being out of control or unmanageable.
- Cruelty to horse.
- Use of prohibited tack or appointments.
- Rider striking horse with reins, any other part of tack or equipment or any games equipment.
- Loss of horse (separate from rider, disturbing exhibitors in other lanes and creating a hazard), if rider falls off but quickly regains control of the horse they may remount and proceed with the game.
- Unsportsmanlike conduct, including but not limited to the use of profanity, disorderly conduct or excessive jerking, spinning or backing of the equine.
- Off course and not corrected at point of error.
- Mistake made (knock over obstacles, miss bucket, drop baton, etc.) and not corrected, coaching from team members is encouraged to help avoid this.
- Third rider not wearing white helmet.
- Any rule calling for disqualification as stated in each game’s specific rules.
- Unauthorized assistance/coaching from outside the arena.
- Failure to have properly fitted helmet on and properly secured when entering the arena.
- Tack failure or breakage not allowing the rider to complete the game as stated in the rules.
- Interfering with another exhibitor’s game play in their own lane.
- Intentionally hitting or kicking another exhibitor’s mount.
- Hand off somewhere other than between the holding line and the start/finish line.
- Any particular horse and/or rider competing more than once in a game.
- Third rider crosses the finish line without correcting a mistake or being properly mounted.
- Not having fun!
Course: Three bending poles placed about 30 ft. apart between the starting line and the end of the lane. A barrel placed at the end of each lane with 3 plastic mugs with handles placed on top.
Event: Rider #1 starts with a mug in hand, at the start of the game the rider heads for one of the posts and places the mug upside down on top of the post. Rider #1 then heads for the barrel and picks up another mug which they then take to rider #2 to hand it over. Rider #2 proceeds as above, followed by #3. The game is finished when rider #3 crosses the finish line carrying a mug.
Rules: If a mug is dropped it must be picked up. If a post or barrel is knocked over it must be picked up.
Course: Five bending poles about 25 ft apart in each lane.
Event: Rider #1 starts with a baton in hand and weaves between the bending poles headed towards the far end and back again. Upon return, the baton is handed over to rider #2. Rider #2 follows the same course and then rider #3. The game is finished when rider #3 crosses the finish line carrying the baton.
Rules: If a bending pole is knocked over it must be picked up. If the baton is dropped it must be picked up.
Course: Four bending poles about 30 ft. apart in each lane with a barrel at end of lane. Mail collection box on top of barrel (doesn’t have to be a real mail box).
Event: Rider #1 starts with a sack of mail and begins by weaving through the bending poles. Upon reaching the barrel, rider #1 takes a piece of mail out of the sack, puts it in the mail box and continues weaving through the poles back towards rider #2. The sack of mail is handed over to rider #2. Rider #2 follows the same procedure and then rider #3. The game is finished when rider #3 crosses the finish line with an empty sack.
Rules: If a bending pole or barrel is knocked over it must be picked up. If the sack or mail is dropped it must be picked up. If the mail box is knocked off the barrel it must be picked up.
Course: Two barrels placed in lane, one in the center and one at the end. The barrel at the end has three cans on it.
Event: Rider #1 starts with a coffee can and heads towards the first barrel, the can is set on the barrel. Rider #1 then goes to the second barrel, picks up another coffee can and returns to rider #2. The can is handed off, rider #2 proceeds in the same fashion followed by rider #3. After rider #3 picks up the third can from the second barrel they must stop at the center barrel on the way back to complete the pyramid. The cans should be stacked with three on the bottom and one top, rider #3 can rearrange the cans if needed to make them stack up. The game is finished when rider #3 crosses the finish line.
Rules: If a can is dropped it must be picked up. If a barrel is knocked over it must be picked up.
Course: Empty 5 gal. water bucket at end of each lane
Event: Rider #1 starts with a tennis ball balanced on the racquet and heads for the bucket at the end of the lane, when the bucket is reached the rider drops the ball into the bucket (may use hands at this point). Rider #1 then heads back towards rider #2 to hand off the racquet. Rider #2 already has a ball in hand and must get the ball balanced on the racquet before crossing the starting line, rider #2 then proceeds in the same manner, followed by rider #3. The game ends when rider #3 crosses the finish line carrying the racquet.
Rules: If the ball falls off the racquet it must be picked up and balanced on the racquet again before continuing. If the ball does not go into the bucket or bounces out it must be picked up. If the bucket is knocked over it must be picked up.
Ball and Cone Race
Course: Two cones placed in the lane, one in the center and one at the end of the lane. The last cone will have a tennis ball balanced on top of it.
Event: Rider #1 starts with a tennis ball and heads for the empty cone. Rider #1 places their ball on the cone, continues on to the next cone to pick up the other ball and then goes back towards rider #2. rider #1 hands off the ball to rider #2, rider #2 then proceeds in the same manner (please note the position of the empty cone will vary), followed by rider #3. The game is finished when rider #3 crosses the finish line carrying a tennis ball.
Rules: If a ball is dropped it must be picked up. If a cone is knocked over it must be picked up.
4 Flag Race
Course: Two cones with tops cut off to make a 4 inch diameter opening, placed in the lane, one in the center with three flags in it an done at the end of the lane.
Event: Rider #1 starts with a flag and heads for the empty cone, the flag is placed in the cone. Rider #1 then picks a flag out of the other cone and goes back to Rider #2. The flag is handed off to rider #2 who then proceeds with the same course, followed by Rider #3. The game is finished when Rider #3 crosses the finish line carrying a flag.
Rules: If a flag is dropped it must be picked up. If a cone is knocked over, it must be picked up. If more than one flag is picked out of the cone, extras must be returned to cone.
Course: 5 gal. water bucket partially filled with water placed in the center of the lane. On top of the barrel located at the end of the lane should be three vegetables (carrot, potato, onion).
Event: Rider #1 starts with a vegetable (celery) and heads for the bucket. The vegetable is dropped into the water, Rider #1 then goes to the barrel to pick up another vegetable and heads towards Rider #2. The vegetable is handed over and Rider #2 proceeds in the same fashion, followed by rider #3. After Rider #3 picks up the last vegetable, Rider #3 needs to double dunk by also dropping that vegetable into the bucket. The game is finished when Rider #3 crosses the finish line and all four veggies are in the pot.
Rules: If a vegetable is dropped, it must be picked up. If the bucket or barrel is knocked over, it must be picked up.
Junk Mail Race
Course: Wastebasket in center of lane and barrel at end of lane with 3 junk mail catalogs/magazines on it.
Event: Rider #1 starts with a junk mail catalog/magazine and proceeds to put it in the wastebasket, they then go to the barrel and retrieves another junk mail catalog/magazine which they gladly hand over to Rider #2. Rider #2 continues in the same manner, followed by Rider #3. The game is finished when Rider #3 crosses the finish line and is stuck with the last piece of junk mail (no double dunking).
Rules: If junk mail is dropped, it must be picked up. If wastebasket or barrel is knocked over, it must be picked up.
- One - 5 gallon plastic water bucket
- Five – bending poles, similar to those used in pole bending
- Two – 18 inch traffic cones
- Two – Traffic cones with tops cut off leaving a 4 inch diameter opening
- Two – 55 gal barrels
- One – trash can about 20 inches tall
- Four – plastic mugs with handles
- Four – tennis balls
- One – baton, made of 1 in. PVC, 12 in. long or a 12 inch long section of a swimming pool noodle
- Three pieces of junk mail with a sack to carry them in for example a burlap sack that is cloth and/or non-crinkle/plastic
- One small cardboard box
- Four – 1 lb. coffee cans, stackable
- Four – Junk mail catalogs/magazines (4-H appropriate)
- Four – flags made with ½ in. dowels and 48 in. long
- One – Tennis racquet
- Four – Vegetables – celery, carrot, potato and onion