EQUISTAR CLASS DESCRIPTIONS
USEF General Rules govern where applicable in Equistar All Breed Driving and English classes. Complete USEF Rules can be found at United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. Stock and Western classes are governed by the procedural rules of AQHA found at AQHA Rules. For instance, a Morgan horse showing in Western Pleasure will be judged according to its Breed standard in USEF Rules while a Quarter horse will be show to AQHA Rules. Unless specifically stated in the class title, horses do NOT have to be registered with a breed registry to compete. All Breed classes that do not clearly fall under breed descriptions found in the USEF or AQHA rulebooks will be judged according to the Class Description set forth herein. Our All Breed classes are designed to provide an opportunity for exhibitors to show their horses and have fun at a reasonably priced event. Therefore we try to be as inclusive as possible to afford everyone an opportunity to show.
If you have any questions, please contact the Show Manager at (520) 850-3990.
Equistar reserves the final and absolute right to interpret all rules and regulations.
Clarification: Gaited breeds MAY enter classes that call for the trot or jog. Gaited horses will perform their medium gait whenever the trot or jog is called for. If the class calls for the canter or lope, the gaited breed must also perform the canter or lope. Gaited horses will be judged according to the class specifications along with all other horses in the class. In the classes designated for gaited breeds greater emphasis in judging is placed on the quality of the horse's gaits.
Clarification: Walk/Trot/Canter horses MAY enter Walk and Trot classes, but will not be eligible for the Year End Award in the Walk and Trot Championship.
PLEASE CHECK THE SCHEDULE. NOT EVERY CLASS DESCRIBED HERE MAY BE OFFERED AT EVERY SHOW
* PLEASURE DRIVING- To be shown at the flat walk and trot, will be asked to extend the trot. Enter at the trot. Must flat walk, stand quietly and back readily. To be judged on manners, performance, quality and conformation.
* REINSMANSHIP- To be shown at the flat walk and trot, will be asked to extend the trot. Enter at the trot. Must flat walk, stand quietly and back readily. Also will be asked to perform a maneuver. The skill of the driver is judged.
* DISCIPLINE RAIL DRIVING- To be shown at the flat walk and working trot, will be asked to extend the trot. Entries will be asked to halt and back on the rail. Additional requirements at the judge's discretion MAY include ANY of the following: Back a required number of steps; 180 degree pivot to reverse (performed to the inside- away from the rail), halt to trot transition, trot to halt transition, and/or collected trot. Entries judged on competence of driver and quiet and willing obedience of horse.
* ENGLISH/DRIVING TYPE HALTER- Open to light breeds, gaited breeds and warmbloods, including, but not limited to Arabians, American Saddlebreds, English Type Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Tennessee Walking Horses, Morgans, Fox Trotters, Peruvian Pasos, Paso Finos, and Friesians. Each horse is judged to its own breed standard. Judged 50% on conformation and finish, 50% on movement. In the Halter Color class, the horse is judged 100% on color. Equistar permits ALL colored horses (paint/pinto; palomino; grulla; buckskin etc.).
* ENGLISH PLEASURE WALK AND TROT (ALL BREED- SADDLESEAT, HUNTSEAT, SHOW HACK, DRESSAGE SUITABILITY)- TACK AND DRESS MUST BE SUITABLE TO THE BREED AND/OR DISCIPLINE PER USEF RULES. To be shown at the walk and trot. Enter at the trot, must flat walk, stand quietly and back readily. To be judged on manners, performance, suitability to discipline, quality and conformation.
* ENGLISH PLEASURE WALK/TROT/CANTER (ALL BREED- SADDLESEAT, HUNTSEAT, SHOW HACK, DRESSAGE SUITABILITY) - TACK AND DRESS MUST BE SUITABLE TO THE BREED AND/OR DISCIPLINE PER USEF RULES. To be shown at the walk, trot, and canter. Enter at the trot, must flat walk, stand quietly and back readily. To be judged on manners, performance, suitability to discipline, quality and conformation.
* HUNTER PLEASURE (ALL BREED)- In Under Saddle and Hunter Hack classes, horses are shown at a walk, trot and canter both ways of the ring. Light contact with the horse’s mouth is required. Horses should be obedient, alert, responsive and move freely. They should not be eliminated for slight errors. Judge may ask the horses to hand-gallop. Enter at the trot, must flat walk, stand quietly and back readily. To be judged on manners, performance, suitability, quality and conformation.
* ENGLISH EQUITATION (ALL BREED AND ALL ENGLISH DISCIPLINES)- Walk/Trot/Canter. The judge may ask for a basic maneuver such as a serpentine down the rail or to perform a change of diagonal. The rider's seat and use of aids is judged. Riders, please be familiar with the USEF Rules governing equitation for your discipline (Click HERE to go to USEF Equitation) - Hunt Seat, Saddle Seat and Dressage Seat all permitted.
* HORSES IN TRAINING OR FOR SALE (ALL BREED AND ALL DISCIPLINES)- Riders must be 18 or over. This class is designed for trainers, amateur or professional, to enter horses that need schooling and for individuals with horses for sale. Gaits will be called (walk/intermediate gait/canter). The class will not be judged. But the judge is available for feedback if requested. Training tack is permissible. Casual attire is permissible. Helmets are required. The Announcer will read information, if provided, regarding horses that are for sale. This is a great class for schooling or to give your horse the feel of a real class, but without the pressure. This is not designed for novice riders. Novice riders should consider walk/trot classes or novice rider classes.
* SADDLE SEAT PLEASURE (ALL BREED)- The Saddle Seat Pleasure Horse should demonstrate quality, style, presence and suitable conformation; prompt, comfortable gaits; giving the distinct impression it is an agreeable mount to ride. Easy, ground-covering action is desired. Manners and suitability as a Pleasure mount are paramount. Special emphasis is placed on a true, flat walk. Transitions from one gait to another should be smooth and effortless. TO BE PENALIZED: Laboring action; pulling, tossing head; going sideways and tail-switching. Shown at a flat walk, trot and canter. Judged 75% on manners, performance, presence and quality; 25% on total conformation.
While most horses that are shown as Saddle Seat mounts are Saddlebreds, National Show Horses, Morgans and Arabians, this is an Equistar All Breed class, so any breed may be entered, but must meet the description above and must be shown in a cutback/flat or Lane Fox type saddle. USEF Rules require that they be shown in a full bridle, Pelham or curb. However, Equistar will permit a single snaffle with a running martingale. The judge may give preference to horses shown in a full bridle, Pelham or curb.
* PARK HORSE (ALL BREED)- The Park Horse should be stylish with finish and quality and be well-mannered. The performance should be animated and graceful in all gaits. To be judged on performance, manners, presence, quality and conformation. Shown at an animated walk, park trot and canter. Must be shown in a full bridle, Pelham or curb. Must wear a cutback/flat or Lane Fox type saddle. The Park Pleasure horse is required to flat walk.
* DRESSAGE SUITABILITY (ALL BREED)- (Equistar Rules adopted from USEF Friesian Dressage Suitability Division) Horses to enter at working trot, in a counter clockwise direction. Horses will perform all gaits both ways of the ring. Gaits shall be medium walk, working trot, and working canter. Free walk on long rein with horse stretching forward and down to be performed in at least one direction. Transitions into and out of the canter will be called for through the working trot. Horses will be asked to reverse direction at the working trot or medium walk at the judge’s discretion. Trot work to be ridden rising. Dressage Suitability Objectives: To confirm that the horse’s muscles are supple and loose, and that it moves freely forward in a clear and steady rhythm, with purity of the gaits, and accepting contact with the bit. The horse should show lightness of the forehand and engagement of the hindquarters. Resistance and tension of the horse to be penalized. The horse’s potential as a Dressage mount is to be considered. Dressage Suitability Specifications: To be judged 70% on Performance of gaits and transitions, with attention to impulsion and submission, and using the objectives above as reference; and 30% on the riders position, seat, and effective use of aids.
* STOCK TYPE HALTER- Horses will be judged on conformation. Horses are not required to be registered to enter.
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. 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. 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, horses will be lined up head to tail for individual inspection by the judge. The judge shall inspect each horse from both sides, front and rear. (A) Any horse that becomes detached from its handler and is no longer under control by the handler will automatically be disqualified and excused. If the initial horse exhibiting poor mannerisms (i.e. rearing, backing or falling into others, etc.) causes other exhibitor(s) to lose their horse(s), only the initiating horse will be disqualified and excused. The decision of the judge(s) will be final. (B) The fall of a horse being judged in halter shall be cause for disqualification. A horse is considered having fallen when he or she is on their side with all four feet extended in the same direction. (2) All lame horses should be excused from the ring prior to final placing by the judge. All stallions 2 years old and over shall be examined to confirm that they have two visible testicles. All mares and stallions shall be examined for Parrot Mouth (see Rule 205(a)). If examination reveals that a horse has Parrot Mouth or is cryptorchid, such horse should be excused from the ring prior to final placing by the judge regardless of whether the Parrot Mouth or cryptorchid condition is marked on the horse’s registration certificate. The judge should line the horses to be placed in a head to tail order according to preference.
* DONKEYS AND MULES PLEASURE- To be shown at the walk and trot/jog. Enter at the trot/jog, must flat walk, stand quietly and back readily. To be judged on manners, performance, suitability to discipline, quality and conformation. Will be asked to canter/lope if the class calls for it.
* MISSOURI FOX TROTTER- To be shown at the Flat Walk and Fox Trot. Emphasis is placed on authenticity of gaits. Manners are also of utmost importance.
* TENNESSEE WALKING HORSE- To be shown at the Flat Walk and Running Walk. Emphasis is placed on authenticity of gaits. Manners are also of utmost importance.
* GAITED BREEDS ENGLISH PLEASURE (ALL BREED)- Manners are of utmost importance. Horse will be shown at the flat walk and best gait. English horses should execute authentic gaits in a free, forward moving fashion. English horses should demonstrate more impulsion than Western horses. Horses will be asked to enter counter clockwise at the flat walk, and will be asked to perform the flat walk and best gait both directions of the ring. Horses must stand quietly and back readily.
* GAITED BREEDS WESTERN PLEASURE (ALL BREED)- Manners are of utmost importance. Horse will be shown at the flat walk and best gait. Western horses should execute authentic gaits in an exceptionally smooth and free fashion. Western horses should be very calm and well mannered. The frame should be more relaxed than the English gaited horse. Horses will be asked to enter counter clockwise at the flat walk, and will be asked to perform the flat walk and best gait both directions of the ring. Horses must stand quietly and back readily.
* WESTERN PLEASURE WALK AND JOG (ALL BREED) & WESTERN PLEASURE WALK / JOG /LOPE (ALL BREED)- The general procedures of AQHA Rules will be followed. However, horses do not need to be registered to enter.
Clarification: while most of our Western Pleasure horses are Quarter horses or Paints, other breeds are certainly welcome and will be judged to their breed standard. So, for instance, Friesian, Arabian, Saddlebred, National Show Horses will be shown to their USEF Western standard and higher headset and greater animation is proper. It would be improper to ask these breeds to adopt a Quarter horse frame.
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 slightly 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. Horses of all ages may enter. (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.
If the entry is 2-year-old, it 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 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.
* WESTERN/STOCK SEAT EQUITATION (ALL BREED)- The rider's seat and use of aids/cues is judged.
* TRAIL COURSE (ALL BREED)- A diagram of the trail course will be posted in the morning on the day of the show. The trail course will actually be set up during the 15 minutes prior to the class. The exhibitor will be judged on their performance of each element of the course. For example- an element may be something like "Take a letter from out of the mailbox, close the mailbox, walk to a garbage can and throw it in from the horse's back."