USEF General Rules Deep Dive

So I was looking for something in the USEF 2010 rule book, and came across some rules that I thought were interesting and helped explain some questions I have had while watching at shows…Makes me realize how much more detailed I need to read the rules!  Here is some food for thought…

With all the 1 horse classes lately, I thought this one was cool- 

GR 134 3. Ribbons won in one-horse classes do not count in reckoning the maiden,novice or limit status of either horse and/or rider/driver in any division.

This one explains the class I saw this year where the rider fell off and won the class – (I always thought that meant elimination)

GR842 Falls.
The fall of horse and/or rider does not disqualify the competitor unless due to bad manners of the horse…<left off rest>

This one doesn’t explain the grass I’ve seen tied to the base of a whip in halter classes – isn’t that an “appendage”?

GR803 Use of Whips.
No item may be used inside or outside the ring while showing a horse except one whip per handler. If whips are allowed, they must be no longer than 6’ including the snapper or lash.  No appendages of any kind are permitted

I’m still fuzzy on the Opportunity class thing, because Open To All Breed (OTAB) I’ve heard also called Opportunity, yet :

GR821 Opportunity Classes.

8. The list of Opportunity Classes offered must include “Opportunity” in the class name.

I have more, but too many to list.  Thanks for letting me post a few I thought some folks would also find interesting.


11 Responses to USEF General Rules Deep Dive

  1. RaeOfLight says:

    I feel like somewhere along the line I also heard that in a one horse class the judge does not need to tie that horse first. Is this true? If so, has anyone ever seen a single horse NOT get first in a class? And would that in turn apply to classes with multiple horses, a judge could go second, third, and maybe even skip forth and go right to fifth?

  2. alpmorgans says:

    I’ve seen once where they didnt pin a horse first. It was in a 3 horse class i think? it wasnt at a rated morgan show, but at an open show, in a morgan horse class.

    and yes it is true. a judge does not have to give a blue in a one horse class. they can give any ribbon they choose, and believe the entry did not deserve the win. but they almost always dont.

    And i have seen the falling off rule NOT inforced many times. Which is unfourtunate. How can a horse rearing up and the rider not falling off not be counted as a disobediance of the horse?

  3. alpmorgans says:

    Whoops. Typo. Rider DID infact come off. horse reared, rider off. :]

  4. lauralin28 says:

    I saw nothing about rearing in the rule. People can fall off from losing a stirrup, in which case it would have nothing to do with the horse. So.. yeah.

  5. RaeOfLight says:

    I think the instance smccullo is referring to was not an instance of bad behavior on the part of the horse, which is how the USEF rule explained what she saw. A rider could fall off for a number of reasons depending on their experience level. A young rider could fall off just from losing a stirrup.

  6. StacyGRS says:

    I fell off from a broken stirrup once…I was on, then I was off! I never saw it coming!!:) But, my leather was clearly broken and fellow trainers got me a new stirrup and I got back on and won.
    If someone does lose a stirrup or have something break and they panic and use the reins to balance, they can pretty much force the horse to rear, but not because it was acting up. Not sure if that’s how it went, but there are scenarios that we don’t always know all of.

  7. mbk says:

    BTW, a judge at a rated show has to start with first place. GR1034.9

  8. leslie says:

    I didn’t know you could be eliminated for a fall for any reason (except in the cross-country phase of eventing.) That’s interesting. I guess a judge can excuse a misbehaving horse whether or not the rider stays on, so maybe that particular wording is meant to be an extension of that? I’ve certainly seen horses rear in the show ring and not be eliminated.

    I’ve heard of judges choosing non-consecutive placings and skipping the blue at 4-H shows, though I’ve never actually witnessed it. It makes sense, in a way, but I’d be super embarrassed if I left a one-horse class with a white ribbon!

  9. StacyGRS says:

    I don’t believe that falling off = elimination in any flat classes in our world.
    I know some feel that starting at a lower place in a 1 horse class is appropriate, but personally, I think it’s really insulting and discouraging in a time that we need to encourage people to show, not discourage. IMO, if you bother to prepare for the class at home, come to the show, get your horse ready, and show up and you’re the only one there you deserve to be appreciated for coming, not insulted. You already had to go in a 1 horse class, my very least favorite thing to do, and you likely came to compete.
    The grass at the end of the whip in hand is just a bait…no different than carrying it by itself. I would guess that it is indeed an appendage, but the rule is more about things being tied at the end to add excitement (plastic, rattle, can, etc) so the grass isn’t really an issue I don’t think.
    And what is your question about the opportunity classes? Because some call them Opportunity and some call them OTAB? Some may need those classes to fall into the USEF rated section and some don’t, but they are the same thing.

  10. lainer1030 says:

    With regard to USEQ rules, what is the difference between an amateur and a professional? I understand head trainers, but where is the line drawn beyond that? Anyone who gets paid to work with horses I always assumed was considered a professional. Does this apply to instructors? Grooms? Unpaid assistant trainers? I was just wondering where the rule applies in amateur classes, and in the Classic division.

  11. leslie says:

    The rule book is online, so you can read up on it for free, even i f you’re not a member. Check the General Rules, GR1306

    If you are paid for training, riding or working horses or teaching riding, driving or horsemanship lessons, the USEF considers you a pro. Even if you’re a groom or barn manager, you can still be considered a pro if you teach or train as part of your job. If you have a summer job or internship where you’re paid to work horses or teach riding, you’re probably a pro. Even if you’re paid with discounted board or something like that instead of a paycheck, you may still be considered a pro.

    It’s pretty strict.

    On the other hand, if you’re a groom or barn manager and you don’t work horses for your employer, you can still be an amateur. If you’re a camp counselor who does more than just teach riding lessons, you can be an amateur. If you only teach therapeutic riding lessons, you can be an amateur. If you have an internship where you work horses, but you only get paid living expenses and/or college credit, you can still be an amateur.

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