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Western Horsemanship

Western Horsemanship

A. Rider to be judged on seat, hands, performance of pony,
appointments of pony and rider and suitability of pony to
rider. Good hands are paramount. Results as shown by the
performance of the pony are NOT to be considered more
important than the method used in obtaining them.
B. At the option of the judge, exhibitors may be asked to
work patterns individually, then the judge may recall either
all the exhibitors or only the finalists for rail work.
C. Hands. Both hands and arms should be held in a relaxed,
easy manner, with the upper arms in a straight line with
the body. The one holding the reins should be bent at
elbow forming a line from the elbow to the pony’s mouth.
Only one hand is to be used for reining and hands shall not
be changed. Hand to be around reins. When reins are in
the left hand and the ends of split reins fall on the near
side, or when using the right hand and the ends of split
reins fall on the off side, one finger between the reins is
permitted. When using a romal or when ends of split reins
are held in hand not used for reining, no finger between
reins is allowed. 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 rider’s side. It should be
kept free of pony and equipment, and excessive pumping
or stiffness will be penalized. Rider may hold romal or end
of split reins to keep from swinging and to adjust the
position of the reins, provided it is held at least 16” from
the reining hand. 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 pony’s mouth, and at no time shall reins
require more than a slight hand movement to control the
pony. Excessively tight or loose reins will be penalized.
1. Two hands may be used if riding a Junior pony with a
snaffle bit or bosal.
D. Basic Position. The rider should sit in the saddle in an
upright position with the upper body at all gaits. The rider
should sit in the center of the saddle and the pony’s back
with the legs hanging to form a straight line from the ear,
through the 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/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 the pony from the knee to
mid‐calf. The feet should be in the stirrups with weight on
the ball of the foot. The rider’s toes should be pointing
straight ahead or slightly turned out with the ankles
straight or slightly broken in.
1. When riding without stirrups, the exhibitor should
maintain the same position as described above.
E. Head. 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 pony’s head or
shoulders will be penalized.
F. Position in Motion. Rider should sit to jog and not post. At
the lope, he should be close to the saddle. All movements
of the pony should be governed by the use of
imperceptible aids. The shifting of rider’s weight is not
desirable.
1. A rider is penalized if he loses a stirrup.
G. Mounting and Dismounting. Take up reins in left hand and
place hand on pony’s neck in front of the withers and with
end of reins or romal on the near side. Grasp stirrup with
right hand, place left foot in stirrup, then grasp saddle horn
with right hand and mount.
1. If a romal is used, it should be moved to the off side
of pony after mounting. End of split reins should
remain on same side as hand holding the reins when
rider uses finger between reins.
2. To dismount, reverse the above procedure and step
down looking toward the pony’s head.
H. Class Routine. Entries are to enter the ring at a walk or jog
and are to be judged at a flat‐footed, four‐beat walk, at a
jog and at a lope. They shall be worked both ways of the
ring and shall always be on the correct lead. Ponies shall be
required to back in a straight line. The exhibitor should not
crowd the exhibitor next to or in front of him when
working on the rail and should pass to the inside of the
always reverse to the inside of the arena.
1. 9 & Under Western Horsemanship shall be a walkjog
class unless specified in advance on the entry
form and show bill.
I. Additional Work. Riders will perform not only the ring
routine asked of them, but also should be able to perform
whatever additional tests from those listed below the
judge may deem advisable to ask of them. Instructions
must be publicly announced. All exhibitors in the age
division of 13 & Under or 18 & Under shall run the same
pattern for that class.
1. 9 & Under
a. Individual performance on the rail.
b. Figure 8 at the jog.
2. 10‐13
a. Individual performance on the rail.
b. Figure 8 at the jog.
c. Lope and stop.
d. Figure 8 at the lope on the correct lead
demonstrating simple change of lead. (This is a
change whereby the pony is brought back into
a walk or jog and restarted into a lope on the
opposite lead.) Figures commenced in the
center of two circles so that one lead change is
shown.
e. Ride without stirrups.
f. Dismount and mount.
3. 14‐18
a. Individual performance on rail.
b. Figure 8 at the jog.
c. Lope and stop.
d. Figure 8 at the lope on the correct lead
demonstrating simple change of lead (as in
2.d. above).
e. Ride without stirrups.
f. Dismount and mount.
g. Figure 8 at the lope on the correct lead
demonstrating flying change of lead.
h. Change leads down the center of the arena
demonstrating simple change of lead.
i. Ride serpentine course demonstrating flying
change of lead at each change of direction.

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