POAC Horsemanship, Showmanship and Equitation Events
A. The rider is judged in this class on his ability to ride and control a pony properly without the use of a saddle.
B. Position of hands and body should be the same as in Western Horsemanship (Rule 108), only no saddle is used.
C. Class Routine. At the option of judge, exhibitors may be asked to work patterns individually, then the judge may recall either all of the exhibitors or only the finalists for rail work.
- Exhibitors shall not be asked to mount and dismount. 9 & Under Bareback Horsemanship is walk‐jog only. If the Show Committee desires the lope, it must be specified in advance on the entry form and show bill.
D. All exhibitors in the age division of 13 & Under or 18 & Under shall run the same pattern posted for that class.
Hunt Seat Equitation
A. General. Rider should have a workmanlike appearance, seat and hands light and supple, conveying the impression of complete control should any emergency arise.
B. Hand Position. Hands should be over and in front of pony’s withers, knuckles 30 degrees inside the vertical, hands slightly apart and making a straight line from the pony’s mouth to the rider’s elbow. The method of holding reins is optional and the bight of the reins may fall on either side. However, all reins must be picked up at the same time.
C. Basic Position. The eyes should be up and shoulders back. Toes should be at an angle best suited to rider’s conformation: ankles flexed in, heels down, calf of leg in contact with pony and slightly behind girth. Iron should be on the ball of the foot and must not be tied to the girth.
D. Position in Motion. At the walk, the body should be vertical; sitting trot and canter, body slightly in front of the vertical; posting trot, inclined forward 20 degrees; hand galloping and jumping, inclination should be 30 degrees, with only the legs in contact with the saddle (two‐point contact).
E. Mounting and Dismounting. To mount, take up reins in left hand and place hand on withers. Grasp stirrup leather with right hand and insert left foot in stirrup, toe in girth and mount. To dismount, rider may either step down or slide down. The size of the rider must be taken into consideration.
F. Class Routine. At the option of the judge, exhibitors may be asked to work patterns individually, and then the judge may recall either all of the exhibitors or only the finalists for rail work.
G. Additional Tests. Tests may be performed either collectively or individually. Instructions must be publicly announced. All exhibitors in the age division of 13 & Under or 18 & Under shall run the same pattern posted for that class. 9 & Under Hunt Seat Equitation may use only tests 1 and 3.
- Halt (4 to 6 seconds) and/or back.
- Hand gallop with or without a halt.
- Figure 8 at trot, demonstrating change of diagonals. At left diagonal, rider should be sitting the saddle when left front leg is on the ground; at right diagonal, rider should be sitting the saddle when right front leg is on the ground; when circling clockwise at a trot, rider should be on left diagonal; when circling counterclockwise, rider should be on the right diagonal.
- Figure 8 at canter on correct lead, demonstrating simple change of lead. (This is a change whereby the pony is brought back into a walk or trot and restarted into a canter on the opposite lead.) Figures to be commenced in the center of two circles so that one change of lead is shown.
- Ride without stirrups (dropped irons should be crossed over front of saddle), or drop and pick up stirrups.
- Dismount and mount individually.
- Figure 8 at canter on the correct lead demonstrating flying change of lead.
- Execute a serpentine at a trot on the correct diagonal and/or canter on the correct lead demonstrating simple or flying changes of lead. (A series of left and right half circles off the center of imaginary line.)
- Change leads on a line demonstrating a simple or flying change of lead.
H. 9 & Under Hunt Seat Equitation is walk‐trot only. If the Show Committee desires the canter, it must be specified in advance on the entry form and show bill.
Hunt Seat Equitation Over Fences
A. Hunt Seat Equitation Over Fences may be run at a separate location and concurrently with other classes. The Show Committee or judge may designate a qualified person(s) over the age of 18 to judge the jumping classes. Judges cards MUST be signed by the person judging the class. Two judges are required for jumping at a Pony Rama.
B. This class is judged on the rider’s hands, legs, position, balance, aids and control of the pony over fences.
C. All exhibitors in the age division of 13 & Under or 18 & Under shall run the same pattern posted for that class.
D. Courses should consist of a minimum of four fences and require at least eight jumping efforts and include at least one change of direction. A ground line is required for each take‐off side. Jumps should be similar to those found in the hunt field. Striped poles are discouraged. Course diagrams
should be described as in Rule 122 and Rule 123, and no lines should be drawn by the Show Committee showing the line or route to be taken.
- Fence Heights. 9 & Under, Minimum 12” – Maximum 18” (cross rails encouraged)
- 10‐13 and 13 & Under, Minimum 18” – Maximum 24”
- 14‐18 and 18 & Under, Minimum 24” – Maximum 30”
- Jumps heights to be measured at the center of the jumps. Spreads shall not be greater than the height for that age group.
E. The performance begins when the pony enters the ring or is given the signal to proceed after entering the ring. Except for refusals, jumping faults of the pony are not to be considered unless it is the fault of the rider’s ability.
- The following result in elimination:
a. Three refusals.
b. Fall of pony and/or rider.
c. Off course.
- Major faults that can be cause for elimination:
a. A refusal.
b. Loss of stirrup.
c. Trotting while on course when not part of test.
d. Loss of reins.
F. Each contestant may circle once if desired before approaching the first jump. He shall then proceed around the course keeping an even cantering pace throughout. If a refusal occurs in a double or triple fence, riders shall rejump all elements of the combination. Any or all contestants may be called back to perform at a walk, trot and canter, or to execute any tests listed under Hunt Seat Equitation (Rule 110).
A. Leadline Horsemanship will apply to the 6 & Under age group only. If a rider enters this class, he will not be eligible to enter any other Horsemanship class for older age groups at that show. Rider is eligible for Showmanship at Halter.
B. This class may be ridden bareback, western or hunt seat. The rider will be judged on his basic position in the saddle, if one is used; hand, leg and seat position; as well as his ability to properly hold the reins and cue the pony.
C. Exhibitors shall be judged at a walk both ways of the ring and be required to stop and back. The trot is optional, and must be specified in advance on entry form or show bill.
D. If the judge asks the rider to back the pony in the lineup, the person leading the pony should not aid the rider. He should only keep the pony under control.
E. A lead shank should be attached to a halter under the bridle, so that while the rider is on the rail, the pony could be controlled by the person leading the pony, if necessary. The person leading must be at least 14 years old.
F. Tack and Attire. If riding hunt seat, Hunt Seat Tack and Attire should be used. If riding western or bareback, Western Tack and Attire are required. (See Rules 102 ‐ 105.) The person leading the pony should conform to the type of attire that the rider is wearing.
Showmanship at Halter
A. Showmanship class shall be judged strictly on the exhibitor’s ability to fit and show a pony at halter. The pony is merely a prop to demonstrate the ability and preparation of the exhibitor. The ideal showman is poised, confident, neatly attired leading a well‐groomed and conditioned pony that quickly and efficiently performs the requested pattern with promptness, smoothness and precision. Showmanship is not another halter class and should not be judged as such.
B. This class shall be judged with 10% on the exhibitor, 30% on fitting and grooming of the pony, and 60% on the showmanship performance.
C. In Leadline 6 & Under Showmanship, the leader shall remain near the exhibitor and is to assist the exhibitor only if any safety issues arise. He must be at least 14 years old. Stallions of any age are prohibited from being shown in Leadline Showmanship. Trot is optional at the discretion of the show committee and must be printed on the show bill if required for this class.
D. The patterns to be worked should be posted at least one hour prior to the beginning of the class; if the judge requires additional work for consideration of final placings, the finals pattern may also be posted. All ties will be broken at the judge’s discretion.
E. Patterns may be selected from those illustrated or may be provided by the judge or Show Committee.
- Pattern 1, 2 or 3 must be used for 9 & Under exhibitors unless they are entering a 13 & Under or 18 & Under class.
- Leadline 6 & Under Showmanship must use Pattern 1, 2 or 3.
F. Class Routine
- All exhibitors may enter the ring and then work individually, or each exhibitor may be worked from the gate individually. The following maneuvers are considered acceptable: lead the pony at a walk, jog or extended jog or back in a straight line; stop; and turn 90 (1/4), 180 (1/2), 270 (3/4), 360 (full turn) degrees. The judge must have exhibitors set up the pony squarely for inspection at some time during the class.
G. Overall Appearance of Exhibitor and Pony
- Appearance and Position of Exhibitor
a. Appropriate western attire must be worn; clothes and person are to be neat and clean.
The use of artificial aids is prohibited.
b. Exhibitors should be poised, confident, courteous and genuinely sportsmanlike at all times, quickly recognizing and correcting faults in the positioning of the pony. The exhibitor should continue showing the pony until the class has been placed or they have been excused, unless otherwise instructed by the judge. The exhibitor should appear businesslike, stand and move in a straight, natural and upright manner, and avoid excessive unnatural or animated body
c. The exhibitor must lead on the pony’s left side holding the lead shank in the right hand near
the halter with the tail of the lead loosely coiled in the left hand unless requested by the
judge to show the pony’s teeth. The excess lead should never be tightly coiled, rolled or folded. When leading, the exhibitor should be positioned between the eye and the mid‐point of the neck, referred to as the leading position.
d. The position of the exhibitor when executing a turn to the right is the same as the leading
position except that the exhibitor should turn and face toward the pony’s head and have the
pony move away from them to the right.
e. When executing a back, the exhibitor should turn from the leading position to face toward
the rear of the pony with the right hand extended across the exhibitor’s chest and walk
forward beside the pony with the pony moving backward.
f. When setting up the pony for inspection, the exhibitor should stand angled toward the pony
in a position between the pony’s eye and muzzle, and should never leave the head of the pony. It is recommended, but not mandatory, that exhibitors use the “Quarter Method” when presenting the pony. The exhibitor should maintain a position that is safe for themselves and the judge. The position of the exhibitor should not obstruct the judge’s view of the pony and should allow the exhibitor to maintain awareness of the judge’s position at all times. The exhibitor should not crowd others when setting up sideby‐side or head‐to‐tail. When moving around the pony, the exhibitor should change sides in front of the pony with minimal steps and should assume the same position on the right side of the pony that he had on the left side.
(1) The Quarter Method involves drawing imaginary lines dividing the pony into four equal quadrants. See illustration. (Note: quadrants are numbered I, II, III, IV for ease of identification.) One line runs across the pony just behind the withers. The other imaginary line runs from head to tail. When the pony is squarely set up for inspection, the exhibitor takes his proper position in quadrant IV. As the judge moves to quadrant I, the exhibitor should stay in
quadrant IV. When the judge moves on to quadrant II, the exhibitor moves to the proper position in quadrant I. When the judge moves to quadrant III, the exhibitor moves back to quadrant IV. As the judge moves to quadrant IV, the exhibitor once more moves to quadrant I. The exhibitor should never stop in the unsafe location directly in front of the pony. When the judge returns to his position in front of the pony, the exhibitor should return to quadrant IV,
and await instructions from the judge.
g. Leading, backing, turning, and initiating the set up should be performed from the left side of the pony. At no time should the exhibitor stand directly in front of the pony. The exhibitor should not touch the pony with his hands or feet, or visibly cue the pony by pointing his feet at the pony during set up.
- Appearance of the Pony
a. The pony’s body condition and overall fitness should be assessed. The hair coat should be
clean, well‐brushed and in good condition. The mane, tail, forelock and wither tuft may not
contain ornaments (ribbons, bows, etc.), but may be banded. The length of mane and tail
may vary, as long as they are neat, clean and free of tangles. The mane should be even in length or may be roached, but the forelock and tuft over the withers must be left. The bridle path, eyebrows and long hair on the head and legs may be clipped, except where government regulations prohibit. A sparse mane and tail shall not be discriminated against. Tail extensions, etc., are permitted. See Rule 85.
b. Hooves should be properly trimmed and if shod, the shoes should fit correctly and clinches should be neat. Hooves must be clean and may have clear polish or clear hoof dressings applied or be shown naturally.
c. Tack should fit properly and be neat, clean and in good repair.
- The exhibitor should perform the work accurately, precisely, smoothly, and as quickly as possible. The pony should lead, stop, back, turn, and set up willingly, briskly and readily with minimal visible or audible cueing. Failure to follow prescribed pattern, knocking over or working on the wrong side of the cones, or severe disobedience will not result in a disqualification, but should not place above an exhibitor that completes the pattern correctly.
Excessive schooling or training, willful abuse or loss of control of the pony by the exhibitor shall be cause for disqualification.
- The pony should be led directly to and away from the judge in a straight line and track briskly and freely at the prescribed gait as instructed. The pony’s head and neck should be straight and in line with the body.
- The stop should be straight, prompt, smooth and responsive with the pony’s body remaining straight.
- The pony should back up readily with the head, neck and body aligned in a straight line.
- When turning the pony to the left 90 degrees or less, the pony should be turned to the left. On turns of greater than 90 degrees, the ideal turn consists of the pony pivoting on the right hind leg while stepping across and in front of the right front leg with the left front leg. An exhibitor should not be penalized if his pony performs a pivot on the left hind leg, but an exhibitor whose pony performs the pivot correctly should receive more credit.
- The pony should be set up quickly with the feet squarely underneath the body. The exhibitor does not have to reset a pony that stops square.
- Poorly groomed, conditioned or trimmed pony.
- Dirty, ragged, or poorly or ill‐fitted halter or lead.
- Poor or improper position of exhibitor.
- Excessive stiff, artificial, or unnatural movement around pony or when leading.
- Continuous holding of the chain portion of the lead, or lead shank tightly coiled around hand or dragging the ground.
- Changing hands or placing both hands on the lead, except when preparing to show the pony’s teeth.
- Drifting of pony while being led.
- Pony stopping crooked or dropping a hip out when stopping, setting up or standing.
- Backing, leading or turning sluggishly or crooked.
- Pony not set up squarely or excessive time required to set up.
- Failure to maintain a pivot foot during turn or stepping behind right front leg with left front leg when turning to the right.
- Pony holding head and/or neck crooked when leading, stopping or backing.
- Failure to perform maneuvers at designated markers, but pony is on pattern.
J. Severe Faults
- Leading on the off or right side of the pony.
- Complete failure to move around pony by exhibitor and obstructing judge’s view.
- Exhibitor touching the pony or kicking or pointing his feet at the pony’s feet during set up.
- Standing directly in front of the pony.
- Omission or addition of maneuvers.
- Knocking over a cone.
- Working on the wrong side of the cones.
- Severe disobedience including rearing or pawing, pony kicking at other ponies, exhibitor or judge; or pony continuously circling the exhibitor.
- Loss of control of pony that endangers exhibitor, other ponies or exhibitors, or judge, including the pony escaping from the exhibitor.
- Failure to wear the correct back number.
- Willful abuse.
- Excessive schooling or training or use of artificial aids.
L. Tack. See Rule 94.
M. Attire. Exhibitors, and the person leading the pony in Leadline Showmanship, must be neatly dressed in western clothes consisting of western boots, western hat, longsleeved shirt with a collar and long pants. Vests and coats are optional.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 9 & Under
a. Individual performance on the rail.
b. Figure 8 at the jog.
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.
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.