Pony Of the Americas Club, Inc. — Official Breed Website

Non-Timed Events

Non-Timed Events


A. Contestants will be judged 75% on costume, 25% on the pony. Class to be judged at the walk only, both ways of the ring.

B. Exhibitors may be allowed a maximum of 2 minutes of individual working time or explanation of costume, at the discretion of the Show Committee.

C. The exhibitor must remain mounted in all costume classes. Failure to do so is a disqualification.

D. The exhibitor is the only person allowed in the ring with the pony except in Leadline Costume. If other people or other animals (ponies, dogs, cats, etc.) accompany the entrant, he shall be disqualified.

E. Leadline Costume

  1. This class is for riders 6 years and under. Ponies are shown at a walk only. The person leading the pony must be 14 years of age or older.
  2. The Show Committee may allow, at their discretion, stallions 2 years and older to be shown in Leadline Costume.
  3. If this class is not offered at a show, Leadline contestants shall show in the other type costume
  4. Any type of costume may be worn.

F. Open Costume

  1. Any type costume may be worn, unless the Native American Costume class is offered. If Native American Costume is offered, that costume cannot be worn in Open Costume.

G. Native American Costume

  1. Consideration should be given to the material used and the design of the costume. Period costume is required to maintain the historical or traditional nature of the class.
  2. Material used in an authentic Native American costume may include buckskin, suede cloth, flannel wool, velvet or cotton, but no plastic. Some authentic costumes are plain (as Navajo) and should not be discriminated against in favor of one that is overly done.
  3. Quill work and real beading (loom beading, lazy stitch and appliqué stitch beading) should be given consideration over plastic beading and imitation beaded strips, although the latter is permissible. Articles beaded are ceremonial shirts, dresses, aprons, leggings, vests, moccasins, etc.
    a. The Plains Native American designs are geometric triangles, hourglasses, crosses, oblongs, diamonds and terraces. Background color usually denotes actual tribe, so the background of all beading on one costume should be the same.
    b. The Navajos wore velvet, with cowry shells and other clothing made of handwoven cloth. Their blankets are famous for their geometric designs.
    c. The Woodland Native Americans are from the Great Lakes, Eastern and Southeastern Coastal areas. The beading designs represented flowers, trees or leaves and were more rounded and curved. Appliquéd beading (single outline) of floral designs was also done on buckskin. Background colors are navy blue, black and red on wool and broadcloth.
  4. War Bonnets and Headgear
    a. The Plains Native Americans bonnets should be made of imitation eagle feathers, have a beaded, quilled or fur brow band, be full and wide brimmed and may have trailers. The roach was also used by the Plains Native Americans, usually by dancers, and was decorated with their designs. Some tribes used beaded hand bands to hold their roaches in place. Warriors wore feathers and other decorations woven into their scalp locks (pieces of hair at the crown of their heads) and skins and cloth were also often woven into their braided hair. Headbands were never worn.
    b. Navajos and Southwestern Native Americans wore cloth headbands, some with feathers and decorations tied in to the knots in the back.
    c. Woodland bonnets should be made of barred turkey feathers and should be narrow and high with a fur brow band. The roach is used and usually decorated with fur and woodland designs. These warriors also wore decorations and feathers in their hair, and braids but did not wear headbands.
    d. Feather caps, fur turbans and turbans made of animal heads and skins were worn by Plains and Woodland Native Americans.
  5. Moccasins
    a. The Plains moccasins are usually plain‐toed and decorated with colorful quillwork and sometimes a beaded border.
    b. The Woodland moccasins have puckered toes with the center beaded or have velvet or flannel beaded insert. Sides of moccasins are also beaded.
  6. Women of all nations worn plain clothes for everyday dress, but on special occasions, wore beaded and painted garments. Women wore hats in some tribes, but never wore feathers or headbands. They often braided skins and ornaments into their braids.
  7. Trappings and Accessories
    a. Appropriate imitation feathers used for trappings or backgrounds are permissible.
    b. Bells are to be permitted unless the Show Committee advertises in advance that bells are prohibited.
    c. Tapaderos are allowed.
    d. A travois shall not be permitted.
  8. A bridle that has been beaded or painted with Native American designs should be considered over a plain bridle. The judge should not discriminate against the use of a bridle over a rawhide bit (which is rawhide encircling lower jaw).
  9. If there are separate classes offered for Boys/Girls Native American Costume, then the males (Chiefs and Braves) shall show in the boys’ class and the females (Princess or Squaw) shall show in the girls’ class. Cross‐dressing of sexes shall not be allowed. (Girls shall not dress as chief and braves, etc.) Show Committees are urged to offer separate Native American Costume classes for boys and girls.

Hunter Hack

A. The Hunter Hack should move in the same style as a working hunter. Light contact with the pony’s mouth is required. Ponies should be obedient, alert, responsive, and move freely. The class will be judged on style over fences, flat work, manners and way of going.

  1. Ponies are first required to jump two fences. 9 & Under – 12” (cross rails are encouraged); 10‐13, 13 & Under – 18”; 14‐18, 18 & Under – 24” (measured at the center of the jump) in height. If the obstacles are set in a straight line, they must be set a minimum of commended. A ground line is equired for each obstacle.
  2. Ponies considered for an award are then to be shown at a walk, trot and canter both ways of the ring with light contact.

B. After completing the two jumps, the competitor shall hand gallop around a turn, halt, back, and then stand quietly. They then should exit the ring or return to the line‐up on a loose rein.

C. Placing of the class shall be determined by allowing a minimum of 70% for individual fence work and a maximum of 30% for work on the flat.

D. The jumping phase of Hunter Hack shall be judged under the same guidelines as the Hunter Over Fences classes. Ponies eliminated in the over fence portion of the class shall be disqualified.

Hunter Over Fences

A. Hunter 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. Fence Heights

  1. 9 & Under, Minimum 12” – Maximum 18” (cross rails encouraged)
  2. 10‐13 and 13 & Under, Minimum 18” – Maximum 24”
  3. 14‐18 and 18 & Under, Minimum 24” – Maximum 30”. Jump heights to be measured at the center of the jumps. Spreads shall not be greater than the height for that age group.

C. Course Diagrams

  1. Course diagrams shall be posted at least one hour before scheduled time of classes. The diagram or plan of the course must show the obstacles, which must be taken in the order indicated by numbers. Apart from the order and direction, the rider is not bound to follow a certain track, except as in Rule 120.M. An arrow is used on the diagram to indicate the direction in which each obstacle is to be taken. No lines should be added by the Show Committee showing a track to be taken.

D. Types of Obstacles

  1. Obstacles must simulate those found in the hunting field such as natural post and rail, brush, stone wall, white board fence or gate, chicken coop, hedge, oxer, etc. Obstacles should be minimum of 48’ apart.
  2. Chicken coops hinged at the top and free at the bottom, triple bars and hogs back, striped rails, targets and spreads over 2’6” and square oxers are prohibited.
  3. Every course must have a minimum of eight obstacles of four different types. All obstacles should be 12’ in length and have wings or pole wings. One change of direction should be included in the course. Striped rails are discouraged.
  4. The course should include one spread obstacle. In spread obstacles the back element should be a minimum of 3” higher than the front element and not more than 6”. A ground line is required for the take‐off side of each obstacle to be jumped.
  5. The top element of all obstacles must be securely placed so a slight rub will not cause a knockdown.
  6. A ground line should be placed on each side from which the obstacle is to be jumped.

E. Judging

  1. All classes must be judged 60% on performance and manners; 30% on type, conformation, quality and substance; and 10% on appointments.
    a. Judges must penalize unsafe jumping and bad form over fences, whether touched or untouched.
    b. Circling once upon entering the ring (courtesy circle) is permissible. The exit circle shall be made once and shall begin with a canter, slow to a jog and exit walking.
    c. Upon completion of the course and prior to leaving the arena, each pony competing for an award shall trot a circle in front of the judge(s) for soundness.
    d. In cases of broken equipment, the competitor may either continue without penalty or stop and correct the difficulty, in which case he will be penalized 3 faults. If a pony throws a shoe, the rider may either continue without penalty or voluntarily withdraw.

F. Quality, substance and soundness. Judges must penalize but not necessarily eliminate ponies with structural faults, defects and blemishes (such as pin firing) in areas which might impair their activity and durability.

G. Performance. An even hunting (cantering) pace, manners, jumping style and way of moving over the course as well as when being jogged for soundness. Manners and suitability of pony for rider to be emphasized.

H. Disobediences. The following faults are scored according to the judge’s discretion and depending on severity, may be considered minor or major faults.


  • Light touches or rubs against a jump
  • Showing an obstacle to a pony
  • Missing a lead change
  • Switching leads
  • Kicking out
  • Spooking or shying
  • Pinning ears or wringing tail
  • Jumping out of form
  • Not straight or in center of fence
  • Poor presentation of pony or rider
  • Knockdown of any part of an obstacle
  • Refusals
  • Trotting while on course when it is not specified
  • Bucking
  • Stopping for loss of shoe or broken equipment
  • Circling and or pulling up at jump shall be considered a refusal
  • Dangerous jumping
  • Elimination
  • 3 refusals
  • Off course
  • Jumping a fence before it is reset
  • Jumping obstacles not included in the course
  • Bolting from the ring
  • Fall of pony or rider (see Rule 122 N).
  • Failure to wear approved protective headgear or failure to have headgear securely fastened under chin.
  • Disqualifications as listed in Rule 102.

Hunter Under Saddle

A. Ponies should be suitable to purpose and should move with long, low strides reaching forward with ease and smoothness, be able to lengthen stride and cover ground with relaxed, free flowing movement, 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. Ponies should be obedient, have a bright expression with alert ears, and should respond willingly to the rider with light leg and hand contact. Ponies should be responsive and smooth in transition. When asked to extend the trot or hand gallop, they should move out with the same flowing motion. The poll should be level with, or slightly above, the withers to allow proper impulsion behind. The head position should be slightly in front of, or on, the vertical.

B. This class will be judged 60% on performance and manners; 30% on type, conformation, quality and substance; and 10% on appointments.

C. Ponies to be:

  1. Shown at a walk, trot and canter both ways of the ring. (Except for 9 & Under walk‐trot. See Rule 99.)‍
  2. Back easily and stand quietly. Judge may require the backing of only the finalists, at his discretion.‍
  3. Ponies may be asked to change to canter from the flat‐footed walk or trot, at the judge’s discretion.
  4. Reversed to the inside away from the rail, at a walk or trot only.

D. At the discretion of the judge, all or just the finalists may be required to hand gallop one way of the ring. Never more than eight ponies to hand gallop at one time. At the hand gallop, the judge may ask the group to halt and stand quietly on a free rein (loosened rein). Judge may ask for exhibitors to extend any other gait as well.

E. Faults to be scored according to severity:

  1. Quick, short, or vertical strides.
  2. Being on the wrong lead.
  3. Breaking gait.
  4. Excessive speed.
  5. Failure to take the appropriate gait when called for.
  6. Head carried too high or too low.
  7. Over flexing or straining neck in head carriage so the nose is carried behind the vertical.
  8. Excessive nosing out.
  9. Failure to maintain light contact with pony’s mouth.
  10. Stumbling.
  11. Pony appearing sullen, dull, lethargic, emaciated, drawn or overly tired.

Open Jumping

A. Open Jumping 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 scored mathematically, based on penalty faults incurred between the starting line and the finish line. Placing in the class is based on faults first, timing second, when timing is used in a regular round or in a jump‐off. The pony, rider or attire is not judged.

C. If a pony makes two or more faults at an obstacle, only the major fault counts. In the case of equal faults, one counts. (Exception: Disobediences count in addition.)

D. When an obstacle is composed of several elements in the same vertical plane, a fault at the top element is the only one penalized.

E. When an obstacle to be taken in one effort is composed of several elements not in the same vertical plane (e.g., oxer, triple bar), faults at more than one element are penalized only once.

F. In combinations, the faults committed at each obstacle are scored separately. In case of refusal or run‐out at one element of a combination (and upon the judge’s signal that the obstacle has been reset, if necessary), the competitor must re‐jump the entire combination.

G. In cases of broken equipment or loss of shoe, the rider must continue if he wishes to avoid penalty or may voluntarily withdraw.

H. An eliminated competitor may make one attempt to jump an additional single obstacle, which may be designated by the judge(s), but he may not continue thereafter.

I. Riders receiving physical assistance from outside the ring (e.g., longe whips, etc.) while on course will be eliminated.

J. At least two practice jumps should be available in the warm‐up area.

K. Fence Heights

  1. 9 & U Minimum 12” – Maximum 18”; Cross rails encouraged in the first round. Straight rails may be used for jump‐offs. Raise only suggested when third jump is required. At the National Congress and Regional Shows, the jumps may be set at 18” minimum to encourage clean rounds and 24” maximum.
  2. 10‐13 & 13 & Under Minimum 18” – Maximum 24” (Jump‐off 30”)
  3. 14‐18 & 18 & Under Minimum 24” – Maximum 30” (Jump‐off 36”)
  4. All exhibitors in the age division of 13 & Under or 18 & Under shall run the same pattern posted for that class.

L. Start and Finish

  1. Failure to enter the ring within 1 minute of being called or failure to cross the starting line within 1 minute after audible signal (bell, horn, whistle or buzzer) to proceed has been given incurs elimination.
  2. Ponies are to enter the ring at the command of the judge, proceeding through the course at a trot, canter or gallop.
  3. An audible signal (bell, horn, whistle or buzzer) is used for the following purposes:
    a. to give the signal to start;
    b. to stop a competitor in the event of an unforeseen incident (which also designates a
    c. to indicate that an obstacle must be reset before being retaken after it has been knocked
    down during a refusal (designating a time‐out);
    d. to give the signal for a competitor to continue his round after an interruption, also designating a time‐out (NOTE: it is the rider’s responsibility to be ready to continue on the course when the signal is given.)
    e. to indicate by repeated and prolonged ringing that the competitor has been eliminated.

M. Disobediences

  1. Refusals. Stopping in front of an obstacle to be jumped, whether or not the pony knocks it down or displaces it, is penalized as a disobedience. Stopping at an obstacle without knocking it down and without backing, followed immediately by jumping from a standstill, is not penalized. However, if the stop continues, or if the pony backs even a single step or circles to retake the course, a refusal is incurred.
  2. Run‐out. Evading or passing the obstacle to be jumped or the finish line or jumping an obstacle outside its limiting markers is penalized as a disobedience.
  3. After a run‐out or refusal, the competitor must, before proceeding on course, re‐jump the obstacle at which the disobedience occurred or be eliminated. If the flag, standard, wing or obstacle has not been reset when the competitor is ready to jump, he must await the signal to start or be eliminated.
  4. Loss of Forward Movement. Halting or stepping backward after crossing the start line, (unless due to a refusal, run‐out or an order from the judge due to unforeseen circumstances such as a fence being blown down), will be penalized as a disobedience. Loss of forward movement on banks will not be scored as a disobedience unless the pony takes a step backward.
  5. Circling. Any form of circle or circles whereby the pony crosses its original track between two consecutive obstacles, or stops advancing toward or turns away from the next fence except to retake an obstacle after a disobedience, is considered a disobedience. This is a judgment call. (Note: Coming sideways or zigzagging toward an obstacle does not constitute a disobedience unless the pony passes or turns its back to the next obstacle or the finish line.)

N. Falls

  1. A rider is considered to have fallen when he is separated from his pony that has not fallen in such a way as to necessitate remounting or vaulting into the saddle.
  2. A pony is considered to have fallen when the shoulder and haunch on the same side have touched the ground or an obstacle and the ground.

O. Knockdowns

  1. An obstacle is considered knocked down when, in jumping an obstacle, a pony or rider, by contact:
    a. lowers any part thereof which establishes the height of the obstacle or the height of any element of a spread obstacle, even when the obstacle is arrested in its fall by some other portion of the obstacle.
    b. moves any part thereof, which establishes the height of the obstacle so that it rests on a different support from the one on which it was originally placed.
    2. Should a pole resting in a cup come to rest on the lip of the cup, or on a bracket, which is an integral part of the cup, it is not considered a knockdown. Narrowing the width of a spread obstacle without altering the height of any elements as defined in a.) and b.) above is not considered a knockdown. If an obstacle falls after a competitor leaves the ring, it is not considered a knockdown.

P. Touches. Touches are scored as outlined below. At a brush obstacle, touching the brush alone without touching the framework, standards or pole, is not scored.

Q. Off Course. A competitor is considered off course when he deviates from the course as shown by the diagram and jumps an obstacle prior to rectifying the deviation.

R. Table of Faults

  1. Touch of obstacle with any portion of pony’s body behind stifle: 1/2 fault
  2. Touch of obstacle with any portion of pony’s body in front of stifle, or with any part of rider or equipment: 1 fault (Touches of ground lines are scored as in 1 and 2)
  3. Touch of standard or wing in jumping obstacle with any part of pony, rider or equipment: 1 fault
  4. Touch of flag, automatic timing equipment or other designated markers on start or finish lines or flags standing alone marking the limits of banks, ditches and water jumps, with any part of pony, rider or equipment during the round: 1 fault
  5. Knockdown of obstacle or standard with any portion of pony, rider or equipment, when jumping an obstacle: 4 faults
  6. Knockdown of automatic timing equipment, other designated markers on start and finish lines or flags standing alone marking the limits of banks, ditches and water jumps: 4 faults
  7. First disobedience: 3 faults
  8. Second cumulative disobedience anywhere on course: 6 faults
  9. Third cumulative disobedience anywhere on course: Elimination
  10. Fall of pony and/or rider: Elimination
  11. Jumping an obstacle before it is reset, or without waiting for signal to proceed: Elimination
  12. Starting before judge’s signal to proceed: Elimination
  13. Failure to enter ring within 1 minute of being called: Elimination
  14. Failure to cross the starting line within 1 minute after signal to proceed: Elimination
  15. Jumping an obstacle before crossing start line unless the obstacle is designated as a practice obstacle or after crossing the finish line, whether forming part of the course or not: Elimination
  16. Off course: Elimination
  17. Deliberately addressing an obstacle (Penalized at any time pony is in the ring): Elimination
  18. Rider and/or pony leaving the arena before finishing the course (Penalized at any time pony is in the ring): Elimination
  19. Exceeding the time limit: Elimination
  20. Failure to wear ASTM/SEI approved headgear, failure to fasten chinstrap or loss of headgear (must remain in place on top of the head) anywhere on course (rider must stop course immediately): Elimination
  21. Disqualifications listed under Rule 100: Elimination

S. Courses

  1. Obstacles should be attractive, colorful, varied and appropriate to their setting. Their components must be capable of being knocked down and should be neither so light nor poorly supported that they fall at a slight touch, or so heavy or firmly supported that they can hardly be dislodged. Jump heights to be measured at the center of the jump. Spreads shall not be greater than the height for that age group.
  2. There should be at least one change of direction in every course including jump‐off courses.
  3. At least one combination may be included in every course. Double (in and out) and triple (three jumps) are optional.
  4. Every course must contain a minimum of eight jumping efforts and include at least one change of direction. A ground line is required for each take‐off side.
  5. One obstacle should be a spread obstacle.

T. Posting Courses

  1. Courses must be posted at least one hour before the scheduled time of the class. Classes may not be started prior to that time without permission of all exhibitors in that class.
  2. The diagram or plan of the course, and the jump‐off course, must show the obstacles that must be jumped, with the order indicated by number. Apart from this, the rider is not bound to follow a compulsory track, being careful not to violate Section M above. An arrow is used to indicate the direction each obstacle must be jumped. No lines should be added by the Show Committee showing a track to be taken.

U. Obstacle Requirements

  1. All obstacles should be a minimum 12’ in length, and have wings.
  2. A ground line is required for each side of an obstacle that will be jumped in the course.
  3. Combination obstacles, doubles or triples, should have a minimum inner distance of 21’ and a maximum distance of 39.5’. The distance is measured from the base of an obstacle on the
    landing side to the base of the next obstacle on the take‐off side. Any obstacles with 39.5’ or less between them must be designated as a combination by numbering them with a single number and the use of A and B or A, B and C.
  4. Spread obstacles should have the back element a minimum of 3” taller than the height of the front element and no higher than 6”. The width of the spread should not exceed 3’6”. A solid element (i.e., coop, wall, etc.) may not be used as part of the farthest element.
  5. Brush obstacles must have a clearly visible rail placed above or beyond them.
  6. Minimum distance between obstacles should be 48’.

V. Jump‐Offs

  1. A jump‐off is necessary whenever two or more exhibitors have the same number of faults. Those exhibitors not involved in the jump‐off retain their placings regardless of the scores in the resulting jump‐off.
  2. Obstacles may be lowered or raised in 3” increments to a maximum height of 36”, measured in the center of the jump. Obstacles may also be broadened or narrowed within the guidelines.
  3. Jump‐off courses should be posted prior to the beginning of the class.
  4. Timed jump‐offs shall be taken from the instant the pony’s chest reaches the start line until it reaches the finish line.
  5. The course may not be shortened to less than six
    obstacles and must include at least one vertical and
    one spread obstacle.

W. The show judge shall judge all disobediences and ensure that the rider follows the prescribed pattern. “Spotters” shall be positioned to observe each jump closely for touch and knockdown faults, and report to the judge for tabulation. The spotters shall be appointed by the Show Committee. Each spotter shall be responsible for no more than three jumps. The judge shall tabulate all faults and report the total to the ring announcer. This method will be used at Regional Shows and the National Congress Show. At all other shows, the number of spotters shall be at the discretion of the Show Committee (a minimum of two spotters should be used).

Pleasure Driving

A. A pleasure driving pony should carry itself in a natural, balanced position with a relaxed head and neck. Its poll should be level with, or slightly above the level of the withers.

B. Maximum credit should be given to a pony that moves straight, with free movement, manners and a bright expression.

C. The pony shall be severely penalized if it carries its head behind the vertical, is over‐flexed, excessively nosed out, the poll is below the withers or exhibits lack of control by exhibitor.

D. This class will be judged 80% on the pony’s performance and suitability for ensuring a pleasurable drive, with a maximum of 20% on condition and conformation.

E. Ponies are to be shown hitched to a suitable two or four wheel vehicle, type is optional. Pony is to be shown at a flat‐ footed walk, a slow trot or park gait, and an extended trot or road gait, both ways of the ring. Pony should stand quietly and back readily. Manners and quality of the performance will be judged.

  1. The ring steward will direct all reverses, which will be “S” reverses.

F. Ponies should be barefoot or shod with light shoes.

G. Extreme speed, high action and breaking gait is to be penalized.

H. Set tails, gingering and extreme over‐checking result in disqualification.

I. In Youth Pleasure Driving, an adult may accompany a child, but should not take the reins unless necessary to control the pony or to prevent an accident.

  1. Adult Pleasure Driving should be offered if Youth Pleasure Driving is offered. Adult Pleasure Driving must be shown first, then Youth Pleasure Driving.
    a. An additional driver will be allowed in Adult Pleasure Driving at the request of the driver.
  2. An adult (19 & Over) is required to accompany any driver 9 years old and under.
  3. Handlers may quietly enter the ring after all entries have finished their ring work and are lined up waiting to demonstrate the back. The handlers shall position themselves squarely 2’ to 3’ in front of the pony’s head. They shall stand still with hands behind their backs. Should it become necessary to restrain a pony prior to the completion of judging, the judge shall penalize that entry. Judge shall also penalize an entry whose handler disturbs any pony. Handler shall be neatly dressed in western or English attire to match the driver.

J. Tack. Type of harness is optional. A snaffle bit with overcheck or a snaffle bit or Liverpool bit with side checks will be considered proper. Bridles with blinkers or overchecks are optional. A spoon crupper is prohibited. All equipment is to be clean, neat and in sound condition. Running martingales are optional. Artificial appliances are not to be used.

K. Attire. Attire should be suitable for the type of vehicle and harness used. If the exhibitor is a female attired in a short dress, a lap robe is required. A lap robe is not required if a female exhibitor is in a long dress.


A. Any one of the nine POAC‐approved patterns may be used and is to be selected by the judge or Show Committee and used by all contestants in the class. Exception: 9 & Under must use Pattern 1, 4 or 5 unless entering a 13 & Under or 18 & Under class.

B. A contestant will perform the required pattern individually and separately. To rein a pony is not only to guide him, but also to control his every movement. The best reined pony should be willingly guided or controlled with little or no apparent resistance and dictated to completely.

  1. Any movement on his own must be considered a lack of control.
  2. All deviations from the exact written pattern must be considered a lack of or temporary loss of control and therefore a fault that must be marked down according to severity of deviation.
  3. Credit should be given for smoothness, finesse, attitude, quickness and authority of performing various maneuvers, while using controlled speed.

C. Scoring will be on the basis of 0 to Infinity, with 70 denoting an average performance.

D. Scoresheets should be made available for the judge’s use and may be downloaded from the POAC website.

E. The following will result in a no score (disqualification):

  1. Abuse of an animal in the show arena and/or evidence that an act of abuse has occurred prior to or during the exhibition of a pony in competition.
  2. Use of illegal equipment, including wire on bits, bosal or curb chains.
  3. Use of illegal bits, bosals or curb chains.
  4. Use of tack collars, tie downs or nose bands.
  5. Use of whips or bats.
  6. Use of any attachment which alters the movement of or circulation to the tail.
  7. Failure to present pony and equipment to the appropriate judge for inspection.
  8. Disrespect or misconduct by the exhibitor.
  9. The judge(s) may excuse a pony at any time while in the arena for unsafe conditions or improper exhibition pertaining to the pony and/or rider.

F. Excess rein may be straightened at any place a pony is allowed to be completely stopped during a pattern. When using a romal, use of the free hand while holding the romal to alter the tension or length of the reins is considered to be the use of two hands, and a score of 0 will be applied.

G. The following will result in a score of 0:

  1. Use of more than index or first finger between reins.
  2. Use of two hands (exception snaffle bit or hackamore classes designated for two hands) or changing hands.
  3. Use of romal other than as outlined in Rule 102.
  4. Failure to complete pattern as written.
  5. Performing maneuvers other than in specified order.
  6. The inclusion of maneuvers not specified, including, but not limited to:
    a. Backing more than two strides.
    b. Turning more than 90 degrees.
    Exception: a complete stop in the first quarter of a circle after a canter departure is not to be considered an inclusion of a maneuver; a 2 point break of gait penalty will apply.
  7. Equipment failure that delays completion of pattern.
  8. Balking or refusal of command where pattern is delayed.
  9. Running away or failing to guide where it becomes impossible to discern if the entry is on pattern.
  10. Jogging in excess of 1/2 circle or half the length of the arena.
  11. Overspins of more than 1/4 turn.
  12. Fall to the ground by pony or rider.
    NOTE: Neither a no score nor a 0 are eligible to place in a goround
    or class, but a 0 may advance in a multi‐go event while a
    no score may not.

H. The following will result in a reduction of 5 points:

  1. Spurring in front of cinch.
  2. Use of either hand to instill fear or praise.
  3. Holding saddle with free hand.
  4. Blatant disobedience including kicking, biting, bucking, rearing and striking.

I. The following will result in a reduction of 2 points:

  1. Break of gait.
  2. Freezing up in spins or rollbacks.
  3. On walk‐in patterns, failure to stop or walk before executing a canter departure.
  4. On run‐in patterns, failure to be in a canter prior to reaching the first marker.
  5. If a pony does not completely pass the specified marker before initiating a stop position.

J. Starting or performing circles or eights out of lead will be judged as follows:

  1. Each time a pony is out of lead, a judge is required to deduct 1 point. The penalty for being out of lead is accumulative and the judge will deduct 1 penalty point for each quarter of the circumference of a circle or any part thereof that a pony is out of lead. A judge is required to penalize a pony 1/2 point for a delayed change of lead by one stride.

K. Deduct a 1/2 point for starting circle at a jog or exiting rollbacks at a jog up to 2 strides. Jogging beyond 2 strides but less than 1/2 circle or 1/2 the length of the arena, deduct 2 points.

L. Deduct 1/2 point for over or under spinning up to 1/2 turn; deduct 1 point for over or under spinning up to 1/4 turn.

M. In patterns requiring a run‐around, failure to be on the correct lead when rounding the end of the arena will be penalized as follows: for 1/2 turn or less, 1 point; for more than 1/2 turn, 2 points.

N. There will be a 1/2 point penalty for failure to remain a minimum of 20’ from wall or fence when approaching a stop and/or rollback.

O. A judge may require a contestant to repeat the performance of any or all of the various parts of the pattern.

P. All riders will ride to judge immediately after the performance for inspection of the bridle. The bridle must be checked by the judge in the arena or in close proximity to the arena. Failure to comply will result in a no score.

Q. 9 & Under exhibitors shall do Pattern 2, 3 or 5 ONLY.

R. Junior or JPFC ponies (with the exception of the Futurity show, see Rule 175), shall use Pattern 1, 2, 3, or 4 ONLY.

S. Judge shall place markers, or direct ring steward to place markers, along rail in the correct places for the pattern.

T. Patterns should be worked as written, NOT as drawn.

U. Tack and Attire. See Rules 104 and 105.

V. Additional Disqualifications. See Rule 102.


A. Trail classes 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 trail. Judges cards MUST be signed by the person judging the classes. When shows are run concurrently each show MUST have an individual judge.

B. This class will be judged on the performance of the pony over obstacles, with emphasis on manners, response to rider and attitude.

C. Credit will be given to ponies negotiating the obstacles with style, without hesitancy, and to ponies showing the capability of picking their own way through the course when obstacles warrant it, and willingly responding to a rider’s cues on more difficult obstacles.

D. In Leadline Trail, the person leading the pony should not aid the rider. He should assist only to keep the pony under control.

E. Ponies shall be penalized for any unnecessary delay while approaching the obstacles. Ponies with artificial appearance over obstacles should be penalized.

F. Except for Junior ponies shown with a hackamore, bosal or snaffle bit, only one hand may be used on the reins, except that it is permissible to change hands to work an obstacle. While the pony is in motion, the rider’s hands shall be clear of the pony and saddle.

G. Ponies must not be required to work on the rail. The course must be designed, however, to require each pony to show three gaits (walk, jog and lope) somewhere between obstacles as a part of its work and will be scored as a maneuver. At the discretion of the Show Committee, 8 & Under riders may be asked to show at a walk and jog only. Leadline riders will show at the walk only.

H. The gait between obstacles shall be at the discretion of the Show Committee.

I. Scoresheets should be made available for the judge’s use and may be downloaded from the POAC website.

J. The course must be posted at least one hour before the scheduled time of the class. All exhibitors in the age division of 13 & Under or 18 & Under shall run the same pattern posted for that class.

K. Disqualifications. The following will result in disqualification from the class; a disqualification results in a score of 0 for the course:

  1. Not doing the obstacles in the prescribed order.
  2. Missing or not attempting an obstacle.
  3. Failure to complete an obstacle.
  4. Failure to be in prescribed gait or on correct lead.
  5. Illegal equipment.
  6. Willful abuse.
  7. More than one finger between reins, except when changing hands to work an obstacle.
  8. Obviously cueing the pony on the neck to lower the head.
  9. Major disobedience: rearing, schooling, etc.
  10. Three refusals/evades on an obstacle.
  11. Also see Rule 102.

L. When setting the course, it should be kept in mind the idea is not to trap the pony or eliminate it by making an obstacle too difficult. All courses and obstacles are to be constructed with safety in mind so as to eliminate any accidents. If difficult courses are set, Junior trail should be less difficult. When measuring the distances and spaces between obstacles, the normal path of the pony should be the point of measurement. Enough space must be provided for a pony to jog (at least 30’) and lope (at least 50’) for the judges to evaluate gaits.

M. If disrupted, the course shall be reset after each pony has finished the course.

N. Acceptable Obstacles. At least six obstacles must be used:

  1. Opening, passing through and closing a gate (losing control of the gate is to be penalized).
  2. In Leadline Trail, riders may pass through an open gate, but cannot be required to work the gate.
  3. Ride over at least four logs or poles. These can be in a straight line, curved, zigzag or raised. The space between the logs is measured and the path the pony takes is the measuring point. The space between walk‐overs shall be 20” to 24”; trot‐overs 3’ to 3’6”; lope‐overs 6’ to 7’. Walk‐overs may be elevated to 12” and should be a minimum of 22” apart. Trotovers and lope‐overs cannot be elevated. All elevated elements must be placed in a cup, notched block, or otherwise secured so they cannot roll.
  4. Backing obstacles to be spaced a minimum of 28” apart. If elevated, 30” spacing is required. Entrants cannot be asked to back over a stationary object such as a wooden pole or metal bar.
    a. Back through/around at least three markers.
    b. Back though L, V, and U, straight, or similar shaped course. Poles may be elevated no more than 24”.
  5. Water hazard (ditch or small pond). No metal or slick‐bottom boxes will be used.
  6. Serpentine obstacles at walk or jog. Spacing to be a minimum of 6’ for jog.
  7. Carry object from one part of arena to another (only objects that reasonably might be carried on a trail ride may be used).
  8. Ride over wooden bridge (suggested minimum width shall be 3’ wide and at least 6’ long). Bridge shall be sturdy and safe.
  9. Put on and remove slicker.
  10. Remove and replace materials from mailbox.
  11. Sidepass (may be elevated to 12” maximum).
  12. An obstacle consisting of four logs or rails, each 5’ to 7’ long, laid in a square. Each contestant will enter the square by riding over log or rail as designated. When all four feet are inside the square, rider should execute a turn, as indicated, and depart.
  13. Any other safe and negotiable obstacle that could reasonably be expected to be encountered on a trail ride and meets approval of the judge may be used.
  14. A combination of two or more of any obstacle is acceptable.

O. Unacceptable Obstacles

  1. Tires.
  2. Animals.
  3. Hides.
  4. PVC pipe.
  5. Dismounting.
  6. Jumps.
  7. Rocking or moving bridges.
  8. Water box with floating or moving parts.
  9. Flames, dry ice, fire extinguishers, etc.
  10. Logs or poles elevated in a manner that permits such to roll.
  11. Ground ties.
  12. No walk‐overs on tarps, plastic or carpet.

P. The judge must walk the course and has the right and duty to alter the course by removing or changing any obstacle that he deems unsafe or non‐negotiable. If at any time a trail obstacle is deemed unsafe by the judge, it shall be repaired or removed from the course. If it cannot be repaired and ponies have completed the course, the score for that obstacle shall be deducted from all previous works for that class.

Western Pleasure

A. Ponies are to be shown at a walk, jog and lope both ways of the ring in all age/sex divisions except the walk‐trot classes listed in Rule 98. Ponies shall back in a straight line (at the judge’s discretion, finalists only may be required to back). They shall not be asked to extend the lope. Ponies are to be shown on a loose rein without undue restraint.

B. The class is judged on the pony only, 60% on performance, 30% on conformation and 10% on appointments.

C. The ideal pleasure pony should carry its head in a position that is normal for its type and no lower than level. Reasonably loose reins with light contact should be maintained at all times. The western pleasure pony should be a pleasure to ride and a free, natural mover.

  1. Major Faults. Carrying the head in such a position that the point of the ears is lower than the withers, being flexed behind the vertical and moving exceptionally slowly at any gait.

Western Riding

A. Western Riding is an event where the pony is judged on quality of gaits, lead changes at the lope, response to the rider, manners and disposition. The pony should perform with reasonable speed, and be sensible, well‐mannered, free and easy moving. In 10‐13, 14‐18 and 18 & Under Western Riding, the pony must do a minimum of four flying lead changes at the National Congress and Regional

  1. All exhibitors in the age division of 13 & Under or 18 & Under shall run the same pattern posted for that class.

B. Credit shall be given for and emphasis placed on smoothness, even cadence of gaits (i.e., starting and finishing the pattern with the same cadence), and the pony’s ability to change leads precisely, easily and simultaneously both hind and front at the center point between markers. Lead changes, or lack of, are addressed under scoring below. The pony should have a relaxed head carriage showing response to the rider’s hands, with a moderate flexion at the poll. Ponies may be ridden with light contact or on a reasonably loose rein. The pony should cross the log both at the jog and the lope without breaking gait or radically changing stride.

C. Except for Junior ponies shown with a hackamore or snaffle bit, only one hand is permitted on reins.

D. Tack and Attire. See Rules 104 and 105.

E. Disqualifications. See disqualifications below, and see Rule 102.

F. The judge or Show Committee will select one of the six patterns to be performed. The judge is responsible for the pattern being correctly set.

G. On the pattern:

  1. The small circles represent pylon markers which are recommended. These should be separated by a uniform measured distance of not less than 30’ nor more than 50’ on the sides with 5 markers (see diagram). In Pattern 1 and 4 the three markers on the opposite side should be set across from the appropriate markers. It is recommended that markers be set a minimum of 15’ from the fence and with 50’ to 80’ widths in the pattern, as the arena permits.
  2. A solid log or pole should be used and be a minimum of 8’ in length.
  3. The long serpentine line indicates the direction of travel and gaits at which the pony is to move. The recommended lead changing point is equal to 1/2 stride length before or after the center point between the markers. The dotted line (.....) indicates walk, the dashed line (‐‐‐‐) jog, and the solid line (____) lope.

H. Scoring will be on basis of 0 to 100, with 70 denoting an average performance.

  1. Scoring guidelines to be considered: points will be added or subtracted from the maneuvers on the following basis, ranging from plus 1.5 to minus 1.5; ‐ 1.5 extremely poor, ‐1 very poor, ‐.5 poor, 0 average, +.5 good, +1 very good, +1.5 excellent. Maneuver scores are to be determined independently of penalty points.

I. Scoresheets should be made available for the judge’s use and may be downloaded from the POAC website.

J. A contestant shall be penalized each time the following occur:

  1. 5 points
    a. Out of lead beyond the next designated change area. (Note: Failure to change, including cross‐cantering, at two consecutive change areas would result in 10 penalty points.)
    b. Kicking out.
    c. Blatant disobedience.
  2. 3 points
    a. Not performing the specific gait (jog or lope) or stopping when called for in the pattern, within 10’ of the designated area.
    b. Break of gait at the lope.
    c. Simple change of leads.
    d. Out of lead prior to the designated change from the cone to the previous change area or out of lead after designated change from the cone to the next designated change area.
    e. Additional lead changes anywhere in pattern (except when correcting an extra change or incorrect lead).
    f. In Pattern 1,3, and 4 failure to start the lope within 30’ after crossing the log at the jog.
    g. Break of gait at walk or jog of more than two strides.
  3. 1 point
    a. Break of gait at walk or jog up to two strides.
    b. Hitting or rolling log.
    c. Out of lead for more than one stride to the cone.
    d. Splitting the log (log between the two front or two hind feet) at the lope.
  4. 1/2 point
    a. Tick or light touch of log.
    b. Hind legs skipping or coming together during lead change.
    c. Out of lead from 1/2 to one stride.
  5. Disqualifications ‐ 0 score
    a. Illegal equipment.
    b. Willful abuse.
    c. Off course.
    d. Knocking over markers.
    e. Completely missing log.
    f. Major refusal ‐ stop and back more than two strides or four steps with front legs.
    g. Major disobedience: rearing, schooling, etc.
    h. Failure to start lope prior to end cone in Pattern 1, 3 and 4.
  6. Faults. The following characteristics are considered faults and should be judged accordingly in maneuver scores:
    a. Opening mouth excessively.
    b. Anticipating signals or early lead changes.
    c. Stumbling.
  7. Credits
    a. Changes of leads, hind and front simultaneously.
    b. Changes at designated point.
    c. Accurate and smooth pattern.
    d. Even pace throughout.
    e. Easy to guide and control with rein and leg.
    f. Manners and fitness.