Western Equitation

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, some exhibitors may be asked to work additional patterns individually.


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 towards the pony's head.





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, some exhibitors may be asked to work patterns individually.