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. Ponies shall back in a straight line.

They shall not be asked to extend the lope.  The pony should show a relaxed but collected gait, cadence. The speed should be relaxed and slow, along with calm and responsive disposition.


B. The class is judged on the pony only, 60% on performance, 30% on conformation and 10% on overall appearance and cleanliness or pony and rider.


C. The ideal pleasure pony should carry its head in a position that is normal for a quarter type pony and no lower than level.  (See Headset examples in General Rules.) Ponies are to be shown on a loose rein without undue restraint.  (See Photos Below.)The western pleasure pony should be a pleasure to ride and a free, natural mover.


D. Ponies to be:

1. Shown at a walk, trot and canter both ways of the ring. (Except for 10 & Under.)

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.

4. Reversed to the inside away from the rail, at a walk.


1. 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. Pony not responding to requested change of gait in a timely manner

6. Head carried too high or too low.  (Too Low is a Major Fault/Too High is Minor fault.)

7. Over flexing or straining neck in head carriage so the nose is carried behind the vertical.

8. Excessive nosing out.

9. Rider maintaining excessive contact with pony's mouth.  See below for rules.

10. Stumbling.

11. Pony appearing sullen, dull, lethargic, emaciated, drawn or overly tired.

12. Pony who looks like a english horse in a western saddle.

13. Pony showing bad attitude, especially during change of gait

14. Failure to use inappropriate Tack or Attire

All Major Faults from General Requirements


D. Tack and Attire.



A. Stock‐type saddles shall be used without tapaderos (hooded stirrups are permitted in 12 & Under classes).  Silver mounted equipment is not to count over a good working outfit. There shall be no discrimination against any standard western bit.

B. Optional equipment are reatas or lariats and hobbles.

C. Ponies 6 years old and older may be shown only in a curb bit or half-breed bit.

D. References to a bit in western performance classes mean the use of a curb bit that has a solid or broken mouthpiece, has shanks and acts with leverage. All curb bits must be free of mechanical device and should be considered a standard western bit. A description of a legal, standard western bit includes:

1. 8-1/2" (21.6 cm) maximum length shank to be measured as indicated in the diagram. Shanks may be fixed or loose.

2. Concerning mouthpieces, bars must be round, oval or egg shaped, smooth and unwrapped metal of 5/16" to 3/4" (0.8 cm to 2 cm) in diameter, measured 1" (2.5 cm) from the cheek. They may be inlaid, but must be smooth or latex wrapped. Nothing may protrude below the mouthpiece (bar), such as extensions or prongs on solid mouthpiece. The mouthpiece may be two or three pieces.

a. A three‐piece bit, with a connecting ring of 1-1/4" (3.2 cm) or less in diameter, or a connecting flat bar of 3/8"  to 3/4" (1 cm to 2 cm) measured top to bottom with a maximum length of 2" (5 cm), which lies flat in the pony's mouth is acceptable.

3. The port must be no higher than 3-1/2" (8.9 cm) maximum, with rollers and covers acceptable.  Broken mouthpieces, half breeds are standard.

4. Prohibited bits: Slip or gag bits, spades, and donut and flat polo mouthpieces are not acceptable.

E. Reins should be split rein style.  Round reins not acceptable in Western Classes.




Exhibitors must be neatly dressed in western clothes consisting of western boots, western hat OR approved protective headgear (meeting ASTM/SEI safety standards), long‐sleeved shirt with a collar, and long pants. Spurs, chaps, vests and coats are optional.


Hunt seat-type safety helmets used in western classes or protective vests (meeting ASTM/SEI standards) shall not be discriminated against.


E. Disqualifications. See General Rules.







Junior Ponies (2, 3, & 4 year old)

For 2, 3, and 4 year old ponies, exhibitors are allowed to show with a bosel or snaffle bit.  If using one of these, the exhibitor is allowed to use 2 hands on the reins.  Below are the acceptable hand positions for this type of exhibitor only. 


All other western exhibitors are expected to only have one hand on the reins, and may only have one finger between the reins.  Placement of the working hand on the reins will mimic one of the hands in the below "correct placement" photos.  The spare hand must be inconspicuously placed, but close enough to reach the reins easily in case of emergency.   Resting on the thigh, on the lower stomach, or in that vicinity are all acceptable, but should never touch the saddle or pony.