Additional Hunter/Jumper Rule Changes Approved by USEF

Press Release

Equitation rules and Outreach competitions affected, Presidential Modification removes requirement for California Split

On February 29, 2016, the United States Equestrian Federation Board of Directors passed three extraordinary rule changes and one standard rule change affecting United States Hunter Jumper Association competitions. The extraordinary rule changes will help maintain fairness of play in the equitation arena, and the other rule will broaden the Association’s ability to provide competitive opportunities within the Outreach competition environment.

Additionally on March 24, 2016, the USEF President approved a Presidential Modification, effective May 1, 2016, through April 1, 2017, that says competitions using the California Split for sections that allow individual classes to be entered, including the Performance and High Performance Hunters as well as unrated sections, will not be required to split under saddle classes with fewer than 30 entries in order to award multiple Championships.

Two of the extraordinary rule changes approved in February, EQ110.5 (Tracking #013-16) and EQ110.8 (Tracking #014-16), increase the limit set on US Hunter Seat Medal and ASPCA Horsemanship (Maclay) qualifying classes respectively from 12 (as approved in January 2016) to 14. The USHJA Executive Committee proposed this extraordinary change to both rules due the “possibility that some members might be disadvantaged by limiting the number of times a junior rider could compete in the US Hunter Seat Medal qualifying class. The Committee felt that increasing the limit to 14 classes provided for more flexibility, further leveled the playing field, and decreased the likelihood of negative unintended consequences that might result with a limit of 12 classes.”

“Limiting the number of Medal and Maclay classes in which a rider can compete after qualifying for either the Regional or National Finals has been under discussion for several years,” said Geoff Teall, national vice president and chair of the Equitation Task Force. “This fall the concept to limit the number of total classes to 12 gained popularity among members at the USHJA Annual Meeting and those on the Equitation Task Force, and ultimately the change was approved by USHJA and USEF. After additional analysis and discussion since that change was approved, we believe the extraordinary rule change to increase that number to 14 will further promote fairness for all those competing in these classes and allow for a more seamless transition as this rule takes effect.”

The other extraordinary rule change, EQ105.6 (Tracking #012-16), which was originally approved in January, 2016, aligns the effective date (now September 1, 2016, instead of December 1, 2016) with the qualifying period for the US Hunter Seat Medal and ASPCA Horsemanship class. That rule recommends riders use “stainless steel stirrup irons that promote proper position of the foot in the iron as well as a correct leg position.” Further the rule recommends stirrup irons provide judges with a” clear and unobstructed view of the position of the foot in the stirrup.” However, unlike the current rule which mandates elimination for use of stirrups other than silver or non-colored stainless steel, this new rule states “judges may not eliminate a rider for using a particular style of stirrup iron.”

The rule, GR902.3 (Tracking #309-15), which was referred to the February meeting from the January USEF Board of Directors meeting, clarifies and enhances the definition of a USHJA Outreach competition in order to broaden the potential for sport growth. Under the new rule, effective December 1, 2016, USHJA Outreach competitions can take place on either one competition day or over multiple competition days with a maximum of two competition rings (one hunter and one jumper) per day. A companion rule, GR305.1 (Tracking #299-15), is in the approval process and is expected to be approved as a clarification during the April 25th USEF Board Meeting.

“Sport Growth is such an important concept to USHJA and the Outreach rules definitely speak to growing our sport at the base of the sport pyramid, said Mary Babick, vice president of Hunter. “The approval of these rules harnessed with the changes made to USHJA’s Outreach Program should stimulate this area of the sport.”

Extraordinary rule changes are rules that bypass the traditional rule change process because they would cause a severe hardship or a gross unfairness to the Federation, its members or their horses, its Licensed Competitions, or its Recognized Affiliate Associations, if they were not implemented sooner than the traditional time line allows.

For more information about USEF rules, click here.