On Dec. 1, the point count resets to zero, and another year of competing is upon us. But with a new year comes new rules for the show season. You can read a full list of the rule changes on the U.S. Equestrian Federation website, but we’ve highlighted a few important ones.
• USEF competition license holders now will be prohibited from leasing their license to third parties.
• Competitors are encouraged to use electronic Drugs & Medication Report Forms over paper forms.
• Both competition and schooling rings must have “safe, consistent” footing that is regularly cared for and any arenas used after dark must have adequate lighting to provide “full and complete visibility.”
• Potable water must be provided at all competitions.
• To avoid potential conflicts of interest, the family of the cross-country or show jumping course designer may not serve on the ground jury at the same event.
• Categorized riders are no longer required to compete at one modified event or higher before entering a CCI1*.
• New requirements limit the length of dressage judges’ work day to no more than eight hours of officiating and no more than 10 hours on grounds without a prior agreement.
• To create more judging opportunities for USEF judges, foreign judges will only be allowed to officiate at USEF shows if they are current FEI 4* or 5* judges.
• Riders will be allowed to wear colored breeches and any single-color tailcoat or jacket.
• Competitors may now provide their freestyle music to the show in digital formats.
• Horse shows will be allowed to choose which method they’d like to use to jog horses, but must state their selected method in their prize list: either the traditional in-hand jog following the completion of the over fences or by having riders trot a circle on a loose rein at the conclusion of an over fences round.
• Low children’s and low adult amateur hunter classes are now rated sections.
• Points or money won in the WCHR Challenge Classes or WCHR Hunter Spectacular will now count towards National Horse Of The Year points.
• The Stirrup Cup program is being discontinued.
• Charts outlining metric to English corresponding fence heights for hunter and equitation classes will be added for eligibility and cross-entry reasons.
• Guest cards will not be required for “R” hunter judges in hunter breeding classes.
• The amateur-owner jumper divisions have been eliminated, and there will only be amateur jumper divisions. A separate year-end award has been added for amateur jumpers ridden by the recorded owner.
• Show managers may change the jumper table of classes under $25,000 due to unforeseen circumstances, including but not limited to: inclement weather, excessive entries and loss of daylight. Competitors who don’t want to compete under the new table must be given a full refund of entry fees.
• New standards have been set for young jumper classes to ensure uniformity across the country.
• The number of jumping efforts in Table II, Sec. 2(d) (two-phase competitions) has been reduced, from eight to 10 to five to seven.
• The time allowed for pony, children’s and adult amateur jumpers is now based on a minimum speed of 350 meters per minute.
• Several changes were made to the equitation tests, including: creating uniform rules for trot fences, clarifying certain dressage movements and removing the test requiring a rider to dismount and mount.