EFFECTIVE September 11, 2022
These are the common rules that keep our shows safe. If a rule is not listed here, please consult the AQHA Handbook for guidance.
Goals & Objectives:
- Have fun.
- Learn and grow your equestrian skills.
- Build a bond with your horse.
- Celebrate your accomplishments and those around you!
- Develop friendships.
- Be role models for our future riders.
Somewhere in the arena or on the show grounds, there is a little kid that wants to be just like you someday. You owe it to them to be the best you can be.
Conduct & Safety:
- Helmets are required to be worn by all youth riders 17 years of age and under.
- Parents/Guardians may approve of their child(ren) to wear western hats in the western and ranch classes.
- Any unsportsmanlike conduct or abuse will cause an exhibitor to be dismissed by the judge, Horse Show Chairman or any member of the SSC Board of Directors.
- Any horse may be excused for lameness or for posing a danger to other horses and exhibitors by the judge, Horse Show Chairman or any member of the SSC Board of Directors.
- It is recommended horses not be tied to the arena rails however, if a horse is tied, it is the exhibitors responsibility to ensure the area the horse is tied is safe to the horse and others.
- Online entries must be submitted by 8 PM the night before the horse show. Any online entries submitted after 8 PM may not be processed and will require the exhibitor to sign up in-person.
- Once entries are paid, there are no refunds.
- If an exhibitor pays by check and the check does not clear at deposit, the exhibitor must pay their past show balance and any SSC accrued bank fees in full before they are permitted to show in any future SSC Horse Shows or Gymkhanas.
- Non-members and members not earning points towards year-end can show any horse at any show with zero conflicts.
- Members who are earning points toward year-end must show on the same horse for the full year. We understand that situations may arise where an exhibitor is not able to show their normal horse at a show or multiple shows. Exhibitors are permitted to substitute their main horse with one other horse. If an exhibitor needs to substitute their “substitute horse” for another horse (horse #3), this must be approved by Horse Show staff. Otherwise, a second substitution will result in any points earned on horse #3 no longer counting towards year-end for the main horse. The points earned will only count under the new rider and horse team.
Show Etiquette and Grievances:
Add/Scratches for classes:
- Please provide any class adds to the Horse Show staff prior to class start
- Please notify the Gate Caller, Ring Steward and/or the Horse Showstaff of scratches asap.
- All questions concerning patterns should be addressed prior to the start of the class with the Horse Show staff.
- It is the exhibitor's responsibility to understand where he/she should be at the time of his/her class. A 2-minute gate call will be announced, once those two minutes have expired, the class will begin and no additional horses will be permitted to enter the class.
- If a horse becomes uncontrollable or dangerous to the other exhibitors, the exhibitor must remove him/herself from the class. That includes standing in the center of the arena or completely removing the horse from the show arena.
- Interrupting the judge during a class is not acceptable. This pertains to exhibitors, coaches, trainers and spectators.
- Coaching/Feedback must be given quietly as it can be distracting to the other exhibitors.
- If a tack change is needed that will require an extended amount of time before an exhibitor can go into his/her next class, the exhibitor must notify the Horse Show staff one class prior to the tack change needed. As a courtesy to all other exhibitors, please have those items arena side and ready for change.
- EX: If you are in class 40 which is a Ranch class and you need a tack change to swap to your English attire and tack, you or a member of your party must notify the Horse Show Chair at the START of class 40 so it can be communicated properly.
- Outside any arena, all horses must be walking only. No horses are permitted to be trotting, jogging or loping outside of the arena gates.
- No horses are allowed in the bleacher area, near the announcer's stand or at the registration area.
- Pop-up tents must be securely installed at your trailer area. Pop-up tents and oversized umbrellas are not permitted on the bleachers or near the show arenas, unless approved by the SSC Horse Show staff.
- Dogs must be on leash at all times.
- Any grievance must be submitted in writing before the end of the horse show and may not be discussed at the announcer's stand, registration booth or in the show arena but with show management directly away from other exhibitors.
- 1st through 6th place ribbons are awarded per judge OR
- You may choose a Ribbon Point card per judge to use for future entry fees at any SSC event.
- Lost or stolen ribbons/ribbon points cards will not be replaced by SSC.
- Point Cards Earnings:
- 2 cards for any 1st placings
- 1 card for all other placings (2nd -6th)
Daily High Point Qualifications:
- Exhibitors must show in at least 50% of the classes offered for the division. A membership is not required to earn daily high point awards.
- EX: If a division has 5 classes, exhibitors must show in 3 classes in that day
- EX: If a division has 4 classes, exhibitors must show in 2 classes in that day
Age Divisions Eligibility:
- The age of the exhibitor as of January 1st will determine the age group for each year.
- Show management will determine any other eligibility issues.
Year-End Awards Eligibility Qualifications:
- Show under at least 50% of our judges during the in-person season for each division the exhibitor is looking to earn year-end points for.
- Exhibitors who show under less than 50% of our in-person judges but show in the summer series will not qualify for year-end awards. The exhibitor must show under 50% of our in-person judges plus the summer series to qualify for year end.
- Double Judged shows do not count as two shows. It counts as one show under two judges and allows exhibitors the potential to earn double the points in one event.
- The summer series is designed to supplement year-end points if an exhibitor misses an in-person show and would like the opportunity to make up any points. As well as, keep riders moving during the summer months and grow the bond between his/her horse.
- Must be a member of Scottsdale Saddle Club
- Points do not start counting towards year-end until a signed membership form is presented to the Horse Show Chair or a SSC board member and the membership has been paid for in full..
- Be a Scottsdale Saddle Club member in good standing
- Work one hour of volunteer time at each show you show in
- If an exhibitor is behind on hours, a maximum of two hours may be worked in one show, unless approved by the Horse Show staff
- Exhibitors are expected to work their own volunteer hours. However, exhibitors can have a member of his/her barn to complete volunteer hours in his/her place. This must be documented at the show. Horse show hours cannot be gifted to other exhibitors after the show has passed.
- Volunteer hours served at or for other SSC events cannot be traded for hours needed at horse shows unless approved by the Horse Show chair prior to the hours being fulfilled.
Horse and Exhibitor Year-End Qualifications:
- Year-End Awards are based on a horse & exhibitor team for the year.
- We understand things happen and with appropriate documentation and approval from the Horse Show Chair, exceptions will be managed appropriately. See the Horse Substitutions section for clarification. If an exhibitor asks anyone else outside of the Horse Show chair, the request is not final and is subject to be declined.
- In place of All-Around awards, we are now offering year end awards titled "Horse of the Year" and "Super Horse". Details for each award are below.
- Horse of the Year - The horse of the year award goes to the horse who has accumulated the most points This horse might be shared between riders or even participate in multiple disciplines.
- Super Horse - The super horse award goes to the horse and rider team who accumulate the most points throughout the year. It must be the same horse and rider in each class or those points will not count towards your total. Any class that you are allowed to enter (based on your eligibility) counts and we will have two winners. One youth and one adult will win (youth is anyone 18 and under).
Classes and Patterns:
- Patterns are posted 7-30 days ahead of the next show, exhibitors have 24 hours to address any concerns after the patterns have been posted.After, 24 hours, the patterns are considered final unless changed by horse show staff.
- Classes with less than 15 exhibitors will be placed to 6th place. Classes with 15+ exhibitors will be placed until 9th.
- If rail classes have 16+ riders the class will be split and judged separately.
- Rail classes may include the following gates:
- Walk/Walk with purpose
- Jog/Extended Jog
- Trot/Sitting Trot/Posting Trot
- Lope/Extended Lope
- Canter/Hand gallop
- Once placings for a class have been announced, all exhibitors must exit the arena.
- If an exhibitor enters in the Halter geldings or Halter mares class, the points accrued in that class will count for the daily and year-end high point calculations.
- Each exhibitor must designate if he/she wants his/her halter points to go towards the English or Western division at the beginning of the show season. This cannot be changed after a selection has been provided.
- Any exhibitor that shows in the Ranch Confirmation class will have his/her points counted towards the daily and year end high point Ranch horse division
- Exhibitors may show in either English or Western attire for the showmanship class. If an exhibitor shows in English attire, their points for the class will count towards the English division for daily and year end high points. The same applies for Western attire. Showmanship points do not count in the Ranch divisions.
- Spurs are not permitted while performing a Showmanship pattern. Exhibitors will be asked to remove their spurs prior to entering the show arena for patten.
- There is no touching or guiding horses in showmanship.
- Age 7 and Under unless 8+ years of ages been approved by Horse Show staff
- Must be led by an adult handler (18 & Over)
Walk/Trot OR Walk/Jog 12 & U or 13 & O Novice:
- If you are showing for year-end awards in the walk/trot or walk/jog divisions (12 & Under or 13 & Over Novice) at SSC, you cannot show in any 3-gaited divisions at SSC or any other show or discipline including gymkhanas and rodeos. The walk/trot OR walk/jog divisions are designed to be a stepping stone for young children/novice adults new to horse shows and do not know how to lope their horse or cannot lope their horse with control.
- The Walk/Trot or Walk/Jog All Ages classes are designed as an “open class” for anyone. Exhibitors may cross enter into Walk/Jog/Lope OR Walk/Trot/Canter classes.
- Should an exhibitor decide to level up to the walk/trot/canter OR walk/jog/lope divisions during the show season, any points earned under the Walk/Trot or Walk/Jog Age Divisions will not carry over but the required show minimums and volunteer worked hours will.
Horsemanship and Equitation:
- All Horsemanship and Equitation classes will have a pattern at each show. Rail work in these classes will be at the discretion of the judge. Therefore, an exhibitor will be permitted to only show/school one horse in these classes at in-person shows.
- Exhibitors have two opportunities to perform a maneuver. If an exhibitor cannot perform the maneuver after two attempts, the exhibitor will be asked to move on.
- Any time during a trail pattern, the judge has the discretion to ask an exhibitor to stop performing a maneuver if the judge deems the situation to be unsafe to the horse, exhibitor or others in the surrounding area
- Please note on your show entry you are schooling.
- Do not wear a number in the class.
- Schooling horses need to adhere to gates being called in the class.
- Schooling riders must still dress appropriately for the show, correct footwear and appropriate attire.
- No training tools including martingales, training forks, ties downs, draw reins will be permitted. The AQHA rule book should be consulted if you have any questions.
- Snaffle bits may be used on any horse of any age as long as it is ridden in correctly (split reins and two handed)
- Shanked bits must be ridden single handed or with romels.
- For hunter hack or ranch classes sport boots, splint boots and skid boots are approved.
- Support tools such as bell boots and/or all other therapeutic tools will require a vets note to be shown in.
- Western hat or helmet
- Western exhibitors must wear a long-sleeved western type shirt with a collar.
- Western boots are required. All boots must have a 1/2" or greater heel.
- No spurs in Showmanship.
- English exhibitors must wear helmets (17 & Under) or hunt caps (Adults) at all times. Exhibitors will not be permitted into the show arena without a helmet or hunt cap.
- Long sleeve shirt with a jacket is the preferred attire however, collared short-sleeve/polos) for summer shows are acceptable.
- Leather tall boots or half chaps with paddock boots are acceptable
- No English spurs in Showmanship.
- Jumping vests are permitted during all Handy Hunter classes.
- SSC asks judges from all disciplines and breeds to judge our shows. This allows our exhibitors to receive a wide variety of feedback and helps eliminate breed specific bias.
- Judges are providing their opinion of a particular performance, opinions will vary. Please be courteous to your judges. We are appreciative of the time and effort they make to support our horse shows. Any disrespectful behavior towards the judge will not be tolerated. You have paid for this opinion, please keep that in mind.
- Judges may discuss feedback with riders at their discretion post results.