New Rules

Below are important rule changes that were approved by the USEF Board of Directors in January 2016 and are effective for the 2017 competition year. Please take the time to review these important updates that were developed with horse and rider well-being and safety, fairness of play, and enhancing the competitive experience in mind.

Effective Date Summary of Rule Change Rule Number
Sept. 1, 2016 Medal/Maclay Class Limits: This rule change limits the number of times a rider can compete in US Hunter Seat Medal and ASPCA Maclay qualifying classes once qualified for the Finals. Specifically, the rule limits riders to 14 qualifying classes in a qualifying period, and states that if a rider is not qualified after 14 classes, the rider may continue to compete until qualified. The rule changes also allow half points to be awarded for classes with three to five riders who complete the course. Further, it states "Any rider in his or her final junior year may not compete in any qualifying classes held at a competition with a start date after August 31 of that competition year." EQ 110.4
(Tracking No. 232-15)

EQ 110.8
(Tracking No. 272-15)

EQ 110.5
(Tracking No. 013-16)

EQ 110.8
(Tracking No. 014-16)
Sept. 1, 2016 Preferred Stirrups for Equitation: This change provides updated guidance on appropriate stirrups for use in the Hunter/Jumping Seat Equitation section. This 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, it states "judges may not eliminate a rider for using a particular style of stirrup iron." EQ 105.6
(Tracking No. 225-15)
Dec. 1, 2016 Green Hunter and Age Verification for Young Hunters: These rules change the Green Hunter nomenclature of Pre-Green, First Year and Second Year Green Hunter to a simpler, more descriptive naming structure: Green Hunter 3'0", 3'3", 3'6" and 3'9". Each section will be A-rated by the USEF. Similarly, the Green Conformation Hunter will now be Green Conformation 3'6", and the Regular Conformation Hunter will be the High Performance Conformation Hunter. At the same time, these changes add Young Hunter sections offered at 3'0", 3'3" and 3'6". In order to compete in these sections, horses will have to have their age verified with USEF. Read more about these changes by clicking here. GR 313.6
(Tracking No. 300-15)

GR 1131.3
(Tracking No. 384-15)

HU 103.1
(Tracking No. 379-15)
Dec. 1, 2016 Junior Hunter Awards: This change splits the 3'3" Junior Hunter Awards into four award categories (Small Junior Hunter 3'3" 15 yrs. & under, Small Junior Hunter 3'3" 16-17 yrs., Large Junior Hunter 3'3" 15 yrs. and under and Large Junior Hunter 3'3" 16-17 yrs.) and added the new USHJA 2'0", 2'3", 2'6", 2'9" and 3'0" Hunter, which are designed to provide organizers with the flexibility to piggyback them with pre-existing sections or conduct them as their own sections. GR 1131.3
(Tracking No. 304-15)
Dec. 1, 2016 USHJA Outreach Competitions: This change clarifies and enhances the definition of a USHJA Outreach competition in order to broaden the potential for sport growth by allowing USHJA Outreach competitions to 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. GR 902.3
(Tracking No. 309-15)

GR 305.1
(Tracking No. 299-15)
Dec. 1, 2016 Soundness in Equitation: In hunter/jumping seat equitation classes at Hunter Jumper competitions the judge(s) must eliminate a competitor from that class in a case of unsoundness sufficiently severe to impair the required performance. In addition, the judge will inform the competition manager, who in conjunction with the Official Veterinarian and the Steward, will evaluate disqualifying the horse from further participation in the competition. EQ 102.1
(Tracking No. 385-15)
Dec. 1, 2016 Equitation Class Split: This change allows competitions to split Hunter/Jumping Seat Equitation classes and run them as two separate classes, if there are 40 or more entries at the beginning of the class. This provision was already in place for the US Hunter Seat Medal and USEF Talent Search but not for other equitation classes. EQ 106.3
(Tracking No. 280-15)
Dec. 1, 2016 Age Group Equitation Splits: This change updated the rule for Age Group Equitation classes to bring their age group splits in line with today's standards ("14 and under" and "15-17") and make it consistent with age group splits elsewhere in the Rule Book. The rule change also adds fence heights in metric. EQ 108.2
(Tracking No. 376-15)
Dec. 1, 2016 Medal Testing: This rule now mandates that larger medal classes must bring back the top eight riders for further testing. This change aims to promote fairness in larger classes where points now go down to eight places, because the test in a medal class can change the results significantly. EQ 110.5
(Tracking No.298-15)
Dec. 1, 2016 Horse Entry Requirement: This change reduces the horse entry standard requirement for two-day National Junior/Amateur competitions and Premier, National, Regional I and Regional II competitions which utilize only one competition ring or offer only hunter and equitation classes. HJ 202.3
(Tracking No. 315-15)
Dec. 1, 2016 Competition Ratings: This change clarified the number of rated sections that must be offered and held or judged at Hunter rated National and Premier competitions. An accompanying change to GR313 also expands the menu of classes managers may choose from to meet the required number of rated sections. HU 160.1
(Tracking No. 354-15)
Dec. 1, 2016 USHJA Pony Breeding Championship: This change adds the opportunity for establishing a USHJA Pony Breeding Championship. HU 187.6
(Tracking No. 355-15)
Dec. 1, 2016 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby: This change creates a USHJA Derby program for ponies. More information, including specifications for the 2017 competition year, can be found at HU 191
(Tracking No. 372-15)
Dec. 1, 2016 USHJA International Hunter Derby Welcome Stake: This rule change establishes a USHJA International Hunter Derby Welcome Stake at Special Competitions in order to provide a stepping stone between the National Hunter Derby and International Hunter Derby. The class is geared toward younger or greener horses looking to gain experience before taking on the International Hunter Derby. HU 192.1
(Tracking No. 373-15)
Dec. 1, 2016 Pony Jumper Cross Entry: This rule change removes the cross-entry restriction on Pony Jumpers. JP 118.4
(Tracking No. 364-15)

Reminder: The microchipping requirement will begin to be phased in at the start of the 2018 competition year (December 1, 2017). Click here for more information about microchipping.

USEF Customer Care
(859) 258-2472
(please allow up to 24 hours response time)

Log onto and choose online support to live chat with a representative. USEF Customer Care representatives are available M-F 8:30am to 5pm ET