2013 State Show Rules


General Rules:

An Association must have three (3) or more clubs with the majority being in Alabama to become a member of AOHA.

  • To qualify for State Show:
  • Must be a member of a Saddle Club that is a member of an association that is a member of the Alabama Open Horseman Association.
    Must show eight (8) times in each qualifying class in one Association. All associations must offer all AOHA classes.
    Weanlings must show four (4) times in each qualifying/designated class in one Association.
    No hardships will be allowed at the state show.
    Ladies gaucho pants are allowed under dictate of personal religious beliefs.
  • Number of horses to qualify for State Show:
      Top fifteen riders, per association, per class. (Horse/Rider Combination)
  • No ponies allowed in horse classes except leadline and open timed events.
  • Working order: working order will be posted and exhibitors must show in cut assigned unless otherwise notified by AOHA. Failure to do so will result in disqualification from the class. It is the obligation of the exhibitor to notify AOHA of an arena conflict prior to the start of the class so adjustments may be made.
  • Practice schedule will be posted for both arenas. The use of longe lines will not be allowed in the arenas during scheduled practice times.
  • Points: Points will be kept on horse and rider.
  • Number of horses to show at one time before a class is to be split:
    • NO more than 20. This would be at the discretion of the directors. Cuts to be determined prior to and during show.
  • Dues requirements for Association:
    Dues for 2013 are $150.00 (To be reviewed in October each show year.) Dues are payable in October and are past due after November. Membership revoked if dues are not paid by December 1 of each year.
  • No Horse and Rider can win more than one saddle, per show, per division.
  • Horses can only be shown with one rider per class.
  • Everyone showing in a class must wear the official AOHA number. Numbers shall be worn on saddle pad for Western pleasure, Huntseat & English pleasure. Number shall be worn on back of all gaited and halter classes & timed events. In Costume Leadline numbers shall be displayed at most visible position on child, horse or handler. No clipping, changing or alterations (except laminations). Such alterations are grounds for disqualification. Anyone showing with wrong number, no number or missing their cut is disqualified.
  • All halter horses designated for drug testing must report at the end of the assigned class and within five minutes of leaving the show ring, unless arrangements are made with the AOHA Chairman or Vice-Chairman. Failure to do so will result in forfeiture of awards, placing and points. Performance and timed event horses to be drug tested shall report within five minutes of notification and failure to do so will result in forfeiture of awards, placings and points.
  • Riding helmet is optional for riders 17 years and under.
  • No one is allowed to talk to the judge(s) during the Show unless spoken to first by the judge(s). AOHA Officers and/or Directors and ring master are exempt from this rule. If a meeting with the judge(s) is necessary, a ring steward or AOHA officer/director must be present with the person and it must be scheduled to take place after that person has completed all their classes for the Show.
  • A judge cannot pull horses one at a time off the rail to the center of the ring. All horses must be pulled to the center at the same time.
  • After judges cards are turned into Ring Steward, results are final and cannot be changed (judges included), except in the case of duplication or omission pending any disqualification issues.
  • No rerun except for fault of AOHA, (1 rerun only is allowed). No rider, horse or tack fault will be accepted for rerun.
  • Proof of negative Coggins will be required.
  • All youth rider classes will read "17 years & under." A juvenile's age for showing is their age on January 1st.
  • No stallions will be handled or shown by anyone 17 years and under.
  • Riders who dismount without the spoken permission of the ringmaster or AOHA Officer are to be disqualified.
  • No dogs allowed inside W.O. Crawford Arena or Garrett Arena except for camper hook up area.
  • No small motorized vehicles except golf carts and "gators" allowed on State Show grounds. No 4 or 3 wheelers (ATV's), mopeds, motorcycles, bicycles, scooters (gas, manual or electric) are allowed on State Show grounds. All approved vehicles must be operated by a licensed driver and must have a permit from AOHA.
  • Each association can schedule three (3) double judge shows per shwo season. To have a double judged show the association director must receive prior permission from AOHA Chairman. The associations have the option of participants running twice or use two (2) timers for one (1) run. Associations must choose one (1) of the options for the season. The point sheets and show program for the double judge show must be sent to the Chairman.
  • If blood is seen on a horse in the arena by the judge or ringmaster, the class is to be stopped and judgment will be made if the horse may continue or will have to be excused. The judge and ring master's decision is final.
  • Pre-registration is mandatory. All class registration, stall registration, gate fees and grounds fees are to be turned in to the AOHA treasurer by August 10, 2013. (No late turn-ins accepted.) Please waiver acceptance signature to expedite delivery.
  • Horses are not permitted on the grounds before NOON of Thursday, August 29th, without the permission of the AOHA Chairman.
  • Anyone caught with horses in the camping areas, at any time or day, shall be removed from the show grounds and disqualified from showing for that year. No refunds.
  • Motor homes/living quarter trailers: AOHA does not take reservations for motor homes/living quarter trailers hook ups. For information on hookups contact Garrett Coliseum office at 334-356-6866. (No horses allowed in these areas at any time!)
  • Chairman/Directors and appointed State Show Committee:
    ~ Will coordinate and assign work schedules and job duties/assignments to assure that a professional smoothly run show is presented.
    ~ Have State Show grounds opened and operational 24 hours before the start of State Show. AOHA directors are the State Show Management.
    ~ It is the responsibility of AOHA to have a ring steward who knows and understand the rules of the Association. Ring steward will not talk to a judge during a class unless spoken to by the judge and will confirm all back numbers.
    ~ Protest (Code Green) are due to Chairman/Director/Officer. If protest occurs during show time you have until the end of the show, after that, it is VOID. If found in violation, awards are to be returned immediately or the cost of replacement will be the responsibility of guilty Association.
  • Tie Breaker System - Ties in divisional awards shall be broken by that exhibitor who has accumulated the most points in the fewer classes and, following, by whomever has the greater number of higher placings in his or her classes.

Pony Rules:

  • All pony measurements at halter posture should be turned in at the beginning of show season to the AOHA Secretary.
  • In Pony Halter, no adults will be allowed with child. Gaited and Western ponies will be shown together.
  • Under no circumstances shall the height of the pony be over 54" or the age of the child be over 12 years. No stallions in pony class.
  • Ponies must work both ways of the ring at three gaits to show their ability with different leads. Excessive speed to be penalized.
  • Conformation and grooming is to be judged in their class.
  • Equipment may be English or Western. Western ponies will be required to back.
  • No pony 54" or under will be allowed in any horse class except open timed events and leadline.
  • It is recommended that each Association have a representative present during pony measuring.
  • Ponies may not be ridden by competitors 13 years or older.
  • All ponies except those entered in costume leadline must be measured at the show.
  • Ponies may be ridden two-handed regardless of bit or age of pony.


  • The rider is to be eight years old or younger. The rider and horse/pony is to be lead by a person 15 years and older or parent/guardian, also can have different leader but must be same horse/pony/rider. Entry participants shall be limited to one child and one leader and one helper. Only props attached to the horse are allowed.
  • No stallions allowed.
IV.  Western Pleasure Classes:
  • In halter and western classes it is mandatory to wear appropriate western attire, including western hat and cowboy boots. The hat must be on the rider's head when exhibitor enters the arena.
  • Two Year Old Snaffle Bit Western Pleasure - Bits will be checked before each cut & at finals.
      (2 year old horses shown with a hackamore or snaffle.)
    1. Entries in the Two Year Old Snaffle Bit class must be shown with both hands on the reins. Reins may not be tied. The rider's hands should be carried near the pommel and not more than 4 inches out on either side of saddle horn. Rider's hands must be steady with very limited movement.

  • Faults to be scored accordingly, but not necessarily cause for disqualification:
    1. Changing hands on reins
    2. Two hands on reins, except when showing with hackamore or snaffle bit
    3. More than one finger between reins
    4. Being on wrong lead
    5. Excessive speed (any gait)
    6. Excessive slowness (any gait)
    7. Breaking gait.
    8. Failure to take the called for gait when called
    9. Touching the horse or saddle with free hand
    10. Head carried too low or too high
    11. Nosing out or flexing behind the vertical
    12. Opening mouth excessively
    13. Stumbling or falling
    14. Use of spurs or romal forward of the cinch
  • The class will be judged on the performance and conformation of the horse at the discretion of the judge.
  • Horses are to be shown at a walk, trot, extended trot (at judge's discretion) and lope at a slightly increased forward motion.
    1. Horses must work both ways of the ring at all three gaits to demonstrate their ability with different leads. Horses shall not be asked to extend the lope, but at the discretion of the judge they may be asked to extend the jog. Horses are required to back easily and stand quietly.
    2. Horses are asked to be reversed to the inside (away from the rail). They may be required to reverse at the walk or jog at the discretion of the judge, but they shall not be asked to reverse at the lope.
    3. Judge may ask for additional work of the same nature from any horse. He is not to ask for work other than listed above.
  • A good pleasure horse has a stride of reasonable length in keeping with his conformation. He has enough cushion to pastern to give the rider a pleasant, smooth ride. He carries his head in a natural position, not high and over-flexed at the poll or low with the nose out. The horse should be relaxed but alert and ready to respond to the rider's commands without excessive cueing. When asked to extend the jog, he moves out with the same smooth way of going.
  • Except for Two Year Old Snaffle Bit, Western Pleasure, or Junior Horses shown with a hackamore or snaffle bit, for which reins shall be held as stated by AQHA rules, only one hand may be used on the reins. Hand is to be around reins, index finger only between reins is permitted. When a romal is used it shall be carried.
  • Color Horse: All horses entered in the Color Horse class must meet the color qualifications of a color horse breed association.
  • AQHA Rule Prevails if AOHA rule does not apply. Committee has final authority.
  • Prohibited equipment for Western Pleasure:
      No wire curbs, regardless of how padded or covered, nor any chin strap narrower than one half inch will be permitted. A martingale, nose-band, or tie down is prohibited. If found illegal, exhibitor will have until class entry to get replaced or will be dismissed.
    Western Halter:
      1.  Lip chains may be used on any horse provided the chain is used with unsecured keepers and at least two links of chain remain outside the halter before attachment of the keeper or leather part of the lead shank.
      2.  Stallions one year of age and older may not be shown with any chain through the mouth with the sole exception that they may be shown with lip chain with unsecured keepers as long as at least two links of the chain remain outside of halter before attachment of keeper or leather part of lead shank.

      3. Grooms will wear same back number as the exhibitor and will leave the staging area when exhibitor enters the show pen. Exhibitor will be disqualified if groom refuses to leave the pen. Exception to this rule is Youth Halter.

    Walk-Trot and/or Rack:

      Walk-Trot Pony - 12 years & under - Western Pleasure or Gaited
V.  English Classes:
  • English Pleasure - English Huntseat - Junior English Pleasure - All must comply with AQHA rules.
VI.  Gaited Classes:
    Person on Federal disqualifications cannot transport horses to this show and can participate only as a spectator.
    Horses to be shown at a show walk, slow rack and fast rack. Racking horses are allowed to use bands in flat shod.

  • Gaited Halter:
      Entries shall be led wearing an English show halter of all leather construction with a chain lead.
      Exhibitors wearing attire and shoeing same as Open Racking Classes.

  • Western Gaited Flat Shod:
    1. To be shown with western attire and western tack.
    2. To be shown in show walk, and favorite gait.
    3. All horses must back.
    4. Horses to be shown with no boots, whip, or cross chain cavessons and bits with no longer than 9.5" shanks.
      Bits are measured from top of metal to the bottom including the ring.
    5. Shoeing must be according to U.S.D.A. standards. (single cork only)
    6. Riders may ride one or two handed, but may not alternate hands during the class.
  • Open Racking Class:
      Shoeing: According to U.S.D.A.
      (Ladies, Men & Children) Show walk, slow rack and fast rack. Horses shall wear English Tack. The exhibitor will wear an English riding habit (no denim/western material), with the exception of designated western or trail pleasure racking classes. All riding attire shall be neat and properly fitted. A proper hat is required for a gentleman, a lady's hat is optional.

  • Style Racking:
      To be shown at a show walk, and style rack. To be judged on style only.

  • Speed Racking Protective boots may be worn.
  • Trail Pleasure Racking-Keg-Shod:
    1. To be shown with either English or Western attire and tack--but not a combination.
    2. To be shown at a Trail Pleasure Walk (flat walk) and a Trail Pleasure Rack.
    3. All horses must back.
    4. Shoeing:  keg shoe only.  NO BANDS.
    5. Horse to be shown with no boots, whip or cross chain cavessons.
    6. Riders may ride with one or two hands, but may not alternate hands during the class.
    7. Bits no longer than 9.5" shanks.  Bits are measured from top of metal to the bottom including the ring.









Timed Events:

  • Number worn on back.
  • All exhibitors must wear neat attire - boots, long or short sleeve shirts with a collar and long pants. (Tee shirts are not acceptable.)
  • Gate will stay open. Any horse that enters the timed event arena through any gate but the designated entrance gate will be disqualified.
  • Drag after every ten (10) entries.
  • Barrel Race:
    1. A minimum of 15' must be cut for pattern or timed event classes and grass mowed short. All clocks and timers must be a minimum of 21' from the entrance gate or fence. All entrance gates will remain open. It is recommended that clubs have a member at the gate to keep spectators away. Barrels may be any bright color.
    2. The contestant is allowed a running start. Timing shall begin as soon as the horse's nose reaches the starting line and will be stopped when the horse's nose passes over the finish line.
    3. At a signal from the starter, the contestant will run to barrel number 1, pass to the left of it and complete an approximately 360 degree turn around the barrel; proceed to barrel number 2, pass to the right of it and complete turn around that barrel slightly more than 360 degrees; proceed to barrel number 3, pass to the right of it and make an approximate 360 degree turn around it; and then sprint to the finish line, passing between barrels number 1 and 2.
    4. This barrel course may also be run to the left. For example, the contestants will start to barrel number 2, turning to the left around this barrel, then to barrel number 1, turning to the right, then to barrel number 3, turning again to the right, followed by the final sprint to the finish line.
    5. Knocking over a barrel shall carry a five second penalty. Failure to follow the course shall cause disqualification. A contestant may touch the barrel with his or her hands.
    6. The ring steward, at his discretion, may disqualify a contestant for excessive use of bat, crop, whip or rope in front of the cinch. In the event of ties the first horse to run receives awards on site and second horse to run receives awards to be ordered.  Both receive matching points for class.
    7. A barrel that is knocked over, touches the ground and rights itself is a five second penalty
  • Pole Bending:
    1. Pole Bending is a timed event. Each contestant will begin from a running start, and time shall begin and end as the horse's nose crosses the line - a clearly visible starting shall be provided.  An electric timer or at least two watches shall be used, with the time indicated by the electric timer or the average time of two watches used by the official timers will be the official time.
    2. The pole bending pattern is to be run around six poles. Each pole is to be 21 feet apart, and the first pole is to be 21 feet from the starting line. Poles shall be set on top of the ground, 6 feet in height, with no base more than 14 inches in diameter.
    3. A horse may start either to the right or left of the first pole and then run the remainder of the pattern accordingly.
    4. Knocking over a pole shall carry a five (5) second penalty. Failure to follow the course shall cause disqualification.
    5. A contestant may touch a pole with his or her hand in pole bending. The ring steward, at his discretion, may disqualify a contestant for excessive use of a bat, crop, whip or rope in front of the cinch.
    6. A pole that is knocked over, touches the ground and rights itself is a five second penalty.
  • Arena Race:
    1. Knocking over a barrel (1) shall carry a five second penalty.
    2. The barrel shall be placed in the location and position of the third barrel of our standard barrel race pattern.
    3. A barrel that is knocked over, touches the ground and rights itself is a five second penalty.
  • Stake Race:
    1. Rider shall make one right hand turn and one left hand turn. Rider can start from either side or either end. Pattern starts and finishes in the middle. Penalty of five seconds for knocking down a prop. Pattern must be in between cones.


AOHA reserves the right to deny participation in any AOHA sponsored event to any party or individual for violation of the rules of AOHA or for behavior such as but not limited to, abusive or obscene language, alcohol and/or drug possession or consumption, intoxication, fighting, violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior or behavior otherwise deemed by the Directors as detrimental or dangerous to the general welfare of the members, Director or Officers of AOHA or general operation of the AOHA State Championship Horse Show.