Rules

Quick view of general competition rules
  1. All competitors must have a hobby horse/stick horse and be mounted as they compete. We recommend shorter sticks for competitors planning to jump.
  2. Shoes are required for all competitors.
  3. Riding helmets are not required but strongly encouraged for jumping classes.
  4. Super-Mini classes are open to any competitor aged 3 to 5.
  5. Mini classes are open to any competitor aged 7 or under.
  6. Junior classes are open to any competitor 8 to 14.
  7. Senior classes are open to any competitor 15 or older.
  8. Competitors may be disqualified or excused from their class for dismounting, exceeding the time allowed, excessive jumping faults, being off course, and refusals. The British Hobbyhorse Association reserves the right to ban and block competitors who display disrespectful behaviour to fellow competitors on Social Media or at official events.
  9. Show organisers reserve the right to split and combine classes or divisions due to the number of entries.
  10. All competition rulings and judge results are final.

Hobbyhorse Dressage

What is Hobbyhorse dressage?

Dressage should always look effortlessly, and many dressage rules apply to Hobbyhorse dressage, even though, it is not the goal to imitate dressage on a real horse. All movements are defined by the human physique, and it should be your goal as a Hobbyhorse rider to perform every dressage element with coordination, balance, energy, and body control. There are quite a few manufacturer of very specialised Hobbyhorses on the market, but, we love to see your own dream horse, which will probably only cost a fraction of a professional Hobbyhorse.

Dressage arenas

Small arenas measure 7 x 14 m, whereby the smaller arena is mostly used for beginner and easier competitions.

Large arenas measure 7 x 21 m, and you will notice that there are more markers added for more complex dressage movements. Larger arenas are also used for Jumping and Western Riding.

Judging

With standard competitions, we expect only one judge outside the arena at letter “C” – please make sure that all markers of the small/large arena are visible for the judge, and that the arena is clearly “fenced in” with ground poles or dressage borders.

At championship level, we expect 3 judges (at “C, E and B”), whereby the head judge is sitting at “C”.

The judge/head judge will signal the rider when he/she is ready. A rider entering the arena without permission from the judge may be qualified.

Should the rider forget the test and perform incorrect movements, the judge will signal the rider to stop and restart the test with the last correctly performed movement. An error in the test will result in a deduction of 2 points from the total points. A second error may result in another deduction of 2 points or elimination at championship level.

Dressage Levels

We are a very inclusive sport and won’t exclude any age group. Nobody should ever feel silly to ride a Hobbyhorse, since it takes a lot of skill to master some of the dressage movements.

  1. Beginner – walk & trot (working, medium and free) are the only required gaits. Simple turns, such as 3.5 m circles and 7 circles, as well as, halts and back ups are required.
  2. Novice – all three gaits (walk, trot & canter) are required. At this level, leg yielding, turns on the forehand/haunches, shoulder-in, counter canter, simple changes of the leg in the canter, and might be added.
  3. Advanced – this level of dressage includes now even more complex movements, such as half-pass in trot/canter, flying changes, walk pirouettes and collection.
  4. Intermediaire – at this level, you should be able to perform tempi-changes (at least, every third stride), canter pirouettes, passage, piaffe, zig-zag half-passes. Double bridles should be worn at this level.
  5. Grand Prix – this is the highest level of Hobbyhorse dressage, which includes canter/piaffe double pirouettes, one-tempi changes, and complex combinations of above elements.
Scoring

Judges use the same points system found in standard dressage rules. The awarded points are based on precision, posture, energy, and overall quality of the performed element.

10 points = excellent

9 pints = very good

8 points = good

7 points = fair

6 points = satisfactory

5 points = acceptable

4 points = weak

3 points = not good

2 points = bad

1 points = very bad

0 points = not performed

Turnout Rider

Yeah – we have no dress code, and many of our competitors wear gym clothes (if you take the sport seriously, you will know why)

There is only one requirements, good sport/gymnastic shoes, flexible enough to point your toes.

Turnout Hobbyhorse

We love all your self-made dream horses!

You should have, though, some form of halter/bridle with reins for the lower levels of Hobbyhorse dressage.

Once you reach higher levels, we recommend a proper Hobbyhorse bridle (a mini horse bridle with bit might fit your dream horse) or Hobbyhorse double bridle.

We love luxurious manes, but, since we love elegance in dressage, a plaited mane is preferred.

Hobbyhorse Jumping

What is Hobbyhorse jumping?
  1.  Judges are looking for elegance in a rider going around the arena at different gaits. They take into account gait consistency, transitions, impulse, energy, rhythm, style, appearance of the Hobbyhorse, tack, and turn out.
Racing

Setup: 
Option A – 20 x 40 m riding arena
Option B – 60 m in a straight line on soft ground

Distance:
Option A – twice around the 20 x 40 m riding arena with the start and finish at letter A
Option B – four times from one end point to the other on the 60 m straight line

Pace:
Clear canter stride with the horse between the legs and the horse’s head at hip height

Steeplechase

Is designed to test the speed, endurance and jumping ability of horse and riders. A steeplechase consists of at least 4 jump, but may have as many as 25 jumps. Maximum jump heights are determined by the age of the youngest competitor. are designed to be fun and entertaining and test a rider’s skill in unusual situations. These range from one to three laps around the arena and potentially interacting with various obstacles. There are at least 4 jump obstacles, but there may be as many as 25. Maximum jump heights are determined by the age of the youngest competitor.

Relays

 are designed to be fun and entertaining and test a rider’s coordination, cooperation and communication skills in unusual situations while working with a team mate. There can be as many as four riders to a team but a minimum of two riders is required. These range from one to three laps around the arena and potentially interacting with various obstacles. There are at least 4 jump obstacles, but there may be as many as 25. Maximum jump heights are determined by the age of the youngest competitor.

Dressage

 Judges the horse and rider on their ability to complete a series of movements. Test A is for beginners with 6-8 movements, Test B is for intermediates with 8-10 movements and Test A is an advanced freestyle with 10-12 movements. Tests can be ridden as individuals, pairs or teams. Movements that can appear at each test level are below:

  • Test A: Halt, walk, trot, canter, circle, half-circle, turn, half turn and reverse, loop, serpentine, and back up
  • Test B: Any movements from Test A in addition to flying changes, half pass, collected and extended gaits
  • Test C: Any movements from Test A and Test B in addition to half Pass zig zags, passage, piaffe, canter pirouette, tempi changes
Jumping

 Judges how pleasurably the horse and rider pair go around the arena at different gaits. Takes into account gait consistency, transitions, impulse, energy, style, appearance of the hobby horse, tack, turn out, proper use of aids and turn out.

Western

Jumping arena

Jumping arenas should be slightly larger than dressage arenas with an ideal size of 10 x 20 m.

Markers are not necessary, as long the judge(s) are sitting at the required positions.

Judging

With standard competitions, we expect only one judge outside the arena at the position indicated on the course plan – please make sure that the arena is clearly “fenced in” with ground poles or dressage borders.

At Championship level, we expect 3 judges at the indicated positions.

Jumping Classes/Levels

Caprilli jumping – this is aiming at style, rhythm, balance & energy, and combines dressage elements with a number of jumps and/or pole elements.

Style jumping – these classes are all about the rider’s style, rhythm, balance & energy, instead of speed, and no penalties are given for time.

Speed jumping – speed is everything, as long as you don’t knock the jumps.

ONLINE COMPETITION: You must always confirm the height of your jumps before starting the course by holding a measuring tape to the middle of one jump

Scoring

Penalties:
1 – exceeding the max. time (1 point for every starting 4 seconds)

2 – leaving the arena while riding the course
4 – first stop (elimination with a second stop )
4 – dropping a pole

elimination – starting before the judge’s signal
elimination – not indicating the height on video before jumping the course
elimination – performing the course in an incorrect gait (if indicated on the course plan)

elimination – falling (Hobbyhorse slips from the required position between the legs)

Additional rules will apply for Style and Caprilli jumping.

Jump-off:
If two or more riders jump clear in a class, the head judge will determine a number of jumps as jump-off course. The jump-off course will have a time limit. All qualified riders will have to jump this course, in order to get placed first. Failure to complete the jump-off course will result in the placing below the top riders with a clear score.
In online jumping classes, which don’t offer the opportunity for any jump-off course, riders with a clear score will be judged again, whereby the fastest time will determine the winning ride.

Turnout Rider

There are no requirements for the rider’s clothing, other than good sport shoes, prefer enough to point your toe. For jumping classes, we don’t mind riding helmets, if it makes you feel safe.

Turnout Hobbyhorse

We love all your self-made dream horses!

You should have, though, some form of halter/bridle with reins for the lower levels of Hobbyhorse dressage.

Once you reach higher levels, we recommend a proper Hobbyhorse bridle (a mini horse bridle with bit might fit your dream horse).

We love luxurious, flowing manes for jumping, but a plaited mane is equally appreciated.

Western Riding

What is Western Hobbyhorse riding?

Western Hobbyhorse riding is based on AQHA rules, but it combines a few of the most popular disciplines.

Western riding arena

We prefer 10 20 m arenas, but, according to the Finish rule book, a 7 x 14 m will be sufficient. Our English classes are best with a slightly larger arena.

Judging

With standard competitions, we expect only one judge outside the arena at the position indicated on the course plan – please make sure that the arena is clearly “fenced in” with ground poles or dressage borders.

At Championship level, we expect 3 judges at the indicated positions.

Western classes

We offer Western riding classes at three levels.

Beginner – Walk, jog and lope at least in one direction, circles, figure eights, other curved lines, stop, back-up in a straight line, max. 180 degree turn on the haunches/forehand, easy transitions, simple change of lead (through jog)

Intermediate – Level 1 movements, extended jog, max. 360 degree turn on the haunches/forehand, mediocre transitions, one flying change, back-up in a curved line, leg yield

Advanced – Level 1 & 2 movements, extended lope, max. 900 degree (2,5 rounds) turn on the haunches/forehand, challenging transitions, several flying changes (but not in a row), two-track (haunches or shoulder in), sidepass

Railwork – in addition to the above, the judge(s) might ask for some exercises in a group section of the class, where all riders are at the riding arena at the same time.

Scoring

Exhibitors will be scored on a basis of 0-100 with 70 denoting an average performance. Points will be added or subtracted from the maneuvers on the following bases, ranging from plus 1,5 to minus 1,5:
-1,5 extremely poor,
-1 very poor,
-0,5 poor,
0 average,
+0,5 good,
+1 very good,
+1,5 excellent

Judges will also look at penalties for offences and faults during the performance:

Offence: 1-2 penalty points
break of gait up to two strides, touching the log, poor rider or horse position, early or late lead change, incorrect way to lope over a log (the leading leg steps over first)
Fault: 3-5 penalty points
wrong gait, lead change through jog, touching the horse, touching the reins with the stick hand, touching the markers
Disqualification
wrong course, knocking over marker or passing it on the wrong side, completely missing a log, falling off/down (knee or hand touches the ground or the stick doesn’t stay between legs), wrong rein hold (wrong rein hold for the used bit, smaller faults aren’t punished), starting the performance without the judge’s consent, disturbing others’ performances, a visible or serious injury, illegal equipment (applied from the rules by AQHA and SRL 2020).

Turnout Rider

Yeah – we have no dress code for Western classes, and many of our competitors wear gym clothes (if you take the sport seriously, you will know why)

There is only one requirements, good sport/gymnastic shoes, flexible enough to point your toes.

Turnout Hobbyhorse

For beginner/intermediate classes, a simple halter with open or closed reins are acceptable. At an advanced level, the Hobbyhorse must wear a western bridle without noseband and either a snaffle or a curb bit or a bosal hackamore. Split reins are used with snaffle- and curb bits.