Rush Management, Inc Rush Management, Inc
904-396-4106 [phone-fax]

Part of a series of emails to our exhibitors in an effort to provide helpful information about their interaction with the show office and other staff at the show.  If you have a particular question you would like addressed, please feel free to make a suggestion.   Please note that every effort is made to ensure that all rule citations are current and correct as of the publishing date, however, USEF and other organizations continuously make rule changes throughout the year and with each new year. 

February 2012

Subject 1 - Make a Choice

When you join USEF it is very important that you make two declarations on your membership form.  First, Junior - Amateur - Professional.  If in doubt, seek advice from USEF; it is much easier to go from Amateur to Professional than back again.  Birthdate of any junior or amateur member is also required.

Second - Primary Discipline.  Members that are not “hunter” nor “jumper” designated do not have a vote in USHJA elections.  Undesignated members also are not counted towards the zone’s year end financial allotment.   Most exhibitors are 1-hunter, 2-jumper or vice versa.  If your interests are 1-dressage, 2-jumper; that is just fine.  So take a minute to complete the section.                   

If you did not make either declaration when you joined for the current competition year, you may correct your record by submitting the appropriate application form.  The form can be the standard form available from the Federation website or you can complete the necessary areas and have a competition submit your form with the show's Post Competition Report.  The change may NOT currently be made online.


Subject 2 - USEF Junior Hunter Championships

When we wrote about the Qualifying Events in our December 2011 newsletter, we indicated that the 2012 Junior Hunter Championships had not been confirmed.  They now have been:


Finals Location

Finals Date

Qualifying Period

USEF Junior Hunter Finals - East

Lexington, KY

July 24-25

7/2/11 - 7/1/12

USEF Junior Hunter Finals - West

Del Mar, CA

July 23-24

7/2/11 - 7/1/12

Hunterdon Cup

Lexington, KY

July 26

7/2/11 - 7/1/12

Subject 2 - I’ve Fallen and I can’t get up; well, most of the time

We all have become more aware of potential for life-altering injuries from falling off a horse.   Effective April 1, 2012, the USEF has taken important steps to require, all persons whenever mounted anywhere on the competition show grounds of a hunter/jumper horse show to be wearing a properly fitted ASTM helmet with chin strap.  GR801.2   A laudable requirement, but don’t other disciplines care about the safety of their riders?

Back in the old days (maybe thirty years ago), we wore quaint “hard” hats without a harness; go back another twenty years you can find photos of Gordon Wright and Dave Kelley competing without any hat.  When a rider fell off, absent obvious and serious injury, the rider got back on and finished the course.  When harnesses (still on the original limited-value hard shell)were first required for junior riders, you would have thought the world was coming  to an end; they were so hot, uncomfortable, unsightly, bulky, and untraditional.

Equitation and Hunter rules clearly provide that a rider whose chin strap becomes unfastened while on course may stop, re-fasten the chin strap and continue his/her round without penalty or elimination.  EQ110.1 / HU 127.1.  The jumper rules have no specific rule; JP134.4 contemplates the judge’s discretion to give a “time out” due to unforeseen incidents.  Some judges have expressed  their opinion that an unfastened chin strap would merit a time out.  Not all judges agree on this point.  In all three type classes, the best course of action is to be sure your hat is properly fitted and the chin strap is securely fastened before mounting.

A rider who falls while in any  schooling area or competition area “where the competitor is apparently unconscious or concussed” must be evaluated by qualified medical personnel (“QMP”).  GR1317.4  Qualified medical personnel “is a currently certified or licensed EMT, or Paramedic, or a Physician or Nurse trained in pre-hospital trauma care and currently certified or licensed in their profession.  GR 1211.5.a.(1). If the competitor refuses to be evaluated, he/she is disqualified from the competition.  GR13.2.  If QMP determines that a competitor has sustained unconsciousness or a concussion, the competitor must be precluded from competing until cleared by a licensed medical professional.  The medical release must be in writing and presented to the Federation.  Until an acceptable release is submitted, the competitor’s name will be included on the Federation Medical Suspension List which is posted on the Federation’s website:

There are currently over forty people on the Medical Suspension List, some of them have been on for almost three years.  We hope they are healthy and have just failed to file their paperwork.

An exhibitor may wear a protective safety vest, specifically designed for use in equestrian sport in any division or class without penalty from the judge.  GR801.4.
GR122 - FALLS.
1. A rider is considered to have fallen when he is separated from his horse, that has not fallen, in such a way as to necessitate remounting or vaulting into the saddle.  (Dismounting pursuant to EQ 114.11 being an obvious exception.)
2. A horse is considered to have fallen when the shoulder AND haunch on the same side have touched the ground or an obstacle and the ground.  (Emphasis added.)
In Equitation, fall of horse and/or rider is elimination in classes “Over Obstacles.”  EQ 111.1.  In the event of elimination, the rider must exit the ring immediately.   Currently the rules do not prohibit remounting in the ring, but effective December 1, 2012, you will have to walk out of the ring.  EQ 110.1   The rules do not address fall of horse and/or rider in classes “not to jump,” but certainly a judge would eliminate and expect the rider to exit the ring immediately.

In any Hunter class, fall of horse and/or rider is elimination.   HU 135.3.e.   In the event of elimination, the horse must exit the ring immediately.   Currently the rules do not prohibit remounting in the ring, but effective December 1, 2012, you will have to walk out of the ring.  HU135.3e

And in the jumpers; timing is everything.  Jumpers are being scored from the time they cross the start line in the correct direction with the rider mounted.  JP133.1. / JP144.1.a.  The fall of horse or rider [on course] results in elimination (except in classes in which special rules apply but the rider may not continue after a fall).  JP137.1 A courtesy fence is not permitted following the fall of horse or rider.  JP137.4.  And effective December 1, 2012, you are not permitted to remount after a fall taken “on course.”  JP 137.5   A competitor is considered to have “competed” after he has entered the ring and received the signal to start.  JP133.13.  A competitor is “on course” after the competitor has passed through the start markers in the proper direction.    A fall occurring between the signal to start and the moment the competitor crosses the starting line in the correct direction, is NOT PENALIZED.  JP135.1.  Of course, if a show official is of the opinion that the competitor is unconscious or concussed, then the rider would need to be evaluated by QMP.  At the recent Jumper Judge’s Clinic, judges were advised to interrupt the 45-second countdown (see JP135.1) if the rider has fallen so that a visual assessment of the situation can be made, and the rider is not hurried in his/her efforts to remount and proceed through the start line.   Riders may remount with assistance since they are not “on course.”  JP133.10  A fall is not always an elimination; when you read the fine print, you have to be “on course” and not just competing.

So if your Jumper has his timing just right, you can unceremoniously be dumped in the ring and still win the class.  Everyone else is out of luck.  Like most of life, timing is everything.