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.
Course Diagrams - More than a pretty picture
HUNTER - Each course must have at least eight obstacles (ten for Hunter Classics). HU119.4/HU146.20. Every course must have at least four different types of obstacles (six for Hunter Classics). HU122.3/ HU146.20. Different would be green box and birch boxes, a fence with a white gate, and a fence with a red gate. In most cases, jumps will have wings of at least 24" and at least 12" higher than the obstacle. HU122.3
In an "A" section, there must be a minimum of three different courses in the section; and in a "B" section, there must be a minimum of two different courses. HU119.5
Course diagrams must be posted at least one-half hour before a scheduled class time. HU120. The diagram must show the obstacles which must be taken and must show the order in which they are to be taken, but otherwise an exhibitor is not bound to follow a compulsory track. HU120.1. Distances between fences must be included on the diagram if the point from base to base is less than 90'. HU120.1 Note the diagram indicates the distance, not the number of strides. The scoring of adding a stride from the :"standard" or eliminating a stride is at the discretion of the judge and may be scored as a minor or major fault. HU135.1
If the area of courtesy circle is to be restricted, the line must be indicated on the diagram and a corresponding barrier must be physically located on the course. HU120.2 Passing the mandatory line is grounds for elimination as it becomes part of the judging specifications.
EQUITATION - Course diagrams are not specifically addressed by the USEF Equitation rules, but implied. There are certain things that must be reflected on the course diagram.
A minimum of six obstacles is required. EQ111 Combinations are to be numbered with a single number and the designation of A and B or A, B and C. EQ111.7 This requirement is often overlooked when equitation classes are held in the same ring as hunter classes. In Open Equitation Classes for riders 12 years of age and older, the course must include at least one change of lead, a combination including an oxer and one third of the obstacles must be oxers. In addition, the course must include three of the following: bending line, narrow jump, roll-back turn, end fence, long approach to a single. EQ111.10 Many medals and special equitation classes have other course requirements which should be clearly marked on the course diagram. For example, the USEF Pony Medal requires two tests (1-9) be included in the first round of the class. EQ112.10
JUMPER - Course diagrams for jumper classes must be posted at least one-half hour before the scheduled time of the class. JP130.1 The diagram must include the Speed, Time Allowed, length of course, start and finish, and jump-off course (if applicable). The diagram must show the obstacles which must be jumped and the order indicated by number. The course designer may use a solid line between obstacles to indicate a mandatory track. JP 130.2 Deviation from the designated track will result in penalty. "Walking the course" is at management's discretion and it may or may not be available for any particular course. JP130.3
The most important part about the posted course is the rider making the time to review the course for herself and not rely on others to relay the track. A picture is worth a thousand words, make time to look at the posted course - it is a piece of art.