Happy new year! New show year that is, as December 1st is the start of a new season and the day that approved United States Hunter Jumper Association rules take effect. There are little tweaks here and there to improve fairness, clarity, and opportunity for riders and horses in nearly all divisions.

If you haven’t taken a look at the new rules, peruse the list below and make sure you’re armed and ready for your next event, even if it’s not for another few months or just around the corner. You’ll be glad you did!

Official USHJA Rule Changes, Effective December 1, 2016:
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 www.ushja.org/ponyhunterderby 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)

You can always get the full list of rule changes, proposed rule changes, and current handbook from the USHJA at their website. We always encourage riders to continue studying and verify information for themselves, and address questions to their local and national leaders.

Go USHJA, and Go Jumping!