Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rules and Rule Books.....Who's What and What's Who?

Lady of Chaos in her comments on What's an Amateur? mentioned the Arabian Horse Association Handbook. That opened up a whole new can of worms. You see the AHA Handbook is not the same animal as the United States Equestrian Rule Book. Yet if you show horses in USEF recognized Arabian shows rules from both books apply.

It's no wonder that rules are so confusing for newcomers, and oldcomers alike in the Arabian industry. We not only have more rules (more must be better, right?) than any other breed, those rules are kept in two different books managed by two different organizations. How can that be? And what is the purpose of two different books? It's a convoluted tale but I'll try to sort it out for you.

The most simple part of this is that the USEF Rule Book is totally about the showing part. It's about what the shows are and how they must be run. If it's recognized by USEF it must be by these specifications........period.

If it has to do with how a horse or rider at a USEF recongized event, you can expect to find it in that book. Everything from what both horses and riders are to wear, how horses can be groomed and what equipement is legal. It also covers age divisions, drugs, experience levels for both horses and riders, halter and performance specifications, it's all in that book.

The USEF Rule Book also covers management of the shows. Examples: Who can run them. What their obligations to both the horses and exhibitors are. As well as what USEF expects for filing and reporting results. In other words, that USEF Rule Book tells management if you want to run a show recognized by us you MUST do it this way.

The AHA Handbook is about structure. It's about the AHA organization and all the things it does, what programs it offers, that sort of thing. The comfusing part is part of what they do is showing. So some things about their shows are in that handbook BUT nothing about how the shows must be run is in that book. That's USEF territory.

However, our horse shows are run by AHA. While the overall governance of how horse shows are to be conducted comes from USEF, AHA determines what makes you elligible to show at their USEF shows. That's were the rules that you will find in the AHA Handbook about showing coming in .

Just about anything about eligibility (the exception would be the amateur rules) and qualifications. For example to be eligible: AHA requires the horses be registered with AHA or CAHR (Canadian Arabian Horse Registry). Owners and riders/handlers must be members of AHA. Non members can pay an event fee. However, that event fee is only available at lower levels.

Horses must be qualified to participate in regional and national championship shows. In most cases those qualitifcations are based on points earned at the lower level shows. However, some horses are qualified to participate in particular classes by being nominated to a particular program or class. Examples of those classes would be the yearling Sweepstakes Classes at regional shows and futurity classes.

Confused yet? Don't worry you are not alone. Most people who show at Arabian shows are confused about what the rules are and aren't. That's why many of them rely on their trainers to keep things straight. Many trainers don't know the particulars either. It's a lot to keep up with. I hope this helps.

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  1. Well.. I definitely feel like I know more! LOL! HEHEHE. BTW, I'M HYPER! can you tell Halloween is getting near, and I've had my share of chocolate today? hehehehe. hahahaha.

  2. One reason I stopped showing was because of all the amature classes being filled with professionals. Now this was under appy rules and they stunk. There were just way too many loopholes that people were taking advantage of to get points. I hope at some point my granddaughter wants to show so I hope they have things straightened out by then. Sigh......