USHJA Announces Recently Approved Landmark Advancements in Our Sport - Equine Microchips

USHJA Announces Recently Approved Landmark Advancements in Our Sport - Equine Microchips

20 December 2016

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Lexington, KY—-January 19, 2016—-The United States Hunter Jumper Association is pleased to announce that at the recent United States Equestrian Federation Annual Meeting on January 16, 2016, the Federation Board of Directors approved rule change proposals to enact landmark advances in the hunter/jumper sport. Specifically, the rule changes included the Green and Young Hunter proposals and the Horse ID proposals. 

The green hunter pipeline rule changes, GR 313.6 (Tracking No. 300-15), GR 1131.3 (Tracking No. 384-15) and HU 103.1 (Tracking No. 379-15), were refined based on guidance from the USHJA Board of Directors at their meeting on December 10, 2015. Commencing with the 2017 competition year, which begins on December 1, 2016, these rules:

  • Add Young Hunter 3’0″, 3’3″, and 3’6″ as an A rated section
  • Re-name the green hunter sections to make them more descriptive, striking the Pre-Green, First Year and Second Year Green Hunter nomenclature and replacing it with the simpler Green Hunter 3’0″, 3’3″, 3’6″ and 3’9″; all of these sections will be A rated
  • Re-name Green Conformation Hunter as Green Conformation Hunter 3’6″and the Regular Conformation Hunter as High Performance Conformation Hunter
  • Remove the need for the green reinstatement process for horses

“After several years of discussion and input from members across the sport, these rules create two distinct paths for the development of green horses and young horses in the hunters,” noted Geoff Teall, USHJA national vice president. “These changes aim to promote fairness and encourage growth across the board in our hunter discipline.” 

“The Pre-Green sections and particularly the Pre-Green Incentive Program were always carefully considered during the many hours of work to restructure our Hunter formula,” said Colleen McQuay, chair of the Pre-Green Incentive Task Force. “I am confident that the USHJA Pre-Green Incentive Program will continue to thrive with these changes.” 

The second sport changing set of proposals deals with positive horse identification, also known as microchipping. 

“Microchipping is the future of horse identification, and the passage of these rule changes is a game changer for all equestrian sport” said Mary Babick, member of the USEF Horse Recording and ID Task Force and vice president of USHJA – Hunter. “It will increase consumer confidence, reduce identification inaccuracies and improve our ability to track a horse’s success throughout its careerwhich, in turn, helps our breeders.” 

The three rule change proposals (EQ 103.2 – Tracking No. 295-15; HU 101.2 – Tracking No. 347-15; JP 100.2 – Tracking No. 366-15) state that in the 2018 competition year (December 1, 2017 – November 30, 2018) “all horses competing in classes that require USHJA registration must provide a microchip number that verifies their animal’s identity in order to compete for points, money won or be eligible for Federation and/or USHJA programs and awards where horses are required to be recorded or registered.” The 2018 competition year will act as a transitional year, where in order to collect points horses must provide a microchip number. Beginning with the 2019 competition year, all horses competing at a USEF licensed competition will be required to provide a microchip number or they will not be permitted to compete. 

“USHJA recognizes that this is a significant change for the sport, and the rule gives us two years to educate members before it takes effect,” continued Babick. 

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Also approved through the approval consent calendar were the following key rules, which are listed by their effective date: 

Effective April 1, 2016:

  • GR 1131.12 (Tracking No. 312-15) made permanent a 2015 Presidential Modification that allows competition managers the option to divide age group equitation classes at their discretion and still have the points count for the appropriate Zone Horse of the Year awards. Additionally, the rule change clarified maximum fence heights in metric.
  • HJ 207.16 (Tracking No. 378-15) defines the requirements necessary to hold a Premier competition and to make the jumbotron or scoreboard an option for Premier competitions. A Presidential Modification has also been granted to make this language effective immediately.
  • JP 117.6 (Tracking No. 391-15) prevents competitors showing in an FEI Championship for Seniors from also showing in any Junior or Amateur Owner Jumper class with the same horse for a period of one year. Also, any competitor that competes in a CSI4* or above, a CSI-W, or CSIO is ineligible to compete in a Junior and/or Amateur Owner Jumper class at that same competition. This rule aims to create more competition among peers at the Junior/Amateur Owner level.

Effective September 1, 2016:

  • Addressing fairness of competition, EQ 110.4 (Tracking No. 232-15) and EQ 110.8 (Tracking No. 272-15) limit the number of times a rider can compete in US Hunter Seat Medal and ASPCA Maclay qualifying classes once qualified for the Finals. Specifically, the rule limits riders to 12 qualifying classes in a qualifying period, and states that if a rider is not qualified after 12 classes, the rider may continue to compete until qualified. The rule changes also allow half points to be awarded for classes with three to five riders who complete the course. Further, it states “Any rider in his or her final junior year may not compete in any qualifying classes held at a competition with a start date after August 31 of that competition year.” 

Effective December 1, 2016:

  • GR 1131.3 (Tracking No. 304-15) split 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.
  • EQ 102.1 (Tracking No. 385-15) states that 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 105.6 (Tracking No. 225-15) provides updated guidance on appropriate stirrups for use in the Hunter/Jumping Seat Equitation section. This rule recommends riders use “stainless steel stirrup irons that promote proper position of the foot in the iron as well as a correct leg position.” Further the rule recommends stirrup irons provide judges with a” clear and unobstructed view of the position of the foot in the stirrup.” However, it states “judges may not eliminate a rider for using a particular style of stirrup iron.”
  • EQ 106.3 (Tracking No. 280-15) 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 108.2 (Tracking No. 376-15) updated the rules for medal classes to bring their age group splits in line with today’s standards (“14 and under” and “15-17”) and make them consistent with age group splits elsewhere in the Rule Book. The rule change also adds fence heights in metric.
  • EQ 110.5 (Tracking No. 298-15) 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.
  • HJ 202.3 (Tracking No. 315-15) reduced 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.
  • HU 160.1 (Tracking No. 354-15) clarified the number of rated sections that must be offered and held or judged at Hunter rated National and Premier competitions.
  • HU 192.1 (Tracking No. 373-15) 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.

This summary highlights the majority but not all rules affecting hunters and jumpers. The comprehensive listing of approved, disapproved and withdrawn USHJA rules from the USEF Board of Directors meeting is available at and all rules are available at

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