Know Before You Show

Rules Affecting Hunter/Jumper Competition Effective December 1, 2023

The U.S. Hunter Jumper Association is helping members Know Before You Show with a simple guide of rule changes taking effect for the new competition year. Click here for a comprehensive list of rule changes that were approved in 2023 for the 2024 competition year and here for the complete 2024 USEF Rulebook.

The following are important rule changes effective December 1, 2023, for the 2024 competition year that affect Hunter/Jumper competition.

 Summary of Rule Change Rule Number

Helmets: This rule change expands the list of acceptable international testing standards for helmets to those published on the USEF's website here.

Note: This rule went into effect on August 1, 2023. 


Recording: This set of extraordinary rule changes clarify that all transfer of ownership requests, name change requests and lease registrations, as well as any corresponding fees, must be submitted to both USHJA and USEF.

Note: These rules went into effect on February 1, 2023, and will be enforced beginning December 1, 2023. Learn more here.


Membership: This set of extraordinary rule changes clarify that in order for points to count, one owner of the horse or one owner of the Stable/Farm/Corporation that owns the horse must be an Active/Competing individual member of USHJA.

Note: These rules went into effect on February 1, 2023, and will be enforced beginning December 1, 2023. Learn more here.


Recording: This set of extraordinary rule changes clarify that in order for points to count, all ownership, name change and lease requests and fees must be submitted to both USHJA and USEF on or before the first day of competition.

Note: These rules went into effect on February 1, 2023, and will be enforced beginning December 1, 2023. Learn more here.


Hunter Sections: This rule change alters the number of horses that must have completed the class in order to receive points and money won and clarifies how Hunter sections should be divided or combined. 


Premier Hunter Points: This extraordinary rule change alters the point system for Premier Hunter-rated competitions.


Stabling: This rule change requires show stabling to have minimal lighting and noise for six consecutive hours overnight.


Licensed Officials Conflict-of-Interest: This rule change clarifies the conflict-of-interest rules for USEF Licensed Officials.


Lunging: This rule change prohibits lunging a visibly exhausted horse, chasing a horse with a whip, excessive and/or disruptive cracking of the whip, and any appendages or attachments.


Equitation: This rule change prohibits coming to a complete stop in front of a jump in order to show the jump to the horse prior to starting the course. Continuing by the jump in a forward moving manner is acceptable.


Equitation Tests: This rule change clarifies that:

  • equitation riders must be able to watch the other competitors test if asked to be in the ring
  • a figure eight must contain starting and ending halts
  • no more than 12 riders can be asked to hand gallop at a time

Among other clarifications for consistency among the tests.


Handy Options: This rule change adds halt as an option in Handy classes.


Green Ponies: This rule change allows Green Ponies to compete in Jumper classes up to a certain height depending on the pony’s size after the pony begins competing in any class that restricts Green status.


Junior Hunter Heights: This rule change raises the height of the Small Junior Hunter to 16.1 hands and under and the Large Junior Hunter to over 16.1 hands. Beginning December 1, 2023, and ending November 30, 2024, a one-time application may be made for Junior Hunters with a Large Junior Hunter standard measurement card to be measured for a new card.


Pony Hunter Classic: This rule change clarifies that ponies entered in the Green Hunter Pony section are not eligible for the Regular Pony Hunter Classic unless they have also competed in the Regular Pony Hunter section.


Show Numbers: This rule change requires all horses in the schooling, warm-up, exercise or lunging area to have its show number attached to the horse or the individual riding or handling it.


Ranking List Class Boot Rules: This rule change implements boot rules for Rolex/USEF Ranking List classes.


Cross-Entering: This rule change restricts horses competing in Five-, Six- or Seven-Year-Old Jumper classes from cross-entering into any class at the same competition that is more than 10 centimeters higher than their respective age group’s maximum height.


Helmet Assistance: This rule change allows a rider to receive outside assistance if they lose their helmet or glasses.

Note: This clarification went into effect on July 1, 2023.


Junior/Amateur Section Names: This rule change renames all Junior and Amateur Jumper sections. High, Medium and Low language is replaced with the fence height range; the Children's language is replaced with Junior; and the Adult Amateur language is replaced with Amateur. Jumper sections will be named in the following format: fence height range and "Junior" or "Amateur" Jumper. (ex. 1.10/1.15m Junior Jumper)


Please note this listing is not a comprehensive list of all rule changes effective December 1, 2023. All rule changes can be viewed here. For more information about rules, visit the Rules and Proposals Overview page.