Canadian Trick Riding Association

Click here to edit subtitle

Canadian Trick Riding Association Trick Riding Judging Guidelines

Criteria, Trick Values, and Overview - Page 1 

(adapted from Tad Griffith)


THE COMPETITION WILL CONSIST OF DIVISIONS; 

All Ages are determined from January 1, of each year. (No "double entering"- must enter your age division)

1. Peewee Division for 8 and under Girls and Boys -Helmets Required 

2. Youth Division for 9 – 12 Girls and Boys -Helmets Required 

3. Junior Division for 13 – 16 Girls and Boys- Helmets Required 

4. Open Division 17 and over Women’s and Men’s -Helmets Suggested

5. Act Division -optional to host committee, no more than 4 members per group, each group from entering to exiting the arena has a maximum 5 min time limit.

6. *Legends Division / 40 and over / Women’s and Men’s TBD 

7. **Non-Competitive Division/ All Ages and Levels of Expertise / Hand Lead to Competition Tricks 

Divisions held will be determined by participation


THE COMPETITION SHALL INVOLVE; 

1. STRAP TRICKS 

2. BALANCE TRICKS 

3. GROUNDWORK ROUTINES 

4. TRADITIONAL COMPETITION TRICKS


THE JUDGING CRITERIA SHALL BE AS FOLLOWS; 

Scores will be figured to the tenth of a point 

1. 1 – 35 SPEED OF THE HORSE 

2. 1 – 40 TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY “COVERS ALL LEVELS OF TRICK DIFFICULTY” 

3. 1 – 10 EXECUTION OF CORE TRICK / ROUTINE 

4. 1 – 10 PRESENTATION OF TRICKS / ROUTINE 

5. 1 – 5 BONUS COMBINATION TRICKS / “MAXIMUM OF 3 PER RUN” 

6. 1 – 5 NEGITIVE POINTS PER FORM BREAKS / UNLIMITED DEDUCTIONS


* If a rider performs a different trick then listed to the judge that run will score zero. Each rider gets 5 runs, using the top 4 scoring runs towards the riders score. 


** Non-Competitive Division is a Division created to sponsor new talent becoming familiar with the competition using extremely safe protocols in place. Also, affording top tier riders an opportunity to perform new routines safely under competition conditions, for the experience of horse and rider. This also affords one to see how a trick or routine will be judged in a competition and affords all participants eligibility into the Post Clinic Program.


Page 2


During a competition, a Rider may expect a higher score by; 

1. Demonstrating an above average amount of lift and speed during GOUNDWORK routines 

2. Adding a degree of difficulty to a routine by incorporating Bonus Combination Tricks and performing on the corner of the arena 

3. Holding BALANCE TRICKS completely around the arena including the corner 

4. Pressing BALANCE TRICKS / STRAP TRICKS up to the edge of the *WALL OF MOMENTUM 

5. Removing one’s feet from STRAP TRICKS whenever possible before the completion of the run 

a. Additional Execution and Presentation points available if removed before sitting down 

6. The speed in which a rider enters and exits a trick 

a. Vaults to, Stands into, Dives into, the tricks **Sweet Spot 

7. Arena awareness and management / the placement of a routines beginning through completion in the arena 

8. The speed in which transitions are performed 

9. Adding a degree of difficulty to one’s trick / “finish” to the transition, exit, or completion of a trick 

10. Demonstrating exceptional showmanship, grace, and presence including smiling, flexibility, and strength 

11. Demonstrating exceptional equestrian skills, horsemanship, humane treatment of the horse, proper usage of aids 


During a competition, a Rider may expect a reduction in score by; 

1. Minor break in form during a trick, falling out of a trick, not performing the trick 

2. Making the trick appear difficult 

3. Not performing the trick in the order listed on the Contestant’s Original Score Sheet 

4. Not performing or completing all tricks listed on the Contestant’s Original Score Sheet 

5. Poor usage of arena management, beginning trick late, rushing or not completing a trick before the corner or the horse stops. Making the completion of the run look difficult, late, out of control, unsafe or unplanned 

6. Poor showmanship / not acknowledging the audience 

7. Hanging or hesitating for an extended period during transitions and/or all core tricks; usually more than three strides. Failing to clear one’s straps on the first attempt. 

8. Restricting one’s horse in any manner including limiting or rating it’s speed 

9. Using unapproved or non-standard cheat straps, handholds, platforms to enhance a trick. Note: These would have to be very uncommon not to be considered proper but should be discussed prior to competition or at the riders meeting. TRA can be contacted in advance should you have any concerns or questions. 

10. Being partially in a trick prior to leaving the station. Exceptions: Hippodrome, One Foot, Under the Neck, other Strap Tricks, some Balance Tricks, a Full Shoulder Stand. More exceptions will be found on the Master trick value list. 

11. Starting one’s horse on the wrong lead 

12. Landing heavy into a trick and/or pulling one’s horse off stride. Causing one’s horse to change leads. 

13. A Rider may have three attempts at starting a horse on the correct lead if they stop before the first flags. 

14. ***Humane treatment of a horse during the competition. Examples will be outlined later in this Document 

15. No Score will be awarded if a rider falls off during a run. 

16. No Score will be awarded if the judges determine & agree the rider causes their horse to stumble or fall. 

17. Re-Runs will be awarded on an individual basis by the judges if it is determined the ground or some other circumstance beyond the riders control caused the horse to stumble, fall, stop, cutback, cut -through, or otherwise impede the rider’s performance beyond recovery or force them to stop for their safety and/or that of their horse or participants in the arena. Everyone is expected to apply common sense and horsemanship to assess unforeseen mishaps in a positive and constructive manner. One warmup lap may be given to the rider to give the horse a chance to recover, determine its soundness, and recheck the function ability of one’s tack. 

*Wall of Momentum The space at the edge of the trick where the speed of the horse locks you into the trick. Also, the degree one leans away from their horse in a strap or balance trick to get away from the pounding movement caused from the stride. 

**Sweet Spot The active spot /position one lands in a trick that requires less than 3% or repositioning or adjustment to stay in or continue the trick. This Sweet Spot is inherent across all trick styles and values. The Spot I’m referring to is where it feels perfect while performing. That spot is different on every horse from standing still to racing the pattern. The art of vaulting to, standing into, diving into the Sweet Spot is something that will be judged. 

***Humane Overview is on Page 8


Page 3


To dispel confusion with tricks names, categories, and technical difficulty, the following is meant to be an example and not meant as a complete list of CORE TRICKS. This list is ever evolving with the participation of the TRA, CTRA, judges, and contestants. 


STRAP TRICKS                                                                                               Value 

1. Hippodrome Stand                                                                                          18 

2. One Foot Stand                                                                                              18 

3. Reverse One Foot Stand in a low Strap                                                         18 

4. Cossack Drag                                                                                                 16 

5. Side Back Bend                                                                                              13 

6. Stroud Layout                                                                                                 22 

7. Under the Neck                                                                                               24 

8. Back Bend                                                                                                      28

9. Tail Drag Must be 17 years old                                                                       18 

10. Stirrup over the Horn Drag                                                                            11 

Combinations of Balance Tricks or variations of Tricks may expect added execution, presentation, and bonus points as well as deductions if they require more than three strides to perform. Added danger entering, transitioning, and exiting a trick will be rewarded with additional or minus points at the discretion of the Judges. 

Note: Strap Tricks are the exception to the rule, the rider can begin the run with their feet in the straps and or partially in the trick. 


BALANCE TRICKS                                                                                           Value 

1. Secret Trick (Touch down)                                                                                  6 

2. Sit Down Fender (Reverse Fender)                                                                  10 

3. Layout Fender (Forward Fender)                                                                      10 

4. Blackstone Fender Drag (Reverse fender holding onto crouper)                      12 

5. Extreme Fender Drag / Drag Over the Neck (Extreme fender)                         18 

6. Jack Wright Drag (Crouch on side)                                                                   13 

7. Full Fender Flyaway                                                                                          20 

8. Half Shoulder Stand                                                                                          18 

9. Upside Down on the Neck/Horn                                                                        20 

10. Full Shoulder Stand**                                                                                      28

11. Tail Stand**                                                                                                      32

12. Backward Tail Stand**                                                                                     35 

13. Crouper to a Tail Stand**                                                                                 35

14. Slick Stand in the Saddle                                                                                 27 

15. Crouper to a Slick Stand behind the Saddle Reins Only                                 32 

16. Slick Stand with One Foot on the Horn** Reins Only                                      35

17. Lay over the Neck Backwards                                                                         25 

18. Lay Over the Neck Two Feet in the Air                                                            22 

19. Shoulder Stand in the Saddle**                                                                       35

20. Backward Shoulder Stand through the Saddle**                                             35

21. Leg Through the Saddle / Back Breaker                                                          23 

22. Layout Across the Saddle                                                                                14 

23. Layout Across the Neck                                                                                   17 

24. Upside Down Side Saddle Stand                                                                    16

25. Reverse Upside Down Side Saddle Stand                                                      18

26. Lay Across the Neck with a foot in the Stirrup                                                 11

27. Headstand in the Saddle**                                                                               40 

* BALANCE TRICKS should be held around the arena or when they are combined, should be held a minimum of 5 strides on each side to expect high marks. 

** TRADITIONAL COMPETITION QUALITY TRICKS


Page 2

GROUNDWORK & PERFORMANCE TRICKS                                                    Value 

28. Vaults                                                                                                                10 

29. Spin the horn                                                                                                      6 

30. Spin the Horn Vaults                                                                                         15 

31. Run Beside                                                                                                       12 

32. Cartwheels/Somersault from Standing in the Saddle                                       16 

33. Double Vaults - Must perform at least four in a row                                          18                                                                                                                          without stopping and starting over. 

34. Side Drag                                                                                                          16 

35. Vault Up Sideways and Round over the Neck                                                  16 

36. Jump Over the Neck Backwards                                                                      18 

37. Vault Up Backwards Scissor                                                                            18 

38. Vault to Forward on the neck (Off Side)                                                           22 

39. Splits to the Neck                                                                                             24 

40. Two Feet to the Neck                                                                                       25 

41. One Foot Somersault to the Neck / Up behind the saddle**                            35 

42. Straight Croupers                                                                                             23 

43. Run Behind                                                                                                      18 

44. Reverse Croupers                                                                                           25 

45. Reverse Croupers to Sideways in the Saddle                                                 25 

46. Reverse Crouper to the Neck                                                                          28 

47. Crouper Rollups                                                                                               28 

48. Crouper to Forward in the Saddle                                                                    23 

49. Crouper Somersault to Forward in the Saddle**                                              35 

50. Crouper Somersault**                                                                                      40 

51. Crouper to a Shoulder Stand in the Saddle**                                                  40 

52. Crouper to a Headstand in the Saddle**                                                         40 

53. Billy Keen Drag**                                                                                             32 

54. Ted Elder Suicide Drag**                                                                                 37 

55. Under the Belly** (American Style)                                                                 40 


BONUS COMBINATIONS AND CONNECTIVE TRICKS                

Please Note that these Values are the most a Bonus or Connective trick can be worth. Please cut the value in half to Find the “Performed Well” range. I found I was usually in the 1.5, 2.5. and rarely 3.5 range even on a 5-point trick. 

                                                                                                                           Value 

56. Full Scissor Forward in the Saddle                                                                   5                                                          

57. Full Scissor to Backward in the Saddle                                                            5                                                           

58. Saddle Spin to Backwards                                                                               3                                                           

59. Saddle Spin to Forwards                                                                                  3                                                           

60. Saddle Spin 180                                                                                               5                                                           

61. Safety Scissor                                                                                                   0                                                           

62. Inside Vault Up Backwards                                                                               3                                                           

63. Outside Vault Up Backwards Risk Level                                                          5                                                           

64. Scissors from a Tail Stand to forwards in the Saddle                                       5                                                                                                                                     65. Half Secret Trick at the end of any Trick                                                         5                                                             

66. Spin the Horn as a Connective Trick                                                                5                                                                                                                                       67. Spin the Horn Vault as a Connective Trick                                                       5                                                           

68. Vault up behind the Saddle                                                                              5                                                            

69. Vault to a Stand in the Saddle                                                                          5                                                           

70. Double Vaults around the Corner Minimum of Three Consecutively               5                                                           

71. Splits to the Neck on the Corner                                                                      5                                                           

72. Reverse Croupers on the Corner                                                                     5                                                           

73. Reversing Fender Drags on the Corner                                                           5                                                          


Page 5


Value of Tricks and a brief explanation as to how and why they are judged: 

After seeing the competition last year, I have decided to update the value of many tricks by a few points. I have

also increased the possible speed score from 30 to 35. I have done this to slightly increase the spread of the score on the competition. As of right now, numerous riders are still performing several of the same routines… My hope is the result will enable TRA judges to spread out the scoring difference between an average, good, great, and spectacular run.

Once again, I ask that a competitor not look at the large value number as if that will be their reward if they “just” perform that trick. This year, we will undoubtedly be scoring stricter. Please be reminded that these values are based on the best the trick has ever been performed throughout recorded history. So please look at last year’s values, review your scores sheets if you have them, or watch a performance made by the top riders and review their posted score sheets. The values were increased so that there would be room for improvement; not so that the same past performances would receive a higher score.


How your Balance and Strap Tricks are scored and why:

Traditionally, most strap tricks and balance tricks are performed around the entire arena. Examples: Full Shoulder Stand, Tail Stand, Hippodrome Stand, One Foot Stand, Cossack Drag, Half Shoulder Stand, etc. Dinner theaters, where we performed thousands of performances, inspired me to want to perform my best tricks during each show, especially when dignitaries or guests were in the audience. With only five runs per rider, this wasn’t possible so we started putting together combinations of tricks to make it exciting to a new and educated audience, as well. The other factor was that we were performing in a very narrow cornered arena. By combining some of these tricks we could break them down and perform them in a consistent manner more humane on our horses. This concept, like a lot of good ideas, was born out of necessity. When we were creating the foundation, we decided to introduce this concept to enhance the competition from an audience perspective and enable contestants to design routines that could be varied from their competitors. Examples: Hippodrome to One Foot Stand, Full Shoulder Stand on the first side, Spin the Horn vault up backwards on the corner, Tail Stand on the second straight away. This also makes it possible, if you are unable to hold a Balance/Strap trick all the way around the arena yet, to still perform high value tricks. You will not score as high on the core trick(s) but you can still be awarded additional Bonus Combination/Connective Tricks Points under those criteria. This has already helped the competition, in my opinion, by giving everyone a break from an endless display of repeated runs…


How your Groundwork is Scored and why:

Ground work can be difficult, if not impossible, to judge fairly unless clear criteria is followed for the judges. This happens when a contestant writes down a Core Trick and then performs an endless number of other tricks during the run. Judging what is planned and what is being made up “on the fly” in recovery mode is a recipe for disagreement. How can a judge be asked to determine what was planned and what was not? In a competition, regardless of how a rider performs their respective routines during a show, the judges need to be able to discern what the rider’s core trick and intent is before the run begins.

Total Value number of groundwork core tricks are split in half. Example: Splits to the neck are valued at 24 this year. Each side of the arena would be a maximum of 12. As I stated several times, don’t expect that number if you just perform the trick. If you perform a Split to the Neck or similar high difficulty valued trick on the corner, it is considered a Bonus Combination/Connective Trick and worth up to 5 points Maximum. This is done to keep someone from performing an endless number of high valued tricks around the arena and giving themselves a huge advantage over Balance and some Strap tricks. We want to encourage fair competition between styles of tricks and by requiring a rider of either gender performing groundwork to Plan their Work and Work their Plan.

Another requirement is to perform groundwork with the same Core Trick or a higher Valued Core Trick on the

second side of the Arena. The Rule of thumb is an equal routine on either side of the arena or one that ascends in difficulty. We will not judge a Split to the Neck on the first side of the arena and then a vault or a lesser valued trick on the second side. You will simply lose all your second side points and be deducted 5 for a form break. This prepares riders to think outside the box and consider their routines as a reflection of their confidence in their talent. Requiring the individual competitors to have an ascending order to their tricks during a round is no longer a requirement for individuals. A competitor’s trick order is part of the gamesmanship. There are a few exceptions to the ascending rule such as: One Foot Somersault to the Neck, followed by One Foot Somersault up behind the saddle, as traditionally performed.


Page 6


How your Bonus Combination Tricks and Transitions are scored and why:

The majority of tricks could be considered a Bonus Combination, Connective Trick, or Transition Trick if it fits into *In The Spirit of the Trick or Run. These terms have been used in the past and all refer to the same concept. Although a variety of different tricks have varied values when being used as a Bonus Combination/Connective Trick or Transition, they are valued up to 5 Maximum Points. A split on the corner or at the beginning of another Core Trick will have a Max value of 5. A Scissor Forward is truly a Bonus Combination or Transition Trick as it is not considered a Core Trick. There are three places in the arena in which a Bonus Combination/Connective Trick, referred to as **BCCTT from now on, can be performed in connection with a Core Trick to enhance one’s score.

1. The beginning of your run. Example: Vault up Backwards to Tail Stand.

2. Corner Work; Example: Double Vaults, Spin the Horn and Vault, Vault up Backwards, Vault to a Stand in the Saddle, etc. Full Shoulder Stand on the first side, Spin the Horn and Vault up Backwards to a Tail Stand on the second side of the arena. One could do Splits to the Neck or Reverse Croupers to tie their Core Tricks together. Additionally, Hippodrome Stand/One Foot Stand/Flyaway, One Foot Stand/Reverse One Foot Stand/Flyaway. 

3. At the completion of a Core Trick on the final side; Example: Adding a half Secret trick to Fender Drags, a Full Scissor Forward from a Reverse Crouper, Hippodrome Stand performed out of a Back Bend, and recovering to the Neck and Vaulting back to the Saddle after performing the Under the Neck…


TRANSITIONS are typically only scored as part of a run’s Execution or Presentation depending on the maneuver. If an exceptional transition is performed, additional value may be added in the Bonus Combination line on the Competitors Score Sheet at the judge’s discretion.

Example: Transitioning from a One Foot Somersault/ Side Drag/Upside Down Side Stand/recover to the Saddle

This is my point, the **BCCTT are endless and exciting, creating a whole new level of performances not typically witnessed in decades or possibly ever. Instead of trying to invent new tricks or variations of tricks, I suggest contestants perfect the known ones and add to their score potential with increasingly impressive combinations. We will of course be happy to value and include whatever tricks and routines you would like to submit. All submitted tricks will be first classed by comparing it to the nearest traditional trick recorded, and determining how it’s performed based on two criteria factors.

1. Overall Safety of Horse and Rider / Including the appeal of the value versus the understanding that riders will be attempting to learn some of these tricks without a proper horse, horsemanship skills, equipment, and instruction. I maintain the philosophy that until we have had a couple of safe successful competitive seasons, shared open safety protocol and foundation clinics, and instituted a real time social media or Blog platform, we should err on the side of safety when valuing new tricks and variations. I do not wish to give a trick a higher value simply because someone personally chooses to put themselves at increased danger to chase points. Example: All tricks that are variations of the Cossack Drag or require you to put a foot into a strap that you cannot shake out of should the need arise. I look at a larger picture when trying to anticipate what such an increase could mean sport wide. With time, I see this concern waning as more contestants will be or attempting to perform the higher valued competition tricks to win. I do not wish to outlaw tricks, just value them to a point so there are other equally safe options. An Age Limit is another good tool to maintain a standard level of safety.

2. Audience appeal is the second criteria; how a trick is perceived by an audience. This remains true whether the trick in question is more or less difficult to perform than another trick or whether your audience is new to the sport or well educated. Simply put there is a huge difference between what is hard and what sells

Example: An audience considers the Ted Elder Suicide Drag much more spectacular than Under the Belly. I know that this is reversed in the order of difficulty to perform and how I would judge them. There will always be an attempt to enlighten contestants of not only the value of a trick but also other tricks in the same bracket that may be options for different riders’ inherent strengths. To understand the value of Core Tricks and to be able to make a distinction between their impact during a paid performance compared to their value in competition is the stuff that can separate a field of competitors decisively. You need to ask questions.

*In The Spirit of the Trick or Run: A run that makes trick riding sense.

Example: Full Shoulder Stand/Tail Stand Combination. Splits to the Neck/ Double Vaults. Hippodrome

Stand/One Foot.

Bad Example: Layout Fender/Half Shoulder Stand, Secret Trick/Slick Stand, Sit Down Fender/Spin the Horn, Side Drag/Reverse Crouper, Hippodrome/Spin the Horn,

**BCCTT Bonus Combination/Connective or Transition Tricks.


Page 7


The sincerest form of applause is a great gasp!


Speed Value of the horse and why it’s important to your score:

The artistry popularized as Trick and Fancy Riding visualizes an elite equestrian racing at breakneck speed while

performing seemingly death defying feats… effortlessly.

Of course, I could be wrong. Speed was responsible for 50% of the score during the original trick riding competitions. Last year it was 30% since it was going to be a large learning curve the first year under this criteria. I have increased the Speed Value to 35% this year. I don’t want people to think of this value as a set Miles Per Hour. It would be counterproductive to the safety of horse and rider to fall into a situation where we are racing against a clock as part of the competition. We must also recognize that different size horses and different breeds exhibit varied length of strides. Simply put, the certified TRA judges have ridden and performed on speed. They understand the difference between a horse that has a short stride and looks like they are tearing a hole in the wind, while in reality, as my Dad would have put it, couldn’t pull the hat off a fat man at top speed. They also understand that a long strided horse can appear slow moving while actually throwing huge amounts of power at their rider while covering massive expanses of arena. With all this in mind, I propose that the speed in which you perform is near the maximum both you and your horse feel you are performing safely. The horse’s speed should not exceed its ability to protect itself from falling or running into the fence without relying on the rider to intervene. I do not want speed to be an excuse for anyone to have a contestant at any age performing at a rate of speed that is not consistent with their experience or talent level. We ride speed because we can, and to win, not to chase points…

1. Speed gives you more lift performing groundwork

2. Speed smooths out your horse’s stride

3. Speed requires your horse to pay attention to performing their job and standing up

4. Speed requires you to trick ride less

5. Speed separates you from your competition

6. Speed increases the feedback you encounter against the Wall of Momentum

7. Speed scores higher

8. Speed causes the audience, new and educated, alike to hold their breath.


How Speed can cost you points

1. Restricting your horse’s speed in any way will carry a serious deduction in Presentation Points

2. Beginning your horse on the wrong lead will result in lost Presentation Points

3. Landing heavy into a trick and crawling into and out of tricks can alter a horse’s gait and speed

4. Beginning your trick before your horse has had a chance to get up to speed will result in a reduced Presentation Score

5. Dragging or time spent recovering drains a horse’s speed and will cost Execution and Presentation points


Additional Safety Notes related to all horses and speeds.

1. Blinders can be a handy training aid but can place a rider at greater risk

2. Reins placed under the throat latch is encouraged so if your horse stumbles, they are not lost over their head

3. Tie Downs are helpful to ride a horse but can greatly restrict their power of recovery if they stumble

a. Please keep in mind that girls and women spend a lot of time in their straps

b. Two main reasons I encourage getting out of one’s straps is because most falls happen as the horse is stopping

c. Speed carried around the corner of the arena through the third barrel hole, even if raked, is treacherous


Page 8


Form Breaks; what are they and how much is deducted?

I realize we have touched on these but it’s good to study them a little deeper because they potentially have a huge impact on your overall score. Please understand that the following is meant to be an example and not a full list. Should you need further clarification, pose a specific question on the TRA Facebook Page. You can also attend a judging seminar either live feed or one planned to be announced in conjunction with future Qualifiers. The term “In the Spirit of the Trick” refers to the way the originator performed it or possibly the best known traditional style recognized. This style will be considered correct and this is where the discussion will always stem. Should a rider wish to perform a traditional trick with a personal flare or style, this is completely allowed and encouraged. Please understand for the judges to mark you appropriately they would welcome a traditional performance of the trick in an early round so they can fully appreciate your individualism and talent while performing your version. This came up on a few tricks this year; Stroud Layout, Full Fender, Lay over the Neck, Leg Through the Saddle/Back Breaker


Form Break Possible Deductions:

1. Beginning your horse on the wrong lead or cross firing will result in Presentation deductions

2. Hesitating to begin a trick or taking too much time between tricks; usually more than three strides

3. Not completing a trick on the Contestants Original Score Sheet or in the Order written

4. Breaking form in a Strap or Balance Trick

5. Performing a double or triple bounce to recover while performing Groundwork

6. Not removing one’s feet from all Straps before the end of the run

7. Failure to sell your trick

8. Failure to acknowledge the audience even if there isn’t one

9. Crawling into, out of, and around on your horse

10. Saddle turning or some other equipment malfunction

11. Costume Malfunction. Costumes are not judged in the Individual Division unless they hinder your ability to perform 12. Getting stuck or entangled in your reins or other equipment/tack


Specific Notes to Acts:

13. All the Form Breaks mentioned in the Individual Division plus the following

14. The Arena is yours from the first crack of the gate until it closes as you exit; own it, no excuses

15. Lack luster entrance, sell out, or exit can affect acts first impression score adversely. Don’t stop performing

16. Script correctness and style of presentation counts

17. Music being timely, proper volume, and appropriate for family entertainment counts

18. Like themed and or matching clean costumes matter

19. Like themed and or matching clean tack matter

20. Loosing articles of tack or costumes could cause an automatic deduction. Crops or bats should be picked up

21. Like colored, proper sized, speed appropriate, clean horses matter

22. Performing out of order or tricks not matching the script because a performer forgot their order of tricks

23. Failing to produce an act that ascends in difficulty by trick selection

24. Ending a performance with a missed trick or a lower degree of difficulty trick

25. Not keeping the spacing and timing of an act consistent throughout the performance

26. We are counting the seconds between when a trick is finished and the next one begins; not when you leave the station;

anything over five seconds causes deductions

27. Audience appeal, horsemanship, execution, and showmanship matter; you are as strong as your weakest routine


Page 9

“In the Spirit of Competition”

The term “In the Spirit of the Competition” will aid when creating rules and decisions concerning the competition and sport as a whole. It requires and ensures the TRA, the certified judges, committees, hosts of qualifiers, producers of any potential medium, contestants and all participants (paid and volunteer) agree to strive to engage in Open, Transparent, and Constructive activities for all involved in the sport. They further agree to promote these core missions;

1. Safety of Horse and Rider

2. Audience Appeal and Education

3. Positive advancement of the sport into existing and new worldwide markets

4. Safety protocols for Endorsed Clinicians coupled with a transparent Incident Reporting System

5. Producing positive horse related events as well as combined clinics open to all levels, lending support to all involved in the sport, present and past. To convene and evolve all necessary portions of the competition once a year following the Championships in Las Vegas.


***Humane Treatment of Horses

1. Excessive whipping with a bat, crop, quirt, or reins or kicking will not be tolerated

2. If the horse consistently returns to a slower speed once the rider has dropped the crop, reins, etc., then the judges may determine the urging is having no effect on the horse’s speed score

3. Although asking for speed can affect a score positively in the overall Horsemanship/ Presentation portion of the competition, without the desired result it can result in deductions

4. Acting as if asking for speed is different than receiving speed. I have seen riders whip their horses while actually holding them back; no points for no results

5. To maintain a humane competition, the judges will have the final say pertaining to what is acceptable and safe. Over the entire competition, a rider will receive two warnings followed by a 5-point deduction on the next infraction; ultimately followed by dismissal from the arena and disqualification. I doubt this will ever occur but it’s best to have it spelled out

I understand there are many reasons to ask for speed in a competition. Requesting more speed during a competition appeals to a section of the audience and judges. It might also be necessary to get a horse’s attention while attempting a difficult run, a new trick, or to overcome some other distraction in the arena. With that being said, the appearance of forcing or injuring a horse during a competition directly contradicts the message we are trying to personify where we consider our horses our partners. We are highlighting the fact that our horses are performing almost at liberty and free from the rider’s constant control. Performing at their will, not ours, because they enjoy it begins a new conversation when animals are used for entertainment and sport. The thing that stands out in my mind would be hitting a horse over the head, in the eye, cramming them into the end fence, or some of the things I’ve seen to attempt to keep horses from cutting the corner. I am not talking about a simple over and under as you begin your run… It’s often caused by a loss of one’s temper.


Medicines and Dosage

1. Medicines and Dosage on Original Score Sheet / Completely Voluntary with the aim toward Transparency 1. I will be placing a Horse Medicine Questionnaire and Dosage Checklist on the Individual and Act Score Sheets. This is nothing to be concerned about, just an honest response to what and how much a horse is being given for inflammation, body soreness, etc. We also look forward to having useful discussions based on years of performing with trick riding horses, older horses, etc.

2. Typical injuries and PT of trick riding horses is another great topic. This is not meant to sound demeaning in any way to accomplished horsemen but a resource for parents and contestants newer to the industry where all of us can continue to learn…


go back to the top