There are certain class conditions that are strictly followed in the jumper classes at all American Horse Show Association (AHSA) rates shows. AHSA’s system works this way so that the organization can be confident no one will be confused about the rules or tables of jumper classes. There are four tables; this method is designed to make the horse show as fair as possible for everyone. These rules are enforced by every horse show’s management, so that the different jumper classes will always go by the same policy even at different horse shows. All of the competitors receive an equivalent number of faults for the same mistakes, and allotted the same amount of time on course.
A Table I class is a touch class. This means that the competitors can only acquire jumping faults. Time only matters in a Table I jumper class when there is a failure to enter the ring within one minute of being called or when the competitor does not cross the starting line within sixty seconds after the signal to proceed. All of these result in elimination. Other errors that result in an elimination are a third refusal, fall or horse and/or rider, excessive use of a crop or spurs, going off the set course, or exceeding the time limit. In the event of equality of faults for first place, except in preliminary classes, successive jump-offs will be held. A competitor may receive faults for any of the following: touching the obstacle with any part of the horse, rider, or equipment, hoof marks on the lath or a foot in the water, knocking down a jump or any timing equipment, or a refusal.
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The next classification of rules is Table II. Faults and eliminations are scored exactly as they are in Table I, except touches are not penalized. One for or more in the water incurs four faults, and a knockdown of the rail above the water incurs four faults. Classes in this table that are scored on faults and time are either times first round, time first round with designed jump-off, timed first jump-off, times second jump-off, or fault and out time. There are a few times when classes in this talbe are scored only on faults. Examples of this are the six bar class, puissance, high jump, match races, and relays.
Faults are converted into seconds in Table III. Faults incurred when: jumping an obstacle, knocking down a boundary flag, putting any foot in the water (or on the marking lath) are penalized by adding four seconds for each occurrence. The first two refusals are penalized by automatically the extra time taken. When you surpass the time allowed, each second is penalized with one second. The rotating pair relay is included in Table III, and is for teams of two. The horse may only compete once in this class, but the rider may compete on more than one horse. The competitor who crossed the first start line must jump the first fence and the competitor who jumps the last fence must cross the finish line. The fastest overall time wins.
Table IV is designed for the local horse shows. In Table IV(a), the first round time is neither scored or applied. In case of a tie there will be a jump0off for first place only. Faults and eliminations are scored as Table I. For Table IV(b) the competitor stays in the ring after the first round for the jump-off, if they are eligible. Participants must wait upon an audible signal before beginning their jump-off round. If there are no initial clean rounds and a tie exists for first place, a jump-off is held. In Table IV(c) if a competitor has gone clean in the first round, he/she commences the jump-off course immediately after crossing the finish line. Finally, if there are no initial clean rounds and a tie exists for first place, a jump-off is held.
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If you were to ask any horse show rider what a specific rule is for the jumper classes, they would be able to tell you almost instantly. That proves that the system AHSA developed works well. These four methods of organizing the jumper divisions that I have talked about compliment each other. They are created in a manor that helps people understand why certain things are done and assures the competitors of fair treatment.