American Show Jumping League

- Official Rules -
The American Show Jumping League (ASJL or League) is dedicated to providing an accurate listing of reported results. The League is not involved with the management of competitions or equestrian facilities.

The rules of the League establish the baseline requirements for accepting a participant’s scores and are subject to development with community input.

I. General Rules & Overview

A. The League provides specifications for a number of competition levels which correspond to increasing height and difficulty.

B. The League shall maintain and display an online list of participants who score a clear round in a “Qualifier” competition.

1. Records of clean rounds scored in official ASJL Qualifiers are to be maintained for each participating horse.

2. Records are to be maintained in online-accessible archives.

C. Horse and rider participants who score a clean round in an official League Qualifier are eligible to compete in a season-end League championships.

II. League Qualifiers  [back to top]

A. The purpose of a League Qualifier is to objectively establish levels of horse and/or rider skill, and offer a measure of readiness for a season-end championships.

B. Qualifiers are single-round, fault-scored competition. The goal is to complete the course of jumps without incurring penalty (a “clean round”), and thereby qualify for the season-end championships.

C. Each Qualifier course conforms to the standard specifications of its level (height, width, number of jumps, etc).

D. Qualifiers may be offered as a class at a horse show or other event, or may held independently.

E. The proposed facilities for competition may be of any adequate dimension as long as the grounds are safe for horses, with suitable fencing and footing.

1. The jumping surface should be level and free of hazards, and generally appropriate for novice competition.

2. Important amenities (restrooms, parking, concessions) should be listed on the facilities event page as general information, as these are not specifically required by the League.

F. Requirements to hold a League Qualifier

1. Facilities are adequate for equestrian competition.

2. Courses are built to meet the level’s League specifications (height, width, number of jumps, layout, etc).

3. General safety rules and humane treatment of horses are enforced at all times.

G. Limitations of the League

1. The League is not involved in event governance. The rules that govern each competition are determined by the event’s governing body and its management.

2. The League is committed to objective and fair score-keeping, and may disqualify a score not in compliance with League requirements.

3. There is mutual agreement that League requirements were met in the scores officially reported, however the League has no authority over the events that hold its Qualifiers.

4. The League does not inspect or verify any venues for safety and amenities, but will provide forum and comment space for substantive informed reports by members.

III. Participants  [back to top]

A. Horses

1. All participating horses must be sound and trained to the level of their entered competition.

2. Horses three (3) yrs and over may enter.

3. All tack must be in safe, clean, serviceable condition, and should correctly fit the horse and rider. Saddles designed for jumping are required for the Beginner level and higher.

4. Horses may compete with more than one rider.

5. Cruelty and/or rough handling of horses is not allowed and disqualifies scoring for that competition. It is expected that the competition management will disqualify anyone mistreating an animal, which will also serve to invalidate the scores for that participant. Protests by other witnesses are to be handled by public comment or established objection process.

6. Drugs

a. Forbidden substances or methods are not permissible.

b. The use of irritants such as blisters, ginger, or similar pain-inducing substance / device that may affect the gait, carriage, or performance of the horse is forbidden.

c. Horses must be made available for drug testing upon the request of competition management. Failure to do so will be penalized as an admission of guilt.

d. Permissible Medications

i. Veterinary treatments and medications are permitted.

e. Penalties.

f. Any exhibitor guilty of showing an animal under the influence of any prohibited drug, using any forbidden substance, or failing to file the required veterinarian’s certificate prior to competing will be disqualified and excluded from League results.

g. Additional penalties may also be given by competition management, based on the situation.

B. Riders

1. Riders should be capable of handling their mounts over the size fences and course complexity for the level they enter.

2. Apparel

a. Specific show apparel is not required, but the rider should present a clean, neat, workmanlike appearance.

b. Safe footwear is mandatory; a shoe with a leather heel is requested. Tennis shoes are prohibited.

c. Safe headgear is mandatory. Each rider must wear protective headgear that meets or surpasses current applicable American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) standards with Safety Engineering Institute (SEI) certification. In addition, the harness must be secured whenever mounted.

d. The show management will rule on disputes regarding the use of hard hats.

i. If a rider presents themselves at the ring-gate without proper footwear and approved protective headgear, it is expected that he/she will be refused entry to the class.

ii. Anyone riding outside the ring without a helmet is subject to disqualification from that Qualifier event.

IV. Venues & Management  [back to top]

A. Venues

1. Facilities holding each Qualifier are expected to be safe for competition.

2. Any facility of adequate size, fencing, and footing can host a League Qualifier: from pastures and backyard arenas to state-of-the-art exhibition grounds.

3. Facility amenities are not graded or rated, though facilities self-list and can describe their grounds. Conditions are not inspected or otherwise sanctioned by the League.

4. Participants must exercise their own judgment about the conditions in which they compete, and are encouraged to provide honest constructive feedback for others.

B. Management

1. Each competition’s management team is responsible for the operation of the event and for presenting Qualifier courses in compliance with League class specifications.

2. Each competitive event which registers to hold a League Qualifier will name an official League contact person as their Official Scorekeeper. This position is usually the competition secretary but may be anyone the event management wishes to appoint at the time of registration; the appointment may also be changed as needed.

3. The Official Scorekeeper is responsible for submitting accurate results within 48 hours after the end of the competition day, indicating which Qualifier participants scored clean rounds at their level.

4. Official Scorekeepers have authority over scoring. Decisions may be subject to protest and/or other action; though, the default position of the League is to accept the position of the League delegate.

5. The Official Scorekeeper has authority to disqualify a participant’s scores for violation of League rules.

6. The Official Scorekeeper may inspect headgear, and may compel an equipment removal or alteration if he/she believes it to be inhumane, or likely to offer a horse an unfair advantage.

7. If a matter cannot be solved by interpreting the rules to the letter, those responsible will adopt a solution that follows as nearly as possible the spirit of the rules and the humane and beneficial purpose and objectives of the League.

C. Scoring

1. Scores are maintained for each horse/rider pair.

2. The League accepts scores from each event with two expectations:

a. League rules and level class specifications were met, and

b. the official submitted scores are accurate.

3. Other than compiling the fairest possible scoring, there is no regulatory involvement or authority by the League.

a. Violation of League rules or guidelines is subject to score refusal, regardless of whether competition management disqualifies the participant for the offense.

D. Other classes

1. Any event holding a Qualifier is encouraged to hold additional competitions or exhibitions.

2. If a League Qualifier is held alone–with no other jumping competitions–it is to be preceded by a clean-round ‘warm-up’ class.

a. The warmup competition is run under the same general rules as observed for the Qualifier

b. For each level above Beginner, a minimum of two obstacles must be different from the Qualifier course that follows, either by layout/direction or construction.

V. Level Specifications  [back to top]

» Full Size

Level Fence Height Width No. of Fences Combos Class Specifications
Groundpoles 6-8 No changes of direction.
Crossbars 1’6″ (45 cm) 6-8 Optional change of direction.
Beginner 2′ (60 cm) 6-8 Optional change of direction.
Welcome 2’3 (68 cm) 2′ 7-8 Optional double. One (1) change of direction. Spreads optional.
Discovery 2’6 (76 cm) 2’3 8-9 Double Minimum of one (1) change of direction; three (3) spread fences.


VI. League Calendar  [back to top]

A. The League Calendar is the schedule of official Qualifiers and season-end championships.

1. The League Calendar is open for signups annually from April 10th – May 20th.

2. Dates for Qualifiers and the Championships are secured by signup, on a first-come/first-served basis.

a. Events registered during the open period are automatically granted for open requested date(s).

b. Additional Qualifiers may be provisionally scheduled on the same date, which will be granted if the new event does not significantly impact existing date holders. This determination is made by the League.

3. Subject to existing Calendar dates, new event signups may be made after the Calendar closing, up to 24 hours before the start of a competition.

a. Permission to share a date may be granted by the official date holder.

B. Date conflicts are to be resolved by the League.

C. If a separate event is not held, the last competition of a season holding a Qualifier is to be considered the season Championships.

VII. Miscellaneous Guidelines  [back to top]

A. Large class sizes should be divided for the convenience of participants. Smaller class sizes are welcome.

B. A minimum of two (2) horse and rider combinations must participate in a Qualifier for the result to be recorded as an official score.

C. Each rider should present themselves promptly when their turn arrives. If a rider is called and is not present, a one-minute call is announced for that rider to enter the arena. Failure to show is penalized by disqualification without refund.

D. Each rider has 3 minutes to complete the course to earn qualification, with a 4 minute total time allowed. There may be notification by audible sound or announcement when a rider meets the 3 minute mark. Riders are asked to exit the arena before the time allowed expires.

E. A refusal disqualifies the participant’s score for that Qualifier, but the horse and rider may continue on course subject to the time allowed.

F. A fall in competition is considered instant elimination from that class. A rider is considered to have fallen if separated from his/her mount. A horse is considered to have fallen when its shoulder and haunch on the same side have touched the ground, or an obstacle and the ground.

G. Being schooled/coached while on course is permitted BUT disqualifies the participant’s score. Trainers cannot enter the arena but can comment from ringside. The time allowed will remain in effect, and no jumps are to be altered without explicit permission of competition management.

H. Code of Conduct

1. The League encourages sportsmanlike conduct from participants. Grassroots competition is more than just competition … it is also to celebrate horses as a community.

2. An expectation of respect for competition management exists for all participants, trainers and supporters.

3. Repeated or severe discourtesy may result in disallowance of scores.

I. Protests, Objections & Complaints

1. Participants may comment critically and respectfully on a competition or venue’s League page. If there is a serious objection lodged, opposing interests will be given a chance to state their views before a decision is made.

a. Upon request or if sufficient controversy exists, a comment thread on the complaint will be created and held open for 30 days for public comment, at the end of which the League will submit their decision.

b. The complaint’s comment forum will be archived online for registered members.

2. Other than compiling the fairest possible scoring, there is no regulatory involvement or authority over competitions that register to hold League Qualifiers. Our complaint process is independent of the competitions themselves, and affects only the scores and resulting qualifications of League participants. Rules of the management and any sanctioning bodies preside.

VIII. FAQ  [back to top]

Is the League stringent about footing quality?
While facilities hosting league events should be safe and free from hazards, it is not necessary or even desirable that the footing be overly groomed for regular riding over smaller fences. Safe conditions are vital.

Why is speed is not a factor?
Speed adds volatility to lower level competition when riders are learning, as it affects some horse’s attitudes and can lead to poor/unsafe practices. There are many riding challenges to conquer that prepare one for jumping at speed, and the lower levels can offer ways to practice those aspects … such as the factor of observing a time allowed, which challenges riders to remain conscious of pace. “Exact Time” competitions are encouraged to add a further time-related challenge suited to novice competition.

Banded Scheduling
The League supports banded scheduling of each level, so that the classes for a given level run back to back and shorten the time needed to be at a particular event. Banded scheduling allows not only quicker days for competitors, but one more intensely focused on the event performance.

Are sponsorships permitted? Are other competition series or award classes allowed?
Absolutely permitted and encouraged. this simple open structure allows for any kind of series or sponsorship, with a simple, objective and logical sporting progression.

What support might come from a Show Jumping League?
Horse event management help, media kit materials, articles & ideas, professionally designed course diagrams, forms, reporting, media relations.

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