Rules for Western Singles at the Hobbyhorse Championship 2023


The size of the western arena is 7×14 meters. A firm sports surface is recommended.



There are three basic types of courses used and evaluated in westerns:

2.1 Walking

When walking, the horse walks relaxed and steps forward. A slow and collected gait is ideal at most western events.

2.2 Jog aka slow trot

It’s slow and soft. There are fewer impulses in it than in the (dressage) trot. The steps are short and low. The steps are still a clear trot, and not, for example, a fast walk. In an extended jog, the stride is stretched longer, but the pace remains as usual.

2.3 Lope aka slow canter

It’s slow and soft. The steps are short and slow. When riding clockwise, the right lope (leading right foot) should be ridden and vice versa unless otherwise requested.


The types of courses used and their adherence are subject to evaluation. The types of courses that the rider is obliged to use and the parts of the track in which he is obliged to use them are indicated on the track layout.




The following types of manoeuvres are most commonly used in western driving.


3.1 Stop and stand

In western riding, the horse usually backs up a few steps when stopped. However, steps backwards should not be taken in a competition unless specified in the pattern. A good stop is done with both feet together with good stance.


3.2 Volt

Volte is a small circle whose diameter is half the width of the slide. The size of the volte can also be defined in the template. The horse is bent inwards. There is no bending unless the diameter of the volte requires it.


3.3 Le yield

The horse moves forward and sideways at the same time. The horse is slightly bent away from the movement. The fore (head) and hind (stick) of the horse should move in the same line: not the head or the stick first.


3.4 Side Pass

Moving sideways. The horse does not move forward at all, only sideways. The position and bend are the same as for Le yield.


3.5 Shoulder inwards

The rider’s legs and the horse’s head are positioned and bent inwards. The inner shoulder of the rider is positioned slightly forward.

3.6 Turn on the forehand and turn on the haunches

In a forward turn, the rider performs a 180-degree movement with the horse’s head as the pivot point within the movement. The backward turn is the opposite of the forward turn: a 180-degree movement with the end of the tailstock stick as the pivot point within the movement. In both movements, the legs move in two paths and the horse is slightly bent in the direction of movement.

3.7 Spin

The spin is a 360 degree turn on the hind legs. The rider performs a 180 degree movement with the end
sticks hobby horse as a pivot point inside the movement. The horse may be slightly bent in the direction of movement.

3.8 Flying/lead change, changing leads

The rider changes the lead leg of the canter. When using the smoker, the rider also changes the leading reins. Unlike dressage, the strides when changing leg priority are quite low.


The types of manoeuvres used and their adherence are subject to evaluation. The types of manoeuvres a rider is obliged to use and the parts of the course in which he is to use them are shown on the course layout.




4.1 Equipment

The use of a western bridle is recommended, which means that the bridle does not have a top bit. Required is a curb chain, strap, hackamore or bosal. If curb chain is used, split reins must be used. Martingales or other aids are not allowed. Western-styled breast collars are allowed. Bandages are not allowed. The whip is not used in western racing.


When riding with the smoker, the split reins are crossed in a rare case. When riding with the smoker and bosal they hold the reins in the English style, that is, with both hands. The outer hand holds the staff and outer reins, while the inner hand holds the inner reins. The inner hand should remain at the same level as the outer hand. When changing direction, the rider is also required to change hands on the reins – when changing direction from the left (meaning the outside hand is left) to the right (meaning the outside hand is right), the reins change from left hand to right hand hold.


On trail and ranch rides, the reins can be moved to one hand if necessary to accomplish the task .

When using a curb bit, the index finger should be between the two reins and the rest of the rein should pass through the palm. The hand with the reins should be approximately 10 to 20 cm above the horse, depending on its size. The other (free) hand holds the stick. Excess reins must be on the hand side with the reins. Penalty points are awarded for touching the reins with the free hand. Changing hands with the reins is not allowed unless necessary to perform a task in a trail or ranch course (e.g. gate). The one-handed hold can be performed by holding the reins and the stick with the same hand and holding the free hand at the side or as a ‘shadow hand’ next to the hand with the reins. The details of holding the reins are not judged, the most important thing to remember is to use two hands with the smoker and one hand when using the western lever.


4.2 Clothing

There are no special requirements for the rider’s clothing. Sports shoes are compulsory. The recommended attire is a long-sleeved shirt with a collar. In many events, the overall appearance of the rider affects the scoring, so neat clothing and appropriate equipment is recommended. Stetsons/cowboy hats are allowed.


4.3 Rider position during task execution

The rider must have the correct stance and should not lean forward in particular. The rider’s back is relaxed and supple and his legs work independently. The upper body is straight and calm and the arms are stable while remaining relaxed.




This competition evaluates moves, manoeuvres and lead changes. Emphasis is placed on fluency and steady gait pace and accuracy and ease of lead changes. The horse is shown with light contact or on a reasonably loose bridle.



5.1 Scoring

Riders will be scored from 0 to 100, with each rider being assigned 70 points at the start, to which additional points will be added or subtracted.


Points will be added or deducted for manoeuvres on the following bases ranging from plus 1.5 to minus 1.5:
-1.5 extremely weak,
-1 very weak,
-0.5 weak,
0 average,
+0.5 good,
+1 very good,
+1.5 excellent

In addition, riders will be awarded points for overall impression in two categories (from 0 to 5 points):

  • observance of correct procedures, cornering, precision
  • rider’s gaze and stance, horse’s support


5.2 Sanctions

Errors are divided into offences and faults according to their severity. The referee assesses them on the basis of how serious and continuing the fault is:

Offence: 1 – 2 penalty points
breaking gait within two strides, touching obstacles, wrong position of rider or horse, premature or late change of lead, wrong way of jumping over the log (leading leg goes first)

Error: 3 – 5 penalty points
incorrect gait, change of lead through running, horse, touch of reins with stick hand, touch of marks

5.3 Disqualification

improper progression, knocking a marker off or crossing it on the wrong side, missing an obstacle completely, falling/falling (knee or hand touches the ground or the stick does not stay between the legs), improper holding of the reins, starting the performance without the referee’s permission, interfering with others during the performance, visible or serious injury, illegal equipment

5.4 Evaluation

For western singles, the scoring will be based on the number of points and the best time as follows:


  • The riders will be ranked first according to the number of points they have scored
  • If multiple riders score the same number of points – ridden time is used as a second criterion – and the riders in the same position are ranked in ascending order by time (from lowest time upwards)
  • The winner is the rider who scored the most points (if more than one rider scored the same number of points, the one who completed the course in the minimum time).
  • Other riders are ranked according to their ranking
  • If a rider is entered in a discipline with two hobbyhorses, only one of them will be judged, the one with the better ranking.
  • Excluded riders will not be evaluated

Update: May 2023