Equine Sports UK Rules

Equine Sports UK Grassroots Championships are held solely for grass-roots competitors. We respectfully remind all competitors to enter in the spirit of grassroots championships.
To avoid confusion our definition of Grassroots is as follows:
  • Definition of a grassroots rider - a person who engages in the most basic level of horse-riding (as opposed to an amateur - a person who engages in a pursuit, especially a sport, on an unpaid basis)
The following restrictions apply and are excluded from the Championships:
  • Professional Riders, (those who make a full-time living out of buying, selling, producing, breaking, schooling, teaching, grooming, training or competing).
  • Horses/Ponies/Riders combination not to have qualified in (excludes current year) or competed in any classes at Olympia, RIHS or Horse of the Year Show including Search for a Star in the past five years.
  • Rider not to have ridden at Olympia, RIHS, Horse of the Year Show including Search for a Star in the past five years.

Any person wishing to register an objection or complaint about a competitor must do so in writing either on the day or within 7 days.  A £50 deposit must accompany the objection/complaint which will be forefeited if the objection/complaint is not valid and/or upheld.


  • No horse/pony can be entered more than once for any class
  • One rider may enter more than one different horse/pony in Show Jumping, Dressage and Working Hunter classes.
  • The judge’s decision is final.  Objections must be made in writing within 30 minutes after the class has finished and must be accompanied by a £50 deposit which will only be refunded if the objection is upheld.
  • Competitors take part entirely at their own risk. It is strongly advised that all competitors have a third-party liability insurance in place when competing at our Championships.
  • It is the responsibility of all horse/pony owners to ensure that their animals are fully vaccinated against equine flu.
  • Correctly secured Skull Caps/Riding Hats Nos. PAS 015 2011, VG1, (BS) EN1384 2017, ASTM F1163 04a onwards, SNELL E2016 onwards, AS/NZS 3838 2006 onwards MUST be worn by riders at all times when mounted.  Hats should have a plain cover either Black, Navy Blue, Brown, Grey or Green.  Velvet covers are encouraged.  ESUK encourages competitors to have their hats tagged through either the Pony Club, British Riding Club, British Eventing or British Show Pony Society or similar hat tagging scheme.
  • A rider whose hat comes off will be eliminated.
  • A rider, whose strap comes undone whilst competing, must on penalty of elimination replace it or fasten it before continuing. They may stop without penalty to fasten the strap.
  • Body Protectors MUST be worn when jumping in any WHP and WH classes including the practice ring.  A British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) approved and appropriately labelled "Level 3 body protector" with the year 2009 (Purple) or 2018 (Blue and Black) shown on the label.  BETA recommends body protectors are replaced at least every three to five years, after which the impact absorption properties of the foam may have started to decline.
  • All types of Air Jackets are not allowed.
  • No rider may compete in ESUK clases with any type of broken limb.
  • Competitors must be correctly dressed when competing, i.e. hat, jacket, collar and tie/stock, jodphurs and riding boots.
  • No items of saddlery or equipment is to be misused.
  • Competitors shall not ill-treat their animals at any time whether by misuse or excessive use of a whip.
  • No whips or spurs are allowed to be used in the gymkhana classes.
  • Ponies/horses must be four years old and over in all ridden classes. The age shall be calculated from the 1st January in the year of its birth.
  • All competitors must be the right age/height for the animal.  
  • A fall of horse or rider in any Class will result in disqualification and they MUST leave the ring dismounted.
  • Animals displaying continued disobedience, or animals leaving the ring whether mounted or dismounted will be disqualified.
  • Cantering on the showground is not allowed – except in the rings or working in area.
  • Pedestrians must not walk in the Horse Walks at any time unless handling a horse/pony.
  • Bicycles, scooters or segways are not allowed in any areas.
  • No person shall behave in an offensive or abusive or unpleasant manner to any person at the show.
  • No fires, barbecues or naked flames are allowed on the show ground.
  • Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times and all poop picked up and disposed of in rubbish bins.

Show Jumping

  • Horse/Pony/Rider combination not to have earned more than twenty five (25) British Show Jumping points by 1st August in the current year (does not apply to BS Club points).
  • Adults may only compete in the Show Jumping Classes, provided the pony is 133cms or over and the riders height and weight is appropriate.
  • The same Pony/Horse may not be ridden by another rider in the same Pony/Horse Show Jumping Classes.
  • Any Horse/Pony and Rider Combination may only compete in three Show Jumping Classes on each day.  Classes entered must follow each height level, example: 70cm, 80cm, 90cm NOT 60cm, 80cm, 90cm.
  • Ponies may not compete in the Horse Show Jumping Classes.
  • Children may compete on horses in the Horse Show Jumping Classes provided they are 13 years of age or over as of the 1st January in the current year.
  • Horses/Ponies must be entered in their Passport Registered Name not their Stable Name.  Passports will be checked against entered name in all Show Jumping Classes and BS records confirmed.
  • Weighted back boots are forbidden in all Show Jumping Classes.
  • British Show Jumping Stallion Grading Rules do not apply.
  • All Stallions must wear a white tail ribbon and be handled/ridden correctly at all times.
  • A fall of horse or rider in any Class will result in disqualification and they MUST leave the ring dismounted.


  • Rider not to be a BD Group 6 or above
  • Horse/rider combination not to have won more than 50 BD points in the current year
  • No callers are permitted in any of the Championship Classes (does not apply to Open Classes)


  • Horses/Ponies must not have been professionally produced or trained for the show ring, or kept in training or livery at a professional showing yard since 1st February in the current year.
  • Horses/Ponies bought from a professional showing producer after 1st February in the current year are not eligible to compete in that year's  Championships.
  • Horses/Ponies cannot be ridden at the Championships by a rider that has ridden for a professional producer/trainer/groom in the past ten (10) years (unless in lead rein classes).
  • Horses/Ponies and riders cannot have received any help from a professional producer/trainer/groom at any show since 1st February in the current year.
  • Competitors will not be allowed into the showing ring late, after the class has been asked to trot.
  • Stallions and colts over 138cms may not be ridden or led by juniors who have not attained their 14th birthday before 1st January in the current year.
  • All riders/handlers must be three years old or over.
  • Ponies/horses must be four years old and over in all ridden classes. The age shall be calculated from the 1st January in the year of its birth.
  • Stallions or colts may NOT be entered in the Young Handler, Lead Rein, First Ridden, M&M LR or FR or any Show Pony Class.
  • In all lead rein classes, ponies not to exceed 128cm.
  • Earrings must not be worn in any Showing classes including Working Hunter classes.
  • In the event of a rider having to leave his pony in the showing ring, during the judging of a class, to enable him to participate in another class, then the rider must complete his show both ridden and in-hand.
  • Spurs must not be worn in Working Hunter Pony classes.
  • During In-hand classes/sections including WHP Phase II sections, if an animal gets loose from its handler it will result in disqualification.
  • Hind boots are not permitted in any Working Hunter class.  Front boots including over-reach boots of a plain colour may be used for Phase 1 of the WHP/WH classes ONLY and must be removed before Phase 2.

Child Protection

  • Child protection is defined in the Children Act 1989 and legislation is in place to protect children from significant harm, abuse (physical/sexual/emotional) neglect and exploitation.
  • Equine Sports UK Limited takes its responsibilities to ensure that children competing at our event do so in a safe and protected environment.
  • In all circumstances parents remain accountable and responsible for the safety of their children and their own actions and behaviour towards their own and other peoples children whilst competing at ESUK.
  • At our Championship show we take the safety and security very seriously and always contract with an appropriate security provider to minimise risks and ensure that everyone can compete in a safe environment.
  • It is everyone's responsibility to report and take action, if they believe any child is being subject to abuse.  In such circumstances, ESUK will report these matters to the Police and relevant child protection agencies immediately upon receipt of such information.  Information of this nature will not and cannot be kept confidential as the safety of child and young people is paramount.    

Disability Policy

  • Equine Sports UK is supportive of riders competing in its classes who may suffer from a physical or learning disability.  We recognise that horses and ponies can have a very positive impact on the lives of people suffering a disability and as such will endeavour to be as supportive as possible in these situations.
  • Riders who have a disability are welcome to compete in ESUK classes providing the following criteria are met;
    • All riders are judged equally, one against the other;
    • Riders with a disability must only compete in classes in accordance with the rules and eligibility as described in our rules
    • We reserve the right to make reasonable adjustment to allow a rider with a disability to compete in its classes; this is at the sole discretion of ESUK
    • All riders in ESUK classes must be competent and able to compete without putting the safety of others at risk
    • Any rider seeking a dispensation card for a permanent or temporary physical disability must also have a doctors letter stating their fitness to ride in the class (no rider may compete in ESUK classes with any type of broken limb)
  • It is recognised that riders with, for example, hearing loss or learning difficulties may require extra patience and care from stewards, judges and officials to ensure they clearly understand any instructions given to them, e.g. setting a show or being asked questions by the judge.  In such circumstances, the parent or relation of the competitor must advise the steward in advance of the class, who will then ensure the judge is made aware of the particular circumstances in advance of the class commencing and make reasonable adjustments.
  • Any person who has any issues or concerns regarding competing in ESUK classes with any form of disability, should contact Equine Sports UK Limited.

Social Media and Internet Policy

  • Equine Sports UK acknowledges the importance of the internet and social media sites such as Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), Snapchat, Instagram, chat rooms and forums and all other forms of electronic comunication and the role which 'social media' plays in the day to day lives of its competitors.  This policy is to remind members that the rules of ESUK apply to competitors when using social media and the internet. 
  • You should be aware that ESUK may from time to time carry out internet searches to identify postings which include references to ESUK and its members.
  • ESUK produced images are the subject of copyright and should not be copied or used in social media without our written permission.
  • Any material that is transmitted or posted to social media should clearly state that it is your personal view and is not held out to be, or could be mistaken as, the view of ESUK
  • Material must not be posted which could damage the name or reputation of ESUK, its competitors or officials, or which is derogatory to the character of or prejudicial to the interests of ESUK.
  • Material must not be posted relating to ESUK, competitors or their horses or ponies, or which otherwise be associated with or which may reasonably be attributed as coming from ESUK:
    • that is threatening, defamatory, obscene, seditious, offensive, pornographic, abusive, liable to incite racial hatred, discriminatory, menacing, scandalous, inflammatory, blasphemous, in breach of confidence, in breach of privacy or which may cause annoyance, distress or inconvenience; or
    • which constitutes or encourages conduct that would be in breach of the rules of ESUK, or constitutes a criminal offence, or which could give rise to civil liability, or otherwise be contrary to the laws of, or infringe the rights of any third party in the UK or any other country in the world.
  • You should be aware that ESUK will fully co-operate with any law enforcement authorities or court order requesting or directing ESUK to disclose the identity or locate anyone posting any material in breach of this policy.  If we are requested by the police or any other regulatory or government authority investigating suspected illegal activities to provide your personal information, ESUK is entitled to do so.