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APHA & AQHA Make Changes to Pattern Scoring Systems

Filed under: Current Articles,Featured |     
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138 – July/Aug, 2018


One of the most valuable methods for improvement, in any aspect of life, is to review past performance. For equestrians, a judge’s scoresheet can be invaluable towards understanding how a rider’s performance was perceived, where he or she excelled, and where more progress could be made.

Despite the positive aspects of the check, check-plus, check-minus system currently utilized in Showmanship, Horsemanship, and Equitation classes, it made creating an objective standard for scoring more difficult. As a result, on January 1, 2019, both APHA and AQHA exhibitors will see a change to the scoring system that’s more in line with the already familiar scoring format of Trail and Western Riding, so read on for the much-anticipated details.


In a nutshell, both associations will use an identical system that places Showmanship, Equitation, and Horsemanship performances on a zero to infinity scale, with 70 being average. Individual maneuvers will be scored in ½ point increments from a low of -3 to a high of +3 with a score of 0 denoting a maneuver that’s correct but shows no degree of difficulty. A final score of 0 to +5 will be given for overall form and effectiveness at the completion of each run and no negative number option will be offered.

“The most positive aspect of the new system is that exhibitors are already familiar with points in relation to credits and penalties,” says Tina White, APHA, ApHC, PtHA, WCHA, PHBA, ASHA, and NSBA Judge, who penned the rule change for the 2018 APHA Convention. “The score sheets will have number value maneuver scores and penalties, just like Trail, Reining, and Western Riding, and the numbers are tallied to a final score. Because it’s familiar, it’s more easily understood.”

“This system gives a more accurate description of the actual run of an exhibitor and horse,” she explains. “Exhibitors will have a very clear understanding of the scores they received and how that score was achieved.”

Click here to read the complete article
138 – July/Aug, 2018
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