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Does A Fall Disqualify An Entry?



After Section A of the Four-Year-Old Stallion class was won by a horse that had fallen during the class, there have been several questions regarding the rules related to the fall of a horse or exhibitor.

Joe Cotten rode Main Power in the Four-Year-Old Stallion Class. On the reverse way of the ring while attempting to canter, the horse ran into the rail throwing Cotten to the ground. Both horse and rider suffered minor injuries, but Cotten remounted, finished the class, and was tied by three of the five judges to receive the win. Judge Laura Brandon, who was standing in front of the horse when the incident happened, tied him fourth.

According to the National Horse Show Commission rule book, “the fall of a horse and/or exhibitor shall not disqualify the entry, unless due to bad manners of the horse or unless the safety of the exhibitor is threatened.”

The rule book goes further to say that “horses being unruly, rearing up, balking, running off, or leaving the ring must be excused.”

Following the incident Main Power remained near his rider and did not act in an “unruly” way.

Therefore it was not necessary for the judges to excuse Main Power and each judge was correct in judging him based on what they had seen during the class.

Additionally, in the morning sessions of this year’s Celebration, several horses have fallen during the class and have not been excused by the judges.

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