• In 1993, only 13
local programs had
Equestrian. Today 58
local programs offer
the sport, with over 500
athletes training across
the state. In 1990,
the SONC Equestrian
Development Team was established, the first in the
state and one of the first in the country, serving as a
model for all other SONC sports.
• All riders participate in screening on the first day at the
state-level event to ensure they are in proper divisions
for events over the next two days.
All awards are given as each event concludes.
Athletes report directly to an awards area
after each event, so please do not pull them
from their group until after the ceremony.
What are the levels for riders?
• Level A: able to walk, trot/jog, and lope/
canter their horse (advanced techniques)
• Level B: able to walk and trot/jog their horse
• Level C: only walk their horses (beginner
• Riders are grouped as either I for Independent
or S for Supported meaning they will have some
people supporting them during their event.
No dogs or flash
of clapping for the
athletes, wave your
hands in the air for
so as to not
startle the horses.
Equitation: riders are judged on how they are positioned
on the horse and the ability to influence the horse.
Athletes will be asked to perform pattern and gait for
their appropriate level. Western and English refer to the
tack and attire of the athlete and horse.
Dressage and Western Riding: athletes memorize and
execute a pattern more complicated than equitation.
The goal is to make riding look effortless while the
horse seamlessly executes the pattern. Western riding is
sometimes referred to as the Western version of dressage
and simply has different patterns and techniques than
Showmanship: athletes will be judged on their ability to
handle and show the horse. The appearance of the horse
and tack are all judged. This includes grooming, trimming
of the horse, tack-halter and bridle.
Working Trails: an obstacle course for the horse and
rider that includes things like crossing a bridge and
weaving through cones.
Gymkhana: also known as game classes; includes pole
bending (weaving amongst poles), barrel racing (performing
a clover leaf pattern around 3 barrels), and figure 8 stake
(doing a figure 8 pattern). Results are based on time.