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Rules & Regulations

We are so excited to have the privilege of hosting you and your equine teammates at the Bismarck Horse Club!

Below you will find our Bismarck Horse Club playday rules.

General Show / Playday / BHC Rules

1. An exhibitor must be a fully paid member of the BHC to be allowed to be mounted or show.

2. A parent, legal guardian or responsible adult over 18 years of age must be on the premises at all times for all youth, ages 17 and under. Should the youth not have supervision, they will not be allowed to participate in any events and the horse will be stalled until supervision is restored. Any fees paid for participation will be forfeited for events missed during the absence of supervision.

3. An exhibitor must have a signed “liability release” disclaimer, for the current year, on file with the Playday committee to be allowed to be mounted or show.

4. Registration closes at 11:59PM THE THURSDAY PRIOR TO THE SHOW. No adding classes after this time; no late entries will be allowed. There will be NO same day registration. Scratches will be allowed. 

5. Exhibitor numbers received at registration will continue to be used throughout the show year. Please KEEP YOUR NUMBER. We would prefer that numbers be attached to both sides of the horse saddle blanket versus pinned on the back of the exhibitor.

6. Age, for purposes of age divisions, will be calculated as of January 1st of the competition year. Each rider will remain in the same age group for the remainder of the show season.

7. Age divisions for western and speed events are as follows:
  o Walk/Trot 7 and under
  o Children’s 8 – 11*
  o Junior’s 12 –14
  o Senior’s 15 – 18
  o Adult’s 19 & over
  *For English events, Children ride in the Junior age group.

8. Certain events do not have categories for all aged riders. If a rider chooses to enter one of these classes in an older age group, they will be judged in that age group. The points earned in that class will not be eligible for all-around or high point year-end prizes. The points will be eligible for year-end awards in that class only. For example: if a 9 year old wants to ride in Reining, she/he will compete in the Junior age group for Reining. The points she/he earns in will not be counted towards the all-around or high point year-end prizes but she/he could be placed in the class for the year.

9. Horses are to be warmed up and exercised in arenas only. Only walking and trotting is allowed outside of the arenas, this includes the parking lot.
  o First violation: verbal warning
  o Second violation: suspended from next event scheduled to perform
  o Third violation: suspended from remaining events of the day.

10. Show management reserves the right to offer cash-payback for one or more shows and for one or more age divisions at some point throughout the show year.

11. All shows and events are weather dependent. Show management will make the final decision as to postpone, move, or cancel any show/event due to inclement weather. Please check Facebook & for announcements.

12. Riders must ride a family owned or leased horse under their direct care, unless approved by the board.

13. If your horse kicks, please tie a red ribbon in its tail.

14. Unruly/unsafe horses, as deemed by show management, will be asked to leave the premises or stalled until completion of the show. All fees for missed classes will be forfeited.

15. Horses may only be tied to horse trailers or in their stalls. Tying to fences, arena panels, or trees is not allowed. Horses are allowed to be turned loose in corrals, but overnight boarding in these corrals is prohibited unless cleared by the BHC Board. These corrals are available on a first come, first serve basis for a fee.

16. No horses are allowed within the fenced in shelter area of the park.


Contest Rules

17. The judge’s word is final. All questions for the judge must first be addressed to the ring steward. The Playday committee/show management reserves the right to hire/appoint multiple judges within the same show.

18. The Playday committee/show management reserves the right to judge, oversee, or appoint game and speed event officials. All decisions made by these appointees/judges are final.

19. Any questions or concerns may be addressed to the Playday committee/show management prior to the start of the next event or age division.


Classes and Procedure Rules

20. The order of participants in a class will be run from the gate or the crows nest at the playday committee/show management’s discretion. An exhibitor will be allowed 3 gate calls for their class. If the exhibitor is not present and ready to enter the arena at the third and final call, they will not be allowed to compete in that event. All fees will be forfeited for that class.

21. Notify the announcer or ring steward of any tack changes that may be cause for tardiness.

22. “Runs” in timed events are not to begin until all arena gates are closed and secure. Running through the gates will not be allowed. The horse must enter the arena in a controlled manner. Rider must be mounted prior to horse crossing the time line.

23. The Playday committee/show management reserves the right to offer a “Fun Event” free of charge for anyone to participate in. There will be a special award given for the winner of this class each day. Points earned in this class do not
count for daily or year end awards.

24. Each exhibitor will be allowed 30 seconds for an attempt at each trail obstacle. If the exhibitor has been unable to make reasonable progress (as deemed by the judge) on an obstacle, they will be asked to move on, resulting in no score for that obstacle. Should this occur more three times within the same pattern, the exhibitor will be asked to leave the arena.

25. Horse/Rider combination entered in the All Ages Walk/Trot & All Ages Walk/Trot Trail will not be eligible to compete in any other classes EXCEPT for Showmanship & Trail. Points will not be given in the All Ages Walk/Trot or All Ages Walk/Trot Trail nor will they count towards year end awards.

26. Points will be given in the Reining / Ranch Riding event and exhibitors will be eligible for year-end awards in that combined class for Adult, Senior, and Junior. However, these points will not contribute to the all-around year-end award for High Point.


27. The Playday committee and/or board reserve the right to allow exhibitors with disabilities to participate in class levels below their required age category as long as the participation in said class level is consistent throughout the season. Said exhibitor shall be eligible for points according to the system outlined for that class level in the BHC Playday rules. A waiver of liability must be on file according to BHC rules, and due caution and care necessary to ensure the safety of said participant rests on the responsible party(ies) of said participant.

28. An exhibitor entered in lead-line cannot enter into any other events.

29. For purposes of Walk/Trot games/speed events:
  o a horse/exhibitor combination that breaks stride to a lope for more than three strides through the pattern will be disqualified from that class.
  o Entries led by parents will be placed AFTER children that ride independently
  o The Playday committee and/or board reserve the right to utilize a nonstandard pattern for Walk/trot events.
  o The Playday committee and/or board reserve the right to “bump up” a Walk/Trot competitor to the next age division per the request of the parents or guardians.

30. Please refer to the ND State 4-H Guidebook for official rules.

31. Appropriate tack and equipment is expected and will be enforced.
  o Only one hand at a time may be used (in western performance events) on the reins if the horse is 6 years old or older. Two-handing a horse may result in disqualification. Special considerations may be made for exhibitors under 8
years old.
  o In western performance events, a bit with a shank and leverage action is required for all horses 6 years old and older and exhibitor must ride with only one hand on the reins.
  o Event-appropriate boots with a low or dropped heel are required for every mounted event.
  o Muck boots, overshoes, “heels-down” shoes and other substitutes will not be allowed.
  o Western hats or helmets and long-sleeved shirts are required for all Western performance classes.
  o Short-sleeved shirts and T-shirts are allowed for game events only. No sleeveless shirts/tank tops. Baseball caps are not allowed.
  o Helmets are strongly encouraged, but optional.
  o English attire is required for all English events. Jackets may be optional on exceptionally warm days at the discretion of that day’s judge. Helmets are required.

32. In most cases the judge will provide his/her own patterns, as necessary, show management may develop their own patterns (i.e. Trail).
  o The patterns allowed in reining will be limited to reining pattern No 1 and No 2 in the ND State 4-H Guidebook.
  o Patterns will be posted or announced a minimum of 1 hour in advance. The judge reserves the right to verbally describe patterns versus using a written/drawn pattern. The judge reserves the right to change/alter a posted pattern; all changes will be dually communicated to all exhibitors.
  o Rail work/pattern use will be at the discretion of the judge.


Entry and Fee Rules

33. All riders – including Leadline – MUST be members of the Bismarck Horse Club to participate in the Playdays. Trial memberships are no longer available. Entry fees and membership fees must be paid in full the THURSDAY PRIOR TO THE SHOW BY 11:59 PM. Failure to do so will result in disqualification of any event until fees are paid.

34. Exhibition rides will be allowed. The exhibitor will be required to pay a $5 entry fee for each exhibition ride/horse/event and sign a liability release. Exhibition rides will not be judged, nor will they be eligible for placing or awards. Exhibition rides must be designated prior to the exhibitor participating in that class on any horse.

35. A rider may ride two or more horses in a single event (with the exception of Hunter Under Saddle, Equitation, Hunter Hack, Showmanship, Pleasure, and Horsemanship).

  o For each additional horse, the rider is required to pay an additional $5 exhibition fee.
  o One horse must be designated the competition horse and one the exhibition horse.
  o The points earned by the competition horse will be the only ones considered for daily award points and year-end points.

36. No refunds will be given for scratched events/entries or for disqualified exhibitors. Unforeseen emergencies will be taken into consideration.

37.Anyone paying by check whose check is returned unpaid for any reason will be responsible for paying the amount of the original check, plus any fees assessed by the bank in cash.
  o All awards, points, and considerations will be withheld until payment is reached in full.
  o Failure to pay dept will result in forfeiture of any and all awards, points and considerations for that year’s BHC events.
  o Additionally, the committee and/or Board reserves the right to refuse payments made by “check” at any time.


38. To be considered for All-around year-end awards, an exhibitor must participate in a minimum of 2 Playdays.

39. An exhibitor must compete in a class at least twice to be eligible for yearend awards in that class.

40. If there are multiple age groups competing in the same class, points will be awarded to the individuals according to their normal age group. For example: If an 8-11 rider compete in the Open Hunter Hack and places 3rd
out of 6, they will receive 4 points towards their age group’s awards and towards the English awards.

41.Points for events are awarded in the following manner:
No. of entries    1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1                        1
2                        2     1
3                        3     2     1
4                        4     3     2     1
5                        5     4     3     2    1
6 or more          6    5     4     3     2    1
Entries are based on the number of exhibitors that entered the arena that are being judged. A disqualification does not result in fewer entries.

42. Daily award ties will be broken in the following manner:
  o Whoever participated in the most classes
  o Whoever earned the most first placings throughout the day
  o Whoever earned the most placings throughout the day

43. Year-end High-point ties will be broken in the following manner:
  o Whoever participated in the most Playdays
o   Whoever had the most placings in that event during the year
  o Whoever participated in the most events during the course of the year



Adopted: March 2010
Revised: May 2, 2010. October 30, 2010, April 23, 2014, May 4, 2017, April 7, 2024

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