Rule Book

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General Rules


Teams will consist of a minimum of four riders and ponies and a maximum of five riders and ponies. Once a competition has begun, the five riders and ponies stated on the declaration form may not be substituted. Team Trainers and Representatives are asked to pay special attention to the safety and weight of riders in relation to the size of their pony. If the Referee deems a rider to be overweight or unsafe, that rider will be eliminated from the competition.

(N.B. In International competitions only, any team that loses ponies by accident or unsoundness and has less than four ponies, may borrow ponies from any available source in order to continue)



Ponies must have leather or synthetic saddles with trees, complete with stirrups and a girth with two buckles on each side. The following bits are permitted: – Single ring jointed snaffle, Straight bar snaffle, Fulmer snaffle, Hanging cheek snaffle (The length of the cheek bar of the Hanging cheek snaffle shall not exceed 89mm (3½ inches)) The Referee may inspect any pony/team and its tack at any time. His/her ruling as to safety and/or severity will be final. The use of blinkers is not permitted.



Jodhpurs and jodhpur boots will be worn by all riders. Standard approved riding hats, correctly fitted, shall be worn. The hat must be fitted with a secure chin strap or approved harness which must be fastened at all times whenever mounted. If a chin strap accidentally becomes undone during a race, the rider must IMMEDIATELY fasten the chin strap and continue the race from the point where the chin strap became undone. Failure to do so will incur elimination. In the Pony Express race, if the postman is a rider, an approved, securely fastened riding hat shall be worn.



All competitions will be under the overall control of the Referee, whose decision, in all matters, is final.



No objections or representations to any of the Officials in charge of the competition will be permitted after the briefing. An objection may only be made by an official Team Representative. No objections may be made to any decision made by the Referee.



Officials only are allowed in the Arena once the competition has started. The Officials are as follows: Competition Organiser, Referee, Judges, Commentator, Assistant Referees, Team Trainers of competing teams and Arena Party. Only one trainer per team may be in the arena during a competition. Any infringement of this rule will incur the elimination of the team concerned.


Hat Bands  

The last member of each team must finish the race wearing a hat band, not less than 1.5 inches (3.5cm) wide. The hat band must not be changed from one rider to another once a race has started. Any infringement will incur elimination. If the hat band comes off the hat during a race, the last rider may return to replace it and must cross the finish line with the hat band in place. Hat bands should normally be either black or white.


Spurs and Whips  

Spurs and whips are not allowed and substitutes for a whip, such as a baton, cane or the reins, are not permitted. Any such use will incur elimination. Encouragement of a pony by waving a piece of equipment by the side of the pony is permissible, provided that the pony is not hit by the piece of equipment. Hitting the pony with the hand to act as an aid is not permissible.


Bad or Unsportsmanlike Behaviour  

Bad or unsportsmanlike behaviour by a team, rider or supporters, including intimidation of officials, will incur elimination of the team or individual concerned. Any rider using foul or abusive language during a race will be eliminated from that race. Abuse of equipment i.e. throwing the equipment to the ground in temper shall also be considered to be unsportsmanlike behaviour and will incur elimination.



The use of any artificial stimulants for either riders or ponies is strictly forbidden.


Hors Concours  

Whenever a team, pair or individual are riding hors concours they may ride as normal but they shall not be awarded any points.

General Game Rules

Arena and Markings  

The Arena is defined as the roped or fenced off area within which the games are played and the playing area is situated. The playing area is the area which contains the necessary markings for the games. The playing area should be marked out in accordance with the diagram in this rule book. All lane widths should be equal. Each lane should have a minimum width of 8 yds (7.31 m). However, if possible, given the size and layout of the space available, lane widths should be increased to 10 yards (9.14m) Corner flags will be placed at each end of the Start/Finish line and the Changeover line. These flags must remain upright throughout the competition. Riders must pass between the flags when crossing the Start/Finish line or the Changeover line to complete their part in a race. Bending poles will have a 6 inches (15 cm) diameter mark, other equipment a 16 inches (40.5cm) mark (i.e. the size of the tyre). The Referee will state at the briefing if the arena is so marked. Should markings become obliterated, then the Referee’s decision will be final. Any equipment knocked over by a rider must be replaced on, inside or touching the mark. Once a race has begun, no pony should enter the 10 yard (9.14m) box except the next pony to go. Trainers must not enter the 10 yard (9.14m) box at any time during a race.


Broken Equipment

Broken equipment will entail elimination of the team or individual in the race in which the breakage occurs. Broken equipment is defined as equipment which is not suitable for commencing a race with. Pierced litter is not defined as broken when it is pierced during the course of a race. Loss of a flag from a flag cane will not incur elimination. In those races which involve the use of a cane, provided that the race can be finished, a team will not be eliminated for broken equipment if the cane is broken.



All four feet of the ponies involved in a changeover must be behind the start/finish or changeover line when the changeover takes place. Only the next rider to go may enter the 10 yard (9.14m) box to take up position on the Start/Finish or Changeover line. All other riders must be outside the 10 yard (9.14m) box. If an article is dropped at a changeover, either rider involved may recover it, providing that it is dropped behind the line. If the article is dropped/knocked into the playing area, then the outgoing rider may recover it, but must return over the line before proceeding. All changeovers involving passing a piece of equipment from one rider to another must be made from hand to hand.



No rider may help another rider unless they are both involved in a changeover or are competing as a pair.


Dropped Equipment  

If any article is dropped by a rider when ATTEMPTING to put it on/in or take it of/out of any container, holder or pole, the rider may dismount to put the article into/onto or take it out/of the container, holder or pole, dismounted, including any other articles upset except where stated in certain games. The rider must remount to continue the race. The rider may continue with any piece of equipment not necessarily the one that he/she was originally carrying. If an article is displaced after the rider has crossed the finish line, no elimination is incurred.


Dislodged Equipment  

If a piece of equipment, normally on the ground (e.g. socks, litter etc.), is knocked from behind the changeover line into the playing area, then any subsequent rider may pick up that item providing that they cross the changeover line before progressing. Equipment may be steadied, where necessary, by the use of the hand.



If a rider falls off and loses his/her pony, he/she must Return to the place where he/she lost the pony before continuing the race with his/her pony again. A loose pony must be held outside the marked out playing area when recaptured and waiting for collection by its rider.



A rider must be in contact with his/her pony at all times unless the pony is being held by a fellow team member in a pairs race. If a rider loses contact with their pony, then he/she must return to the place where contact was lost before continuing the race.


Correcting Errors  

Any rider may return to correct his error, even after crossing the finish line, provided that the Referee has not declared the race to be over. Errors must be undone and then corrected in the right sequence before proceeding except where varied by the rules of a particular race e.g. Association Race, Midland Bank Race, Founder’s Race. The Referee may declare a race over by blowing the whistle.



Riders must remain in their team lanes throughout the race. If a rider strays from his lane and obstructs another rider, the team causing the obstruction will be eliminated.



If one team or rider upsets or takes away the equipment of another, the offending team or rider will be eliminated from that race. The race may be rerun at the discretion of the Referee. The race should be stopped as promptly as possible after the infringement occurs. If a rerun is ordered, the offending team/rider will not be allowed to take part.



If a team/rider is eliminated they will score no points


Bending Poles  

When the rules of a race require riders to Weave in and out of the bending poles, the following will incur elimination if not corrected:

■Passing the wrong side of a bending pole

■Knocking down (flat on the ground) a bending pole and failing to replace it.

(Note: A pole is deemed to be down when the top of the pole is touching the ground/grass or if the spike point is clear of the ground.)

■If a pole is knocked over, then the rider/s must replace the pole and then resume the race by passing either side of the replaced pole

(Note: It is permissible for the rider to use the hand to steady a pole to prevent it from falling over)



If any injury occurs and the Referee has to stop the Race, the team suffering the injury will not take part when/if the race is re-run. The team will be awarded the lowest points available for that race.


Adverse Weather  

The Referee will decide if cones, bins, buckets etc. should be weighted in blustery conditions. Should this be necessary, then all subsequent heats in the session should be the same. If weights are added to a piece of equipment due to adverse weather conditions, then the weights become a part of the equipment for that race.


Tampering Equipment  

Any trainer, team, rider or their associated arena party, found to have interfered with the equipment, or the correct positioning of the equipment, will incur the elimination of that team or rider from the race.


Leaving the Arena  

A pony, ridden or loose, leaving the arena, will incur elimination.


Positioning of Equipment  

Equipment should be set out in the identical way for all teams/riders. For those races which involve the use of buckets e.g. Socks and Buckets, Carton Race, then the handles on the buckets should all be set out facing the same way.



The signal to start in all races will be the drop of a flag, or by other signal notified by the Referee at the briefing. The Referee should give no verbal preliminaries. The Referee alone decides whether the start is fair. If it is not, the Referee will blow the whistle and the race will be restarted. All riders and ponies must be standing behind the 6 yard (5.46m) line for the start of a race. The Referee will raise the flag. The riders will be called forward towards the start line and the race will be started by the drop of the flag. The Referee may, at his/her discretion, appoint a Starter’s Assistant to be at the start line and to assist by ensuring that all riders and ponies are behind the line for the start of a race. The Referee may order any pony that crosses the start line before the flag is dropped to be sent back behind the 10 yard (9.14m) line. If a pony that has been sent back, crosses the 10 yard (9.14m) line before the race has been restarted, they will be eliminated at the end of the race. If the Referee orders a pony to be sent back for causing a false start, the Team Trainer has the opportunity to replace that pony with another member of the team. All riders must be mounted at the start of all races except Three Legged Sack and Run and Ride.



Riders must be in the saddle with feet astride, but not necessarily in the stirrups, when crossing the finish/changeover line during their part of a race. All races will be decided by the order in which the head of the pony of the last member of each team crosses the finish line except in the 3 Legged Sack when it is the last rider to cross the line. Riders must pass between the flags marking out the playing area in order to complete their part in a race. When a rider finishes a race carrying a piece of equipment, that rider must cross the finish line carrying the equipment in his/her hand. In races where riders finish at opposite ends of the arena e.g. Sword Lancers, Hula Hoop, the riders must wait at their end of the arena once their part in the race is finished, until the referee signals with his/her flag that the race has been completed. If one team or rider is still playing a game when all other teams or riders have finished, then the Referee may blow his/her whistle to end the race. When the whistle is blown on a team or rider, they will be awarded the lowest available points for that race.

Officials and Procedures

All arena officials shall be thoroughly conversant with all games rules and procedures and the positioning of equipment and shall be members of The Mounted Games Association of their respective country.

Arena Officials  

The arena officials shall consist of the Referee, 2 centre line assistant referees, 4 line assistant referees ( 2 at the start line and 2 on the changeover line), the judge, 2 judge’s writers the commentator plus the equipment arena party (unlimited). Coloured tabards should be worn by all members of the equipment arena party.



■All equipment shall be set out the same way for all lanes.

■The arena party should ensure that any equipment displaced by a rider during a race is in the correct position for subsequent races.   Referee

■The Referee will ensure fair play throughout the competition.

■Every referee will discuss an assistant referee’s fault call and make his/her decision. If rejecting a fault call, the Referee will give his/her reason for doing so.

■The decision of the Referee is final.

■The Referee may inspect any team, pony or tack at any time.

■The Referee will also be the starter.

■The Referee will be responsible for providing his/her own whistle. Races will be started by the drop of a white flag.

■Every effort must be made by the Referee to give a fair start. Riders should be recalled by the use of a whistle if a false start occurs.

■Riders attempting ‘fliers’ will be punished by being sent back behind the 10 yard (9.14m) line.


Assistant Referee  

■Assistant referees should have a thorough knowledge of the rules as printed in this rule book. A detailed copy of hints and tips for Referees and Assistant Referees may be obtained from MGAGB Swindon Office.

■Assistant referees should not allow their attention to wander by watching the progress of certain teams. Line referees must check to ensure that changeovers happen behind the line and that all relevant rules are obeyed. Centre referees should check mid field procedures and watch the linkup in pairs

■In the event of an infringement of the rules that is not corrected, an assistant referee will raise his/her flag at the end of the race to attract the attention of the Referee. He/she should then convey. to the Referee the error of the relevant team/s and the Referee will then decide what action should be taken.

■Assistant referees should assist with the equipment in between races.

■Assistant referees should wear coloured tabards and carry a red flag whilst officiating.



■There should be one judge.

■The judge is to be responsible for recording the order of the finish of each game. The judge should not be concerned with any other aspects of the games.

■Each judge should have two writers to record the order in which the judge calls the finish of the race.

■The judge and writers should be located directly on the Start/Finish line.



■The provision of music tapes for intro/lap of honour is the responsibility of the commentator.

■Commentators should endeavour not to highlight a mistake which could possibly influence an assistant referee.