Frequently Asked Questions

I heard the equitation point system changed this year or a few years back.  What is the new point structure for equitation?

The point structure in the past was requested to be changed at the 2012 New Hampshire 4-H Horse Advisory Council February 23, 2013 meeting.  Apparently it had been changed at a 2011 meeting but was not implemented.  The old point system was Blue: 100 points, Red: 80 points, and White: 70 points.  The new point structure is Blue: 90-100 points, Red points: 60, and White: 30 points.  

How long does someone have for a tack change?

Tack changes or holds should not be longer than three minutes. Time begins when the last horse inthe previous class leaves the ring. This rule can be found on page 11 of the New England 4-H Horse Show Rule Book (you can find this rule book at the following link:

I heard there was a change in the 12 Hands and Under Division.  I hear there were other changes.  I'm confused about the division changes- what do the mini's do? (Note: Corrected/Clarified 05/13/13 11:05 am)

At the New England 4-H Horse Show Rule Book/Eastern States Exposition Committee Meeting in February, it was decided that the 12 Hand and Under Division would be changed to the Small Equine Division (the equines need to be 12 hands and under). The following changes have been for Eastern States Exposition/New England 4-H Horse Show Rule Book (we can decide not to adopt these changes as a state if we would like).

Each exhibitor in the Small Equine Division is required to compete in Fitting and Showmanship, an equitation class, and two "choice" classes.  The equitation class for the Small Equine Division is "In Hand Suitability", as known as Discipline Rail or in the past has been called "12 Hands and Under Discipline".  The "choice" classes for the Small Equine Division include In Hand Obstacles/In Hand Trail, In Hand Jumping, and (most recently at ESE) and In Hand Command.  The June 4, 2013 meeting of the New Hampshire 4-H Horse Advisory Council can determine what choice classes we will offer for the Small Equine Division.  ALSO, the Eastern States Exposition/New England ESE Committee decided that Small Equine's can cross enter into the Driving Division for their "choice" classes.  So that would mean (if we decided) that Small Equine's could enter in Obstacle Driving, Handiness Driving, and Pleasure Driving.  It was clarified by the chair of the ESE committee that if an exhibitor enters as a Small Equine at ESE, they could NOT enter in Reinsmanship as a choice class.  

So in sum, a Small Equine (12 Hands and Under) would enter the following:
Fitting and Showmanship
In Hand Suitability (Discipline In Hand/Discipline Rail)
General Knowledge Test

And would have the "choice" of four of the following at ESE:
In Hand Jumping
In Hand Trail/Obstacle
In Hand Command (TBD)
Pleasure Driving
Driving Handiness (Called Driving Precision)
Obstacle Driving Command

A small equine would either need to be a Driving Division equine or a Small Equine Division, and would be determined by what "equitation" class they choose (whether Reinsmanship or In Hand Suitability).  If they enter the Small Equine Division they must enter In Hand Suitability.  Only those entered in the Driving Division will go in Reinsmanship. 

What about the Driving Division?  What are their "choices" and what is their equitation class? (Note: Corrected/Clarified 05/13/13 11:05 am)

As mentioned above, these are ESE changes and we can decide if we want to model our classes off of ESE or keep it the way it is.  

Each Driving Division contestant would have to do their Fitting and Showmanship Class and an equitation class, which was decided at the New England 4-H Horse Show Committee meeting as needing to be Reinsmanship.  Then they would have a "choice" to do all of the following: Obstacle Driving Command, Pleasure Driving, or Driving Handiness/Precision.  We can decide at the June 4, 2013 meeting if the Driving Division contestants can do their "choice" classes as not driving if they were also a Small Equine Division.  


***Please note that SIGNIFICANT time has been spent trying to clarify these rule changes.  These are changes that we can decide whether we want to adopt or not for our county and the New Hampshire State 4-H Horse Show however, it is important that everyone has access to this information.  I will continue to update as things become clearly, but please be patient with these changes and with trying to access clarity about these changes.  For further clarification, please consult the New England 4-H Horse Show Rule Book.  


What is the handiness pattern that will be used at the New Hampshire State 4-H Horse Show?

There is a Western Handiness Pattern that can be found on page 36 and 37 of the New England 4-H Horse Show Rule Book found at this link:  

Page 18 and 19 of the New Hampshire Supplement to the New England 4-H Horse Show Rule Book specifies the requirements of a Handiness Class:

Page 25 and 26 of the New Hampshire Supplement to the New England 4-H Horse Show Rule Book specifies the requirements of the Driving Handiness Class:

It is important to note that the only Handiness class that is offered at ESE is Western Handiness.  We should discuss at the June 4, 2013 meeting on if we should pick a pattern for the English Handiness and Driving Handiness classes if they are being.  

Can I show a donkey and/or mule at the New Hampshire State 4-H Horse Show?

Yes! The New Hampshire State 4-H Horse Show is open to all equines.  According to page 9 on the New Hampshire Supplement to the New England 4-H Horse Show Rule Book "12. Any type of equine may be used for a 4-H Horse Project. The animal should suit the size, skill and competency of the rider. The rider should be able to keep the animal under control at all times and manage him safely. 13. All equines are suitable for this project."  You can find the rule book here:

This corresponds to the rule in the New England 4-H Horse Show Rule Book on page 10 that states "5. Any type of equine may be used for a 4-H Horse Project. The animal should suit the size, skill and competency of the rider. The rider should be able to keep the animal under control at all times and manage him safely. When in the ring if this is not possible, horse and rider may be excused from the ring by the judge."


Can two exhibitors show the same horse at the New Hampshire State 4-H Horse Show?

According to page 9 of the New Hampshire Supplement to the New England 4-H State Horse Show Rule Book: "9. Two members may share the same horse if each member assumes 50% care of the horse within his/her or her physical and mental capability. This includes feeding, grooming, exercising, training, stall management and access to use. A lease must be in place for non-family owned horses and both members must have a signed statement that each member manages/cares for the horse on a 50% basis and has free access to the horse. 10. Although two members may share a horse to the extent of completing the projectat the county level, only one member may exhibit the horse at the state horse show."


I can't find any information describing the In Hand Suitability class?  Is it somewhere?

You are correct- is was left out of the latest version of the New England 4-H Horse Show Rule Book.  Here it is: 

In Hand Suitability

This class judges the communication between handler and equine. Handlers will enter the ring at a walk while going the first way of the ring. Entries will be asked to follow given commands on the rail both ways of the ring that may include walking, trotting, stopping, backing and turning at any gait. Handlers and equine will also be asked to execute a pattern. Patterns may include any of the above gaits as well as ground tying. Equines and handlers will be judged 70% on suitability as a team in communication and execution of rail work, 15% on pattern completion and 15% on presentation of both handler and equine.


In the past, only two-wheel vehicles in the Driving Division have been allowed at Eastern States Exposition and the New Hampshire State 4-H Horse Show.  I heard that changed?

Yes!  Now four-wheel vehicles are allowed at Eastern States Exposition and the New Hampshire State 4-H Horse Show. 


Can either a New Hampshire State 4-H Horse Show Stable Manager or Exhibitor be eligible for the Teen Leader role at Eastern States Exposition?  

Yes!  In order to represent New Hampshire as a Teen Leader at Eastern States Exposition you need to participate in the New Hampshire State 4-H Horse Show as either a Stable Manager or Exhibitor.  Stable Managers from Strafford, Sullivan, Belknap, and Carroll Counties will be eligible to go to Eastern States Exposition this year as Teen Leaders.  Stable Managers selected to go to ESE as Teen Leaders need to be hard working, responsible, skilled, and dedicated.  They must participate as a Stable Manager or an exhibitor at the New Hampshire State 4-H Horse Show.  For more information about the Team Leader position, please see the Eastern States Exposition 4-H Horse Packet.  

Can you use boots/bandages and martingales in a Hunter Over Fences class?


According to page 18 of the New England Rule Book:


Braiding is traditional, but not required

All jump heights are at the discretion of the show committee



1. Appropriate heeled boots (hunt or jodhpur)

2. Breeches or jodhpurs

3. Shirt

4. ASTM/SEI Helmet


1. Hunt Coat of conservative color

2. Choker or tie

3. Gloves


1. Spurs of unroweled type, with a strap

2. Crops

3. Traditional colored half chaps with matching paddock boots are acceptable


1. Saddles of hunt or balance type preferred.

2. Regulation snaffles recommended or Pelhams with Cavesson nosebands and flat curb chain or

straps. Kimberwicks and Uxeter bits are allowed. A judge, at his/her own discretion, may

penalize horses with non-conventional types of bits and nosebands.

3. Standing Martingales are optional in Equitation Over Fences; they are prohibited in flat classes.

Any change of equipment during a class may be penalized at the discretion of the judge.

Dropped, flash or figure eight nosebands are not permitted in any class under the hunt seat


4. Boots and bandages may be worn in Equitation Over Fences and Equitation On The Flat only.

Disqualifications: See page 15, #2 under Class Divisions


I also found this on page 10:

No mechanical devices of any sort may be used during exercise period. Such devices may include,

but are not limited to, tie-downs, draw reins, standing martingales (except for exercise over fences)

and action enhancing boots or shackles. Protective leg boots, bell boots and polo wraps may be

used during exercise. Any other equipment in question must be legal in the show ring in order to be

used in exercise. See the show steward for questions.


According to Eastern States as of 07/11/13, the final verdict on boots/bandages and martingales for ESE (which we will model at the NH State 4-H Horse Show):

  • Boots and Bandages are allowed in Equitation Over Fences and Equitation on the Flat.
  • Boots and Bandages are NOT allowed in Hunter Over Fences. 
  • Standing martingale are allowed in all over fence classes. All other martingales may be considered “unconventional”. We don’t allow unconventional equipment so we would not allow any other martingales. Martingales are not allowed in flat classes. 


 If you show a horse in a riding division for Fit and Show and Equitation, can you cross enter into the driving division for your choice classes?

No, drivers and riders cannot cross enter divisions for ESE.  The only cross entering that can occur is small equine into driving.

An “attire” question came up:  A county had a senior entered in Sr Hunt for riding that showed in western attire and tack for fit & show. Nothing in the rulebook (NE or NH) really seems to address this. We were told that ESE allows a choice of tack for fit and show regardless of riding division. I thought this was only for the inhand/driving division?

ESE allows them to show either Western or English for F&S so that they have the best advantage to show off their skill. We want them to have the best advantage  in a difficult arena.


Can I bring my dog to the Deerfield Fairgrounds?

Deerfield Fairgrounds discourages bringing your dogs to the fairground.  If you must bring your dogs, please ensure that they are properly cared for and do not create a nuisance for others.  Dogs should be kept under your direct supervision at all times and should be kept on leashes.  If dogs are unleashed they will be subject to a $50 fine. 

Can riders ride on the grounds of Deerfield Fairgrounds? 

Riders need to hand walk to the practice ring then mount outside the practice ring.  Please do not mount at the barns.  Drivers should hitch their horses and drive their horses to the practice rings with a header lead their horse to the practice ring.  

What times do the barns open and close for exhibitors?

Barns close at 9:30 and lights out are at 10:30.  Barns re-open at 5 am on Saturday and Sunday for exhibitors.  


Updated: 07/12/13