Rules and Regulations

Rules are solely for the safety of the competitors, both horse and human and to ensure fair competition at Skijoring America member races.  All rules are required to be followed by Skijoring America Member Races and Competitors.  All competitors competiting in the sport or open division at SJA Member races will be required to buy either a 2018 Membership ($60) or a weekend warrior package ($20).

Division and Competition Criteria

  • PROFESSIONAL/OPEN CLASS (Pro) Teams are considered to be the highest skilled competitors with the fastest horses. A team consists of horse, rider and skier.

  • SPORT CLASS (Amateur) Teams are considered to be intermediate level skill participants riding horses that may not be fast enough to be in the Pro/Open Class. A team consists of horse, rider and skier.

  • NOVICE/EXHIBITION CLASS (Beginners) Teams are considered to be, new to the sport, beginning level competitors riding horses that may not have speed enough to be competitive in the Pro/Open or the Sport Class.   

Skier – PRO/OPEN & SPORT Rules and Recommendations


  1. A skier can choose their division of competition and is not required to advance to the next class if they win their division.

  2. A skier may compete in only one Division.

  3. A skier may compete up to four times in a day.

  4. All skiers must wear approved snow sport helmets.

  5. Any Skiers under 18, must have parent/guardian sign parental consent forms.

  • Proof of insurance for minors is mandatory.

  • Protective Eyewear and helmet must be worn during competition.


  1. Eye protection is recommended.

  2. It is strongly suggested that bindings be tested by a professional prior to skiing.

Rider – PRO/OPEN & SPORT Rules and Recommendations


  1. A rider may compete in more than one division, but must compete on a different horse in each Division entered.

  2. All riders must be on time for there runs.  Any rider that can not be ready on time due to running to many horses or horse difficulty will be moved to the back of the order.  Second failure to be ready on time will result in a DQ.  


  1. Helmets and protective vests are recommended for all riders.

  2. Any Riders under 18, must have parent/guardian sign parental consent forms.

    • Proof of insurance for minors is mandatory.

    • Helmet and protective vests must be worn during competition.

Horse – PRO/OPEN & SPORT Rules and Recommendations


  1. A Horse can compete in only one Division.

  2. A horse may not run more than two times in a day.

  3. Use a standard western bit includes: 1. 8 1⁄2” maximum length shank. Shanks may be fixed or loose.  If curb bit is used it must be free of mechanical device and should be considered a standard western bit. When a curb bit is used, a curb strap or curb chain is required, which must be at least ½” in width, lie flat against the jaw, and be free of barbs, wire, and/or twists.


  1. Leg protection (boots or polo wraps) and bell boots are strongly recommended.

  2. Horses should have a shoe that will increase traction (borium, calks, etc).

Rules of Competition – General


  1. Races need to be vigilant about starting on time.

  2. Rules should be clearly posted and accessible to all competitors two weeks prior to the race.  

  3. If a horse, rider, or equipment are deemed unsafe the rider and horse can be asked to leave at any time by the Horse Gate Official or SKI JORING AMERICA Ambassador.  

  4. If the Skier drops the rope BEFORE crossing the start line, he/she will be allowed a restart immediately after the team’s fault start. The four-minute rule restarts upon the arena judge’s determination of a clear course. If a delay or the skier drops the rope on the second attempt to start, that team is disqualified for that run. If the Horse runs the course, the team should be dropped down (In the order at the official's discretion) a few racers to allow for reasonable recovery time.  If it is the last of the division, they should be scheduled to run 1st prior to the start of the next division.

  5. The skier must finish in an upright position and on at least one ski, with rope in hand when crossing the finish line.  Both skier boots must cross the finish line.  

  6. Both ski tips and both boots must go around a gate, or the gate is considered missed.

  7. Batons for ring spearing will be at the discretion of the race and be uniform for all competitors.

  8. All Competitors must be informed of their time at the end of their run prior to the start of the competitive run.

  9. All performance-enhancing drugs are prohibited and will not be tolerated. The SKI JORING AMERICA TD and the event organizers have the final say in related matters.

  10. Race Venues must have a protest protocol in place for every race.

  11. The following will result in no time:

(a) Infraction of any state or federal law which exists pertaining to the exhibition, care, and custody of horses within the state or country where a Skijoring America member race is being held.

(b) Abuse of an animal on the track and/or evidence that an act of abuse has occurred prior to or during the exhibition of a horse in competition.

(c) Use of illegal equipment, including added wire on bits or curb chains.

(d) Failure to dismount and/or present horse and equipment to the horse official if asked.


  1. Rules should be reviewed verbally with all competitors prior to the start of the race.

  2. Horses will be randomly checked for equipment.  The Horse Gate Official will check all tack and how the rope is attached to the saddle.  If requested by the Horse Gate Official, a rider may be asked to drop their bit.

  3. Gates getting hit and popping off are not reason for a flag from officials.

  4. We allow substutions up until the competitor meeting on Saturday Morning.  

E) No refunds will be given.