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

Division and Competition Criteria

  • 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 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 Open or the Sport Class.

Skier – OPEN & SPORT Rules and Recommendation


  1. A skier can choose their division of competition and is not require 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.

    1. Proof of insurance for minors is mandatory

    2. 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 – 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. A rider may ride up to two horses in each division in a single day.  

  4. Horse should be in physical shape to participate in an extreme sport.

  5. 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 1⁄2” 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 assessable to all competitors.

  3. Substitutions in any class are allowed for any team member (horse, skier or rider), ONLY under the following circumstances:

    1. That substitute team member (horse, skier or rider) is eligible to compete in that class.

    2. That the team member being substituted is unable to compete due to injury, family emergency, or other reason acceptable to the Producer and Arena Director.  

  4. 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.

  5. 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 officials 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Both ski tips and both boots must go around a gate, or the gate is considered missed. Ski tips and ski boots must cross the horizontal plane of the gate also the vertical plane. Both skis do not need to be on the surface when passing the gate but must not cross the vertical plane. Ie. Consider the gate is extended straight up to the sky; both skis must go around the imaginary gate extended to the sky.

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

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

  10. 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.

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

    1. Before a decision is made with a protest, the competitors may state their case before the deliberation of ruling. 

  12. 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 pooping off are not reason for a flag from officials

Course Safety Rules


  • Run out length of the course is required to be a minimum of 2/3 of the course length.

  • The Run out must provide a consistent footing for the horse.

  • An ambulance and/or EMT crew will be on site with back up EMT on call.

  • Service, if needed, will be charged to the benefactor of the service.

  • SKI JORING AMERICA Insurance or a Signed Waiver is required prior as part of the registration process.


Horse Safety & Treatment


  • A veterinarian will be on site. Service, if needed, will be charged to the benefactor.
  • Water for horses must be available and easily accessible at the race venue.

  • The on-site veterinarian will have the authority to scratch a horse for health reasons or concerns pertaining to the safety of the horse. Any member of the organizing

    committee can require a horse to be examined by the veterinarian prior to racing.

  • No person may abuse a Horse during an Event or at any other time. “Abuse” means an action or omission, which causes or is likely to cause pain or unnecessary

    discomfort to a Horse, including, but not limited to:

    • Whipping or beating a Horse excessively

    • Subjecting a Horse to any kind of electric shock device

    • Using spurs excessively or persistently

    • Jabbing the Horse in the mouth with the bit or any other device o Abnormally sensitize or desensitize any part of a Horse

    • Leaving a Horse without adequate food, drink or exercise

Any person witnessing an Abuse must report it in the form of a Protest, without cost immediately. If an Abuse is witnessed during or in direct connection with an Event, it should be reported as a Protest to an Official. If the Abuse is witnessed at any other time it should be reported as a protest to Skijoring America via the website

Race Equipment


  • Ropes must be provided by the race, though competitors are allowed to bring their own ropes, but must be certified by race prior to competition.

  • Any rope not supplied by the individual race must be inspected and approved by the Start Master or his designee prior to the start of each race

  • Ropes cannot exceed 50 feet in length on the oval track

  • Ropes cannot exceed 33 feet in length on the straight track

  • Ropes are must to be 3/8 or larger in diameter

  • Handles are not permitted on ropes

  • Attachment must be to the saddle horn or behind the saddle. If the attachment is behind the saddle it must be secured to the primary rigging rings of the saddle by a non-elastic attachment so that the pulling rope is within 6 inches of the cantle, carabineer included. Prior to the race, the Start Master, or his designee must approve any attachment to the saddle. Quick release shackles are highly recommended.

  • Electronic timing and backup timing is mandatory (Manuel Hand timing is permissible as backup)



Good sportsmanship is important to the success of every event. Registration signature pledges a competitor’s word to the humane treatment of their horse and respectful relationships to all fellow competitors and volunteers hosting this exciting competition. Failure to comply with the spirit of friendly competition at any of the scheduled events may result in the disqualification of your team or banishment from future competitions.

Awards Requirement

Races should be prepared to give awards for the competition. Skijoring America member races are required to post cash awards and material prize information on the Skijoring America website 21 days prior to the start of the race event.

●  Payout calculations - it is recommended that race venues provide payout estimate as a percentage, not specific dollar amount.

●  When and how cash awards and material prizes will be awarded.