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How do I get to Nationals? A guide to Sport Horse Nationals

Ride Dressage?
Have limited funds and time?
Never been to the Arabian Horse Association's Sport Horse Nationals?

Want to get there?!?

This is for Nationals qualification only, it does not consider AHA Achievement or USDF/USEF Awards.
I really hope you find it useful, as I spent hours researching this and revisiting how I figured it all out when I went through this for Diamond's trip to 2009 Sport Horse National Championships and Smokey's 2003 trip. I wrote this up for a friend, and it focuses on dressage in Kentucky. Let me know if you find any mistakes or outdated info.

  1. Which National Championship classes?
  2. Which should I Qualify with, Points or Scores?
  3. What shows that will earn those points/scores?
  4. What is required to enter those shows?
  5. When do you need to submit the paperwork?
  6. When can you earn these points/scores?

 

  1. First, Which National Championship classes do you want to enter?
    1. Pick then from this list: http://arabianhorses.org/docs/NationalClassList.pdf (Found under Competitions, then Qualifications, then National Class List)
    2. Then note the points or scores required
    3. Then note the Class Code and Qualifying Section Numbers
  2. Second, Will you use points or scores or both to qualify? Decide if you need to go to USDF shows or if you can do it with only AHA shows.
    1. Class Size.
    2. How points are calculated: http://www.arabianhorses.org/competitions/docs/FAQ_Show_Manager-Secretaries.pdf
      The number of points a horse receives is based on the number of horses that are competing at the close of the gate to start the class for all classes shown as a group. This number is determined by all horses who pass through the gate in individual activity classes. Horses earn one point for every horse they beat, and one additional point for themselves. Qualification points are only awarded to horses that place at least 6th in the class. Regional and National qualification points must be obtained in the same AHA Section as listed in the AHA Standard Class List (refer to Article 1367.1 for qualification example). Please see the below chart for determining points.
    3. At AHA-only shows, dressage is earned by points rather than scores (I believe, we need to call AHA and confirm). Can show in as many classes as you have energy for, so the cost-benefit ratio can be better than USDF.
    4. At USDF shows, scores are used. Also, you can only show 1 horse in 3 classes max.
  3. Third, What shows that will earn those points/scores?
    1. Find what classes are available when:
      1. At AHA, by region, go to Competitions, then Event Calendar:
      2. At USEF, click Competitions, Calendar, then Search (search the previous year if the show you want hasn't posted yet)
    2. Study the previous year's results for class sizes and scores from this USEF search page, then decide if the class size is large enough (at least 4 entered) to make the points worthwhile for an AHA show, or if you'd be better to enter USDF shows if you know you will get the required percentage. 
  4. Fourth, What is required to enter those shows?
    1. Study the show entry form. (Google for the previous year's show If you are planning well in advance, since most shows post their info around only 2 months before the show, and I like to plan a year or two in advance. )
    2. For AHA shows, Check that the classes have the correct qualifying section numbers.
    3. Note the Non-Member Fees section. This means, if you don't have these memberships, then you need to pay the one-time fee to enter. Note the non-member fee and compare to the membership - it's generally cheaper to get those memberships unless you only plan on 1 show that year. 
      • For AHA shows, the entry form will list both AHA and USEF
      • For USDF shows, USEF and USDF are required. *To use these scores for AHA & SHN, then the OIEP forms are needed
    4. Confirm with AHA site: Click Competitions, Shows 101, USEF: "Exhibitors competing at AHA Recognized Arabian shows must also be members of USEF"
      http://www.arabianhorses.org/competitions/101/usae.asp
    5. Confirm with USEF site, click "Membership":
      http://www.usef.org/_IFrames/memberServices/Memberservices.aspx
      http://www.usef.org/documents/membership/MembershipOptions.pdf
    6. Confirm with USDF site: http://www.usdf.org/join/
  5. Fifth, When do you need to submit the paperwork?
    1. AHA Membership and Competition Card: http://www.arabianhorses.org/membership/Membership_Benefits.asp
      Any time of year, it's a rolling year. So no rush, just 1-2 months prior to your first competition.
      This link looks up your info: http://secure.arabianhorses.org/perl/AHA/validmembers.cgi?func=start
    2. USEF Competing Equestrian, Senior Active ($55)
      Dec 1-Nov 30, so as close to Dec 1st to get the most benefit (of the year you plan to show).
      Make sure to sign it as an "AMATEUR". This is required for AHA ATR classes.
    3. USDF Participating Membership ($62) : http://www.usdf.org/join/
      Dec 1-Nov 30, so as close to Dec 1st to get the most benefit (of the year you plan to show).
    4. OIEP Open Dressage Qualification Program is $35 per horse per year  http://www.arabianhorses.org/activities/OpenQual/dressage.asp
      January 1 - December 31 so as close to Jan 1st to get the most benefit (of the year you plan to show in USDF).
  6. Sixth, When can you earn these points/scores?
    1. Essentially you have 2 years to qualify for a Nationals.
      • Check the cutoff date for qualifications for each Nationals, it's usually early to mid August. Late qualification is possible but prohibitively expensive ($500-$1,000 per class).
      • http://secure.arabianhorses.org/2010handbook/CHAPTER11.pdf
        Be qualified in an AHA Recognized Show/Division that was held within the preceding calendar year and that period of the current year prior to the final deadline of entries of the show in which the Regional Championship class is held. For National Shows be qualified up to the closing date of entries for that particular National Championship Show in a qualifying class.
      • So, for 2011 Nationals, scores can be earned from Jan 1, 2010 and up to August, 2011.
      • So, for 2012 Nationals, scores can be earned from Jan 1, 2011 and up to August, 2012.
      • So, for 2013 Nationals, scores can be earned from Jan 1, 2012 and up to August, 2013.
    2. Scores can't be reused, so plan ahead.
    3. 2011, 2012, 2013 SHN will be at KYHP. Page 6 http://www.arabianhorses.org/membership/convention/2007/docs/BODUnapprovedMotions111407.pdf
      They haven't announced after that.


So, for Sport Horse Nationals, Dressage, Training Level, Purebred Arabian, there are 3 classes:
Class Code, Class Name, Natl Show Held, Regional Points/Scores, National Points/Scores, Qualifying Section
1401 Arabian Dressage Training Level Championship S *2 or 2 Scores of 58+ *3 or 3 Scores of 62+ 53
1402 Arabian Dressage Training Level AAOTR Championship S *2 or 2 Scores of 58+ *3 or 3 Scores of 62+ 53
1403 Arabian Dressage Training Level ATR Championship S *2 or 2 Scores of 58+ *3 or 3 Scores of 62+ 53

So the minimum you could do:

  • So you could do 1 class with 3 points from 1 AHA show with a placing of 2nd of 5 horses, or 3 of 6, or 1st of 3, etc.
  • Or go to 1 USDF show with 3 tests with scores over 62%


This is an example show that could earn the needed points:
http://www.sahiba.org/
http://www.google.com/search?q=SAHIBA+ARABIAN+SPRING+filetype%3Apdf
http://www.sahiba.org/Shows/2010/SASS/2010%20SAHIBA%20Arabian%20Spring%20Show1.pdf
Example show that could earn the needed scores, and it's 2 shows over 2 days:
http://meadowlakeec.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/2011_Color_Flyer.332114010.pdf

I really recommend this:
Study the previous Nationals and learn which classes they offered, what the schedule was, and see how full the classes were, and what the scores were like:
http://arabianhorses.org/competitions/nationalevents/sporthorse/2009/
http://arabianhorses.org/competitions/nationalevents/sporthorse/2007/

Once the time is closer:

  1. Watch for the updates for your Nationals: http://arabianhorses.org/competitions/nationalevents/sporthorse/2011
  2. Read the rules on how top 5's at Regionals and Top 10's at Nationals are decided, and how those placings count towards qualifications, but the scores do not: http://secure.arabianhorses.org/2010handbook/CHAPTER11.pdf

COMP 808. DRESSAGE SCORING/ JUDGING
REGIONALS
1. Top Five to be selected using the highest test of each USEF/EC level.
2. The horse in the Top Five with the highest score shall be named Regional Champion.
3. The horse in the Top Five with the second highest score shall be name Regional reserve Champion.
4. The remaining Top Five shall be named in a random, undesignated order.
5. In case of a tie, the judge shall determine the winner.
NATIONALS
6. Tests to be ridden from memory.
7. The Top Ten to be selected using the highest test of each USEF level.
8. The horse in the Top Ten with the highest score shall be named National Champion.
9. The horse in the Top Ten with the second highest score shall be named National Reserve Champion.
10. The remaining Top Ten shall be named in a random, undesignated order.
11. Ties will be broken according to USEF procedures.

COMP 1212. DRESSAGE QUALIFICATIONS USING SCORES
For USEF/EC/USDF Open Shows scores to count toward AHA Championship classes, the horse must be enrolled in the AHA Open Qualifying Program. (For Dressage enrollment rules and Open Show results reporting refer to the Chapter on Open Qualifying Competitions. See the Regional and National Class list for qualifying scores (COMP 1225).
REGIONAL
1. The show must be held in the same Region as the Region Championship class entered.
2. Scores earned from Regional Championship classes will not count toward qualifications.
3. May qualify for Regional Championships using only scores obtained in Open Shows in the same AHA Section listed in the AHA Standard Classes List.
NATIONAL
4. If there are two or more judges the average scores used to place the class.
5. Qualifications may be earned from AHA Recognized Shows in qualifying classes or from final scores as listed in this with the exception of COMP 1212.7. Indicates rule change 57
6. Only Top Five placings from Regional Championship classes will be used for National qualifications.
7. Scores earned from Regional or National Championship classes will not count toward qualifications.
8. Only final scores in qualifying classes from Open Shows may be used for qualifications.