Athol Saddle Club Association

Playday in Athol Saddle Club
General Rules and Guidelines


  1. No contestant can be disqualified unless a rule can be specifically called for in the ISCA/NSCA Rules or lined out in PDIA rules and guidelines.
  2. Horse and Rider must cross the turning line in all events unless otherwise specified.
  3. In all events the horse and rider must cross the finish line together. The rider cannot touch the ground before crossing the finish line or will be disqualified, with the exception of events that require dismounting.
  4. If equipment hits the ground after a contestant crosses the finish line, it is NOT a disqualification.
  5. A contestant will be disqualified for intentionally touching equipment to right or steady it to keep it from being knocked down.
  6. A contestant is allowed to be led into the arena by an assistant. The assistant is only allowed to help in entering and exiting the arena, with the exception of Peewee, where the contestant is led through the event by an assistant.
  7. Contestants MAY dismount their horses before leaving the lane/ arena. However, the contestants must stay in their lane until all riders are back across the finish line and are dismissed. Failure to wait will be a disqualification. This includes all age groups.
  8. A contestant will be given three calls, in a reasonable amount of time, to report for their heat. If a contestant does not report within three calls, they will be disqualified.
  9. Intentional breakage of equipment will be a disqualification.  Or need to be replaced by a 2/3 vote of the board.
  10. Any individual under the age of 18 must have a parent, guardian or adult supervisor at the event at all times or they will not be permitted to ride.
  11. A 3-Man Rule Committee will be appointed at the beginning of each Playday. All complaints need to be in writing with a $25.00 grievance fee.  This complaint needs to be filed with the PDIA Board. If the committee finds in favor of the complaint, the $25.00 will be refunded.
  12. If a contestant or parent of the contestant goes to the lane judge/announcer and complains about a decision about their ride or another contestants ride, that  complaining contestant will be disqualified, NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
  13. As determined by the PDIA officers, riders, owners, parents or spectators that are deemed unruly, unsportsmanship-like, or abusive to people or animals will be asked to leave the premises immediately. Or further actions will be taken.
  14. Race and time ends when contestant crosses start/finish line.  If a property hits the ground prior to a contestant crossing the start/finish line during the completion of the course the contestant will be disqualified. If property hits the ground after contestant crosses the start/finish line a time will be given. PDIA will disqualify for not stopping in contestant lane.


No Need to Nominate if you do not want to qualify for series awards, you may still ride for day awards.

Nomination Fee is a one-time annual fee, that nominates you and/or your horse(s) for awards at the end of the series (buckle, summer), Idaho State O-Mok-see and National O-Mok-see.

*if riding 2 age groups on one horse 2 fees need paid, Nominating rider not horse.

You have until the November show to nominate for the buckle series. That will run you through until the next October.

You will have until the May show to nominate for the summer series. That will run you through until October that year.

Fiscal year runs October 1 thru September 31.


  1. Age Groups are as follows: Peewee (6 & Under), 10 & Under, 11-15, 16-29 Women, 30 & over Women  and Open, 16 & Over Mens, Survivor.
  2. January 1st shall be the deciding date for determining a contestant’s age group.
  3. Sign-Ups: Sign-ups will end promptly 30 minutes before the show begins. 


  1. All contestants must wear long pants, shirt and riding boots.
  2. Any safety gear, such as helmets will be allowed in any event, but not required.


  1. When contestants are in front of the respective lanes, they will be given a “go when ready” signal by the announcer. All contestants must wait in their lanes until given the “go when ready” signal, or contestants will be disqualified.
  2. After the first contestant crosses the starting line, the remaining contestants have 10 seconds to start or will be disqualified.
  3. If a contestant steps out of their lane after the 'go when ready' sign is given they will be disqualified.


  1. Re-Rides will be given to the contestant that is interfered with during the running of their event. The contestant must make a qualified ride to be eligible for a re-ride. The lane judge will notify the announcer of any interference calls.
  2. Anytime a contestant makes a qualified ride and there is a mechanical failure a contestant will be allowed two (2) chances to make a qualified ride. Under the circumstance of operator mistake or interference of another rider, the contestant will be given one (1) chance to make a qualified ride. Any re-ride will occur in the same lane as the original run.
  3. The announcer may not stop the contestant(s) once a race has started, since the contestant(s) must still make a qualified ride before a re-ride will be awarded.
  4. Ties will be run-off, unless both contestants decide to flip a coin. The loser of either the run-off or coin toss will take the next lower placing. In the case when only one contestant wishes a runoff, the one who does not want to, will take the next lower Placing. Run-offs are for placing’s only.
  5. There shall be one (1) second penalty, instead of a disqualification (DQ), for each piece of equipment that is knocked over during a run-off. This only applies during run-offs, any other time it is a disqualification.
  6. Horses and riders may not be substituted during re-rides or run-offs, with the exception of a medical emergency or other mitigating circumstances. This will be decided by the 3-Man Rule Committee.


  1. When a disqualification occurs, the Lane Judge raises the Red Disqualification flag, until the announcer acknowledges the disqualification, then the Judge lowers the flag.

  2. The Lane Judges will be responsible for disqualifications from the start/finish line back to the fence, including all four feet of the horse crossing the lane divider at the same time. Unless in the indoor arena, then only one foot out of the lane divider will be a disqualification.

  3. The Lane Judge’s decision is final, unless the contestant submits a complaint in writing to the 3 Man Rule Committee. The 3 Man Rule Committee then has the final decision. The contestant must submit the complaint before the end of  the event in which the disqualification occurred. The only exception is if the contestant is in the last heat of the last group to run that event. The contestant will then have until the next event starts.

  4. No one under the age of 16 may Lane Judge. Lane Judges must also have correct knowledge of the events they are judging. (See the List of Events for the correct pattern and rules for each event).

  5. Lane Judges have the power to disqualify a contestant for the following:

    1. General disqualification for not following the rules or pattern of an event.

    2. Disqualification for completely (completely meaning all four feet of the horse at the same time) crossing over the lane divider line. With the exception of the indoor or smaller arena. Then the rule will be one foot out or judge’s discretion. If the contestant goes out of the lane far enough to interfere with another contestant, the one interfered with shall be awarded to re-ride. (See Re-rides and Ties).

    3. Disqualification for knocking over any equipment (equipment being anything used in an event that is moveable). Any equipment that touches the ground with its top portion and returns to upright position shall be deemed equipment knocked over

    4. Disqualification for contestant intentionally touching equipment to right or steady it to keep it from being knocked down.

    5. Disqualification for contestant intentionally hitting or striking the horse with equipment.

    6. Disqualification for the rider touching the ground before the horse crosses the finish line. With the exception of events that require dismounting.

    7. Disqualification for poor sportsmanship, abusing a horse, or unruly conduct.

    8. Removal from the grounds for gross intoxication.


1.  Series Points will only be awarded to participants that have been nominated and are competing in Playday events in each age group as described in Nomination Information.  Non-nominated riders shall receive day awards only as earned.
2. Playday series points for placing in each event will not be changed. They are as follows:

  1st Place 10 points
  2nd Place 9 points
  3rd Place 8 points
  4th Place 7 points
  5th Place 6 points
  6th Place 5 Points
  7th Place 4 Points
  8th Place 3 Points
  9th Place 2 Points
10th Place 1 Point

3. The Peewee  (6 & Under) age group will receive participation prizes, as well as series points.

Awards and Prizes

  1. Saddles (in the Summer Saddle Series) awards will only be awarded in age groups that have 5 or more nominated riders.
  2. Awards will be given to 10 high point places in the summer series, if there are enough riders in that age group and a minimum of 2 high point awards in the winter series.
  3. ​Day awards will be given at the discretion of the annual budget.
  4. You must be present to receive your awards. Unless prior arrangements are made. 


In the event that a royalty representative must forfeit their title, the respective alternate will fill the position.  Royalty titles may be taken away if the following occurs:

Royalty fails to follow “Royalty Responsibilities”.
Royalty becomes married, pregnant or cohabits.
Royalty is caught using alcohol or illegal drugs.
Royalty uses profane language or displays in appropriate conduct.

Forfeiting includes giving up the title, crown and any item that PDIA has given to the person.  Only during extreme conditions or emergencies may a royalty ambassador be dismissed from attending events listed under “Royalty Responsibilities.” In such an event the royalty advisor needs to be notified ahead of time.

For all the royalty rules please see royalty packet.

Events Listed in alphabetical order:

Arena Race

Rider mounted at starting line, races to pole bending pole centered on the turning line, makes a left or right turn around the pole and race back to the finish line. Disqualification for steadying pole or knocking pole over.

Barrel and Stake

Rider races to barrel centered in the lane 30 feet from start/finish line which contains three stakes. Rider picks up one stake and races to second barrel centered on turning line and deposits the stake in the second barrel. The rider races back to the first barrel, picks up the next stake and continues until all stakes are in the second barrel, the rider then races across the finish line. Rider must keep the barrels to the right or left at all times. The rider may not cross between the barrels. Intentionally hitting the horse with the stake disqualifies the rider. The wooden stakes to be used are 5 feet long, 1 to 1 ¼ inches in diameter, full round and of a light weight. Disqualification for dropping a stake outside a barrel.

Cloverleaf Barrels

Rider may go to either the right or left barrel first, but must make one left turn and two right turns or one right turn and two left turns. Barrels should be at least 20 feet from the fence. The start/finish line should be at least 45 feet from the fence. Regulation distance of 165 feet from the start/finish line to the turning line; 40 feet from the start/finish line to barrels #1 and #2; 75 feet between barrel #1 and #2. All distances measured to the center of the barrels. For safety reasons, distances may be governed by the amount of arena space available. Start/finish line will be 30 feet wide and marked at each end by a pole bending pole. The rider must cross the start/finish line between the poles. AT least 30 gallon barrels, closed end up, will be used. No
horses will be allowed to run in or out any gate, they must start and finish in the room allowed for in the arena.

Express Rescue – Teams of Two

The first rider is mounted at the start line, races to a partner who is standing behind the turning line, the rider crosses the turning line and picks up the partner, behind the saddle and races across the finish line. Disqualification if the partner touches the ground before the rider crosses the finish line. 

Figure Eight Stake Race

A pole bending pole is centered on the turning line with a second stake set 60 feet toward the start/finish line and centered in the lane. The rider races to the pole on the turning line, making a left for right turn, races to the second pole, crosses over and repeats the first turn, then races back across the finish line.

Flag Race

A flag is placed in a gallon can of sand and centered on at least a 30 gallon barrel which is centered on the turning line. The rider races to the barrel, making a left or right turn, picks up the flag and returns across the finish line with the flag in hand. The flag is to be white, 9 inches square and attached to a stick 18 inches 18 inches long. The flag is to be set straight up in the can. Disqualification for knocking over the can or the barrel or dropping the flag before crossing the finish line.

Half Eight Race

The first pole is centered on the turning line, a second pole is set back 6 feet toward the start/finish line. The rider races down, making a left or right turn, crosses between the poles before crossing the turning line, then makes an opposite turn around the first pole and races back across the finish line. Disqualification for not going between the poles before crossing the turning line or knocking over the poles.

Idaho Two Barrel Flag

Two barrels (at least 30 gallons), one is centered on the turning line, open end up. The second barrel is set 30 feet from the start/finish line, centered in the lane, also open end up. Two stakes, 5 feet long, 1 to 1 ¼ inch in diameter, painted on one end with red at least 12 inches down the stake. The stakes are placed in the barrels, one stake with the red end up, the other with the red end down. The rider will raise their right or left arm when coming into the arena indicating what side of the barrel they will pick up the stake. The rider races to the first barrel, picks up the stake, races to the second barrel, deposits the first stake into the second barrel, picks up the second stake and races back to the first barrel and deposits the second stake, then races back to the finish line. The rider must keep the barrels on the right or left at all times. Disqualification for not keeping the barrels on the same side at all times and for stakes falling out of the barrels before the rider crosses the finish line.

Keg Race

A course of six kegs or traffic cones, set 25 feet apart, centered in the lane. The last keg is set on the turning line. The rider passes the first keg to the right or left and weaves the kegs, turns the last keg and returns, weaving back and across the finish line. Disqualification for jumping the kegs or knocking them over. The kegs are to be uniform in size.

Key Race

Two pole bending poles covered with a 4 inch by 5 foot red sock are places on the turning line 5 feet apart, 10 feet from each pole to the lane divider line. Two more poles are placed 10 feet back toward the start/finish line, also 5 feet apart. These poles are to be in line with the poles on the turning line. The rider races between the poles across the turning line, turns and reverses course back through the poles to the finish line. All of the poles to be covered in red.

Lane Barrels

A barrel is centered on the turning line with a second barrel set 75 feet toward starting line and centered in the lane. Contestant races between the barrels before making a right or left turn around barrel on the turning line, then races to "second barrel" making an opposite turn and returns to the turning line barrel and makes a turn in the same direction as the second turn, then races back across the finish line. Disqualifications for breaking the pattern and/or knocking over barrel.

Pair Sack – Teams of Two

Partners are mounted at the starting line holding a 4 inch by 5 foot red sock between them. At the signal, they race around a barrel (at least 30 gallons) centered on the turning line, make a left turn and race back to the finish line. Disqualification for not making a left turn or letting loose of the sock before both horses cross the finish line.

Pole Bending

Each rider shall have a line of six poles. The riders race to the last pole on the turning line first, make a left or right turn and weave through the poles and back again, then race back to the finish line. The poles are to be 5 feet high, 1 to 1 ¼ inches in diameter. Bases to be a maximum of 15 inches in diameter. Total weight of the pole and base not to exceed 12 pounds. All poles and bases to be uniform. Poles to be set 21 feet apart, centered in the lane, with a distance of 60 feet from the start/finish line to the first pole. The last pole is to be centered on the turning line. Disqualification for steadying or knocking over poles.

Speed Barrels

Three barrels (at least 30 gallons) are centered in the lane, 50 feet between the barrels, the last barrel is to be centered on the turning line. The rider weaves the barrels through and back. The rider may start to weave on either the left or right side of the first barrel.

Stilly Figure Eight

A pole bending pole is centered on the turning line with another pole set 42 feet toward the start/finish line and centered in the lane. The rider passes the first pole on either the right or left, crosses to the second pole, makes an opposite turn and weaves back, then races to the finish line. Disqualification for steadying or knocking over poles.

Straight Barrels

Three barrels ( at least 30 gallons) are centered in the lane, 55 feet between the barrels, the last barrel is to be centered on the turning line. The rider races to the first barrel and proceeds to circle the barrels to the left or right, heading towards the turning line, turns the last barrel and reverses the course, circling barrels to opposite direction on the return trip. Disqualification for turning the barrels in the wrong direction.

Team Arena – Teams of Four

Rider #1 carrying a 12 inch baton races to a pole bending pole centered on the turning line, making a left turn, races back to rider #2 who has moved toward the start/finish line. Rider #1 passes the baton to rider #2. The baton must be passed in the lane before rider #2 crosses the start/finish line. Repeat for riders #3 and #4. The race finishes when rider #4 crosses the finish line. Riders must remain mounted to pass or receive the baton. If the baton is dropped, the rider passing the baton must pick it up and remount their horse before passing the baton to the receiving rider. The last rider to tie a red sock around the left arm. Disqualification for not making a left turn around the pole, intentionally hitting the horse with the baton, crossing over the lane divider or not passing the baton before crossing the start line.

Western Jumping

A plastic pole 15 feet in length and 1 ½ inches in diameter set on standards a minimum of 12 inches and a maximum of 18 inches above the ground is placed 60 feet from the start/finish line. Standards to be placed at the end of each pole. Three poles centered in the lane. The last pole is placed on the turning line with the remaining poles set 21 feet apart toward the start/finish line. The rider races to and crosses the jump, weaves the poles through and back, crosses the jump and races to the finish line. For the 8 and under age group the pole will remain on the ground. Disqualification for knocking over equipment.

Western Relay – Teams of Four

Barrels to be placed on four corners of the arena. Barrel #1 placed on the inside corner of the start/finish line of lane #1. Barrel #2 is placed on the inside corner of the start/finish line of lane #3. Barrel #3 is placed on the inside corner of lane #3 at the turning line. Barrel #4 is placed on the inside corner of lane #1 at the turning line. All riders to enter the center of the box created by the four barrels. The start/finish line is to be between Barrels #1 and #2 (lane #2). The first rider starts between barrels #1 and #2, turns left, races around the arena, outside of the barrels, passing the baton to the second rider between barrels #4 and #1, continuing until all rider have completed the course. The last rider crosses back over the finish line between barrels #1 and #2. The last rider to wear a red arm band. A 12 inch long garden hose may be used for the baton. Disqualification for dropping the baton, knocking over the barrels, failure to pass the baton between #4 and #1 and failure of the passing rider to get back into the box before the receiving rider turns barrel #4.


SPEED BALL - You will be given a golf ball at the start of the race. Run down to the cone, as you go around the back side of the cone and head for the finish line, you will need to drop the golf ball into the cone.    
Ring Around the Pole - Ride to pole with ring in hand, as you round the pole and head for the finish line, put the ring around the pole and ride straight back.

Spur Race - There are a total of 5 poles, 4 at the timers and 1 at the end of the lane. Ride throught 2 poles, cross to the other side of the lane and around the end pole, and through the opposite 2 poles at the finish line.

Any other event not listed is run according to National Rules.