The Australian Stock Horse is suitable for a very broad range of equine sporting disciplines. To find out more about these disciplines simply click on the headings below.
Australian Stock Horse Classes and Events
Recreational Rides and Novelty Events
Australian Light Horse
Dressage/Show Jumping/Eventing (FEI Disciplines)
The objective of Led ASH classes is to provide opportunities for Members who currently own or breed Australian Stock Horses, to compare their horse's conformation, temperament and movement. The aim of Led ASH classes is to promote good conformation, movement and temperament, as well as good horsemanship and showmanship skills. The horse should show the qualities and type that define the breed. The horse's body should be balanced in accordance with the size of the horse, and it should possess a calm temperament and good nature.
Hack classes are for ridden horses. A hack must have abundant presence and quality and be well schooled. It is the horse, not the rider, that is judged in Hack classes and it is assessed on behaviour, conformation, movement and responsiveness to the rider. The Judge looks for a calm, supple and obedient horse that moves freely forward in all paces. Hacks should be fluent and flowing in their movement. In Hack classes, the Judge will be looking for a horse which is forward moving, balanced and rhythmic in all its paces. It must be well conformed and present an overall picture of balance and quality.
Working classes are to show the ability of a horse to manoeuvre at all paces, with control and obedience. The horse should be light on its feet, well balanced and responsive, with no resistance to the bit, no anticipation or disobedience. All fast work asked for must be executed in a fast manner (subject to ground conditions).
Station Horse (also known as Station Hack)
In Station Horse or Station Hack classes, the Judge is looking for a horse that a station hand would use around a station. The horse should be able to work stock and allow the rider to carry a raincoat, open a gate and crack a stockwhip. The horse should have athletic ability, an excellent temperament and be able to complete the activities in a relaxed and calm manner. The horse should be able to walk at a good pace on a light rein in competition. The pattern could include: walk, trot, canter, gallop, lead changes, stop and back up. If the following items are available they could be included in the working pattern: gate, raincoat, stockwhip. The judge may request part of the pattern to be ridden one handed.
Pleasure Hack (also known as Pleasure Horse)
The horse must be ridden in a plain bridle with a snaffle bit. The rider must not wear spurs or carry a whip and the reins are held in one hand only. Emphasis should be placed on temperament, obedience, conformation and comfortable riding qualities. The winner of a Pleasure Hack or Pleasure Horse class is not eligible to compete in championship classes.
An ASH Challenge is usually run over a number of sections, with prizemoney and ribbons awarded to the winner and placegetters of each section. The committee conducting the event will be responsible for selecting which sections will be contested. A minimum of two sections must be contested. Hack, Working, Time Trial and Cattle Work sections are commonly used. Scores from each section are added together, with the exception of the Time Trial score, which is deducted from the total score to give an overall score. The overall winner is the horse that receives the highest overall score at the conclusion of all sections. Winning a section of a Challenge does not change the horse's competitive status for that event, ie, Working, Hack, Campdraft, etc.
A Futurity is designed to showcase the ability and temperament of young Australian Stock Horses. The Futurity is a contest held over four sections - Led, Hack, Working and Time Trial. Horses are allocated a score in each section and these scores result in an overall score for the event. Horses must record a score in each section to be eligible for an overall score.
Branches and Management Councils may conduct Futurities for young horses. The Committee conducting the event will be responsible for selecting:
- Series of payments
- Nomination fees and due dates
- Age of eligible horses
The National Futurity is a contest usually held in conjunction with the annual Australian Stock Horse Society National Championships. It has been designed to showcase the ability and temperament of the Society's three year old horses. The entry fee consists of a series of payments made within specified dates well in advance of the commencement of the event.
A Maturity is designed to showcase the ability of Australian Stock Horses developing in education. The Maturity is a contest held over five sections - Led, Hack, Working, Time Trial and Cattle Work. Horses are allocated a score in each section and these scores result in an overall score for the event. Horses must record a score in each section to be eligible for an overall score.
Branches and Management Councils may conduct Maturities for horses developing in education. The Committee conducting the event will be responsible for selecting:
- Series of payments
- Nomination fees and due dates
- Age of eligible horses
The National Maturity is a contest usually held in conjunction with the annual Australian Stock Horse Society National Championships. It has been designed to showcase the ability and temperament of the Society's four year old horses. There are no prerequisites for nomination of a horse for the National Maturity, other than the horse must be four years of age. Nominations are taken along with nominations for other classes in the National Championships programme.
One of the Society's objectives is to foster and promote the development of our Youth Members. Branches and Management Councils conduct a wide range of events for Youth Members, such as Youth Judging, Led, Hack, Working, Ridden, Utility, Dressage, Campdrafting, Sporting, Challenge and Time Trial. To further encourage Youth Members, Branches and Management Councils often provide special awards for Youth competitors in other events; eg Highest Scoring Rider Under 18 Years in Open Challenge.
Branches are encouraged to conduct Youth events or Youth training days and to engage the services of one of the Society's Accredited Coaches. A list of the current Accredited Coaches is available under the Accredited Coaches section of this website.
In a Youth Judging Competition, young Members can learn about judging from experienced Judges in a formal show environment. Candidates are asked to judge four Australian Stock Horses and place them accordingly. The results are compared to the placings done by a Horse Assessment Judge. Additionally, a Competitor Assessment Judge evaluates the competitors on personal presentation, attitude and manner. The minimum age for Youth Judging Competitions is 8 years.
A National Youth Judging Competition is held annually at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Management Councils advise the Sports Department at Head Office of their representative for this competition in March each year. For further information on qualifying for this competition, please contact your local Management Council.
National Youth Point Score Competition
A National Youth Point Score Competition is conducted annually. It is open to Full, Youth or Youth Participant Members under the age of 21 years. For further information and a Nomination Form please visit the Awards page.
Campdrafting is a sport unique to Australia, involving horses and cattle. The sport exemplifies the work which is carried out by stockmen and women on cattle properties in the bush, and to some extent is still carried out to this day. Friendly rivalry between stockmen, betting as to whose horse was the best, saw the conception of campdrafting, which has grown to be a recognised sport with its own set of rules.
A campdraft competitor starts by selecting a beast from about ten head in a cut out yard, often called the "camp". He then proceeds to work the beast forward, proving that he can hold the beast clear of the mob, and calls to be let outside. The gatemen then release him from the yard, and he begins the coursework in the open arena., which involves directing the beast around three pegs in a figure-of-eight pattern, and then between two pegs, often referred to as the "gate". For the work in the cut out yard, the judge allocates a score out of a possible 26 points, depending on the pressure applied to the beast and the resultant turns which the horse must perform to block the beast.
The outside horsework is scored out of a possible 70 points depending on the competitor's speed around the course, and the ability to control the beast and keep the beast on the most direct course. An additional two points are added when the first peg has been completed, one point on completion of the second peg, and a further point for achieving the "gate". Thus the judge allocates a score in three sections for a possible 100 points in total.
Competitions are normally divided into three categories to represent the horses' ability and experience. Maiden Campdrafts are for those horses that have never won a campdraft, Novice for those that have won some lesser campdrafts, and Open Campdrafts are open to all horses. Junior Campdrafts for young riders are often held, as well as for Lady riders, and sometimes campdrafts are restricted to Stallions or local horses, etc. The average competition fields about 100 horses in each category.
Campdrafting requires a horse with cattle sense, athletic ability in the camp, and the ability to gallop fast, small circles on the course while remaining responsive to the rider's control. The Australian Stock Horse is the ideal mount, particularly when fitted with the Australian Stock Saddle and ordinary bridle with a plain snaffle bit.
A campdraft competitor requires an understanding of cattle, the ability to ride well, and a horse which is under control at all times. It is an advantage if the competitor can predict a beast's intentions and if the horse has been started on cattle work.
Campdrafting schools are conducted around Australia and are an ideal medium for people and their horses to learn the basic requirements to campdraft, as well as the finer points necessary for the more serious competitor. The Head Office of The Australian Stock Horse Society can place interested people in touch with approved campdraft instructors who can help beginners and improve the techniques of competing campdrafters.
A number of Campdrafting events hosted by Branches and Management Councils are regularly listed on the Society's events calendar. Contact your local Secretary to find out details of forthcoming campdrafting events, or check out the Coming Events page on this website.
Polocrosse is a combination of polo, lacrosse and netball. Polocrosse is typically a hard, fast sport played outdoors with plenty of room for clean enthusiasm. It is a team sport that encourages camaraderie between team members.
Polocrosse was first played in Australia in 1939 and riders throughout the country were immediately enthusiastic about the sport. Polocrosse is now played in more than 18 countries throughout the world - the first World Cup Championships were held in Australia in 2003. Polocrosse is expanding internationally and Australia regularly has teams from other countries visiting to learn more about the sport. It has contributed to a steady growing interest in horses and horsemanship while promoting close friendships between team members nationally and internationally.
A team consists of six polocrosse players dressed in uniform, divided into two sections of three who play alternate chukkas of six or eight minutes. A full game comprises four to eight chukkas. The three players in each section consist of a No. 1 (Attack/Goal Shooter), a No. 2 (Centre) and a No. 3 (Defence/Goal Defence). The No. 1 is the only player who can score a goal and must be in the goal scoring area at the time. The No. 3 is the only player able to defend in the goal scoring area, whilst the No. 2 is the pivot member of the team and can only play in the centre area.
The field consists of three sections - a goal scoring area for each team at alternate ends of the field and a centre field area where all players can attack the other team to gain possession of the ball or if in possession of the ball, use their skills to obtain a goal. When crossing the designated areas on the field, the ball must be passed between players or bounced across the line. To commence the gain, an umpire will throw the ball amongst players in the centre field area where players can catch the ball or pick up the ball from the ground. Players may then pass the ball amongst team members or hit the ball out of the opposition's racquet. The game requires many skills - it is fast and aggressive.
Players can be penalised by the umpire for infringing on the rules. The player must carry the racquet in one hand only and when carrying the ball must not put the racquet and ball on the other side of the horse. Hitting an opponent's racquet to dislodge the ball may only be done in an upward direction. Crossing the designated areas on the field with the ball in the racquet or a player riding dangerously will also incur a penalty.
Equipment and Horse Type
A polocrosse racquet is made up of a polo stick shaft that is attached to a squash racquet head with a loose twisted-thread net, in which the ball is carried. Each player is permitted only one horse for a tournament, except in the case of injury when a substitute horse can be played. The horse must be fit, capable of fast speed and precision control, stopping or turning quickly to gain possession of the ball.
Join a Club
Most areas in Australia have Polocrosse Clubs and this is where you will be able to practice and join a team. Contact the Australian Polocrosse Association to find your nearest club.
Pony Club is an International Voluntary Youth Organisation established in Britain in which young people are encouraged to ride and learn to enjoy all sports connected with horses. The organisation does this by providing instruction in riding and horsemanship, as well as the proper care of their animals.
The Pony Club carries out various activities such as rally days, gymkhanas, camps, trail rides, lectures and films, visits to places of interest and demonstrations, instructors' schools, regional schools and state training squads. Contact Pony Club Australia to learn more about this organisation.
The Australian Stock Horse is ideal for leisure and beginner riders. The Australian Stock Horse has all the basic prerequisites for these groups of riders, which includes a quiet temperament, intelligence and athletic ability. Branches and Management Councils are encouraged to host events that are suitable for both the leisure and beginner rider markets.
Events that Branches may host suitable for leisure and beginner riders include:
- Training Clinics
- Recreational and Trail Rides
- Novelty Days (bending race, flag race, bonfield bounce and stock horse race)
Contact your local Branch Secretary for information regarding recreational rides and novelty events in your area. Your local Secretary's contact details are listed under the Member Branches section of this website.
The activities of the modern Light Horse are many and varied. They actively participate in parades, skill-at-arms, and educational presentations to schools and interested groups. The Light Horse actively participates in parades around the country, including ANZAC Day and also for the Reserve Forces day held in July each year.
The Australian Stock Horse Society and the Australian Light Horse Association have joined in the common goal promoting the Australian Stock Horse and its renowned exploits. The Australian Stock Horse Society has recently introduced The Monty Perpetual Trophy that is awarded to the Best Performed and Presented Australian Stock Horse at the Australian Light Horse Annual Association Cup.
Endurance is a unique equestrian challenge that is based on controlled long distance races. At top levels the races are generally over 100 miles. Endurance is a discipline that provides training education regarding the functions of a horse. Riders must regulate their riding to suit conditions that will affect the way their horse behaves and how it presents to the vet. Horses are regularly presented to a Veterinarian for inspection while competing, where they are checked for soundness and dehydration, and their pulse is taken.
Key factors the rider must have knowledge of and consider include:
- The terrain: is it hilly or flat, sandy or hard ground?
- The weather: is it cold, wet, foggy, or hot and sunny?
- The route: does it look to be difficult to follow on the map, or a simpler circular course?
- Horse's condition: are there signs of tiring, is it time slow down and/or speed up?
Participants of Endurance Riding develop great partnerships with their horses after travelling the many miles of new riding ground. The horse must learn to trust the rider to lead them back home, and the rider must learn to trust the horse to get them there, and the resulting confidence stays with both horse and rider.
Contact the Australian Endurance Rider's Association to learn more about this discipline.
Carriage Driving is a competitive equestrian discipline that is regulated by the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale). Many local shows around Australia host Driving Competitions for a type of carriage or a Combined Driving Competition, which entails an all-round three phase test of driving. The three phases of Combined Driving are Presentation, Dressage and Marathon.
Part of the challenge of these competitions is that the drivers may only communicate to their horses using their hands and voice. Australian Stock Horses are suitable for this equine discipline as they are responsive, have a good mind and are reliable.
For further information regarding Carriage Driving contact the Australian Carriage Driving Society or the National Carriage Driving Committee (EFA).
Station Cutting offers excitement for competitors and spectators alike. The aim of the event is to select a single steer from the mob - gently guide it into the centre of the arena and then with lightening fast starts and turns, prevent it from ducking past the horse and escaping back to the safety of the mob. Cutting out cattle from a mob is necessary in the beef producing areas of outback Australia where station hands overcome isolation and the lack of facilities to separate individual cattle for branding, market, medical treatment or drafting. In the controlled environment of an arena, it developed as an event, know as Station Cutting. The event comes alive in a test of intelligence, training and skill. In competition, the horse and rider must work together as a team in demonstrating their cattle handling skills.
For further information regarding Station Cutting refer to the Events Handbook page.
Team Yarding is a fast paced event that requires a team of three riders, within a two minute time limited to cut out from the mob and yard three head of cattle with the same assigned colour collar or identity number.This event provides an opportunity for mum, dad and children to compete together. A family faces the challenge of beating the time and having fun. Team Yarding provides a perfect arena for Australian Stock Horses to exhibit their athletic ability, suitable temperament and cattle sense. For further information refer to the Events Handbook page.
Tentpegging is a cavalry sport of ancient origin, and is one of only ten equestrian disciplines officially recognised by the International Equestrian Federation. Australian Light Horse troops are credited with bringing the sport back from overseas after World War 1. It involves riders mounted on horseback at full gallop swinging swords or lances to cut, impale or retrieve a small target.
All Tentpeggers in Australia are members of a State body incorporated by the Australian Tentpegging Association. For a guide to Tentpegging and information regarding events held, contact the Australian Tentpegging Association.
Polo is regarded by some as the second fastest ball sport after ice hockey. There are four players on a team and riders score by driving a ball into the opposing team's goal using a long-handled mallet. It is a discipline similar to many team sports with the main difference being that players play on horseback. Polo features successive playing periods called 'chukkas'.
Players concede that the pony accounts for up to 80% of their game. Consequently the pony must be fast, agile, flexible, have wind and stamina and with a temperament that is amenable to the rigours of the game. There is no height limit for the ponies, although most are between 15 and 15.3 hands.
The Australian Stock Horse is an ideal polo pony, particularly when crossed with the Thoroughbred. Polo, in its Australian infancy, was played on Australian Stock Horses. Their durability and versatility became famous worldwide. Thousands of horses were exported during the 1800s and early 1900s to supply cavalry and mounted infantry units serving the British Empire - from India to South Africa. In the First World War 160,000 were exported to mounted units of 20 nations. These horses were also used for Polo during recreation times for soldiers and officers.
Over the years, the Walers, as they were known, were crossed with the sturdy and nimble Timor Pony, as well as athletic, stock minded Thoroughbreds. The better types and better performed horses of this cross breeding were the Foundation Horses of The Australian Stock Horse Society.
For further information contact the Australian Polo Council.
All three FEI Disciplines, Dressage, Showjumping and Eventing are Olympic Sports.
Dressage is a French word that roughly translates as "training". Dressage is the basic training of all riding horses. Showjumpers, Show Hacks and Pleasure Horses will all benefit from dressage training - dressage training creates a horse that is more comfortable, safe and pleasurable to ride.
For those who have determination, patience and a love of horses, dressage offers many attractions. It entails the pursuit of perfection, with attention to detail being the basis for success.
Competitive Dressage takes the form of a series of tests of ever increasing difficulty. Each test is a rigorous routine of set gymnastic movements, which are performed with absolute exactness in front of judges. The sequence of movements is designed to show the suppleness, obedience and strength of the horse.
Australian National Tests are ridden from Preliminary to Advanced Level. The International Tests, issued by the FEI are executed at five levels, from Prix St Georges through to Grand Prix Special. Freestyle to Music is also part of the Dressage repertoire. In Freestyle tests, riders perform their own choreographed pattern of movements from a list of compulsory elements suitable for each level.
Showjumping is riding horses in competitions over set courses to demonstrate skill in jumping over obstacles. The discipline is a test of horsemanship and the horse's athletic ability. The discipline is a competitive sport consisting of many elements. The course is pre-arranged, the event may be timed and a judge or panel of judges scores. The horses are allowed a certain number of refusals to take a jump.
Eventing is a three-part competition consisting of dressage, cross-country and showjumping. This discipline that is commonly seen as a 'triathlon of the equestrian world' has its roots as a comprehensive cavalry test requiring mastery of several types of riding. All three tests (dressage, cross-country and show jumping) can take place on the same day but, at the advanced levels, they are spread over two or three days. The willing temperament and athletic versatility of Australian Stock Horses proves they are a suitable breed for this discipline.
For more information contact the Equestrian Federation of Australia.