Monday, June 30, 2008

Chariot Exhibition AMHR Rules

The AMHR (American Miniature Horse Registery) rules about showing miniatures is available at:, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link to the rulebook I did not include that because it will download a pdf file that you can view and save on your computer.

On page 274, Part 26 the Roman Chariot Even rules begin. I will directly quote these rules, in case you do not want to look them up. Anything in red type are my comments and not part of the rules.

Part 16 - Roman Chariot Event

A. General:
This class is intended as a display of horsemanship, with a team of horses hitched to a Romany style chariot, with emphasis on the authenticity of the chariot, harness and drivers apparel. There were several different types used for chariots in that era, such a fighting vehicles, racing, parades and transportation for royalty. Any of these themes may be used as a reenactment of this era.

The origin of parading of horse before a race or competition was said to have started with the chariot horses at the time. Therefore, at the discretion of show management and allotment of time, entries may be permitted to parade their horses and rigs in the area before the beginning of the class. Banners, flags and capes, represent stables, sponors, etc. may be displayed and carried by the drivers at this time. All entries may parade at this time at a collected trot only, for the audience to inspect. The entries will exit the area, shed their over robes, banners, flags, etc. and will be ready for competition. No flags or banners are allowed in or around the arena at the time of competition.

In my opinion a properly executed parade of horses is one of the most exiting times if properly done. The music has to be the correct arena music, the drivers salute the audience calling: "Hail Caesar," and the audience calls back to them, some drivers distribute candy for the kids or flower pedals which is probably more authentic. Done right this is worth the viewing. I have seen Hal Bryant drive his four matched black and white pintos in this exhibition and it is really neat to see.

C. Specifications:
  1. Drivers must be 16 years old or older.
  2. A driver may talk to his horse(s) as long as it does not interfere with other horses.
  3. Manners and safety are of utmost importance in this class. Judge may disqualify any entry that is deemed unsafe or unruly.
  4. Horses in the team must show in the same gait (not one trotting and the other cantering or walking).
  5. Horses by be light shod.
  6. Wipes of appropriate size are permissible, no bullwhips, etc.
  7. Open bridles are permissible, side or over checks are permitted.
  8. Open to 38: and under, class may be divided 34" and Under and 34" to 38" if four (4) entries of each division are entered.
  9. Header is encouraged.
D. Chariot:
  1. Chariot must be safe. Chariot deemed unsafe by Show Management, Steward or Judge may be disqualified from showing.
  2. Chariots should resemble the Roman chariots and attire should resemble the Roman era and will be judged accordingly.
  3. No weapons allowed on the chariots, drivers or horses.
  4. Chariots and harness may have logos, farm names or sponsor names displayed.
  5. Only four (4) chariots may be in the ring at one time and must stay well spaced and on the rail.
  6. Judge may bring in the top qualifying chariots four (4) at a time for final workout.
E. Ring Procedure:
  1. Horse are to enter the ring counter clockwise (to the right) at a collected trot. To be shown both ways of the arena at a collected trot, slow canter, hand gallop and walk. Horses to reverse at a walk on the diagonal. Must stand quietly, are not required to back. To be judged 50% on manners and performance and 50% on fit and appropriateness of vehicle and harness, over all.
  • a. Walk: A free, regular and forward moving four beat gait. Horses must appear calm and well mannered.
  • b. Collected trot: Horses to give an airy appearance while also showing that they have perfect manners, good mouths and under control at all times.
  • c. Slow Canter: Horses must demonstrate a slow canter in unison, be calm and light mouthed. Racy appearance will be penalized.
  • d. Hand Gallop: Horses must do a hand gallop in unison, not at full speed or racing or giving the appearance of being out of control. Manners are dominate at this gait and unruly horses or unsafe driving will result in disqualification. Horse must be called to a walk after a hand gallop and line up for final inspection. Header in at this time.
F. Single Roman Chariot
  1. Chariot to be pulled by a single horse with class requirements and judging to be the same as the Roman Chariot hitch team specifications.
  2. Drivers to be 13 years old and older.
After reading these rules, it just hit me. No where does it specifically say that a person cannot show a four horse hitch. Also, I checked the AMHA (American Miniature Horse Association) rules and it appears they do not have a chariot class.

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