Willow Creek Stables

Competition Organizations

Here in the San Diego region we are blessed, and cursed, by having a lot of different organizations that organize hunter/jumper competitions. I say "cursed" because keeping track of memberships in all these different organizations is sometimes a bit of a challenge. I put this page together partly to keep it all straight myself but also for others. As far as I can tell, there is no single place on the web that summarizes this info.

San Diego region point keeping organizations:

A Note About Membership Years and Show Age

All the organizations use the same "year" which is December 1st to November 30th. So you can make a reminder to yourself to renew December 1st every year (or January 1st if you aren't competing in December). Also the "show age" of a competitor is their age as of December 1st of that show year. So if you are competing in 2014, the competition show age will be the person's age as of December 1st 2013. This often means, for instance, that a 12 year old could be competing in the 11 & under category.


All show circuits have medal classes. These are special classes that have a year end final competition that you must qualify for throughout the year. You typically have to accumulate a certain number of medal points throughout the year to qualify to ride in the finals, and then your placing for that year is the placing you get in the finals.

Greater San Diego Hunter Jumper Association

The GSDHJA is a point keeping organization that allows members to accumulate points in GSDHJA recognized shows throughout the show year. Competitors vie for end of year total point counts, as well as competing in GSDHJA's year end Championship show. The GSDHJA recognizes all competitors at their year end awards banquet held in January. There is a special "achievement" awards category for Walk/Trot, Crossrails, and Short/Long Stirrup allowing those participants to get nice trophies at the banquet without having to chase points. All competitors who earn a first place blue ribbon in a Championship Show class gets a GSDHJA embroidered show jacket.

The GSDHJA is unique as a show circuit in that it has ONE championship show held every year that has year end finals for ALL categories.

To compete at GSDHJA shows (we call them "county" shows), the rider must have a valid membership which you must purchase from the website every year. If your horse is owned by someone else, then the horse owner must also have a membership.

If you have questions about the GSDHJA, it is best to use the contact forms on the website to ask on-line. The GSDHJA does not have "operators standing by" to answer questions. But you will get an answer back relatively quickly via on-line forms.

United States Equestrian Federation

USEF is the national equestrian sport organization that organizes not only national hunter/jumper competitions, but also dressage and other disciplines. As a result, finding your way around USEF can be challenging. We refer to USEF shows as "A" level shows.

To compete in USEF, you must have a valid membership AND your horse must be registered with them. Typically, you buy/renew rider memberships once a year, and you have a choice of either registering your horse once a year or buying a lifetime membership. Buy your memberships early. You want to get your paperwork done before showing up to the show.

If you have questions about USEF, give them a call. They have a knowledgeable office staff able to answers your questions.

California Professional Horseman's Association

The CPHA sponsors several medal and equitation classes. The finals typically take place in August during one or more horse shows. You need to be a member on the CPHA to compete in the finals.

Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association

The PCHA also sponsors several medal and equitation classes. The finals typically take place in September during one or more horse shows, although the Equitation Championships often takes place, now, at the Sunshine Series show in Thermal in November. You need to be a member on the PCHA to compete in the finals.

ASPCA Maclay

Link to the ASPCA Maclay.

Medal Info

The United States is unique in the world by having so much emphasis on Equitation. Equitation medals are seen as a useful stepping stone for a professional rider career in the Jumpers, or as a worthy goal for riders that will hang up their stirrups when they go off to college. Here's a nice little website that provides lots of links and information on the various regional and national medals: Medal information.

International Level Competition

Jumpers, Dressage, and Cross Country (Three Day Eventing) are the only disciplines that are competed on an international basis. For Jumpers, USEF maintains a ranking of American riders based on international FEI standards. For developing riders (those under 25 years of age), they have three lists. Each list is ranked by the amount of money won in the past year in qualifying classes.

Note that these ages are FEI ages which is your true age when you compete, not a show age. For reference, 1.2M = 3'11", 1.4M = 4'7".

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