Tuesday May 30, 2023
For National Pony Club updates and information please go to pcuk.org
Rule Changes for 2023

There have been some important rule changes this year and below are just a few key updates, please do refresh yourself with the 2023 Handbook and the rules for your sport.

Riding Hat Standards

Hat Tags: From the 1st January 2023, the following hat standards will no longer be accepted, due to the age of hats made to these standards:
1. PAS 015 1998
2. SNELL 2001A new pink hat tag will be required for all Pony Club, BE and British Riding Club activities from 1st January 2023. You can have your hat ‘tagged’ at a rally. 

Please see link below for details  


Vaccination information

The Vaccination Rule 2023 is available on the  Pony Club website with the rulebooks. This has been simplified so that the vaccination schedule for Pony Club activities requires a booster every 12 months. Please be aware that other organisations and event venues may have different requirements, including Pony Racing and some racecourses.


Body Protectors

Advance warning that BETA 2009 level 3 standard (purple label) Body Protectors will not be accepted at Pony Club events after 31st December 2023. After this date, only the BETA 2018 Level 3 standard (blue and black label) will be allowed.

Whip rules (2022)

Please be aware that the specifications for whips for show jumping and cross-country have changed for all Pony Club competitions – you can only use the same whip as for British Show jumping. An example of an acceptable whip is shown below:

Riders may not hit their horse or pony before the start of the course and may be eliminated for doing so at the Judge’s discretion.

A whip, if carried, must be held in the hand by the handle with the handle at the top. The whip must be “padded” and comply with the current British Showjumping rule (BS Members Handbook, full wording is available to view online at www.britishshowjumping.co.uk).

Key Points:

  • The maximum length of the “Whip” is 70cm and must be no less than 45cm.
  • The “Contact area”, is considered to be two fifths of the overall length of the “Whip” and must be covered with a “Pad”.
  • There must be no “binding” within 17 centimetres of the end of the “Pad”.
  • The “Pad” must be smooth, with no protrusion or raised surface, and be made of shock absorbing material throughout its circumference such that it gives a compression factor of at least 6mm.
  • There is to be no wording, advertising or personalisation of any kind on the “Pad”.
  • Before buying any whip, please check with the retailer that it is BS compliant.

At all times, the whip must only be used:

  • For a good reason, as an aid to encourage the horse forward.
  • At an appropriate time, namely when the horse is reluctant to go forward under normal aids of seat and legs.
  • In the right place, namely down the shoulder or behind the leg but never overarm.
  • With appropriate severity.
  • No more than twice for any one incident.

Excessive use of the whip anywhere on the showground will result in disqualification:

  • Use of the whip to vent a competitor’s anger is always excessive.
  • Use of a whip which causes injury e.g. Broken skin or a weal, is always excessive.
  • Use after elimination or retirement is always excessive.
  • Use on a horse’s head, neck etc. is always excessive.
  • Using the whip from the ground after a rider fall or dismount is always excessive.
  • If the rider’s arm comes above the shoulder when using the whip, this is always excessive


Stirrup rules (2022) 

For the avoidance of doubt, at Pony Club events.
• stirrups which connect the boot and the stirrup magnetically are not allowed
• Interlocking boot soles and stirrup treads are not allowed

Stirrups should be of the correct size to suit the rider’s boots. They must have 7mm (¼”) clearance on either side of the boot. 

There are now many types of stirrups marketed as ‘safety stirrups’. All riders must ensure that their stirrups are suitable for the type of footwear they are wearing and the activities in which they are taking part and that the stirrup leathers are in good condition.

There are no prescribed weight limits on metal stirrups, however with the advent of stirrups of other materials, weight limits are seen to be given by manufacturers. Any person buying these stirrups, should take particular notice if weight limits are on the box or attached information leaflets. Neither the feet nor the stirrup leathers or irons, may be attached to the girth, or the feet attached to the stirrup irons.

It is strongly recommended that the design of the stirrup chosen allows the foot to be released easily in the event of a rider fall. Specific rules for individual sports can be found in the respective sports rulebooks.

Particular focus should be on ensuring that the boot and stirrup are the correct size for the rider taking part and used in line with the manufacturer’s guidance.

For Mounted Games Only:
Bostock & Free Jump stirrups are not allowed at Pony Club Mounted Games events.
Stirrups which include Metal/ Metal type treads, including but not limited to those with protruding spikes and/or perforated grip features are NOT Permitted.