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The Athletic Equestrian League is an organization of 4th-12th grade equestrian athletes who compete in practical horsemanship. In addition, a Minis division was added in 2015 for 1st-3rd graders and we also added an Adults division(Minis and Adults do not count into the team totals).  Riders in the AEL are judged against a set of standards, both on the flat and over fences, and receive a score on their ride. In addition, each athlete completes an unmounted practicum, and that score is added to their mounted score. Each rider receives a flat score(40 points), a fences score(40 points), and a practicum score(20 points), and all three scores are added together for their score for the day.

Riders in the AEL ride the “host” team’s horses, they do not bring their own mounts.

For each class in the AEL, a group of six riders, all competing at the same level, ride as a group for their flat phase, then proceed directly to their fences phase, then proceed directly to their practicum phase. Spectators, as well as families and friends, are familiar with the judging standards, and have a good understanding of how the rider places and what the rider needs to work on in order to improve their score. Each athlete takes home a copy of their score sheets that includes the judge's comments.

Levels in the AEL include Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Novice, Intermediate and Open. In the Flat phase, all riders are scored on eight standards, and receive a score from 1-5 on each standard. For the Fences phase, each rider is required to complete eight tests, and is scored from zero to five on each test. For the Practicum phase, each rider scores between 1-20 points.
Attire is more “athletic” than normal show attire. Athletes wear tall boots or half-chaps/paddock boots, any color breeches or solid color schooling tights or tights, athletic short or long-sleeved shirt(shirts must have a collar or a ¼ zip) in team colors, gloves and ASTM-SEI helmet. Competitors wear an arm number on their left arm, plus a colored wristband for their Flat Phase, in order to ease the judging since the judge has to watch all six riders for each of their tasks in the flat class. Below is a description of the levels offered in the AEL:

Minis:  Open to athletes in 1st-3rd grades.

Beginner
: Beginner flat riders compete in both directions of the ring at the walk, rising trot, halt, and do the two-point position at the trot. Beginner fence riders compete over a set pattern of ground poles, which includes work at the walk, trot, and halt. Beginner riders have had less than 36 weeks of riding instruction and are capable of performing the rising trot and have not shown in a mounted competition at the canter. Beginner fences riders have not shown in a mounted competition over 12” fences.

Advanced Beginner: Advanced Beginner flat riders compete in both directions of the ring at the walk, rising trot, canter, halt, and do the two-point position at the trot. Advanced Beginner fence riders compete over a set pattern of ground poles, which includes work at the walk, trot, and halt. Advanced Beginner riders may have had less more than 36 weeks of riding instruction and are capable of performing the rising trot and can canter in a group and have not shown in a mounted competition at the canter. Advanced Beginner fences riders have not shown in a mounted competition over 12” fences.

Novice: Novice riders compete in both directions of the ring at the walk, rising trot, sitting trot, canter, and halt. Novice fences riders will compete over a set pattern of cross-rails, which will include work at the walk, trot, canter and halt. Novice riders have had more than 36 weeks of riding instruction and are capable of performing the rising trot and the canter. Novice riders have not shown in a mounted competition over fences higher than 18”.

Intermediate: Intermediate riders compete in both directions of the ring at the walk, rising and sitting trot, canter, halt, and will perform a sitting trot. Intermediate fences riders compete over a set pattern of 2’-2’3” verticals, which includes work at the walk, trot, canter and halt. Intermediate riders have had more than 36 weeks of riding instruction and are capable of performing the rising trot, sitting trot and canter. Intermediate riders have not shown in a mounted competition over fences higher than 2’6”.

Open: Open riders compete in both directions of the ring at the walk, rising and sitting trot, halt, canter and hand-gallop. Open obstacle riders compete over a set pattern of 2’3”-2’6” fences, which includes work at the walk, trot, canter and halt. Open riders have had more than 36 weeks of riding instruction and are capable of performing the rising trot, canter and hand gallop. Open riders may have shown in a mounted competition over fences higher than 2’6”.

Adults:  Open to anyone over the age of 18.

Practicum: Each level has progressively difficult practicum tasks, and all practicum tasks take into account rider knowledge and safety. All practicum tasks will be pulled from the CHA Composite Manual.