Why Join Horse Show Associations?

You may ask yourself “Why should I join horse show associations?” , or more likely your parents are asking that question, along with “Which ones should we join?”

There are many national and local show associations that can provide year end awards and other programs to horse show exhibitors. The associations can be thought of as a “Family Tree” Starting with the parent organization, the United States Equestrian Federation or more commonly know as the USEF. From there branch out other national and local associations.

The USEF governs all equestrian activity within the United States and is the governing body for all equestrian disciplines. These disciplines include: The United States Hunter Jumper Association or USHJA (this is the discipline in which we ride), The United States Eventing Association or USEA, United States Dressage Federation or USDF, American Vaulting Association or AVA, USA Reining or USAR just to name a few. Each discipline will have it’s own set of rules and guidelines, however when something is not addressed within the discipline it will be referred to the USEF rules.


The USEF is broken down into zones and California and Nevada make up Zone 10.

Local USEF affiliates are The Pacific Coast Horse Shows Associations or PCHA, California Professional Horseman’s Association or CPHA, Los Angeles Hunter Jumper Association or LAHJA, San Fernando Hunter Jumper Association or SFHJA, and Tri Valley Horse Show Association or TVHSA. These associations sanction the shows that we attend.

logo          cpha-logo      lahja        sfhja      tri-valley

All riders and horses must be registered with the USEF, if you are competing at a USEF recognized show or you will be charged non-member fees. This includes some of the shows that we attend, such as shows at Blenheim, Thermal, Gold Coast, Del Mar, Sonoma, Menlo, Santa Barbara, and our home show in June. The only classes held at these shows that do not require USEF membership are Opportunity classes. These classes are designed to give entry level rider the chance to show at a larger show without the added fees.

If you are showing in any PCHA,CPHA, LAHJA, SFHJA ,TVHSA medal classes, both you and your trainer, are required to be members to be eligible to receive points and qualify for medal finals. You will also receive points for any equitation classes you may enter and then be eligible for any year end awards for those associations. Your horse does not need to be registered with the associations unless you wish to receive hunter points toward year end awards. If you are showing a leased horse, the owner of the horse must also be a member or alternatively, you can transfer the ownership for the duration of your lease through the USEF.

Many of the local shows are sanctioned by multiple organizations, thereby giving you points in each of those toward year end awards.  Riders competing in the national medals such as ASPCA Maclay, Washington Equitation, or World Champion Hunter Rider, must also join those organizations to receive points.

Most association memberships cover the show season time frame from December 1 – November 30, however some do have different starting and ending dates, such as ASPCA Maclay which starts September 1,  so it is important to be aware of the correct time for renewal.

So now we come to the most frequently asked question…..”Which associations should I join?”

The answer depends on your goals so you should meet with your trainer at the beginning of the show season to discuss which shows you are planning on attending.  Consider your goals, time commitment that you can make for attending shows as well as your budget.  This will help you in determining which associations to join. And once you know which ones to join, send in the membership paperwork and payment right away. Membership cost vary for each different association and the fees will be listed on the application. If you do not join, you may not be able to compete in the medal classes and you will not receive points for year end awards. some associations such as the USEF will charge non-member fees as well. Again, a discussion with your trainer will help you determine the correct associations to join.

Good luck showing!!