Skip to main content


Required Horse Health Documents

The USTPA is committed to protecting the health and welfare of all animals competing at USTPA National Production Shows. In an effort to ensure the health of our horses and limit the spread of contagious disease, the following horse health documents are required for every horse on the grounds at all USTPA National Production Shows and at the USTPA World Championship Show:

Current Negative EIA/Coggins (within 12 months of event)

Health Certificate Within 30 days of Event.

NOTICE: These are minimum requirements for participation at USTPA events and do not necessarily reflect the specific regulations of each state. Other timelines, health documents and test results may be required by the state in which the event is held or through which you are traveling and requirements vary from state to state. It is the responsibility of the horse owner/representative to travel with the correct health documentation for each state. Please refer to the USDA link below to access further links with information on each state’s specific veterinary health requirements or contact the state directly for details:

Animal Welfare Rules and Guidelines

Inhumane treatment of any animal in the show arena, warm-up arena, stall, runway or elsewhere on the show grounds is strictly forbidden. Likewise, any cruelty to or the abuse of any horse is a violation of USTPA rules. USTPA emphatically desires to avoid all cases of cruelty and inhumane or abusive treatment of any horse.
Treatment of any horse will be considered cruel, abusive or inhumane if a reasonable person, educated in accepted equine training techniques, could perceive the conduct of an individual to be abusive or an attempt to abuse the horse.

Furthermore, any behavior by an exhibitor, trainer, or rider that could be perceived by the general public to be harmful to any horse should also be avoided. It is the responsibility of each member to report each and every event which could be perceived as an abusive act toward a horse during a USTPA sanctioned event.

The following is a list of criteria specifically prohibited at USTPA sanctioned events.

  1. Excessive jerking, spurring, whipping, slapping or kicking while on the ground, or any other act with the intent to cause trauma to the horse;
  2. Slapping or hitting a horse in the head with hands or any other object;
  3. Using a bit in a manner that causes a horse to bleed from its mouth or face;
  4. Using any object held in the rider’s hand, other than the bridle reins, to hit a horse;
  5. Repeatedly and excessively pulling on one or both reins;
  6. Riding a horse that is visibly lame, sick or emaciated.

If any of the above actions are observed, they should be reported to a USTPA Director, judge or show management. In the case where the soundness or health of a horse is in question, the decision should be based on the assessment of a veterinarian. In the event one is not available, it shall be at the sole discretion of either the show judge(s) or USTPA Animal Welfare Director to decide whether an animal is fit to be used. At each show, an Animal Welfare Director shall be named.

Each person found to be in violation of this rule may be subject to receiving the following penalty:

  • 1st Offense: $10-$500 fine and 6 months probation
  • 2nd Offense: $500-$1,000 fine and 12 months probation
  • 3rd Offense: $500-$1,000 and 6 month suspension

These penalties can be increased as appropriated by the Executive Committee depending on the circumstances and nature of the violation.

Inhumane treatment – Inhumane treatment to horses, including, but not limited to, physical abuse towards the animal by the rider or owner to cause the animal further injury or competing on an animal that is visibly hurt or lame.

A $500 fine will be assessed by the judges, after the teams run has ended, if a team member continues to work cattle other than to gather the herd for the next team, or a team member exhibits any unnecessary roughness or contact with cattle. If excessive roughness continues, any team or team member may be assessed an additional fine and/or disqualification by the judge.

Hat Rule

A hat rule will be enforced at all USTPA Production events. A $10 fine will be assessed for every hat that hits the arena floor. In the event that the horse goes down or the rider falls off, no hat fine will be assessed. The hat fine money is designated for youth awards at the USTPA National Finals. Sanctioned shows on a regional level may enforce a hat rule at the producer’s option.

Guest Day Permits

Day Permits will not be offered at USTPA National Production shows.

A free Day Permit is available for those riders who do not want to join the Association, in order to participate in up to a single show each fiscal year. Day Permit riders shall fill out a membership application and shall be rated by the Director in Charge at that show and may be eligible to ride in any class that his/her rating allows. Should a Day Permit holder later choose to compete in an additional sanctioned show, he or she shall be required to purchase a full Competitor Membership in order to compete at that time.

If the rider subsequently joins USTPA, any money earned while riding on a Day Permit will not be included in the rider’s annual money earnings total, although any USTPA Competitor Members riding as teammates with the Day Permit holder will be eligible for tracking of their USTPA earnings on the same team.

Sportsmanlike Conduct

A) If a person is fined the fine will be determined and assessed by the judges, director(s) present, or the Boards of Directors after consulting all current directors in that region.

B) Any contestant who is guilty of misconduct may be fined $10 to $500 or be expelled from the contest and/or the association. USTPA reserves the right to revoke or refuse membership for proper cause.

  • Unsportsmanlike conduct by an exhibitor, trainer, rider or spectator will not be tolerated. Activities and behavior that shall be considered unsportsmanlike are listed below:
  • Any act of abuse or an attempt to abuse any horse;
  • Any person who threatens another person or actually inflicts injury to another person;
  • Any person who is publicly intoxicated or disorderly;
  • Any individual who is not on the team currently riding in the arena that ‘spots’ cattle;
  • Any public display of outrage that could tarnish the image of USTPA;
  • Any person who approaches the Judge’s or Announcer’s stand in a threatening manner; Any USTPA Director or Judge shall determine a violation of the rules listed here in. Immediate removal of the offending individual from the premises will occur. The USTPA Board of Directors will then determine the severity of the disciplinary action, which may be taken including, but not limited to, possible expulsion from the Association.

Contestant Dress Code

Contestants at USTPA sanctioned shows are required to wear western attire, a western hat, long-sleeved western shirt tucked-in and buttoned properly, and boots.

In the event of extreme temperatures, the Director-in-Charge and the judges will decide on the day of the show if short-sleeved western shirts, or cold-weather attire may be worn. A hat is optional for the timers, announcers, and show office personnel. Tank tops, ball caps and tee shirts will not be allowed.

Show Accidents // Emergency Tips

  • Do not move the patient or horse.
  • Call for EMS and/or Veterinarian.
  • Secure any loose horse(s).
  • EMS personnel must evaluate the patient and determine status.
  • Ring steward and/or other personnel will open gates, remove obstacles, so EMS will have access to scene.
  • The area should be cleared of horses, riders and spectators.
  • Give specific directions to the ambulance as to the location of the emergency.
  • Ask the Ambulance driver not to use their lights or sirens, due to the danger of spooking horses.
  • Witness names and contact numbers should be gathered for later use.
  • Arrangements for care of the horse should be made by the owner, show management or veterinarian.
  • Notification of family should be done by the show management.
USTPA Team Penning - Rider with American Flag