Western Seat/Reining Seat Equitation and Western Horsemanship riders should give the impression of being in absolute control. Riders must have a very secure seat and leg with a quiet, guiding hand, as the performance of the horse is also considered. The rider should have purpose, direction, and follow through in all gaits and maneuvers.

The Western Seat/Reining Seat rider should give the appearance of control, adaptability, and the ability to demonstrate how to properly ride a reining horse and perform a reining horse pattern. Riders are judged on seat, hands, and performance of the horse. However, it is the riders who are being judged, and the performance of the horse is not considered more important than the method used to obtain it. Methods used, hand, leg, and body position must be considered, as well as how the aids were applied and what results were achieved. Riders should show authority and show to the best of their ability. 

Class Routine

Riders enter the ring at a walk or jog and are judged at a flat-footed four beat walk, two-beat jog, and a three-beat lope both ways of the ring. The order to reverse may be executed by turning toward or away from the rail. All competitors are required to back in a straight line during the line up in all classes. Judges are encouraged to call for at least two tests to be performed by competitors being considered for an award. Judges can choose from a list of tests.

Western Horsemanship

In Western Horsemanship, emphasis should be placed on the horse and the rider working together. Rail work is optional at the discretion of the judge. Execution of required gaits, transitions, tests, and correct form of both horse and rider, while maintaining a pleasurable ride, are the important factors.

When performing the pattern in a Western Horsemanship class, riders should show complete control, precision, accuracy, and smoothness. Execution and correct form of both the horse and rider while maintaining a pleasurable ride are the main criteria for this class.

Portions of the text provided courtesy of the Arabian Horse Association, Education/Evaluation Commission


Lexie Stovel

[email protected]



USEF Western Equitation Medal Program

12/1/2023 through 11/30/2024
A medal program designed to encourage participation in the Western discipline at USEF licensed competitions.

Forms and Publications

USEF Reining Seat Equitation Score Sheet

Downloadable Reining Seat Equitation score sheet provided for your convenience.