Effective January 1,2022, the following rule variances that were made will revert back to the pre-COVID requirements as found in the 2022 Official APHA Rulebook.

Temporary Judge Rule Changes:

  • Judging the same show in consecutive years. Judges may judge the same show that they judged in 2020 in 2021 if it was rescheduled due to COVID-19.
  • Judging 2 shows per state. Judges may judge more than two shows per state in the U.S., Canadian provinces, or countries in Europe during 2021 if the additional show was rescheduled due to COVID-19.
  • Mileage restriction for judges between shows. To accommodate rescheduled shows, judges may judge a show that is within 200 miles of another show within 30 days of each other if it was rescheduled due to COVID-19.
  • Judging at least one APHA show per calendar year. If judges were booked for a show that was affected by COVID-19 and that was your only show for the year, it will count for your one APHA show for the year even though it was canceled and they did not judge it.
  • All other judge rules concerning judging APHA events remain unchanged.

Temporary Show Management Rule Changes (For all APHA-approved shows and special events that are canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak):

  • Refunds – Show managers can request a refund of the show application fee and related late fees or credit that may be used towards future event fees.
  • Show Approval Deadlines and Late Penalties – If a show manager cancels a show or event and reschedules it for a later date, we will waive the 30-day postmark requirement and related late fees. [SC-090.C-D]
  • Class List – If a cancelled show is rescheduled in 2021, we’ll waive the minimum requirements for shows. [SC-095.A] Show managers may hold any type of APHA classes that work in your area. We’ll also be flexible regarding the 30-day deadline to submit the list of classes. [SC-090.E]
  • Judges – To make rescheduling your show easier, show managers can hire any available APHA-approved judge. We’re waiving the mileage requirements between shows for judges, as well as the restrictions on the number of shows and judging consecutive shows. [JU-000.D.1-3] Show managers need to continue communicating regularly with hired judges regarding any show changes. The relationship between show management and the judge is governed by a private contract, and APHA does not mediate in those discussions.
  • Locations/Venues – If show managers wish to reschedule their show later in the year, they may change the location/venue but the mileage rule stays in effect. [SC-090.J]
  • Priority of Show Dates – Any APHA show or special event that is cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak will retain priority for their original show dates for 2022, even if the location of the rescheduled show changes more than 250 miles. [SC-090.K]
  • World Show Qualification – We’re waiving the qualification requirements for the 2020 APHA Open/Amateur World Championship Show.

NEW: Temporary Award Rule Changes

  • Top 20 Award – Due to the above rule suspensions, the following Top 20 tabulation rule has been suspended for the 2021 show season: “A main judge may only be counted from two (2) shows.”  (SC-045.A.1., AM-060.C., and YP-055.C.) Only the quoted line will be suspended, the rest of the Open, Amateur, and Youth Top 20 rules remain in place. All other year end award rules remain in place for the 2021 show season.

Show Management Safety Recommendations:

APHA shows are critical to the fabric of the horse show world. As we open shows in 2020, we need to take stock in how each show manager meets the demands of a post-COVID-19 world. Long after the inaugural specter of COVID-19 has faded into memory, organizations that use venues across the United States should work to protect their standing and reputation for sanitation and bio-security when faced with current and future pandemics. Here are some guidelines that can help. APHA also stands ready to source hand sanitizer and face masks at minimal cost to show managers who need them.
One of the most critical considerations is the elimination of lines at horse shows, adherence to social distancing and the health and welfare of every exhibitor and show employee.
Take Every Precaution
Show management should take every precaution to ensure that gathering numbers don’t exceed discrete populations during each stage of exhibition, from tack-up to exhibition. This will mean adapting events and activities to fall in compliance with local requirements for distancing. These adaptations will necessarily reduce the number of individuals in the office, restrooms, hallways, concessions, stall barns, warm up arenas and holding areas in order to safely and easily maintain social distancing.
While many venues have or are developing rigorous cleaning standards and guidelines, other smaller venues will need the collaboration of show management to maximize the sanitation of venues both before, during and immediately following events. Discuss with your venue staff what sanitation services they provide and what you’ll need to provide.
These standards address the major touch-points during equestrian exhibitions:

  • Entrance into venue
  • Unloading of horses, tack and other cargo at the stalling area
  • Stalling areas
  • Practice and warm up arena
  • Exhibition area
  • Spectator seating
  • Refreshment and food area
  • Restrooms

Masks and Hand Sanitizers
For hand sanitizers, please visit APHA partner, Santa Cruz Animal Health, and use the coupon code HANDSAN for 10% off your purchase. This coupon code can be used once per customer.
For face masks, please visit the PH Barn Door.
Always check with the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov, as well as your local, state and county officials, for current restrictions, requirements and best practices.

Here are some practices to maximize the safest path to success:

Social distancing

  • Designating with signage, tape, and by announcements indicating six-foot spacing for guests and staff in line (entrance, restrooms, concessions, show offices, arena entry passages, warm-up arenas accesses) to maintain appropriate distance.
  • Make every effort to eliminate lines through such practices as curb-side or online check-in.
  • At least one stall, or 10-foot distance between common collections of stalled horses. Common collections constitute groups of horses managed by a specific training barn, regardless of ownership, making every effort to ensure that no one is forced to walk through another common collection space.
  • Make frequent announcements encouraging spectators to keep six feet apart if they are not within families that live together.

Cleaning practices

  • Clean high-touch areas like show office counters frequently with antiviral agent.
  • Spray hoses and other commonly touched items regularly with bio-hazard agent.
  • Ensure hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol and sanitizing products are made readily available for guests and staff.
  • Keep restroom outer doors open wherever possible to reduce contact.
  • Provide individual-size hand sanitizer bottles at registration desks, show, stall and shavings offices, ticket sales and concessions stands.

Staff Protection

  • Recommend that staff wear masks.
  • Provide gloves or all event services, maintenance, security and event staff or any other staff with direct contact with the public.
  • Make available a non-contact thermometer for staff and exhibitors. No one with elevated temperature should be allowed to work in the show office or stay on the show grounds.
  • Staff who are considered at risk for communicable diseases like COVID-19 should be discouraged from working in show offices. Consult www.cdc.gov for information considered at risk.
  • Control lines should be created to maintain 6-feet social distancing spaces though the use of floor tape or other designation.

Food/beverage, trade show areas

  • Increase more contact-less transactions with credit cards as a condition of trade show participation.
  • Trade show vendors must allow for adequate distancing within trade show space.
  • Avoid common touch points like condiment areas.
  • Personnel required to wear masks and gloves.


  • Space animals in show ring to maintain social distancing.
  • Require judges to maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance from other judges and exhibitors.
  • Recommend and provide masks for exhibitors, judges and show stewards.
  • Limit number of people in staged photographs to maintain social distancing.
  • Exhibitors should pick up prizes at exit rather than through staff hand off.
  • Maintain social distancing in wash bays.
  • Signage and announcer reminders should include prompts to social distance and exercise good hand hygiene.
  • Arena entrance / exits will be arranged so that exhibitors are not coming in close contact entering and exiting the arenas.
  • If social distancing is impossible in show offices, plexiglass can be used to segregate staff.

Arena Seating

  • Limited occupancy to allow distancing in stands.
  • Controlled ingress/egress points and control of number is monitored by staff.
  • Create one-way traffic along concourse if possible.

Arena Grounds

  • RV camping permitted with distance provisions.
  • Prevent gatherings in and around RVs.
  • On-site first aid/medical facility must have adequate PPE.


  • Provide specific one-exhibitor/one-horse combinations numbers and use to limit the number of exhibitor/horse combination allowed within exhibition and practice areas.
  • Exhibitors must keep 6 feet of space between each other at all times.
  • The total number of horses and contestants in each competition area will be limited, based on state or local guidelines at the time of the event. Depending on regulations, exhibitors could be restricted to going to holding/warm up areas until 30 minutes prior to their run.
  • Liability waivers should be required to protect show management and APHA in the event an exhibitor or guest becomes ill during or after being at a show.
  • Show program and premium books should include language that requires exhibitors to comply with social distancing and gives show management the power to ask guests to leave the grounds in the event that they exhibit symptoms of communicable disease, or are not adhering to social distancing.

We recognize the unique nature of each venue. Nonetheless, these guidelines represent the backbone to renewed health and vitality of the Paint Horse show community. It also represents a new normal, or as some have called it, a new abnormal within which show management and venue managers will require a new sense of collaboration and spark a fire or rejuvenation in the weeks and months to come and on into the next decade of equestrian events.