Rules for 4-H EquiTheater

***All the usual 4-H Horse rules apply***


~EquiTheater - Skits Performed to Music. EquiTheater is intended to be an entertaining event.

~EquiTheater is where each exhibitor creates and presents with their horse, an entertaining routine to the audience using: costumes, choreography, music, props, storytelling and acting. Routines may be serious, dramatic, elegant or funny.

~ EquiTheater is for the horse(s) and exhibitor(s) who are capable of being creative and entertaining, there is no advantage for exhibiting "the perfect" horse, nor having "the perfect" show paraphernalia. If we worried about and judged perfection, this would be a far different event then intended.

~The primary emphasis is to encourage all ages and all abilities of 4H exhibitors and their horses to have FUN and for horse clubs to work as a team (an ensemble)

~EquiTheater has proven itself to be a Spectator Magnet. However, Equitheater is not expected to be professional quality entertainment. The audience doesn't usually know when your horse makes a mistake or misbehaves, they just think it's part of your routine.

~EquiTheater is not like any other musical horse sport, because it has fewer required elements, and the main emphasis of a routine is on it's ENTERTAINMENT value, not on how well a horse performs.

~EquiTheater is not Musical Dressage (Kur) nor a Freestyle Reining pattern. It is not stepping, prancing or dancing around in the arena, nor riding on the rail in a costume with background music. It is not a liberty act, nor a trick horse(s) act.

All exhibitors should understand that judging is very subjective.

Scoring criteria in order of importance: 60% entertainment 40% required elements.

~Although special tack or attire is not required, exhibitors must still adhere to the 4-H rules and comply the humane treatment of the horse, and promote safety of both horses and exhibitors.

~Although costumes are an integral part of this class, safety for both horse and exhibitor is of prime importance.

~Costuming, song and routine must all be "G" rated, suitable for a general, family oriented audience. Nothing risque, controversial, demeaning, derogatory, or using bad language is allowed. No Advertising, or any kind of a promotion of a horse, a breed, a person, a stable, specific club, etc.

Use of the National flag is not allowed.

Required Elements:

~All Exhibitors in a routine must include a signed release form for the use of video/sound/photo promotion of EquiTheater

~Each club's entry must include at least one equine in their routine, but no more than three horses. Horses may be ridden, driven, in-hand, line driving, or any combination thereof.  Each entry may use extras (people) to come and go, or to stay in the arena to serve as props, characters, or actors in their skit.

~Time limit 5 minutes, which will include the time used for setting up and dismantling of any props in the arena. Overtime Penalty constitutes a serious loss of points.

~The performance should have a balanced appearance. The balanced appearance means that although the arena is a stage, the exhibitor should use it in a balanced manner. That is why the gaits in both directions. It is hoped that the person will not go in the same direction for 90% and then change, which would not be a balanced use of the arena.

~The arena is considered as a stage and exhibitors should position their routine so they perform to the audience. If an audience is seated at only one end or another, then it's not necessary to use all the arena space, or to go deep into all the corners. Perform in front of the audience, wherever they are seated, do the routine in front of them. Some arenas have center decorations to work around, be sure to perform in front and, not behind the decorations!

~The exhibitor(s) should synchronize their and their horse's movements and action (choreography) to their chosen music. Exhibitors are to tell a story by performing a skit.

Be Theatrical ~ EquiTheater is not about "performing horses"

~The story line is what the exhibitor wishes to express (show and tell) to the audience with their costuming and acting. The music should compliment the presentation, and the music and words must be clearly understandable.

~Set patterns do not allow for creativity. EquiTheater routines challenges the horse to follow the exhibitor's directions while "on stage" in the arena, and not depend on the rail or an established pattern for security. Riding in figure eight type patterns or on the rail exclusively will be penalized.

~The performance must include at least one stop and one back-up at any time or place in the routine.

~The exhibitor must demonstrate at least 2 gaits, each gait in both directions of the ring. This is to give the opportunity for the audience to get a chance to view the horse in motion, and show the costuming and action from both sides. Riding on the rail, in reining, or figure 8 type patterns will cause loss of points.

~ In addition to the other required elements, In-hand exhibitors must work off both sides of the horse.

~The judge must be in the audience for judging the class, and must use the scoring card. The judge must excuse any exhibitor for unsportsmanlike conduct, vulgar or profane behavior, cruel treatment of a horse or any activity that endangers people or animals.

These EquiTheater rules have valid reasons for them, ask if you have questions.

EquiTheater is a work in progress... The rules may change as experience dictates.

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