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Spear Ring



One to three supports and rings with an inside diameter of 15 cm (6 inches). At the Masters level, a ring with an inside diameter of 10 cm (4 inches) may be used.

When multiple supports and rings are used, the supports will be of varying heights between 30cm and 1.5 metres. The supports should not extend significantly beyond the ring placed on them.

Wooden, bamboo or metal pole, between approximately 2.4 and 3.5 metres in length with the tip end easily identified as such by a pronounced taper or distinctive colouring.

  • At Lead-Line and Introductory the obstacle will be performed at walk only.

  • At Preparatory the obstacle may be performed at either the walk or trot. The judge will consider the additional difficulty of the trot when awarding marks.

  • At Preliminary the obstacle must be performed at trot.

  • At Novice and above the obstacle must be performed at Canter

The rider will spear the ring with the tip end of the pole at the required gait.

This obstacle may also be used in conjunction with Pickup Pole and Deposit Pole and is placed between those obstacles.

If the pole is dropped before the return barrel, the rider must dismount, retrieve the pole, replace it in the pickup barrel. The rider will remount and restart the obstacle. Failure to dismount and retrieve the pole will result in disqualification. Marks will be awarded for the first attempt at pole pickup and spear ring.

Exception: Riders at Lead Line, Introductory, Preparatory and Juniors will not dismount. A member of the Ground Crew will pick up the pole and hold it upright, butt end down, for the competitor to take hold and continue the obstacle.

If the ring has not been replaced after the previous competitor, the current rider may stop while the ring is replaced, and then continue with a lower mark.

WEDU Rulebook V4


  • The judge(s) should consider the cadence, the evenness of the gait of the horse, and whether the horse maintains a natural and relaxed attitude while the rider spears the ring with the tip of the pole.

  • The judge(s) will give a lower mark for a break or loss of fluidity in the horse’s movement.

  • The judge(s) will give a slightly lower mark for failure to spear the ring; however, the movement and confidence of the horse are considered more important criteria for this obstacle.

  • The judge(s) will give a mark lower than 5 for hitting the obstacle base, whether or not the ring is speared.

  • If the rider drops the pole and does not dismount and replace the pole in the barrel it will result in a disqualification. Exception for lower levels, who will be given the pole.

  • The judge(s) will give a mark lower than 5 if the rider spears the ring with the butt end of the pole.

  • If the deposit barrel is knocked over with the pole still in the barrel then the obstacle will  be deemed fully executed but will result in a score lower than 5


Sally Thorne comments & tips from Waikora Equestrian Retreat

If this obstacle is done it will of course be necessary to have first picked up the spear and to then deposit it. They can be judged as one obstacle or as three separate obstacles.

All aspects will be talked about together here.

Training Tips
  • Your horse must be comfortable with you leaning over to pick up an object. Train for this firstly on the ground and then from the saddle, stationary. Proceed slowly until your horse is not at all concerned about the noises that are made by the spear in the barrel. Progress to lifting it out. It can be helpful if your horse is spooky to have a ground person who holds the spear for you to take it and is there to take it back should you suddenly need two hands!

  • The slower you progress with this the faster you will get there! No gains come from a frightened horse. Be sure you are confident yourself and use your own body in a confident manner, creeping around the task can make it a load more frightening for your horse.

  • This obstacle is always done on the move, walk for youth and intro, trot for prep and prelim and canter thereafter.

  • Pick up the pole as if you are picking up an icecream cone, this will ensure the point is what will spear the ring.

  • Before riding one handed with the spear, practice transferring your reins to one hand on approach and riding a straight line. Once confident with that progress to picking up the spear.

  • After spearing the ring, tip the point up, allow the ring to slide down and catch it with your thumb. I call this the “tip and trap” manoeuvre.

  • On approaching the second barrel swing the butt of the spear forward to locate it in the receiving barrel. It will make a sound as it hits so get your horse used to the biffing and banging of the pole in the barrel.

  • This obstacle has multiple aspects, all of which should be practiced separately before combining them into one flowing motion. It is also one of the most fun and so is worth taking time over to get right.

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