This obstacle consists of a circular inner yard containing farm or animal-like objects, surrounded by a circular outer yard with an opening to allow entry and exit. The outer yard should be a minimum of 8 metres diameter with an entry/exit opening of 2 metres, and the inner yard should have a minimum diameter of 3 metres. The actual track to ride should be a minimum of 1.5 metres in width. The use of live animals in the inner yard is prohibited.
At Introductory level the obstacle must be performed at walk. At Preparatory and Preliminary the obstacle must be performed at walk or trot. At Novice and above the obstacle must be performed at a walk or canter. At Elementary, the change of direction will be performed as a walk pirouette. At Medium, if cantering the change of direction, a half canter pirouette will be performed with a flying change before or after.
Competitors will make one circuit of the obstacle (first circle direction as per course directives), then exit the obstacle, change direction, and return to the obstacle to repeat the circuit in the opposite direction.
When changing direction, the horse and rider may execute a teardrop (10 metres in diameter or less), turn on the haunches, or half‐pirouette. Riders will not dismount if any part of the Stockyard is knocked over. The rider will score a (zero) 0 (EOH) or a penalty will apply (Speed) and they will be asked to move onto the next obstacle.
In the Speed phase, the Stockyard is only to be performed in one direction, the direction of which will be marked on the course plan or will be at the discretion of the rider.
Judging Directives The judge will consider rhythm, purpose, bend and balance of the circles, confidence of the horse and precision and correctness of the change of direction. A higher degree of difficulty shown in the change of direction (if performed well) will mark higher.
A score of 7 or less will be given for:
● Incorrect bend in one direction
● Unbalanced or unclear change of direction
A score of 5 or less will be given for:
● Breaking gait within the Stockpen
● Incorrect bend in both directions
● Touching any part of the obstacle
● Unbalanced/rushed/incomplete changes of direction
A score of (zero) 0 will be given for:
● Knocking the obstacle over
● Failure to complete the obstacle in both directions
● Obstacle performed at wrong gait
● Any part of the obstacle performed at canter on the wrong lead
Sally Thorne comments from Waikora Equestrian Retreat
The judge is looking for even bend and pace. A good walk will score higher than a poor uneven trot.
Do the largest circle you can in other words hug the outside rail not the inside one. Maintain bend, almost think leg yield.
Remember trot diagonals. Not all judges mark down for incorrect diagonals but they are important to the ultimate balance and evenness of your horse. Learn to feel them and change them seamlessly.
The pace you do your first circle is the pace you must do your second circle or else it’s judged a break of gate.
You can walk your change of direction outside the pen but must be back at trot (if you were in the first circle) by the time you enter the pen. Likewise if you have been trotting and break to a walk to do your change of direction, you must not walk till your horse clears the stockpen.
Pay attention to which side you entered first it’s incredibly easy to do two circles the same way … DQ right there
Always remember you can take any route you like to the obstacle and can even proceed around the outside of the pen and “ leak “ into the opening.
Arrange your bend and diagonal etc before entering the pen.
Always think of the next obstacle on the list when leaving the completed one so you can make a good approach.