Welcome to the Novice Division!

Purpose and Goals:

The purpose of the Novice division is to provide new horse exhibitors a chance to exhibit safely with others of the same level. Its goal is to build confidence and character and to instill in the riders a sense of accomplishment and personal growth.


  • The Novice division is open to Junior, Intermediate and Senior 4-H members enrolled in the horse project
  • A rider entering into the Novice division must have no more than two years experience in exhibiting any horse in a ridden equitation or pleasure class.


  • It is highly recommended that an exhibitor spend no more than two years in each level of the Novice Division (In-Hand, Walk/Trot, Walk/Trot/Canter)
  • If a show offers Novice Division classes, cross entering into regular Performance Division classes is not allowed. If a show does not offer “Novice” classes, then Novice level exhibitors may enter the regular classes for that division (see the appropriate division rules for restrictions) without jeopardizing their Novice eligibility.
  • Exhibitors may not cross enter between different Novice levels.
  • Once an exhibitor has shown in a higher level Novice section, or a regular Performance class, they are no longer eligible the lower level class except by special exemption.
  • Novice exhibitors are not eligible for State competition

Novice Levels

  • In-Hand – All classes are done in a halter, no riding is involved. For a full description of this new level, including score sheets, click here
  • Walk/Trot – No gait faster than a trot (jog) is required.
  • Walk/Trot/Canter – Exhibitors perform at all three gaits just like in Performance classes, but no individual pattern is required

Questions about the Novice division?  Contact Division Chair,