Gymkhana

Gymkhana is an equestrian sporting event, not to be confused with gymkhana the auto racing sport. Gymkhana is enjoyed across the globe from the United States to the United Kingdom!

A gymkhana show involves several different set-ups. You can download all the rules and regulations, along with the measurements to exact specifications for the set-ups here. A set-up is a pattern laid out with poles, barrels or stakes that has very specific measurements. A horse and rider are timed when they run the individual set-ups. The winner is the horse and rider with the fastest time. Every event has its own times to beat according to the rank you are in.

The CGA (California Gymkhana Association) is made up of several Divisions throughout the state of California. You usually will join the division nearest your home or horse.

Within your division there a rankings. Depending on how fast you run the courses your time will indicate what rank you are. This way you race against other people in your rank instead of someone better or worse.

The ranks are the same for each division. So your rank follows you to which ever Gymkhana division you ride in. The ranks are as follows:

65 and AboveThis level of rider is more finesse than speed. A joy to watch.
Lead LineThese are the beginners that are lead through the course.
FC (Future Champion)These are newer riders that don’t need to be lead, they can handle their horse. Times are less than 28.310 at this rank.
A HorseThis is the next step up the ladder from FC. A horse riders run times are between 22.850 – 28.309 seconds.
AA HorseA lot of people rank at this level. Their ride times are between 20.540 – 22.849 seconds.
AAA HorseThis rank run times between 18.710 – 20.539 seconds.
AAA+ HorseThere aren’t a lot of horses/riders that rank this high but there are a few. There time is between 18.709 – 18.198 seconds.
Supreme HorseI have never witnessed this level of a rider, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist! They run anything 18.199 seconds and less!

After you sign-up for which events you want to run in the morning you hang out until your name is called over the loud speaker. They’ll say something like, “So-and-so is in the arena and so-and-so is thinin’ about it.” That means the first so-and-so is running the course and the second is at the arena waiting.

When the other person is done running the course they’ll open the gate and you ride in, acknowledge the Judge by looking at them until they look at you and nod. Then you take off and run the course as fast as you can with your horse! When you finish the run, acknowledge the Judge again and they’ll say, “Good Ride!” and you walk out on your horse. This goes on all day depending on how large your division is. A big division can take all day into the night so you want to bring snacks for sure!

Through the year your times are recorded and stored by the gymkhana club. At the end of the year there’s an awards dinner or barbeque with awards ceremony held for the winners of their division. Saddles, engraved stirrups, beautiful bridles and various tack and photography are awarded. It’s a fun way to end the season for everyone.

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