Track/fencing/venue inspection shall be carried out by an official SJUSA delegate at least two-to-three days prior to each race. A Check List will be provided to the race venue at least three weeks in advance. This shall be completed and submitted to SJUSA via email 24 hours in advance of the SJUSA Delegate’s arrival. The Race Official will review the Check List with the delegate (and course crew, if possible) in person and either approve the track/venue’s safety or make necessary recommendations to race organizers. SJUSA will do their best to assist with any necessary changes. The race will not commence until all safety criteria are met.

The skiers and riders will be allowed to inspect and walk the track prior to race time at the discretion of the Race Organizer. Riders will be allowed to ride or walk their horses down the track once prior to the start of the race. In extenuating instances, safety/weather conditions may not allow for horses to be led down the track at all.

The race may be postponed at any time by the Member Race Delegate or the SJUSA delegate to allow for course inspection and/or maintenance. If the track is deemed unsafe at any time during the race, the race shall be suspended or declared finished for the day. The race shall recommence where it left off as soon as track conditions return to a safe standard. If the race is not able to be completed, teams nominating for points at that race will earn points only if more than 50% of teams have completed their runs.

Should a competitor wish to voice a concern over the track conditions, they may do so in a professional and timely manner. The SJUSA delegate and Member Race Delegate will take the complaint under review and determine how best to address the concern. Every effort shall be made to make each competitor’s voice heard.

There will be a veterinarian on site with the authority to disqualify an animal for medical reasons. The veterinarian shall check in with the organizer prior to the race and be present for the competitors’ meeting. Only the Member Race Delegate can require a horse to be examined by the veterinarian prior to racing. Concerns must be brought directly to the Member Race Delegate, and a case presented, before a veterinarian is engaged. The horse will be rolled until a determination can be made. An SJUSA Official will also be available for consultation if needed.

Excessive alcohol consumption or use of drugs that may impair/enhance a rider or skier’s performance or cause a safety hazard to themselves or others is prohibited. Event organizers have the final say in related matters and may disqualify competitors or remove staff if they are deemed under the influence during the event to the degree that safety becomes a factor and/or judgment is impaired.

Sportsmanship is critical to the success of the event.  Upon entry, competitors agree to the humane treatment of their horse(s) and respectful conduct to all fellow competitors, volunteers, emergency and town personnel, race officials, organizers, SJUSA Corporate Council Members or Committee Members and spectators during the competition as well as before and after, for example, at race related events, in verbal or written correspondence or online. Failure to comply with this sportsmanship statute may result in the disqualification of your team without reimbursement and/or a ban from future SJUSA competitions. Warnings may be issued at the season’s start.


A new format is being utilized during the 2019 race season. The 3D format provides for a uniform system which is self-sorting. Competitors do not need to “estimate” their skill level. Performance dictates which “D”, or Division, the finishing time falls within and appropriate points are then awarded, if earned. This is the preferred method for Skijor USA and its member races. Individual races are allowed to run in the old format, if they choose. Full explanation of the 3D format and rules are incorporated in the Skijor USA - 3D Format Document/Addendum.

The 3D is meant to be similar to the previous method of Open, Sport and Novice. Like the traditional format, the 3D system identifies separate competitive classes, maintains three levels of competition, but effectively places teams in the proper division according to their race results.

All competitors, regardless of ability, run on the same track. The three divisions are then determined by time brackets. With the 3D format, the OVERALL fastest time of the race is used to set the time brackets for the three divisions. Skijor USA awards points to teams that have nominated themselves IN ALL DIVISIONS on a 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 basis for 1st through 10th place, regardless of the number of entries.

1st Division: These are the teams with the fastest times and the cleanest runs.

2nd Division: These are teams who ran ONE (1) SECOND or SLOWER than the OVERALL fastest time and cleanest run.

3rd Division: These are teams who ran TWO (2) SECONDS or SLOWER than the OVERALL fastest time, possibly including a 2-second ring penalty.

SJUSA reserves the right to review entries and bring to Member Race Organizers’ attention any concerns regarding a competitor.

Teams must declare their intention to nominate for points and designate distinct teams in distinct regions. There is an advantage for teams to enter at the start of the season, however, teams may nominate for points in a region at any time with the exception of that region’s final race. However points will NOT start to accrue until AFTER both nomination and payment terms are in compliance with the requirements set forth by Skijor USA. Points will NOT be awarded retroactively. See Skijor USA - 3D Format.

Teams are NOT required to nominate for National Championship Points to participate at individual races or at the National Championship Finals/Open 3D race, and remain eligible to earn prize money and/or awards offered by each SJUSA race, including the National Championship Finals/Open 3D event. Races are open to any competitor wishing to enter an SJUSA event. Teams may compete at non-SJUSA or independent races as well but no points will be earned within the SJUSA point series at non-SJUSA races.

Championship Points will be awarded per day of each race for teams that nominate themselves for SJUSA National Championship Points. If a team travels to a race, but can only participate on one day, providing the individual race allows for this, they can still earn Championship Points on that day. Points will be tracked throughout the year. Up to the TOP FOUR finishes for each team in any division, ONLY within their declared region, will be used for points accumulation, regardless of how many race days a team attends within their declared region.

Alternatively, if a team only attends one-to-four days of racing, and earns points during each day, those days’ points will be used for the Championship Points Calculation. However, teams may freely travel to any regional SJUSA race and be eligible to earn prize money and/or awards offered by each SJUSA race. Points will be tracked by the 3D system. Points can be accumulated in one or more “D”, but points earned within a “D” remain in that “D” and cannot be transferred to a different “D”. Qualifying points at the National Championship Finals will be accrued according to the 3D system and compiled accordingly to determine the championship team within each “D”.

Teams will “carry” their points into the Finals, within their determined division, and have an opportunity to earn one and a half times the normal amount of points toward the Championship title in each division at the National Finals Championship only. Teams can also place within the Open 3D race at the West Yellowstone race to win awards, separate from the National Championship competition.



Rules are the same for all competitors. Additional rules may apply from venue to venue, but will not deter from the overall safety of the event nor interfere with the consistency necessary to determine the awarding of points.

All skiers must wear approved snow sport helmets and required bib.  Eye protection is recommended. If skier is under 18, parent/legal guardian must sign parental consent forms and be physically present during the event and wear a helmet and goggles. 

Helmets and protective vests are recommended for adult riders, but bibs are required if provided by the race venue. If rider is under 18, parental consent form must be signed, parent/legal guardian must be physically present during the event and rider must wear helmet. A protective vest is recommended, but not required.  Riders shall also adhere to safety equipment requirements for their horses.

A horse can run a maximum of two times in a day unless a rerun is approved or a race elects to have a Jackpot run. Horses must be given ample rest between runs.

5. A rider may compete up to two times on the same horse, but must have different skiers for each run. Again, a Jackpot may allow for a team to run again, but this run will NOT be counted towards the SJUSA point series or be considered an eligible run for points.

6. A skier may compete up to four times in a day. A skier can run only once behind the same horse in a day. If an extra run becomes available and a skier has already skied four times, another skier with less runs or less experience will be given priority. A fifth ski run will be for exhibition only. As noted above, a Jackpot may allow for a skier to run again, but this run will NOT be counted towards the SJUSA point series or be considered an eligible run for points.

7. Substitutions: No substitutions are allowed for any team member (horse, skier or rider) once registration is complete without a Med-out or Vet-out.  If any team member cannot compete for any reason, and does not have an approved Med-out or Vet-out, the team will be disqualified from that day’s competition.  No refunds will be given unless extenuating circumstances exist, and then it will be the decision of the SJUSA and the local race committee in regard to their respective purposes (SJUSA as regards the points series and local race committee as it regards running at that particular race). For the purposes of the points series, should a substitution be allowed due to Med-out or Vet-Out, the new team formed by substitution will be required to nominate for points as a new team and pay a new nomination fee (subject to rules regulating # of times a competitor may participate in the points series). Points earned by the former team will NOT be carried forward to the new/ substitution team and the team will start from zero. Other rules regarding substitution are at the discretion of individual races. These may include but are not limited to: no substitutions after the Calcutta teams have been sold. Any allowed substitutions at individual races must be adequately disclosed to SJUSA so that the points series can be properly administered.

8. Staging between runs:  Each team is allowed four minutes to complete staging and begin their race. After this allotted time has expired, it is highly recommended that the competitors be asked to leave the staging area. It is up to the discretion of the Start Official and Race Committee to allow multiple staging attempts at two minute intervals. If these are unsuccessful, the team will be allowed one more attempt to race at the end of the division. If the staging time is again exceeded, that team will be disqualified from that day’s competition. The allotted four-minute time period will begin with the declaration of a clear track. Horses shall not be allowed “a running start” from outside the designated staging area, as this may present an unfair advantage and is also unsafe for start officials, volunteers and skiers.

9. Finishing the Race: the skier must finish in an upright or crouched position on at least one ski, be in control with the rope in hand and have no more than two points of their body touching the ground when crossing the finish line.  A hand may touch down briefly, but not be weight bearing. Both skier boots must cross the finish line.  One can be elevated.

10. Gates: Both ski tips and both boots must go around a gate, or the gate is considered missed.

11. Once the horse, rider and skier are in “race ready mode” meaning, the rope is attached to the saddle, the skier has the rope in hand and the flag is up, if the skier drops the rope before crossing the start line, he/she will be disqualified. A restart will only be allowed if the team was NOT deemed to be in race ready mode. Exception: If a horse is not pulled up by the rider by the half way point in the track, the team will still be disqualified. If the horse is pulled up quickly, the team will be granted a restart. A team will only be rolled at the discretion of the Race Official.


A five (5) second penalty is assessed for each missed jump, a five (5) second penalty for each gate and a two (2) second penalty for each ring as well as for a dropped baton for races that require batons.

A five (5) second penalty is assessed for any horse breaking the plane of any jump, hitting a gate, or hitting a timing device (i.e. clapper boards).

There is a two (2) second penalty for each ring that is missed or dropped. If a ring falls off of the standard prior to the approach, no penalty for a missed ring is assessed, or if ring comes apart or is broken, no penalty is assessed. The competitor should finish the run. Use of batons and number of rings shall be determined by the individual race committees. Rings shall be of a standard size 6” to 7” in diameter.



1. The on-site veterinarian will have the authority to scratch a horse for health reasons or concerns pertaining to the safety of the horse and the image of the sport. Only the local Member Race Delegate and/or designated Race Officials can require a horse to be examined by the veterinarian prior to racing. Drug testing is at the discretion and expense of the local Race Committee. Should a member race wish to incorporate Drug testing into their local rules and regulations, the Drug testing rules and regulations are to be fully disclosed and described in the local race rules at least two weeks prior to the race.

2. Officials have the authority to disqualify horses at the start that pose a danger to the volunteer staff or to the rider or skier especially at the start or staging area. Riders shall warm up their horses in designated areas ONLY and away from spectators for the safety of other riders and all racing staff. After a run, competitors and their horses much clear the runout area as soon as possible and return to the opposite end of the track or to their trailers.

3. Protective leg-wear: It is highly recommended that horses be outfitted with bell and splint boots, or similar, on each leg (4).

4. EMT services will be on site. Service, if needed, will be charged to the benefactor.

5. A veterinarian will be on site. Service, if needed, will be charged to the benefactor.


If a team member has a concern regarding the scoring of their run, that concern must be brought to the attention of the Arena Boss or Finish Line/Timing Judge (not the announcers or volunteers) immediately following their run. All contestants should inquire about the scoring/time of their run prior to leaving the finish line area. A Protest Committee consisting of three non-competing members, experienced in the event, apprised in the local and SJUSA rules and selected to have no conflict of interest, will consider the concern presented and make a decision prior to the pending subsequent team’s run. This committee may be comprised of a Starting Judge, a Timing Judge and a Race Organizer, for example, as long as that person is not competing. Otherwise, a Finish Line or Arena Boss may be chosen. This group should be declared by the Member Race Delegate prior to the race’s beginning. The decision of that committee is final, and all involved are asked to accept that decision in the spirit of friendly competition. Any unsportsmanlike conduct may result in elimination from the remainder of the competition weekend or future races. An SJUSA representative will remain “on call” to review SJUSA rules with the Race Committee if clarification is needed, and these rules shall ultimately preside. Documentation of the dispute shall be provided to SJUSA at the end of the race day.


Skijor USA highly recommends straight tracks whenever possible. Curved tracks will be considered only if they follow the design similar to a half mile oval horse racing track.

Length: Straight course: approximately 700 to 900 feet from start to finish gates. Curved tracks may be shorter, but their arc should be no less than the quarter turn radius on an half-mile oval horse racing track. The horse’s track shall not be banked.

Run Out: a horse run out shall be flat, have consistent footing, be without barriers or obstacles and be as long as possible and at least, if not more than, 2/3rd of the course length from start to finish.

Gates: breakaway style where skier goes right of red gates and left of blue gates.

Jumps: typically three jumps or rollers, approximately two to seven feet in height. Tops shall be shaved down so as not to “launch” the skier dangerously.

Rollers and banked turns: Shall have safety fencing at the top and not “whip” the skier toward a gate so as to make the turn too dangerous.

Rings: 3/8” pneumatic polyurethane tubing 6” to 7” in diameter used on both curved and straight tracks in varying numbers and groupings. Ring stands shall be made from light materials and extend as far as possible over the track, and bases must be padded.


Rope lengths are to be no longer than 33’ in length for straight courses, and 50’ for curved tracks. 3/8” or larger in diameter is recommended. Cotton, hemp or synthetic are allowed. Allowance of loops or knots at the skier end are up to the discretion of each individual race. Please check with your race for their rules regarding loops or knots. Ropes brought to the race by individual competitors are subject to approval by the local race officials and/or SJUSA Race Delegates. They may not contain multiple knots or be of a length outside of the race’s normal parameters.

Attachment is to the saddle horn or cantle area. If the attachment is behind the saddle, it must be secured to the primary rigging rings of the saddle via a non-elastic means that does not affect the fit of the saddle so that the pulling rope/skier rope is within an approximate six inches of the cantle, carabineer included.  Prior to the race the Start Master or his designee must approve the pulling rope and any attachment to the saddle or saddle horn.


1. The start area shall be cordoned off and guarded, if possible, to prevent spectators and/or unauthorized personnel from accessing the area. Credentials and badges MUST be worn at all times by those permitted in the area. An arm band or hang tag will suffice.

2. Adequate fencing shall be provided to keep spectators in designated areas and safe. If local liquor laws require additional fencing, this shall be in place and staffing provided.

3. It is up to the discretion of the race organizers to allow dogs, but they must be leashed and/or under control at all times according to local race rules.

4. Drones will not be permitted unless specifically approved by the Race Committee as licensed and operated by professionals with media credentials.

5. Media shall abide by race organizers safety rules and directives. If these are breached, that person may be asked to leave the premises. Media requires credentials which must be visible at all times and individuals must sign a waiver.

6. Volunteers must sign waivers and attend training sessions prior to the race. They should be present for the Competitors’ Meeting before the race begins and wear credentials at all times.


Member Race Delegates should make SJUSA aware of advertising and promotional materials for free distribution or sale at Skijor USA races or related events which make direct reference to our organization, any of our races or members of our Corporate Team simply to ensure that our brand is represented properly and that facts are correct. If a concern arises, this will be brought to the attention of the Member Race Delegate and a remedy will be discussed. Local vendors remain under Member Race jurisdiction. SJUSA Regional or National vendors remain under SJUSA jurisdiction. Both entities will work together to ensure all vendors are provided with what they have been promised.


1. Good sportsmanship is important to the success of our event and the image of the community.  Your registration signature pledges your word to the humane treatment of your horse (if applicable) and respectful relationships to all fellow competitors, race organizers, judges, staff, spectators and volunteers involved in the competition. Racers who have comments or concerns regarding a race or another competitor shall follow procedures outlined above to file a complaint with a Race Organizer or SJUSA delegate.



Race results shall be announced and posted, and prize money and awards distributed at a designated public location at a designated time.  Competitors receiving monetary awards must fill out 1099s for the local race organizers in order to receive checks. The number of placements, payouts and distribution of added money will be determined by the individual race organizers. This shall be announced no less than two weeks in advance of the race in writing. If dollar amounts are not possible to post, a minimum of percentages of a minimum prize pot must be declared to give competitors a clear idea of what their winnings shall be at that race. Race organizers are then indebted to distribute these funds despite mitigating circumstances. Race results shall be posted publicly within 24 hours of the race in a professional and easily readable format and all three team members shall be named. Races shall announce every run time and updated placements as the race progresses from the announcer’s stand. Radio contact is imperative to keep both competitors and spectators abreast of the competition results. A large written results sheet shall be updated continuously and an LED display for times and standings used if possible.


Competitors and race venues will be required to display SJUSA sponsor’s names and/or logos on bibs, posters and/or banners and announcers may be required to acknowledge sponsors from the podium according to SJUSA guidelines. Sponsors, depending on the sponsorship level, may also elect to have a tent at the event if the venue can accommodate it. Respect will be paid to local sponsors according to the individual race’s sponsorship packet, and SJUSA will work to ensure all are represented appropriately and will work in tandem to promote our sport to the maximum degree possible.


If there is an apparent conflict of language or rules, SKIJOR USA will utilize the INTENT of the language or rules to override the conflict.

© 2018 Skijor USA, Inc.