Rules and Procedures

The following rules are mandatory for all Affiliated Clubs.  Clubs may add to these rules at their own discretion and are also encouraged to have their own Show Rules, provided these are not in conflict with any of the following:

  1. Halter Typing
  2. Halter Typing Assessments
  3. Unregistered horses
  4. Height for Age for Horses
  5. Measuring Rules
  6. Measuring Procedure
  7. Height Verification Rule & Procedure
  8. Handler Disability/Impairment Rule
  9. Health and Safety
  10. Novice/Open Horse and Handler
  11. Category C Show Rules
  12. AMHA Show Rule
  13. NZ Bred Show Rule
  14. Youth Age Show Rule
  15. Master Age Show Rule
  16. Foal Age Show Rule
  17. Colour Class Show Rule
  18. Minimal Pinto Show Rule

The Rules in More Detail:

1.  Halter Typing

  • Halter typing will be implemented by Affiliated Clubs to ensure horses of the same type compete against each other.
  • The guidelines as to what constitutes a Foundation, Classic and Modern type horse descriptions are set by AIMHCNZ.  Refer to Halter Typing

2.  Halter Typing Assessment

  • This procedure has been implemented so that people showing at AIMHCNZ shows can have certainty that their horse will be in the correct type section.
  • Horses must be presented for assessment in near, or show condition at an AIMHCNZ organised day prior to the start of the show season, where typing will be conducted by no less than three Approved AIMHCNZ Typing Assessors. Horses that cannot attend such a day can be assessed at their first show outing, prior to the start of the Show.
  • Once the horse is assessed by no less than three Approved Typing Assessors, its Type will be recorded on its AIMHCNZ measuring card with the date, name and signature of at least three of the Assessors, and will be recorded on the AIMHCNZ Registry and/or database.
  • To avoid a conflict of interest, AIMHCNZ Inc Assessors shall not assess their own horses, have a family member assess their horses, or assess horses that they have a legal or business interest in, including horses taken in for training, show preparation or show handling, horses they have on lease or horses they have recently sold.
  • Approved Assessors must have attended at least one Typing Seminar and be approved by the AIMHCNZ Typing Committee. It is preferred that all Typing Assessors attend regular refresher seminars where available to update their knowledge and ensure that they are able to make an accurate assessment of a horse.
  • A list of approved Typing Assessors will be circulated to clubs periodically.

2A. Assessing a Horse

  • Horses are to be assessed by no less than three Approved Typing Assessors that have attended a Typing Assessors Seminar and been approved by the Typing Assessors Committee.
  • A minimum of three Approved Typing Assessors must assess the horse at the same time.
  • The horse will be presented for assessment in near-show, or show condition. It will be stood squarely in accordance with the measuring procedure. The horse will be asked to walk and trot out at a working trot, as part of the assessment and may be asked to stand in a show stance. The horse shall be assessed in an open area where the assessors are able to move freely around the horse to view it from all angles. (Not in a stable/yard/pen or tied to a fence/float etc).
  • The conditioning of the horse will be taken into consideration. An overweight and unconditioned Modern horse is not a Classic horse. The same goes for Classics. An overweight and unconditioned Classic horse is not a Foundation horse.
  • The horse must be handled sufficiently at the assessment, so that assessors are able to determine its temperament. (Bits or sedatives are not permitted to be used at an assessment).
  • The assessment is to be based on the AIMHCNZ Typing Standards. As a guide, if a horse is 12.5% or more American Shetland breeding then it should be classified as a Modern horse unless it displays significantly more Classic or Foundation characteristics than Modern characteristics. A horse with less than 12.5% American Shetland breeding that displays predominantly Modern characteristics will be classified as a Modern horse, however if it displays predominantly Classic or Foundation characteristics then it will be classified accordingly. A miniature horse displaying predominantly Classic characteristics will be classified as Classic and a miniature horse displaying predominantly Foundation characteristics will be classified as Foundation.
  • Where a horse classified into the Modern section wishes to show in a different section, a Typing Assessment shall be carried out by no less than three Approved Typing Assessors at the same time, the Assessors may not be all from the same club. The Typing worksheet must be used and completed by all three Assessors, and this must be returned along with the decision to the Typing Committee for review and final approval.
  • Due to the potential for horses to be shown throughout New Zealand, typing decisions shall be determined by assessing the horse against the AIMHCNZ Typing Standard and should not be influenced by regional effects such as a lack of Modern horses forcing what is essentially a good Classic horse into the Modern ring.
  • Where horses are borderline the Assessors must come to a decision regarding the classification of the horse that upholds the objective of preserving the Classic and Foundation rings for the older style horses.

2B.  Assessors Decision is Final

  • The assessment decision is effective immediately and is considered final, except in the case of 2C below.
  • The owner/handler shall not take the horse to another area for assessment by other Assessors in the hope of achieving a different decision.

2C. Right of AIMHCNZ Committee to Reassess an Assessment Decision

  • In the event that an Affiliated Club committee OR 3 approved Assessors not involved in the original typing assessment, strongly disagrees with an Assessment made by approved Assessors in accordance with this policy, the AIMHCNZ Typing Committee reserve the right to review the decision by putting a motion to overturn the decision to the vote.
  • The Committee may only overturn the original assessment decision by achieving a majority vote. If the vote succeeds, the AIMHCNZ Typing Committee must assign a panel of three approved Assessors to view the horse and carry out an assessment at a time that is mutually convenient for both parties. The panel shall not include any Assessor that was involved in the assessment that was overturned.
  • The decision of this panel of Assessors assigned by the AIMHCNZ Typing Committee is final and no further correspondence or discussion will be entered into. The decision will remain in place until the end of the current show season.

2D. Where No Assessment Has Been Carried Out Prior To the Start of the Show

Affiliated Clubs should encourage all show competitors to check that they have their horse/s entered into the correct type category before any show begins.

  • Horse owners/handlers may choose the halter section that they will show their horse in without having the horse assessed prior to the start of the show, but this is at their own risk.
  • If it is determined that the horse is being shown in the wrong section, the Affiliated Club Assessors retain the right to determine where it will show.
  • The Assessors’ decision is final and the owner/handler will have the opportunity to show in the section designated by the Assessors or to scratch the horse.

3. Unregistered horses

  • Unregistered horses may be included in Affiliated Club Activities including shows, but will not be eligible for AIMHCNZ incentive competitions such as Hi-Points, Halls of Excellence, Premiere Mare and Gelding Awards.
  • Unregistered horses can be registered with AIMHCNZ for a small fee. Refer to Registry

4.  Height for Age for Horses

Height for age for horses commences as at 1st August for New Zealand bred horses and at the actual birth date for horses imported from the Northern Hemisphere.

Category A

  • Foals and Weanlings must not exceed 30″ (76.20cm) in height
  • Yearlings must not exceed 32″ (81.28cm) in height
  • Two-Year-olds must not exceed 33″ (83.82cm)in height
  • Three years old and over shall not exceed 34″ (86.36cm) in height

Category B

  • Foals and Weanlings must be over 30” (76.20cm) and not exceed 33″ (83.82cm)
  • Yearlings must be over 32″ (81.28cm) and not exceed 36″ (91.44cm)
  • Two-year-olds must be over 33″ (83.82cm) and not exceed 37″ (93.98cm)
  • Three-year-olds and over must be over 34″ (86.36cm) and not exceed 38″ (96.52cm)

Category C

  • Foals and Weanlings must be over 33″ (83.82cm) and not exceed 36″ (91.44)  
  • Yearlings must be over 36″ (91.44cm) and not exceed 38″ (96.52cm)
  • Two-year-olds must be over 37″ (93.98cm) and not exceed 40″ (101.60cm)
  • Three-year-olds and over, must be over 38″ (96.52cm) and not exceed 42″ (106.68cm)

5.  Measuring Rules at AIMHCNZ or Affiliated Clubs Shows and Events

  • All horses competing in AIMHCNZ Inc shows and events shall have a current height certificate from a recognised source, or be measured at the show or event and be issued with a height certificate valid for the period of the show or event in accordance with the AIM measuring procedure.
  • Measuring will be carried out in accordance with the approved and documented Measuring Procedure.
  • AIMHCNZ Clubs accept AIMHCNZ height certificates and RAS height certificates provided they have not expired. However, the Show Manager and/or Ring Steward, or the show committee reserves the right to height verify any horse entered in the show, at any time and at their discretion.
  • If a competitor considers a horse is not entered into the correct height category or exceeds height for age, they can protest in accordance with the show rules.
  • Anyone without a current height certificate shall be measured at the event or show and a height certificate issued.
  • Measuring will be available at any Affiliated Club and at the shows and events to Cat A, B and C horses.
  • Measuring will be carried out as per the measuring procedure.
  • To ensure consistency, measuring must be conducted using an AIMHCNZ Inc approved stick. These are the Dobbin brand and must measure up to 42″. Measuring sticks are available from Jesterfield Horsewear.
  • A common height certificate will be adopted by AIMHCNZ Inc and the Affiliated Clubs. Refer to Measuring Card
  • The height will be recorded on the card in inches and centimeters. The comparison from inches to centimeters must be an accurate conversion.
  • If there is an excess of 12 horses in a class, the class may be broken down into further height divisions at the discretion of the show committee.
  • With the exception of life measures, height certificates will expire in accordance with the dates printed on the height certificate.
  • A life measure may be obtained for any horse, 7 years old of actual age and older. The measure must be documented as a Life Measure on the height card and the measurer and witness must sign off the measure. A copy of the card is sent to the Registrar so that the registry can be updated. If the horse already has a life measure this will be accepted on the provision of the proof.
  • AIMHCNZ Inc and Affiliated Clubs will accept each other’s height certificates along with any other approved organisation’s current and valid height certificates.
  • Any Affiliated Club may measure any other Affiliated Club member’s horses.
  • Affiliated Clubs will appoint at least two measures and two witnesses to measure on behalf of their Affiliated Club. These people may be members of the Affiliated Club, of another Affiliated Club or an AIMHCNZ Inc Governor.
  • Measure and Witness must receive training before they can measure on behalf of the Affiliated Club.
  • To avoid conflicts of interest, measures and witness shall not measure their own horses (either fully owned or owned in partnership) or those that they have bred, have in training or in care or on lease. Measures and witnesses shall not measure any horse presented by one of their own family or anyone with whom they have a business relationship.
  • Affiliated Clubs will arrange their own measuring days, venues and time and may provide measuring in conjunction with any other third party for the sake of convenience.
  • Affiliated Clubs will maintain records of the measuring activities.
  • The minimum cost of a measure is $5 per horse. The Affiliated Clubs, at their discretion, may add an additional sum to cover expenses.
  • $2 of each measure will be returned to AIMHCNZ Inc. This is returned to AIMHCNZ Inc along with the annual membership fee which is due on or before 31st March.
  • All official measures are to take place at an advertised measuring day. This can be done via the clubs Facebook page and AIMHCNZ Facebook page, no less than 7 days before.
  • Measuring can be carried out at a private venue as long as the venue has a suitable, level, concrete surface and plenty of safe parking for Horse trucks and floats. Parking on the side of the road to unload horses etc is unacceptable.
  • The measuring day must be made available to all that wish to attend.

6. AIMHCNZ Inc Measuring Procedure

  • The designated measuring area must be a hard, flat surface. A level must be used to verify that the ground is flat. The area in which the horse is to stand must be marked out or defined clearly.
  • A trained and approved measurer and witness appointed by the Show committee must carry out the measures.
  • The horse must be set square within the designated area.
  • The forelegs and hind legs may not be spread unnaturally or stretched so that the horse stands incorrectly.
  • The head must be presented at a natural level for the horse as it stands with a loose rein. It may not be tucked down or raised to an elevated position in order to alter the height. The owner/handler may not adopt a position that may influence the horse to alter its natural head position.
  • Horses are measured at the last mane hair. The last hair of the mane is identified by the measurer and confirmed by the witness.
  • The measuring stick must be straight as confirmed with the level bubble, with the end on the floor.
  • The Measurer must not push the stick down hard on the horse’s back in order to make the back give.
  • If the measure is due to a protest, it must be carried out in the presence of the Protest Committee. No person or persons present must act in any way in order to upset the horse. Any person causing a disturbance will be asked to leave the arena.
  • The measurer and the witness confirm the position of the stick. The Measurer reads out the height. The witness confirms this is correct. The height is documented.
  • If the owner/handler is unhappy with the first height recorded, then the horse will be measured twice more and an average taken between all three documented heights. The second measure will be taken from the other side of the horse.
  • Should a second measure be required, the horse may, at the owners/handler’s discretion be walked in a small circle and bought back into the designated measuring area.
  • The horse must not leave the designated area until the second and third measures are recorded.
  • The average of all three measures is deemed to be the correct measure and will apply for the duration of the show.
  • The horse must stand quietly while being measured.
  • If a measure is not able to be conducted due to the behaviour of the horse the Show Manager will be called in to assess the horse and make a decision on which Category and class the horse may be shown in. If the measure is due to a protest, then the Protest Committee will decide whether the horse can continue to show and in which category.
  • Any horse exceeding the Category C height for age requirements will not be permitted to show.
  • If the owner/handler disagrees with the Show Manager or Protest Committee they have an option of withdrawing their horse from the show.

7. Height Verification Measure Rule & Procedure

  • Horses may, at the Ring Stewards, Show manager or Show committee’s discretion, be height verified at any time; prior to, during or after the show.
  • Failure by a competitor to produce a horse for a height verification measure as requested by the Ring Stewards, Show Manager or Show Committee within 10 minutes will result in the disqualification of the horse from the show and the forfeiting of any ribbons/prizes or points gained during that show.
  • The height verification measure will be carried out in accordance with the AIMHCNZ Inc Measuring Procedure.
  • Where a AIMHCNZ height certificate was presented for the horse, the new measure will be recorded on this. Where a AIMHCNZ or RAS height certificate is produced, a record of the height verification measure must be taken and forwarded to the AIMHCNZ measuring coordinator within 5 days of the measure.
  • All horses entering shows on a RAS Height Certificate may be Height Verified at the request of the Show Manager, Ring Stewards or the Show Committee at any time; prior to, during or after the show and will follow the Height Verification Measure & Procedure rule to confirm the horse’s height.

8. Handler Disability/Impairment Rule

  • Every effort will be made to accommodate those with disabilities or impairments at AIMHCNZ Inc events and at Affiliated Club rally days and events, however, it is recognised that not all locations where rally days, shows and events are able to be held at venues that provide the facilities and amenities required for disabled people.
  • AIMHCNZ Inc and Affiliated Clubs will endeavor to work with those with disabilities or impairments who wish to participate to see how best they can be accommodated.
  • No person may participate in activities during a rally day, show or event where they may be putting themselves or others in danger or at risk of harm.
  • At shows or events, horses including foals must be shown by the same person throughout the class, however, where a disability prevents a person from completing all activities in the class assistance may be approved. The request for assistance must be made to the Ring Steward prior to entering the Ring.

9. Health and Safety

  • AIM provides Clubs with a Health and Safety Plan. AIM encourages Clubs to take health and safety seriously and make all efforts to ensure that their working environments (e.g., show and rally day grounds) are safe. A health and safety briefing should be carried out prior to each event held and any identified hazards notified together with mitigations.
  • AIM provides public liability and statutory liability cover for itself and all Affiliated Clubs. Clubs may still elect to have additional cover for their club independently from the AIM policy.
  • A health and safety programme must be implemented in accordance with legislation.Refer to Health and Saftey
  • A Health and Safety Officer must be appointed for by each affiliated club at shows or events.

10. Novice/Open Horses and Handlers

  • A Novice horse or handler remains in Novice until they achieve six wins against competition, including A&P shows and other miniature horse shows, after which they must show in Open classes. Once the horse is moved up to Open they are unable to return to Novice.

11. Category C Show Rules

  • Affiliated Clubs will cater for horses up to 42″ in Club activities including shows.
  • All Category C horses that show at AIM Hi-Point Shows must be registered with AIMHCNZ Inc. Height for age rules apply.

12. AMHA Horse Show Rule

  • AMHA horses must be currently registered with AMHA and provide a copy of both sides of the certificate with the entries.
  • No pending registrations will be accepted.
  • Horses entered in these classes must be entered by the owner/s as shown on the AMHA registration certificate OR a copy produced of the AMHA lease, as lodged with the AMHA office showing the name of the person entering the horse.

13. NZ Bred Horse Show Rule

  • To qualify as NZ Bred the horse must have been bred and born in New Zealand. Its sire and dam must also have been bred and born in New Zealand.

14. Youth Age Groups

  • Junior Youth – 5 years old to 11 years old.
  • Senior Youth – 12 years old to 17 years old.
  • The youth age is as at the 1st August.
  • If a youth has a birthday after the 1st August they remain in the section they began the season in for the entire show season.

15. Masters Age

  • To enter into a Masters Class at Hi Point and Hall of Excellence Shows, a competitor must be 50 years or over. As at the 1st August.

16. Minimum Age a Foal can be shown

  • Foals must be 16 weeks or over to compete at a show in the weanling classes.
  • The foal must be weaned or day weaned.
  • The foal’s dam is not permitted in or around the perimeter of the show ring.

17. Colour Class Show Rules

AIMHCNZ Colour Classes are not bound by any other Colour Breed Definition.

Classes to be judged 100% on colour and coat condition.


Open to broken coloured horses with a permanent pattern-factor in the coat of the neck/body (including head, belly, and tail), as per the shaded area on the diagram.

This includes any areas with underlying pink or multi-coloured (eg mottled) skin, as characteristic of pinto and appaloosa colouring. Excluded for eligible colour are white markings with underlying pink skin on the lower legs below the knee/hock (including a ‘diminishing spear’) and white on the face in front of a line drawn from the base of the ear to the corner of the mouth and under the chin (to include muzzle/lower lip), as per the light areas on the diagram. “Sooty” markings or areas of “non-descript ticking” with no underlying pink skin on the body are also excluded from multi-colour classes.

May be further divided into: Appaloosa

Open to horses showing any of the appaloosa coat patterns and/or appaloosa mottling or characteristics; and Pintaloosa-showing both pinto and appaloosa patterns.

 (b)Solid Colour

Open to horses possessing a uni-coloured skin on the neck/body (including head, belly and tail), as per the shaded area on the diagram. The skin may be pink or lightly freckled (as in cremello/perlino, champagne) or dark.

Ordinary white markings with underlying pink skin on the lower legs and front of the face as per the light areas on the diagram, are permitted as are darker or lighter mane/tail/points (eg silvers, palominos, bays, champagnes, buckskins, sorrels, roans), areas of “non-descript ticking” (scattering of white hairs with no underlying pink skin), “sooty” markings (black hairs), and seasonal body markings (eg fleabitten greys, dapples on silvers, greys, bays/browns, and palominos).

May be further divided into:

Silver – Silver Dapple, Silver Chocolate, Silver Bay (Taffy).

Dilute – Palomino, Buckskin, Cremello/Perlino, Champagne, Dun-factor (including grulla, red dun).

Other Solid Colour – All other solid colour including Black, Brown, Bay, all shades of Chestnut, Grey, and true Roan.

Horses of composite colours (e.g. silver buckskin) or colours hard to distinguish should be shown in the class that most closely describes the most prominent colouring displayed.

18. Minimal Pinto Class Rule

  • Any broken coloured horse that has either 20% or less colour on a mainly white horse or 20% or less white on a mainly coloured horse.