The ILHA Invitational Open Freestyle Competition on April 8-9 at Equine Affaire located in Columbus, Ohio will consist of a compulsory pattern AND a Freestyle performance. The Compulsory pattern and Freestyle performance will be judged separately. Scores from each judge for the Compulsory pattern and the Freestyle performance will be added together and the competitor with the highest combined score will be the winner.


Freestyle Performance

  • All competitors will perform their Freestyle Performance Saturday, April 9th  from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM in the Coliseum. 
  • Each competitor will have 6 minutes total for set-up, tear-down, and their performance. They can use they allotted time however they choose.
  • If the arena is not completely cleared and the performance over by 6 minutes the competitor will receive an automatic 5 point Time Deduction per judge (10 points total).
  • Each competitor can use props, people, other horses, etc. as they choose for the Freestyle Performance.
  • Use of fire or explosives MUST be approved of prior to the performance. Lack of prior approval will result in an automatic score of 0.
  • See judging criteria below.

Compulsory Pattern

  • All competitors will complete their compulsory pattern on Friday, April 8th from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM in the Cooper Arena. 
  • The compulsory pattern will be judged the same as all ILHA patterns according the pattern and with each movement receiving points.


The ILHA Equine Affiare Invitational Open Freestyle will consist of 10 total competitors representing all Divisions  (Youth, Non-Pro, Pro & Senior)


ILHA Division Guidelines


The competition will abide by regular ILHA Rules (see There will be a mandatory time deduction of 5 points per judge (10 total points) for any freestyle performance exceeding 6 minutes. 


           ILHA judges will judge both the Compulsory class and the Freestyle performance. The judges will be announced prior to the competition. Scoring will consist of the total scores for all judges for both classes.

  • The competitor with the highest score will win.
  • In the event of a tie, the competitor with the highest score on Freestyle Degree of Difficulty will win.
    • If there is still a tie, the next tie breaker category will be the Willingness of Horse, followed by the Connection & Communication between horse and trainer, followed by Artistic Impression, followed by Overall Entertainment Value.

One performance spot in Equine Affaire


The winner will perform their Freestyle performance in the 2023 Equine Affaire Fantasia show in Columbus, Ohio. Trainer accommodations and stalls included.

  • Prize money (more prize money may be added)
    • 1st place - $500
    • 2nd place - $300
    • 3rd place - $150
    • 4th place - $50
  • The winner will receive a Champion buckle.
  • All other competitors will have the option of purchasing a buckle based on their placing.
  • Ribbons will be awarded for 1st – 10th
  • More prizes may be added from additional sponsors.

ILHA Equine Affaire Invitational Open Freestyle Competition




  1. Degree of Difficulty (0-10pts)
    • Technical difficulty of maneuver(s) being asked and/or cueing subtlety and/or multiple forms of Liberty displayed.

  2. Connection (0-10pts)
    • Observable connection between horse(s) and trainer.
  3. Communication (0-10pts)
    • Clarity, fluidity, subtlety, ease of communication between horse(s) and trainer.
  4. Music/Costume/Theme/Props (0-10pts)
    • Relationship between music, costume, theme, and/or props is cohesive and obvious. (Note - props are not required but can include other people/horses/animals etc. to increase performance value)
  5. Overall Entertainment Value (0-10pts)
    • Overall performance is engaging for audience and/or judges. Performance is captivating and/or invokes emotion(s) for spectators.