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2021 Rule Changes

Jan 19, 2021, 08:50 AM by National Cutting Horse Association
With the show season starting, be mindful of the rule changes for 2021

2021 Rule Changes

The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) point year is off to a big start, with several shows already underway! With the new point year in place, please remember to be mindful of the following rule changes that went into effect for 2021. 

The 2021 rule changes are as follows: 

  • Eastern and Western Nationals will return to a qualified entry format in 2022.  Shows held in 2021 will begin the qualifications from NCHA Affiliates and NCHA Circuits. Participants can qualify one of two ways:
    • The Top 30 in 2021 Circuit Standings from each of the 12 NCHA Circuits, as determined by NCHA records from the 10 weekend classes, plus the two Youth classes;
    • Affiliate Top Ten as determined by Affiliate records from the same classes.
  • Limited Age Events will now be open to horses ages 3 – 7-year-old.  This rule change is for the 2021-point year only.  Show management will have the option to include 7-year-old horses within their LAE shows; this is not a mandatory age division.  The title and structure of the class are at show management’s discretion.
  • Hall of Fame riders are no longer eligible to roll back in the $50,000 Amateur in weekend competition, regardless of their age.
  • At Limited Age Events following NCHA Leveling rules, the Top 100 rollback for all divisions has been adjusted to include rankings from the previous year to the previous two years.

In addition to the rule changes, NCHA has two new programs in place for 2021, the National Circuit Program and the NYCHA Regional Championships and NYCHA BraveHearts Shootout. 

The National Circuit Program created 12 circuits with local growth and competition in mind. This program is designed to offer weekend cutters a place to compete locally while gaining national recognition. Members must designate which circuit they plan to compete in with NCHA. Designate early, as points will not be awarded retroactively. To designate a circuit for you or your horses, please contact Linda Smith at For the full program details, visit

The NYCHA Regional Championships invite the top riders in the Junior and Senior Youth divisions from each of the eight regions to compete in the inaugural NYCHA Regional Championships, held in Fort Worth during the Summer Spectacular. In addition to competing for the Regional Championship title, each youth member will be partnered with a veteran to compete in the BraveHearts Shootout. To learn more about this event, visit

A complete list of NCHA rules and regulations can be found in the NCHA 2021 Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations available at NCHA would like to wish all of our competitors, owners, trainers, and sponsors a safe and prosperous show year!

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