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The ISSO Awards Program is designed to encourage our members to display their side saddle skills and knowledge in public competitions, events and activities.  Points are awarded for nearly any side saddle-related activity, competitive and non-competitive.  


Awards are given in several categories. There will be an award and six ribbons awarded in each category. Awards are also given to the top ten riders for the year.  The top two riders are referred to as the ISSO Champion and ISSO Reserve Champion riders for that year.


Questions about the ISSO Awards Program, including rules clarifications, should be addressed to the Points Secretary.


  1. Definitions: Parades, hunts and competitive trail rides, etc. are referred to as classes.  “Horse” refers to all equines including donkeys and mules.

  2. Membership Requirement: Riders must be current ISSO members in good standing for the membership year, January1 through December 31. Points may be earned from the date of membership forward, and not prior.

  3. Fees: Rider must be registered with the Points Secretary prior to any points being counted. The registration INCLUDES all horses ridden with the full payment of a full ISSO membership.  Submit the complete Membership Application form prior to submitting any points for the year.

  4. Award Prerequisites: There must be 3 members competing in each category for an award to be given.  The high point earner in any category must earn at least 20 points.  A category with fewer than 3 competitors or a high point earner with fewer than 20 points may be awarded if sponsorship is provided or if deemed appropriate by the board. A champion and reserve champion award along with 6 ribbons will be awarded in each category.  ISSO reserves the right to combine categories with fewer than 5 participants.  Other awards may be given as a sponsor.  For sponsorship information please contact the Points Secretary.

  5. Side Saddle Requirement: All riding points MUST be earned while riding side saddle.  Unmounted points MUST substantially involve side saddles (i.e. side walking an aside parade rider, lecture on riding side saddle riding habits, ISSO booth at trade show, etc).

  6. Tallying Rider Points: Points for each category follow each rider. Thus, a rider may use multiple horses to accumulate points for each class. For example, hunting on several different mounts will count for the rider’s points in the non-competitive category. 

  7. Year End Awards:

    1. Champion and Reserve Champion prizes as well as ribbons through 6th place will be awarded for each Award Category below.

    2. Top Ten Rider Awards (Professional and Amateur combined) to be placed Champion and Reserve Champion through tenth place. Points are calculated by totaling the rider’s year-end placement in each Award Category (see example at end of document). Points calculated totaling all points awarded in any mounted or unmounted activity excluding the Mileage program and Hat Contest. In case of a tie, the total points for the year in the Award Categories of each contestant will be tallied and whoever has the higher point total for the year breaks the tie.  

    3. Age Categories (Professional and Amateur combined). There are 4 age categories and there will be a Champion and Reserve Champion overall winner annually.  Ages are determined by the  person’s age on January 1 of that year.

      1. Youth: 0-12 years of age

      2. Junior: 13-18 years of age

      3. Senior: 19-49 years of age

      4. Master: 50+

  8. Correct form to be used: Completed points must be recorded on the official ISSO points submission form found on the ISSO web site at  

  9. Required documentation: A copy of the show bill or prize list may be requested to accompany the point submission form.  When supporting documentation is requested, the show secretary or managers’ contact information must be on the show bill or prize list.  Parades, hunts and other events with no show bill must have some official proof of participation and placing from the manager or chairman (letter, flier, copy of entry, website announcement, news clipping, etc.)

  10. Incomplete forms: All points submissions are to be made on the ISSO web . Forms must be completely filled out, including signatures, if required.  When requested, a member of the event committee, show secretary, or similar official must attest to the activity. Originals of supporting documentation must be maintained in the member’s possession for the remainder of the competition year, and can be requested to be produced by the Points Secretary at any time up until March 15 of the following year. Incomplete submissions, or submissions lacking requisite supporting documents, will be discounted and no points awarded.  

  11. Submission deadline: Points forms must be submitted to the Points Secretary within 30 days of the last day of the event. The point year ends on December 31.  ALL points earned after December 15 must be submitted no later than January 15 or they will not be counted.  

  12. Award Categories:

    1. Competitive Mounted: Points earned in competitions are calculated using the chart following these rules. Parades are considered non-competitive and are awarded points as such, regardless of any awards won for participation in said parade. Points are awarded based on placing; points are doubled if 11 or more entries are in a class. Classes with only one or two entries will be awarded half of the points normally awarded for the placing of the entry. Points earned in an ISSO sponsored event may be doubled if the board deems it appropriate. Categories will be divided as follows if numbers allow.

      1. A. English – all classes and competitions ridden and judged in an English side saddle including but not limited to hunter, pleasure, hack, over fences, jumper, saddle seat, equitation, hunter paces, racing/chasing, competitive trail, endurance, etc.

      2. B. Western – all classes and competitions ridden and judged in a Western side saddle including but not limited to pleasure, equitation, stock seat, reining, cow work, endurance, etc.

      3. C. Costume – All classes and competitions judged on costumes including historical, fancy and fun attire. 

    2. Non-Competitive Mounted Events: Events that do not award placement such as fox hunts, organized trail rides, parades, exhibitions, clinics, and reenactments, receive 10 points per event. Max 3 events per day.  For a single event where a lady is in the saddle for an excess of 2 hours, such as in a hunt or clinic, 20 points may be earned for that event. (Officials must certify the length of time in the saddle).  Max 30 points per day. Points earned in an ISSO sponsored event may be doubled if the board deems it appropriate. Parades are considered non-competitive mounted and are awarded points as such, regardless of any awards won for participation in said parade.

    3. Unmounted: Awarded for side saddle-related activities such as exhibitions, trade show booths, clinics, walking parades, etc. 5 points per hourly event in one day. Max of 30 points per day. Writing articles on side saddle of at least 250 words will count for 10 points per article. Points earned in an ISSO sponsored event may be doubled if the board deems it appropriate.  Side Saddle related board meetings, business meetings and preparations for any unmounted activities are not eligible for points.  

    4. Virtual Shows and Events: Points earned in virtual competitions are calculated using the chart following these rules.  Points are awarded based on placing; points doubled if 26 or more entries are in a class. Screenshot of placing and number in the class along with copy of “prize list” may be required to substantiate. Points earned in an ISSO sponsored event may be doubled if the board deems it appropriate.

    5. Professional: Activities where the member receives payment for side saddle related activity or who’s event fees have been paid for the horse will count the points earned in the professional category.  Payment is a fee for service or honoraria.  Reimbursement for expenses or compensation in the form of a meal, etc. is considered payment for ISSO Awards purposes and activities compensated in this manner should be recorded in the Professional category unless volunteering such as lectures (i.e. receiving free meals at an ISSO meeting that you volunteer to lecture at). There will be one award in this category. Points to be awarded the same as in amateur categories. A professional who competes his/her own personal horse and pays competition fees themselves may count points earned in the above categories. Points earned in an ISSO sponsored event may be doubled if the board deems it appropriate. 

    6. ISSO Aside Mileage Challenge: 25, 50, 100 and 250 miles. To be ridden aside, NOT astride. Both amateurs and professionals may participate. Mileage is calculated per membership year and must be submitted within 30 days of the ride, with the last submitted no later than January 15 of the following year. Awards given at year end to each individual for highest mileage completed by that individual (ie. 25, 50, 100, or 250 miles).  Additional awards may be determined at Boards discretion.  Multiple mounts may be ridden as this is a rider-based award. Free to members, $40 for non-members and will include an ISSO membership. Screenshot of GPS tracker may be required to substantiate miles. The use of apps is encouraged (such as Relive, Equilab, Track My Ride, etc.

  13. If any category has fewer than 3 participants, ISSO can decide to give ribbons at the Board's decoration.  In which case no points will be accumulated nor prizes for additional awards will be given (i.e. awarded 1st place only, no Champion ribbon and points towards the Age or Top Ten  category will not be  awarded).

  14. Verification by Points Secretary: Points in question will be checked with the event official listed on the points form or supporting documentation.  If the event official cannot be located by conventional method, the points in question will be disqualified.  Any member found to knowingly falsify points will be disqualified for the year and will forfeit all registration fees.

  15. Unclear Categories: Points will be awarded to various categories at the Point Secretary’s discretion when it is not obvious from the show bill as to the category in which they belong.  The Point’s Secretary’s decision is final.

  16. Disqualified Persons: No points will be accepted from any entity indebted to ISSO.

Points per class will be awarded as follows:
Placing        # of Points 

1st         15

2nd       10

3rd         8

4th         6

5th         5

6th         4

7th         3

8th         2

9th         1

10th       .5


Example Breakdown For Year End Award Calculations and Rankings


Total Points for the Year Year End Placing Year End Award Points  


Mounted Competitive


Ms Side    321 Champion 15pts

Ms Ways 259 Reserve Champ 10

Ms Sister 143 3rd 8


Mounted Non Competitive


Ms Ways 230 Champion 15pts

Ms Sister 215 Reserve Champ 10

Ms Side 110 3rd 8


Non Mounted 


Ms Side 400 Champion 15pts

Ms Sister 360 Reserve Champ 10 

Ms Ways 100 3rd 8




Ms Side 1700 Champion 15pts

Ms Ways 1425 Reserve Champ 10

Ms Sister 1300 3rd 8



Top Ten Overall Placing for ISSO


Use the total Year End Award Points earned for the year-end placing for each contestant and total them to determine Top Ten Overall Placing. For Example:


Ms Side has 15 + 8 + 15 +15 = 53 pts    1st/Champion Overall 

Ms Ways has 10+ 15 + 8 +10 = 43 pts    2nd/Reserve Champion Overall 

Ms Sister has 8+ 10+ 10+ 8 = 36 pts        3rd Overall 


In case of a tie both will be awarded the honor. 

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