American Mule Association
General Rules and Information

  1. Membership(Rule 1)
  2. Clothing(Rule 2)
  3. Equipment(Rule 3)
  4. Injury, Lameness and Prohibited Items(Rule 4)
  5. Conduct and Cruelty(Rule 5)
  6. Arena Conditions(Rule 6)
  7. Miscellaneous(Rule 7)
  8. Membership Fees(Rule 8)
  9. Entry Fees(Rule 9)
  10. Violations Protests, and Penalties(Rule 10)
  11. AMA Assessment Fee(Rule 11)
  12. Animal Age(Rule 12)
  13. Registrations and Transfers(Rule 13)
  14. Representative(Rule 14)
  15. Application and Approval of Show(Rule 15)
  16. Judges(Rule 16)
  17. Timed Events and Flaggers(Rule 17)
  18. Championship Points System and Standings(Rule 18)
  19. Points(Rule 19)

1. Membership – All mule/donkey owners, agents, trainers, contestants, and jockeys competing at AMA approved mule shows, race meets, and packing contests, shall be current AMA members in good standing to receive AMA performance and packing points, race records and results (statistics), for year end awards.

  1. Dues are payable annually, expiring December 31 of each year, in such amounts as shall be determined by the Board of Directors. Each member shall pay dues annually, in advance, and before the annual membership meeting.
  2. Family Membership – A Family is defined as two adults and resident siblings. Sibling age to be 17 and under. Cost of Family Membership, unless determined otherwise by the Board of Directors, is to be $45.00.
  3. Membership cards shall be presented when entering a show.

2. Clothing

  1. Western Attire: – Western hat, belt, western boots, long sleeve shirt with sleeves down and snapped or buttoned if they have them. Shirts must be tucked in; unless they are designed to be worn out.. No bare midriffs are to show. Long pants are required. Authentic suspender pants must be worn with suspenders.
  2. English Attire: Proper attire for the type of English saddle that is ridden. This includes jumper classes.
  3. No sleeveless shirts unless used under a jacket.
  4. Properly fastened protective headgear which meets or exceeds ASTM standards for equestrian use and carries the SEI tag shall be optional in all events but will be required for all over fence classes and dressage. Youth are required to wear approved safety helmets whenever mounted or riding in wagons at an AMA approved show. Youth are encouraged, but not required, to wear an approved safety helmet in all non riding/driving classes; halter, packing, showmanship.

3. Equipment – See specific divisions and Appendix A.

  1. Tack and equipment should be clean and in good repair.
  2. Descripitions of bits and equipment diagrams, see Appendix A.

4. Injury, Lameness and Prohibited Items – The judge shall not allow any mule to participate when unsoundness or injury is sufficient to be considered an act of cruelty.

  1. No person shall cause to be administered internally or externally to an animal, either before or during an approved event, any medication, drug or mechanical device, artificial appliance, surgical or nonsurgical procedure, which is of such character as could affect the animal’s performance or appearance at that event.
  2. Upon discovery, show management shall immediately disqualify the animal and report matter to the AMA office and/or AMA Representative.
    1. Any action, or substance administered internally or externally, whether drugs or otherwise, which may interfere with the testing procedure or mask or screen the presence of such drug, is forbidden.
  3. Violation of above rules shall result In disqualification from participation, forfeiture of entry fees, and referral of matter to the AMA Performance Hearing Committee, Refer to Rule 10-B, C, D.
  4. Any artificial hair, weights, etc. added to tail will not be permitted. Entry will be prohibited from showing until prohibited item(s) are removed. Suspected surgical and nonsurgical procedures are not allowed. Violation will require referral to AMA Performance Hearing Committee as in rules above.

5. Conduct and Cruelty

  1. All participants in an approved competition are expected to conduct themselves in an orderly manner and in the best interest of AMA. Management shall bar violators from farther participation for the remainder of the competition and report the incident to the AMA for further disciplinary action deemed necessary. Excessive drinking, rude or unsportsmanlike behavior, shall not be tolerated. No contestant may compete or be in the show arena if intoxicated. Management or the show rep. may excuse the contestant.
  2. Acting or permitting another person to act in a manner contrary to AMA rules or in a manner deemed improper, unethical, dishonest, unsportsmanlike, or prejudicial to the best interests of the Association, or making a remark considered offensive or made with the intent to influence or cast aspersions on the character or integrity of the judge or any other person is considered not in the best interest of AMA.
  3. It is the policy of the AMA that gambling in any form, with the respect to the performance of a competitor, is strictly prohibited.
  4. No person on show grounds, including but not limited to, barns, stalls, parking area and show areas, may treat an animal in an inhumane manner which includes, but is not limited to:
    1. Placing an object in an animals mouth so as to cause undue discomfort or distress.
    2. Tying an animal in a manner as to cause undue discomfort or distress.
    3. Use of inhumane training techniques or methods such as striking the animal with a whip, crop, reins or any objects in front of the girth, and excessive striking with said objects behind the girth.
    4. Rider will be disqualified for striking animal in front of the cinch in any riding class and for any excessive striking or spurring.

6. Arena Conditions

  1. All gates to the arena shall be closed during the running of every event. No gate shall be opened until the rider has completed the course and the arena is clear. A means shall be made to close roping chutes for all cattle classes.
  2. Ground and facilities shall be in serviceable condition so as not to harm or injure animals or contestants.
  3. All classes shall be held within a perimeter fence.

7. Miscellaneous

  1. All contestants shall be fully prepared to compete when their name or class is called. Failure to do so can be disqualification unless previously arranged with judge or show management.
  2. Any contestant not complying with posted ground rules shall be penalized at the discretion of the judge.

8. Membership Fees – Membership fees shall be paid before entering any AMA approved show if you intend to compete for year-end awards.

  1. Any person in violation will not receive points. See Rule 1.
  2. IT IS THE CONTESTANT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE CURRENT MEMBERSHIP PAID. Carry your membership card with you and present it at the time you pick up your entry information from show management, etc.

9. Entry Fees – All entry fees must be paid prior to competition. Failure to do so eliminates contestants from competition.

  1. Signature on entry form shall be deemed acceptance of all rules.
  2. In event of failure to sign entry forms, first entry into show ring as an exhibitor shall be deemed acceptance of said rules.

10. Violations Protests, and Penalties

  1. A protest of violations of the rules or show management may be made by an exhibitor, an owner, an agent, a trainer, or the parent of a youth contestant by:
    1. Before a formal protest, every effort should be made to resolve the dispute at the time by the protester, the AMA Show Representative and Show Management.
    2. Filing a protest in writing within seven (7) days of alleged infraction.
    3. Must be signed by the protester and one witness, and accompanied by a $50.00 protest fee.
    4. Mailed to the AMA Secretary, who will record and forward to the proper hearing board.
  2. A formal protest of rules or procedural situations will be heard as follows:
    1. Performance Hearing Committee – AMA President, Performance Chairman, Performance Vice-Chairman, and Chairman of the Board. (If there are no regions and/or no Chairman of the Board, alternate members shall be appointed). Committee to have five(5) members.
    2. Racing Flat Saddle and Endurance Hearing Committee – Refer to the American Mule Racing Association rules.
    3. Packing Hearing Committee – AMA President, Packing Chairman, and Performance Chairman. In the absence of Packing Chairman, Packing Vice-chairman to vote.
  3. A protest or complaint against a person for actions such as unsportsmanlike action, improper personal behavior, unethical, intemperate, dishonest, writing a bad check (see below), attempting to fix, threaten, bribe, influence or harass a judge may be filed in the same manner as (A) above, with the exception of 10.A.1.
    1. No member shall write, issue, make or present any check in payment for any license fee, fine, nomination, entry fee, or other fees, when such member knows or should reasonably know that the said check will be refused for payment by the bank upon which it is written, or that the account upon which the check is written does not contain sufficient funds for payment of the said check or that the check is written on a closed account or a non-existent account. The fact that such a check is returned to the payee by the bank as refused is grounds for suspension pending satisfactory redemption of the returned check. He or she will not be allowed to participate in shows until said check is cleared and no points will be accumulated during that time. Each show sponsor is responsible to forward information to the Performance Chairman. Once suspended the member will remain suspended until satisfactory redemption is made. Performance Chairman will send suspension list to all shows that are scheduled.
    2. Protests of this nature will be heard by the full Board of Directors or the Executive committee where necessary.
  4. Duties of Hearing Committees:
    1. The protest will be reviewed by the Hearing Committee.
    2. The party who the protest is against shall be notified in writing within five(5) days of the review and allowed to rebut verbally to the committee (if possible) or in writing within five (5) days.
    3. The protest will be settled within sixty(60) days and all parties concerned will be notified. If the protest is upheld, the $50.00 fee will be refunded.
    4. Committee will decide what penalties (if any) are necessary. This may range from a fine, probation, suspension, or expulsion.
    5. Committee will cause their name to be published in the newsletter stating length and degree of action taken. Their name will also be published when the action has been cleared and the member is in good standing again.
      1. Probation: A person on probation may compete. If found guilty of any further violations, this person may be suspended or expelled.
      2. Suspension: A suspended person is forbidden for the time specified to hold any office or compete in any recognized show.
        1. Mules, owned completely or partly or leased by such person suspended will also be ineligible to compete.
        2. The Hearing Committee may, at a later date, remove the suspension of said mules if they are sold in a bona fide transaction.
      3. Expulsion: An expelled person shall have their name removed from the membership list. Expulsion may not be repelled without action of the Board of Directors.
    6. The Hearing Committee may also impose the following:
      1. Forfeiture of trophies, ribbons, prize money and points in conjunction with the offense committed.
      2. Suspension from office.
      3. Revocation of Judge’s Card.
      4. Fine.

11. Year End Award Charges – AMA Assessment Fee – There shall be a two dollar($2.00) fee included in the entry fee for all AMA sanctioned point classes.

  1. It shall be the responsibility of sponsor or person appointed to forward to the Performance Chairman all assessment fees. The Performance Chairman will keep a record and then forward all assessment fees to the treasurer.
  2. These fees will be set aside and used strictly for year end awards.

12. Animal Age – The mule’s age for show and racing purposes shall be considered to be one year old on the first day of January following the actual date of foaling.

  1. Every year thereafter, as of January 1, they gain another year of age. Mules shown the same year they are foaled will be shown as wean-lings. For example: If a mule is foaled late in a given year, the foal must compete in the yearling class after January 1st following its birthday.
  2. Mules are subject to be mouthed for age except when mule’s registration is aged by registered parents.
  3. Any mule shown in wrong class will be disqualified. KNOW YOUR MULE’S AGE.

13. Registrations and Transfers

  1. All mules, jacks, jennets, and geldings shall be registered with the AMA before being shown in any approved show to be eligible for AMA points. Unregistered mules, jacks, jennets, or geldings may enter in approved shows but will not receive points.
  2. Pack mules used only for packing are excluded from this rule.
  3. Multiple Embryo Transfer Mules derived from identical parentage and born within the same calendar year, shall be eligible for registration.
  4. In case of death or sale of mule, jack, jennet, or gelding, the AMA Office must be notified.
  5. If mule, jack, jennet or gelding is sold, a transfer of ownership must be received in the AMA office within 45 days after date of sale along with $10.00 transfer fee, for members, $40.00 for non-members. If not received by then, all accumulated points for that year shall be lost.

14. Representative

  1. All show representatives shall be listed on the entry blank and shall be posted at the show. The AMA show representative not to be show manager, organizer or secretary.
  2. All shows shall have one performance representative; and if packing is offered, a packing representative.
    1. If packing and performance classes are not held at conflicting times, one representative may perform both duties.
  3. Duties of the Representative – A representative should clearly understand that he/she has no authority in connection with the management or the judging of the show. They are the representative of the association and should point out in a diplomatic manner an instance when AMA rules are not enforced.
  4. The representative has the authority to suspend a member from a show for conduct which is inimical to the best interest of the association, including without limitations, flagrant violation of any provision of the Bylaws, failure to satisfy membership qualifications, or conduct of such member which is or has been seriously detrimental to the AMA or the mule industry. (See Bylaws, Suspension or Expulsion)
  5. The representative has the authority to remove any person (AMA member) participating at any AMA event or function and shall conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike and respectful manner.
  6. Anyone acting in a disrespectful or undignified manner toward any judge, steward, representative director, official or authoritative or responsible party, shall be disqualified from the show along with animals shown under their name and will not receive any points. (See Rule 10 – Violations, Protests and Penalties.)
  7. If representative cannot attend the show until the last class, he/she must designate a suitable replacement before he leaves.
  8. Duties are:
    1. To protect the interest of exhibitors, judges, and show management. AMA Representative must be in attendance for duration of show or designate a replacement.
    2. To investigate and act upon any alleged rule violations without waiting for a protest.
    3. To report to the show committee any misrepresentation or substitution of entry, without waiting for a protest.
    4. To look up rules pertaining to any alleged infraction. Show Representatives shall have a copy of the current rule book with them.

15. Application and Approval of Show

  1. Sponsors desiring to hold an AMA show shall submit approval form to the Performance Chairman at least two(2) months prior to tentative show dates.
  2. The show must appear in at least one issue of the newsletter which is published monthly, or be posted on the website, in order for points to count for championship standings. Show cannot just be listed in the newsletter the same month as the show is being held.
  3. With respect to established recognized shows, in subsequent years comparable dates will be protected, provided the applications for January, February and March show dates, in the following year are received by the Performance Chairman by September 15, and applications for April through December show dates in the following year are received by the Performance Chairman by October 15.
  4. In applying for the above dates, the show agrees to abide by the rules of the AMA and failure to do so constitutes a violation of the rules which may subject the show to a fine of $50.00 and bar future approval.
  5. When application for a show is submitted, a filing fee of $35.00 shall accompany application. If submitted without this fee, the application will be returned.
  6. In the event that a recognized show finds it necessary to cancel an approved date, a refund of the filing fee shall be granted except for 25% provided that notice of release of date is received in writing sixty(60) days or more in advance. If less than 60 days notice given, no refund is allowed.
  7. Approval is made by the Performance Chairman.
    1. Show should be approved completely prior to sending out entry forms to help prevent confusion due to errors.
  8. Upon approval of a show or race meet, said show or race meet shall be held under the rules and regulations of the American Mule Association except for Pari-mutuel racing which shall be held under that state’s Racing Board or Committee rules.
  9. Approval of a show or race meet does not establish said American Mule Association the insurer or grantor of the safety or physical condition of the sponsor’s facilities, stakes of any classes or races or reasonableness of judges’ or stewards’ decision.
  10. Sponsors and contestants agree to indemnify, save, and hold harmless the American Mule Association from any liability, if any, arising from unsafe conditions of show or track facilities or grandstand, default in payment of purses, or publications or dissemination by the American Mule Association of information concerning any disciplinary rulings of the sponsors, judges or stewards.
  11. Any sponsoring committee with ground rules contradictory to or in addition to the American Mule Association rules must submit such rules to the AMA for approval and publish with entry forms.
  12. The Show Secretary must submit the year end award payment and all results of each event to the Performance Chairman within fifteen(15) days after the show, listing the number of contestants in each class, placing, AMA member’s number, mule’s number and all riders/contestants entered.
  13. Insurance – It is recommended that all Sponsors carry liability insurance for their own protection.
  14. It is recommended that all shows provide a scribe or show steward to assist the Judge for the entire show.

16. Judges

  1. Designation as an AMA approved judge is a privilege, not a right, bestowed by the Judge’s Committee to individuals whose equine expertise and personal character merit the honor. An individual’s conduct as a member, exhibitor and judge must be exemplary and is subject to continual Judge’s committee review. All judges must be members, qualified and approved by the AMA Judge’s Committee.
    1. Judges must pay a $10.00 yearly Judge’s Fee.
    2. Failure to pay Judge’s Fee and membership by March 1st of the current year, shall automatically revoke said judge’s AMA license.
    3. Judges are required to take any test chosen by the AMA to be eligible to judge AMA approved events. Judges will be retested periodically on current rules, general knowledge of mules and donkeys, and judging practices. Judges carded with another credited association approved by Judge’s Committee can forego testing upon yearly approval.
    4. The Judge’s Committee, upon receipt of information regarding a person’s ability to be a judge may temporarily suspend a Judge’s privileges. The Judge’s Committee shall have the authority to remove a Judge’s name from the approved Judge’s list, subject only to ultimate review by the executive committee.
  2. Selection of approved judges should be made by a Committee of Judge’s Chairman, Performance Chairman, Packing Chairman.
  3. No judge shall judge any person he or she may be related to (sister, brother, wife, husband, mother, father, etc.) or any mule they may own.
  4. No judge will judge any mule that he or she has an interest in or has owned, trained or sold within the past six months.
  5. A Performance Judge may judge one division at one show and another division at any other show. Performance Judge may only judge two(2) shows per year per 250 mile area. These cannot be back to back shows in the same area.
    1. Packing judges may judge back to back if needed. May only judge three(3) shows per area, per year.
  6. The decision of the judge will be final. Any protests must be handled through a representative or director of the AMA.
  7. No performance judge may judge the same division or class at a show more than two(2) years consecutively. Packing judges may.
  8. As to judges competing: A performance judge may judge the performance events, and still compete in the packing events at the same show. The packing judge may compete in any of the performance events at the same show that they are judging packing. If the judge is judging both performance and packing classes of any kind, they shall not compete at the show.
  9. Judges must at all times, dress and act in a professional manner.
  10. Judges shall not touch a mule or donkey’s saliva during any competition, regardless of reason. Instead they shall ask each exhibitor to open their own animal’s mouth, drop the bit, show the teeth. etc. This applies to all classes. No exceptions.
  11. Judges must judge all classes from inside the arena except in individual work classes.
  12. Judges should dress in attire appropriate for divisions being judged. Also applies to Ring Stewards.
  13. Judge’s may order any person or mule/donkey from any competition for poor conduct of either and may disqualify any contestant for excessive abuse of a mule/donkey.

17. Timed Events and Flaggers

  1. The flagger is the judge in all timed events, except in Packing Division and Driving Division. A flagger at the chute is a judge in timed events. Flaggers need not be approved judges, but should know AMA rules. Decision of judge is final.
  2. Flagger or timers may be elected by the contestants, if management agrees.
  3. Stop watches in timed events must be in 10th or 100th of a second.
  4. All timed events must have two or more stopwatches and/or an electric eye. If electric eye is used, one back-up watch is required. Timers and backup watch for the electric eye are to be positioned at appropriate starting line/pole, or other position, for the event. No timing is to be done by the announcer.
  5. If there is an excessive number of entries in any timed event, slackust be run and drawn for.
    1. It is requested that show management make every effort to avoid preliminary runs in gymkhana events.
    2. AMA points will go to final official placing from total entries.

18. Championship Points System and Standings

  1. Mule or person must compete in at least three(3) approved shows to be eligible for year end awards for that Division and also for All Around and Top Ten All Around awards.
    1. MULE CHAMPIONSHIP – points must be accumulated in 4 divisions with a minimum of 5 points in each. Highest points in 5 shows will be counted, all others will be discarded. If a mule competes in more than 4 divisions only points from the highest 4 will count. Awards will be presented to the top ten mules.
    2. DONKEY CHAMPIONSHIP – points must be accumulated in all 3 donkey divisions with a minimum of 5 points in each. Highest points in 5 shows will be counted, all others will be discarded. Awards will be presented to top ten donkeys.
    3. DIVISION AWARDS – All points for classes in a division from all shows count for the year end division award. Awards presented to top 5 competitors.
  2. Points are awarded to mule not the rider in Performance events, youth/animal combination in Youth events, packer in Packing events, and mule/rider combination in Amateur events, mule/donkey in pulling division and all single driving classes. Points are awarded to driver in all Pairs and Multi Hitch Driving classes and Team Racing.
  3. Mules may be shown only once in each class, with the exception of Team Roping, Packing, Cattle Penning, and Cattle Sorting. One mule must change on the team.
    1. If entering above classes more than once, points need NOT be designated. “Best go” to count for year-end points.
  4. Owners and/or agents and contestants must be current members of the AMA. All animals must be registered to receive points, with the exception of mules used only for packing.
  5. Standings will be kept according to AMA points won at any approved show, provided all memberships and registrations are in order and in good standing.
# of Mules 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
1 1 0 0 0 0 0
2 2 1 0 0 0 0
3 3 2 1 0 0 0
4 – 5 5 4 3 2 1 0
6 – 10 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0.5
11 – 15 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0.5
16 – 20 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
21 & over 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4

Grand Champion Halter – 2 points / Res. Champion Halter – 1 point

19. Points – The following point system will be used for year end points. It may be used for AMA shows. Awards can vary from first place to no placement at all, at the discretion of the judge.

  1. All AMA approved classes shall count for points toward all AMA awards programs. Points from a show holding only one AMA approved class shall count.
    1. Judges must place through tenth(10th) place place and record clearly on a signed judges’ card.
  2. Basic points will be awarded for class of 5 or less contestants. See chart above. Points cap at 21 and over.
  3. A class of one mule cannot be cancelled unless contestant is notified by either telephone or letter one week prior to show by show management.
  4. When there is a tie, add the points together and divide.
  5. Method to break ties for high point of a show will be the following:
    1. The contestant who earned points in the greatest number of mandatory classes in each division
    2. The contestant winning over the greatest number of contestants in the mandatory classes in each division.
    3. The winner of a contest at judge’s discretion.
    4. A flip of a coin at show management’s discretion.
  6. In the event of a tie for points in year-end awards for divisions and top 10, the mule (donkey/person/team depending on the division) who has won the most first place awards, in said division, will receive the championship. If first place awards are equal, the tie is broken by number of second place awards and so on until the tie is broken.
  7. Jackpot money payoff will not affect amateur standings or status.
    1. Jackpot money payoffs:
    2. One Placing / 1 money 100%
    3. Two Placed / 2 monies 60%-40%
    4. Three Placed / 3 monies 50%-30%-20%
    5. Four Placed / 4 monies 40%-30%-20%-10%
  8. Points are based on the number of entries performing in a class, as indicated on the judge’s card. Teams (roping, sorting, penning, and driving) are considered one entry. AMA points will go to the final official placing from total entries; separate points are not awarded to preliminary runs. If the final results are less than 10 placings, highest preliminary runs complete the placings. It is the contestant’s responsibility to check their own points for errors.