Sidepass Rail

Working Equitation sidestepping over a poleSidepass Rail is a Working Equitation obstacle that may be included on the Ease of Handling and/or Speed trials. This obstacle is not used at the Children or Introductory levels.


The poles should be about 3.7 meters (12 feet) in length with a diameter of about 10 cm (4 inches), supported 5‐10 cm (2‐4 inches) above the ground.

Depending on the performance level, this obstacle may be comprised of a single log, or multiple poles in the following formations:

  • Two poles in a line separated by at least 3 meters (10 feet) – Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, or Masters levels
  • Two parallel poles separated by 3 meters (10 feet) – Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, or Masters levels
  • Two poles in an “L” shape – Intermediate, Advanced, or Masters levels
  • Three poles set at 90 degrees in a “Z” shape – Masters level

Models of working equitation sidestepping logs obstacles

       ————-      ————–

       Two poles separated by at least 10 ft

If the poles are rattled or knocked by a horse during a competition, a ground person should check to reset the poles as needed before the next competitor attempts the obstacle.

Execution – The horse approaches the obstacle perpendicular to the rail. The horse’s legs must cross in a lateral movement over the rail, keeping the rail between the horse’s front and hind legs throughout the obstacle. The course map may indicate which direction (right or left) the horse and rider must pass over the rail; when not specified, the rider chooses the direction. For the two rails in a line (2) and the parallel rail (3) configurations, the rails must be ridden in different directions. For the “L” configuration (4), the horse must be positioned so that its head is to the inside of the “L”. Any changes in gait required to execute this obstacle must occur at the entrance and exit markers.

To complete this obstacle, the horse and rider transition to walk. The rider then moves the horse laterally to position the horse’s front hooves on one side of the pole and the hind hooves on the other. The combination then moves sideways for the length of the pole, keeping the front hooves on one side of the poll and the hind hooves on the other.

When entry/exit makers are used with this obstacle, the competitors must pass through them with the red flag on their right side.

When side-stepping over a log or logs is included on a Speed trial course, the horse and rider must move as quickly as possible laterally over the pole. If the horse knocks the pole and it is displaced, a penalty of 5 seconds will be added to the combination’s final time. ) In addition, if any of the horse’s legs steps across the pole while negotiating the obstacle the pair will get 5 seconds added to their time (each leg stepping incorrectly over the pole earns a penalty).

For complete details about this obstacle and its requirements, reference the U.S. Working Equitation Rules, here.

Last update 12/31/2018