The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is the American national body for equestrian sport and as such is also the recognized entity overseeing the Olympic-level United States Equestrian Team and standardized horse shows.

In the last few decades, horse shows have become more selective in their showing classes. However, there are still some multi-day, all-breed events that feature multiple breeds and disciplines.

The English riding classes fall into two primary styles, hunt seat and saddle seat. "Hunt type" or sport horse classes include dressage, show jumping and show hunters, and English pleasure or Hunter Under Saddle, where the event is judged on presentation, manners and rideability of the horse.

"Saddle seat" or "Saddle type" classes are all on the flat and are mostly variations on English Pleasure, though the high action "Park" style classes differ because they emphasize brilliant trotting action. Equitation classes judge the form and ability of the rider.

Western or stock horse competition includes "dry" classes (without cattle) that include western pleasure, reining and equitation. To train young equestrians in halter showing techniques, horse showmanship classes are offered. They are the halter equivalent of equitation, in that the handler, not the horse, is judged on his or her abilities. Equestrian vaulting is not usually seen at ordinary horse shows as it is more of an Olympic sport.

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