At a schooling show I saw one of the riders talking with the judge during a break. They seemed to know each other. Is this fair to the other competitors?

BILL— What you are really bringing up here is the matter of integrity. In the world of judging we hear of certain biases. The hunter world is said to be very political, and in dressage international judges are known to favor their countrymen. And while it is true that judges may know each other as well as many of the competitors —whether the show is recognized or a schooling one— we are much more concerned about getting our numbers right in the eyes of other judges than doing them some kind of favor they know they don’t deserve.
Super stringent enforcement of a no fraternizing rule is just silly. Even though they are not supposed to do it, in major league baseball when a player hangs in through a long at bat and finally drops a single into right field, he and the first baseman will often chitchat for a moment before the next hitter comes up. That hardly damages the integrity of the competition!
That for some reason I should not be allowed say hi to a rider while standing in the show office or as she goes past the booth before her test is equally ridiculous. Discussing the horse or the test or the sale of some other horse is strictly forbidden. Being a normal, civil person is not! I have judged at the Morgan World Championships several times and have been struck by the goofy extremes they go to in order to enforce this rule, even to point of accompanying the judges to the restroom lest we nod to a competitor in passing. Saints preserve us! Doesn’t that seem like an insult to our honor?