Category Archives: Uncategorized

She comes in colors

 (” I find the whole dance to be incredibly stupid.”)    So I have a major complaint about the new dress code rules which came into effect early this year. My problem is that they are immensely complicated and subject to a wide variety of interpretation. Furthermore, if they are violated the rules call for the judge to make a mandatory elimination of the rider. If the judge gets it wrong, he or she is subject to a penalty from the USEF. Read More

How do you cope with a hot horse and a not-very-sensitive rider?

BILL— it’s a tough combination, and we can only hope that the rider has a lot of patience and does not have unrealistic expectations of how quickly things can be fixed. A lot of riders who get in this situation do so because they don’t realize how complicated the relationship they need to build with their horse and the sophistication of the aids that they need to do that are way beyond what they are used to. Read More

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? Read More

What is a yellow card?

BILL—If you are familiar with the conduct of international soccer, you already know this term, although it’s a relatively recent addition to the dressage lexicon. If you are a totally law–abiding model equestrian citizen, most likely you won’t run into one in your lifetime. in short, it is somewhere between a scolding and being administered the death penalty. The best way to think of it is as a formal warning issued by the technical delegate, show management, or the judge which goes on your permanent record card. Start accumulating them (3 in 16 months) and meaningful punishment from the USEF will ensue. This could include fines or suspension. The main reasons they exist are first, to impress on the offender how seriously their actions should be taken and two, to make it easier to detect repeat offenders. Read More