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Part of a series of emails to our exhibitors in an effort to provide helpful information about their interaction with the show office and other staff at the show.  If you have a particular question you would like addressed, please feel free to make a suggestion.   Please note that every effort is made to ensure that all rule citations are current and correct as of the publishing date, however, USEF and other organizations continuously make rule changes throughout the year and with each new year. 

2012 March Newsletter

"Just call me old-fashioned"


We want to remind all participants that beginning April 1, 2012, ANYONE mounted ANYWHERE on the competition show grounds at an USEF hunter/jumper competition must wear an ASTM-approved helmet secured with a chin-strap. No exceptions.


We appreciate the USEF's efforts to protect riders heads. And this emphasis on a sound mind recalled a few other things that we learned year's ago as basic horsemanship but we see routinely not followed today:


Anyone putting a foot through a stirrup should have a heel on their shoe; you may think it is unlikely to get your foot caught in the stirrup when you are dumped, but being dragged along the ground until your stirrup strap gives way is not a fun trick.


Run up your stirrups when the saddle is on the horse; this is not for neatness. More than one animal has caught its bit on the stirrup while snapping at a fly. A pony doing a somersault is not a cute trick.


Where closed-toe shoes around any horse. Sandals are for the beach. Blue nail-polish may be the current style; blue bruised/broken toes are just painful.


No texting and driving - no texting and riding. Using a cell phone is distracting enough. At least, park your horse while you text.


Jogging with ear phones has been the norm for many years; riding with ear phones is a pleasant experience. But earphones are not appropriate in a crowded schooling area; please be aware of your surroundings.


Carrying a riding crop? Hold the end of the crop in your palm, not with the stick protruding several inches above your grip. Black eyes are not attractive.


And here are a few things that are not really safety issues, but were considered showmanship and good horsemanship "back in the day:"


Hair should be neat. Some like having their hair out from their helmet both for fit and appearance. But hair should always be in a hairnet unless it is braided in ponytails with cute bows.


What about those convenient breast-plate numbers? Take pity on the poor show officials and do not use them; use the number issued by the horse show so that the judge and/or in-gate person has a good chance of properly scoring your round.


Horse have to poop? Horses have been running and pooping for millennium; who ever thought it was a good idea to teach a horse to come to a stop while it was pooping? It does nothing for the horse's health and do you really want everyone focused on that part of your performance? They have to keep moving in the hunter and equitation rings, why on earth should the jumpers develop this ungracious "salute" in their preparation time?


"Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners." Laurence Sterne (circa 1750)




That sport is something done for the fun of doing it and that it ceases to be sport when it becomes a business only, something done for what there is in it;


That amateurism is something of the heart and spirit - not a matter of exact technical qualifications;


That good manners of sport are fundamentally important;


That the code must be strictly upheld;


That the whole structure of sport is not only preserved from the absurdity of undue importance, but is justified by a kind of romance which animates it, and by the positive virtues of courage, patience, good temper, and unselfishness which are demanded by the code;


That the exploitation of sport for profit alone kills the spirit and retains only the husk and semblance of the thing;


That the qualities of frankness, courage, and sincerity which mark the good sportsman in private life shall mark the discussions of his interest at a competition.


USEF Rule Book