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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. 

September 2011 Newsletter
We interrupt this program . . .


If a competition in progress must be stopped due to a storm, accident, or other emergency, the Show Committee shall decide whether to recommence.  Any interrupted classes may be recommenced within the session in which they were originally scheduled or at a succeeding session of the competition.  GR832.1

If a class is in progress at the time a competition is stopped, no placements involving Horse of the Year Awards will be made.  If at the time the Competition is stopped there is a tie for Champion in a hunter or jumper section, points toward Horse of the Year Awards will be divided between the tied horses.  GR832.3

No Championship, awarded on points, can be awarded in any division unless more than 50% of the scheduled classes in that division have been held.  GR832.2

If classes are postponed to a day not included in the original competition dates, exhibitors are entitled to a refund of entry fees [for any] class postponed.  GR832.3 Unless the Prize List specifies that entry fees are non-refundable in case of interruption, the Competition is required to refund entry fees for the canceled class upon written request [submitted by] by an exhibitor within 30 days of the cancellation.  GR832.1

Whether horses compete collectively (e.g. under saddle) or individually (e.g. over fences) in a class which must be stopped, the following procedure shall govern (see Jumper exception below);

If a class is to be continued, the judge along with the steward and management shall decide [at their sole discretion] to:

(1) hold the class over in its entirety in which case no scores credited in the first session will count; or
(2) to recommence the class where it was interrupted; or
(3) in the case of a two round class where one round is complete, it may be decided to pin the class based solely on first round scores.  GR832.5a

a.  A Jumper Class that Management decides to postpone due to storm, accident or emergency per GR832.1 may be combined with a subsequent class in the same section with the prize money of the postponed class added to the prize money of the subsequent class.  Management must make this decision prior to the first horse competing in the postponed class.  The start fee for the postponed class will be added to that of the subsequent class and must be refunded to those declared competitors of the postponed class who choose not to declare for the combined class.
B. In a jumper class which has reached the jump-off stage when the class is stopped, only those competitors involved in the jump-off need compete in the succeeding session.  Jumper classes scored under Table II, Sec.2b or 2c, Table IV, Sec. 4b or 4c or Table V Sec 2b or 2c must be held over in their entirety unless the competition is continued over the original course [during] a later session, in which case the class shall continue from the point where it was stopped and scores earned by horses which have already competed shall stand.  GR832.6

A Personal Emergency?
For hunters, in cases of broken equipment or loss of shoe, rider may continue without penalty or be eliminated.  In the case of the jump(s) falling over due to weather or act of God, the rider must remain in the ring until receiving instructions from the judge(s) or be eliminated.  In this instance, the decision of the judge(s) is final.  HU131.6

For equitation, in cases of broken equipment or loss of shoe, the competitor must continue or be eliminated.  EQ110.4.  In case of jump(s) falling over or bad weather, use common sense and ask the judge for direction since there is no rule directly on point.          

HU131.6[a] and EQ110.4 have different language but in practical terms, they are applied the same and there is a third option.  A rider may stop, stay mounted, make an adjustment in a reasonable period of time and be penalized for a stop rather than be eliminated.  You probably will not get a ribbon, but you will have completed the course.  And if you are the “filler” for the Talent Search, your fellow competitors will be very grateful.

For jumpers there is no specific provision for broken equipment or loss of shoe.  In practice, if you stop your forward motion for any reason, you will be penalized.  JP136.4.

Beginning December 1, 2011, there is a special provision for a chin strap that becomes unfastened while on course:

For all exhibitors competing in [a] hunter or hunter seat equitation section, if a rider’s chin strap becomes unfastened, the rider may stop, re-fasten the chin strap and continue his/her round without penalty or elimination.  A judge may, but is not required to stop a rider and ask them to re-fasten a chin strap which has become unfastened , again without penalty to the rider.  GR801.3

Note that there remains a penalty if you stop while on a jumper course, and that it is an OPTION in hunter and hunt seat equitation classes to stop and re-fasten the harness, not a requirement.  If the judge elects to stop you, do it.

In all the situations above, whether an external interruption or an individual cause, remember it is just one class in a long showing career.  Is it really worth the safety of your horse or yourself to continue under the circumstances?