The U.S. Equestrian Federation released the rulings of the Hearing Committee in the June/July issue of Equestrian, their official publication. Included was a fine applied to hunter/jumper/equitation trainer Karen Healey.
At the Showpark Summer Classic Horse Show (Calif.) on Aug. 25-29, 2010, Healey “entered the Judge’s booth without permission; took the standby list from the announcer and began commentating about the judging and the fact that her student was not on the list. This was all done while the Judge was present in the booth.”
The Hearing Committee members fined Healey $3,500 for the offense, deemed to be in violation of Chapter 7, GR702. 1d and 1e, which address unethical, dishonest and unsportsmanlike behavior as well as inappropriate behavior in relation to show officials and judges.
Healey, of Hidden Valley, Calif., attended the meeting of the Hearing Committee and explained her actions. “The judge was sitting in the same booth as the starter, at the in-gate. I stated that I shouldn’t have walked in there, but also that he shouldn’t have been sitting there,” she said.
“I repeatedly asked the starter if there was a standby, and he wouldn’t answer me, so I walked up to the booth and looked at the standby. I said, ‘You’re kidding.’ Another person who walked up with me expressed the same thing,” she continued. “When I looked at the standby, I had no intent of making a comment to the judge directly. It was a comment I made that happened to be overheard by the judge because of where he was sitting. There was no yelling or ranting involved.
“The judge turned to us and said, ‘You ladies don’t belong here.’ I asked the steward to speak to the judge after the class, which I did in the presence of the steward. After the show, I wrote a letter of apology directly to the judge. He stated that he would accept my apology and consider no further action, but that’s when the Hearing Committee decided it needed to go forward, and they took it to a hearing. He did send a statement that he did not think any further action was necessary if I apologized, but he didn’t specifically state that he would drop the charges."
After the incident, a rule change was passed to prevent judges from sitting near the in-gate in the starter’s booth. “Mea culpa and on we go,” Healey said.