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View Full Version : Stewards.... Why can't they do their job?



Brigit
Apr. 12, 2011, 02:44 PM
This is something that really irks me. A steward's job is to ensure that riders have proper tack, follow the rules, ride safely and don't abuse their horses; right?

So why does it seem that so many things are allowed to slide past? Tack problems never seem to be the real issue. I'm talking more on the "safety" and "abuse" side of things. I recently saw one rider literally BEAT her horse around a 3'6" jumper course . It was obvious the horse wasn't ready (yes, besides the point I know) and she wasn't going to take a refusal for an answer. Nobody said anythingand she was allowed to do this for two classes.
I've also noticed an interesting little rule in the Eventing handbook that says if a rider is repeated left behind the motion of the horse, he/she can be disqualified. I know of a few people that push themselves past their limit and get left behind over ever. single. fence. No kidding. Why is that allowed to continue? These people are cringeworthy and destined to have a wreck.
What about the people that go roaring around a class bumping into other people, an obvious safety hazard. Why don't stewards excuse them?

I've heard that if a steward DOES stand up and enforce the rules dilligently, they get put on the "blacklist" and don't get hired again for shows. So essentially they're being controlled by show management to do/say what management wants. Not be an independant eye to make sure things are as they should be.

Yes there has to be moderation and no situation is black & white but sometimes, when someone is a hazard to their own safety, their horses or other people's, Stewards should really be encouraged to do their job instead of being reprimanded.

*A qualifier* Most bigger shows don't have as many of the above mentioned people but there's still the few that are downright scary to watch.

monalisa
Apr. 12, 2011, 03:02 PM
Unless someone brings something like this to the Stewards' attention, he or she may not know about it.

Did you actually take the time to find the Steward and let him or her know what was going on? If not, why? Perhaps the Steward was measuring a pony when this happened, looking over the jumper schooling ring? Just don't assume that a Steward can know what is going on everywhere at a show unless someone brings it to their attention.

And was the horse or the rider's safety at issue and was it clearly abuse? It would need to be in one of those categories for a Steward to "write someone up."

MHM
Apr. 12, 2011, 03:09 PM
^ What Monalisa said.

At a USEF show, a steward has many duties, and they don't all take place at the show ring.

Brigit
Apr. 12, 2011, 03:10 PM
These were all cases (at different shows) where a complaint was made to the steward and/or the steward was standing their watching, hence why I chose these specific examples. Nothing was done to improve the situation. From what was said, the stewards I've talked to have told me that it's frowned upon for them to remove people like the above mentioned.

In the first example, yes, there was most definitely excessive use of the whip.

In the second example, the rider was getting left behind/jumped out of the tack over every fence and nearly coming off. So IMHO he was a safety hazard to himself.

In the third example, definitely yes, as the person was not in control and bumping into other people in a hack class.

Just to clarify, I'm not meaning to bash the stewards themselves, I'm bashing the show management that's essentially saying "We need you here to steward but you can't enforce the rules as they should be or you'll never get hired on again".

Janet
Apr. 12, 2011, 03:14 PM
I've also noticed an interesting little rule in the Eventing handbook that says if a rider is repeated left behind the motion of the horse, he/she can be disqualified.
Can you point me to where you found this?

RugBug
Apr. 12, 2011, 03:16 PM
In the first example, yes, there was most definitely excessive use of the whip.

In the second example, the rider was getting left behind/jumped out of the tack over every fence and nearly coming off. So IMHO he was a safety hazard to himself.


both of these are very subjective. YOU decided it was excessive use of the whip and YOU think the other guy was a hazard to himself, but would USEF decide the same if someone got pissy about being pulled from the ring?

If the third rider was that unsafe, the judge should have called them to the center of the ring.

shawneeAcres
Apr. 12, 2011, 03:30 PM
The problem with the examples you mentioned are they are SUBJECTIVE, what one person thinks is too much another may not. A steward has to be accountable for any action they take against a competitor. Short of having a video, it's their word against the competitor, and tie msot likely is going to the competitor! Not the stewards 'fault' but it isnt as cut and dried as a rule disallowing a certain peice of tack is. I have never heard of any rule in eventing about "being left behind". Again that is extremely subjective. Many of these kinds of things are very hard to enforce, for a variety of reasons.

Brigit
Apr. 12, 2011, 03:47 PM
This is true, that they're all subjective but when everybody watching is going "OMG that person is a menace" you'd think that would be a sufficient judge of "too much" or "dangerous". And the person is a known quantity to the ring stewards who says "Ooooh that person.... not again", you'd think more should/could be done. But show management doesn't want the ring stewards actually doing their job because they're worried about losing entries at future shows. Perhaps if enforcement of rules and conduct was carried out at more standard levels across the boards, people would learn they can't do what they're doing ANYWHERE.

To clarify again, I am NOT bashing the stewards, what I'm trying to get across is that perhaps the stewards should have more backing so they CAN do something about people that are dangerous/abusive etc.

Giddy-up
Apr. 12, 2011, 03:47 PM
What is the job description of a steward??

Seriously, I tried looking in the USEF rule book & could not find a definition of a steward. Perhap Janet could help me out?

I have been told a steward does not enforce the rules, but helps to interpret them (which is why there is so much subjectivity on rule interpretation). Rule enforcement is left up to USEF. Whether that is true or not I don't know, but I have been told that.

I will totally agree that there are some stewards who really do enjoy their job & are out there assisting people, answering questions, very approachable & "being seen" around the show grounds. I much prefer them to the stewards who literally hide in the show office or sit at the lunch stand all day, never take a pass thru stabling or a glance at the schooling ring, and in general give off a "don't bother me" attitude.

I also think people should note who pays the stewards--the show managers do, not USEF. Therefore does a steward make waves, irk off show management & run the risk of never being re-hired again? I have actually had stewards point that out to me. Perhaps if USEF paid & assigned stewards to the horse shows things might be different?

Janet
Apr. 12, 2011, 03:50 PM
I'm talking more on the "safety" and "abuse" side of things. I recently saw one rider literally BEAT her horse around a 3'6" jumper course . I am not an expert on the split between "judge" and "steward" in the H/J world. But I would think things that happen IN THE RING come under the JUDGE rather than the Steward.

In fact, JU102 says

JP102 Horse Welfare.
1. Conduct in the competition ring:
a. Any action against a horse by a competitor in the ring, deemed excessive by the
judge, may be penalized by any one or combination of the following: official warning, or
elimination from the class. BOD 1/17/10 Effective 12/1/10
b. Such action(s) could include, but are not limited to, excessive or improper use of the
whip, spurs, reins, rider’s weight or rider’s hands.


The Steward needs to REPORT it. But it is the Judge who "deems it excessive".

Brigit
Apr. 12, 2011, 03:53 PM
I also think people should note who pays the stewards--the show managers do, not USEF. Therefore does a steward make waves, irk off show management & run the risk of never being re-hired again? I have actually had stewards point that out to me. Perhaps if USEF paid & assigned stewards to the horse shows things might be different?

THIS is the point I'm trying to get at and discuss.

Janet
Apr. 12, 2011, 03:55 PM
What is the job description of a steward??

Seriously, I tried looking in the USEF rule book & could not find a definition of a steward. Perhap Janet could help me out?

Try GR1035 and GR1037.

Janet
Apr. 12, 2011, 04:00 PM
For things that happen OUTSIDE the show ring, JP 102.2 says

2. Conduct outside of the competition ring: Any action(s) against a horse by an exhibitor,
deemed excessive by a judge, Federation Steward, Certified Jumper Schooling Supervisor
or Competition Veterinarian anywhere on the competition grounds may be punished by official
warning or elimination from the class. Such action(s) could include, but are not limited
to, excessive or improper use of the whip, spurs, reins, rider’s weight or rider’s hands.

So Outside the ring, the Steward could call it. But Inside the ring it is ONLY the judge.

Brigit
Apr. 12, 2011, 04:05 PM
Alright, so lets talk about the judges. Why aren't they calling these people out and excusing them from the ring?

Mimi La Rue
Apr. 12, 2011, 04:07 PM
I have seen judges call people out and excuse them from the ring. :yes:

Brigit
Apr. 12, 2011, 04:11 PM
So have I but it doesn't happen enough.

Giddy-up
Apr. 12, 2011, 04:14 PM
Alright, so lets talk about the judges. Why aren't they calling these people out and excusing them from the ring?

I have seen a judge not only excuse a rider for excesive beating/poor sportsmanship in the ring, but then had the in-gate person hold the radio up to the rider so they could "educate" them on what is & isn't allowed. This was an un-rated show so no USEF steward present, but it was a USEF judge & believe me (I was working another in-gate with my radio)...they made it crystal clear what USEF's rules are on discipline!

And again...who pays the judges?? Oh yeah, so there goes the whole if you want to ever possibly be re-hired again...

ComeAbout
Apr. 12, 2011, 04:32 PM
SIGH....I just 'love' it when people make these comments about Stewards not doing their jobs. Perhaps if people dismounted off their high horses and educated themselves about what the rules really were the horse show world would be a happier place.

First and foremost the Steward is not hired as the Gestapo, police, enforcer, commandant or whatever you would like to call it of the horse show! The steward is there to make sure the playing field is level for all competitors and as a liason between the USEF and the competitors and the horse show management.

The Steward is also there to ensure that the horse's welfare is protected.

The comment by the OP stating that she watched while a person literally beat her horse around a 3'6" course twice while the Steward did nothing may be surprised to learn that once a horse crosses the ingate and is in the show ring, it is now totally under the jurisdiction of the judge. The Steward has NO authority whatsoever! You all may be surprised to know that there is NO 3 hits and you're out rule either! The judge is watching the round. It is totally his/her call whether what is happening in the ring is excessive or not.

Not sure what the OP is referring to when she is speaking of the Eventing rule about falling behind, but in the jumper schooling area, it is not uncommon for a big GP rider to be schooling his horse and when the jump gets high towards the end of his school to OH DEAR 'suddenly' get left behind or sit straight up to facilitate a knockdown at which point they are warned not to let that happen again.

As to the OP's third example again, it is NOT the Stewards job nor is it even possible for a Steward to dismiss somone from a class! This is totally the judges call and I've had judges call me over as well as the offending rider or unsafe rider and explain to them why they aren't welcome back in the ring today.

As for the rest of it, the Steward can diffuse some situations in the schooling areas, barn areas, and every other place on the showgrounds IF he/she happens to be in the right place at the right time. A Steward can't be everywhere and just because YOU see something and come and tell me, I can go investigate, but unless you are willing to sign a complaint and put your name on paper as a witness and have other witnesses that are willing to sign their name to a report, the Stewards hands are tied.

As far as Stewards working for management, SIGH, once again the Stewards purpose is not to come into a showgrounds with a badge, a clipboard and a whistle running around like an overzealous camp counselor! We have no authority on how the horse show is managed other than to help point out to management where they may be running afoul of the USEF rules. If someone is thought to be abusing a horse or doing something that is less than desireable under USEF rules the Steward AND the show management should work together to decide what to do - such as giving that person a 24hr time out. Not everything requires a fire and brimstone approach for heaven sake!

DOGS....the nemesis of every Steward! Come one people! I LOVE dogs. We ALL love dogs! The rules are clear however!! WHY WHY WHY don't people think those rules pertain to THEIR dogs?!@ Half of the day if not more is spent corraling other people's darn dogs! Believe me we have better things to do and they keep adding to those things all the time!

So to sum things up. Don't be lazy - learn the rules as it pertains to your discipline, or at least be educated about what you are talking about! The rules change on a monthly or weekly basis lately. Don't expect the Steward to do everyone's dirty work!

RacetrackReject
Apr. 12, 2011, 04:45 PM
I didn't think the excessive use of the whip rule was subjective. In Eventing, it is pretty spelled out.

3. WHIP. The use of the whip must be for a good reason, at an appropriate time, in the
right place, and with appropriate severity.
a. Reason—the whip must only be used either as an aid to encourage the horse forward,
or as a reprimand. It must never be used to vent a rider’s temper. Such use is
always excessive.
b. Time—As an aid, the only appropriate time is when a horse is reluctant to go forward
under normal aids of the seat and legs. As a reprimand, the only appropriate time
is immediately after a horse has been disobedient, e.g. napping or refusing. The whip
should not be used after elimination. The whip should not be used after a horse has
jumped the last fence on a course.
c. Place—As an aid to go forward, the whip may be used down the shoulder or behind
the rider’s leg. As a reprimand, it must only be used behind the rider’s leg. It must never
be used overhand, e.g. a whip in the right hand being used on the left flank. The use of
a whip on a horse’s head, neck, etc., is always excessive use.
d. Severity—As a reprimand only, a horse may be hit hard. However, it should never
be hit more than three times for any one incident. If a horse is marked by the whip, e.g.
the skin is broken, its use is excessive.

Brigit
Apr. 12, 2011, 04:45 PM
I wish you would have read my other posts stating that this isn't a "Bash the steward" post. It's not at all. I fully support what they do. Perhaps I should have specified or been more general by saying why doesn't show management/ stewards/judges et al kick more of these people out. The judges &/or stewards can't do their jobs without the backing of the show management, THAT is my issue.

The fact that judges/stewards or who-ever IS hired to "educate" or "enforce" or whatever word you'd like to use, the rules isn't being allowed to do their jobs and people like the above, are allowed to come to show after show displaying the same poor behavior/horsemanship.

I *DO* know the rules, thank you very much, and I make a point of making sure I know what I can/can't do. It is a problem that there are people out there that don't know the rules or don't want to follow them.

pds
Apr. 12, 2011, 04:49 PM
I have on several different occasions seen a steward enforce rules on the show grounds.

A coupple diff. times at diff shows when a rider was not wearing a helmet.
A couple of times for improperly setting jumps in the schooling ring.
Improper use of a crop.
Discourtesy to a judge or other competitiors.The simple fact is they can not be everywhere at once.

IMO, we as spectators and competitiors have an equal responsiblity to call out rule infractions when we see them as well as report them to the show stewards.

Janet
Apr. 12, 2011, 04:53 PM
I didn't think the excessive use of the whip rule was subjective. In Eventing, it is pretty spelled out.

Yes, but that definition applies ONLY to Eventing.

A couple of years ago there was a rule change proposal to apply a variant of the Eventing whip rule to all disciplies, but it was soundly rejected.

For the other disciplines, you need to see GR839. The relevant part is here. Note that the only explicit definition of "excessive" use of the whip is hitting the head.

GR839.4
4. The following acts are included under the words Cruelty and Abuse but are not limited
thereto:
a. Excessive use of a whip on any horse in a stall, runway, schooling area, competition
ring or elsewhere on the competition grounds, before or during a competition, by any
person. Except in emergency situations, any striking of the horse’s head (on the poll
and forward of the poll) with the whip shall be deemed excessive.
b. Rapping the legs of a horse with the butt end of a riding crop or other implement.
c. Use of any substance to induce temporary heat.
d. Manual poling with any object other than a bamboo pole.
e. Use of a wire or chain in conjunction with any schooling jump.
f. Use of electric device in schooling or showing.
g. Use of shackles, hock hobbles and similar devices (not to be construed as rubber or
elastic exercising devices).
h. Showing a horse with raw or bleeding sores around the coronets, pasterns or legs.
i. Use of any explosive (e.g., fire crackers, torpedoes, fire extinguishers except in
case of fire, etc.) or laser beam devices anywhere on the competition grounds, except
in an exhibition or if required in class specifications.
j. Withholding of feed and water for prolonged periods.
k. Letting blood from a horse for other than diagnostic purposes.
l. Inhumane treatment of a horse in a stall, runway, schooling area, competition ring or
elsewhere on the competition grounds, by any person.

Brigit
Apr. 12, 2011, 04:55 PM
Here are the rules I was referring to:

"5. Elimination of Competitor before Cross Country
As a preventative risk management measure, the Ground Jury, at any time throughout the competition, has the right and duty to eliminate a competitor to prevent him/her from starting Cross Country test, if there is a serious concern regarding the competitor’s ability to control the horse in that test. Any such association must be associated with a Warning Red Card."

And....

"6 Dangerous Riding
6.1 Any athlete who, at any time during the competition deliberately or unintentionally by incompetence is exposing himself, his horse or any third party to higher risk than what is strictly inherent to the nature of the competition will be considered to have acted dangerously and will be penalized accordingly. To the severity of the infringement with one of the following penalties
- Red Warning Card
- 25 penalties plus a Red Warning Card
- Elimination plus a Red Warning Card

25 penalties will count as Cross Country obstacle penalties in the results and together with elimination must always be associated with a red warning card.

Such acts include without limitation any of the following:
- Riding out of control (horse clearly not responding to the riders’ restraining or driving aids)
- Riding too fast or too slow
- Repeatedly standing off fences too far (firing the horse to the fence)
*****- Repeatedly being ahead of or behind the horse movement when jumping****
- Series of dangerous jumps
- Severe lack of responsiveness from the horse or the competitor
- Continuing after elimination for refusals or any other form of elimination
- Endangering the public in any way (ie jumping out of the roped track)

6.2 If not directly witnessed by the Ground Jury, the incident must be reported to the Ground Jury as soon as possible, who will decide if and how to penalize the competitor.
6.3 The Ground Jury and the Technical Delegate have the right and duty to monitor possible cases of dangerous riding and eventually stop and eliminate a competitor on the cross country course for dangerous riding.
Any individual member of the Ground Jury who observes such actions has the right and the duty to eliminate the competitor forthwith on his own authority.
There is no appeal against a Ground Jury decision in case of dangerous riding

Brigit
Apr. 12, 2011, 04:57 PM
I realize the above rules apply for eventing only *but* they aren't even enforced there and I've seen some scary, scary rides where everyone is gasping expecting the next "Christopher Reeve" moment.

Brigit
Apr. 12, 2011, 05:02 PM
Here are Canada's rules on "Abuse" taken from the Hunter/Jumper/Equitation FEI rules.

"ARTICLE G115 ABUSE
1. Abuse of the horse is strictly forbidden. Abuse includes, but is not restricted
to, excessive use of spurs, abuse of the whip (see Article G115.2) and
brutal use of the reins during halts or rein backs, repeated tugs on the
horse’s mouth.
2. Excessive use of the whip: the whip cannot be used to vent a rider’s
temper. Such use is always excessive. The whip is not to be used after
elimination or after a horse has jumped the last fence on a course. The
whip is never to be used overhand, (e.g. a whip in the right hand being used
on the left flank). The use of a whip on a horse’s head is always excessive
use. A horse should never be hit more than three times for any one
incident. If a horse’s skin is broken, it is considered excessive use of the
whip. A person identified as misusing or excessively using the whip will be
disqualified at the discretion of the Ground Jury.
Also see EC Section A, General Regulations, Appendix 5."

And an interesting tidbit on stewards...

"ARTICLE G704 STEWARDS
When a competition has two or more rings operating simultaneously, the
competition must have sufficient stewards in attendance to monitor all
schooling/warm-up area. Schooling/warm-up areas which cannot be closely
monitored simultaneously MUST have a steward for each area. The additional
steward(s) may be recorded."

ComeAbout
Apr. 12, 2011, 05:04 PM
Most horse shows want to run themselves within the rules of the USEF. If a competitor is on their grounds breaking rules all over the place or making a scene that others are also watching or abusing a horse on thier show grounds, MOST horse shows will want this behavior to stop. They will work with the Steward to this end. If not then you are showing at the wrong horse shows...

There are some situations that are difficult to deal with. In this area there is a trainer who rides badly, her horses go badly, and her riders are frightening! There have been times when the judge has excused one of her riders because she was being run away with on a consistant basis. I always feel like the horses would love to 'off' themselves if given the choice to do so. Deep down in my heart I feel like this is abuse or a dangerous situation at best, but they have done nothing that would ban them from showing! In fact tho a horrible rider, this person is smart enought to pass the new USEF certification test thereby giving her further legitamacy in her poor customer's eyes.

She further avoids local scrutiny by showing a lot out of town thereby keeping her customers away from the chatter that alway ensues when she is around.

So what is a Steward supposed to do in that situation?!

Janet
Apr. 12, 2011, 05:10 PM
OK, Please tell us where you found that.

It is definitely not in the USEF rules for Eventing, and I can't find it in the FEI rules either.

RacetrackReject
Apr. 12, 2011, 05:20 PM
Sorry, it just made sense to me that if it is spelled out for one sport, it should be spelled out for all. My fault for assuming...

It doesn't really make any sense to have a rule banning excessive use without defining what exactly that is, but maybe that's the point?

ETA: What about that jumper guy who got in trouble for using the whip on every stride to a jump? What rule did they enforce for that?

Brigit
Apr. 12, 2011, 05:20 PM
Equine Canada's Rules, which are in line with FEI rules.

Janet
Apr. 12, 2011, 05:31 PM
Equine Canada's Rules, which are in line with FEI rules.
The FEI rules (like the USEF rules) are quite specific about use of the whip,.But I can find nothing in the FEI rules about "Repeatedly being ahead of or behind the horse movement when jumping".

Seal Harbor
Apr. 12, 2011, 05:33 PM
Sorry, it just made sense to me that if it is spelled out for one sport, it should be spelled out for all. My fault for assuming...

It doesn't really make any sense to have a rule banning excessive use without defining what exactly that is, but maybe that's the point?

ETA: What about that jumper guy who got in trouble for using the whip on every stride to a jump? What rule did they enforce for that?
FEI rules. It was a WEG qualifier.

The following are the FEI standards on excessive use of the whip:

2.2.1 Excessive Use Of The Whip


The whip cannot be used to vent a rider’s temper. Such use is always excessive;
The whip is not to be used after elimination or after a horse has jumped the last fence on a course;
The whip is never to be used overhand, (for example a whip in the right hand being used on the left flank). The use of a whip on a horse’s head is always excessive use;
A horse should never be hit more than three times for any one incident. If a horse’s skin is broken, it is considered excessive use of the whip.
An Athlete identified as misusing or excessively using the whip will be disqualified and may be fined at the discretion of the Ground Jury.

STA
Apr. 12, 2011, 06:16 PM
Put your words into action, pay the $200 and file a protest when you see someone you believe clearly violating the rules and nothing is being done in your opinion.
Are you sure the Steward by the Judge's request did not speak with the rider? Usually this is not done with an audience since it is a teaching moment.

Brigit
Apr. 12, 2011, 06:19 PM
My point is, people shouldn't have to fork out $200 to have a complaint investigated, people who are clearly causing havoc in plain sight of a judge, a steward and multiple other competitors and spectators should be excused. It shouldn't be MY responsibility to ensure the rules are enforced.

If the person was actually spoken to, then why would they show up at show after show presenting the same behavior??


The FEI rules (like the USEF rules) are quite specific about use of the whip,.But I can find nothing in the FEI rules about "Repeatedly being ahead of or behind the horse movement when jumping".

It looks to be an Equine Canada specific rule. They're rules are based on FEI rules but in some instances, they've taken it one step up. I personally like the rule. A lot.

meupatdoes
Apr. 12, 2011, 06:40 PM
Well, I for one had a great experience with one of the stewards at Spring Gathering this past weekend.

95% of the time I am schooling/riding my horses in dressage, so that's the type of whip my student had when she was riding my horse in the schooling area. She mistakenly (first A rated show for her) grabbed it again after the "removing all boots and wraps" session and had it in the ring for her trips, and in the final moments before the in-gate I missed it.

The steward politely came and found us at our stall afterward (which I thought was really going out of her way), introduced herself, and explained that we couldn't have that whip in the show ring and we could school on the flat with it but not school over fences. I wouldn't have let the kid in the ring with it if I had caught it, but I was unaware of the schooling over fences rule and appreciated that she made the effort to come all the way over and find us to make sure we were aware.

And believe me, no one was beating this horse or even tapping him with the whip or remotely calling negative attention to ourselves; that steward was just on the ball and very polite and helpful in the way she went about doing her job.

So, in sum, stewards CAN in fact do their job, and often DO.

Seal Harbor
Apr. 12, 2011, 06:46 PM
Riding crappy is not a punishable offense in h/j land. It is not in violation of the rules because there is no "Riding Crappy Rule" - maybe there should be.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Apr. 12, 2011, 07:13 PM
My point is, people shouldn't have to fork out $200 to have a complaint investigated

The trouble with this is that then everyone is free to lodge formal complaints left and right without paying for the investigation that results from such a grievance. The way it works now, IIRC, is that if you lodge the protest, and it's not upheld, you forfeit your $200 so that the USEF can recoup some of the money it spent investigating it (hearing committee and all that). If your protest is upheld, then you get your money back. I assume USEF uses a portion of any fines levied to pay for the investigation into the allegation.

The $200 fee exists for a lot of reasons, but one of them is to discourage people from lodging baseless complaints because they had a bad experience with a trainer, or they want little Sally to get a prettier ribbon. Sure, it works against itself in some sense by discouraging people from "risking" the $200 when they have a legitimate gripe, but it isn't because the USEF is trying to intimidate whistle blowers.

Think about it- the issue you're discussing is a subjective one, even by FEI standards. When the rider was disqualified from the WC qualifier (after the fact) for excessive use of the whip, a hearing committee was assembled, deliberated over the issue (video was examined, testimony given, etc.), and he was found in violation of the rule, then punished accordingly. That decision took a lot of man/mind power to reach, and wasn't free. If the USEF made it possible for everyone to lodge complaints whenever a particular individual saw something they didn't agree with, or just because they didn't LIKE someone, they'd go bankrupt just employing people to read the initial complaints...

klmck63
Apr. 12, 2011, 07:25 PM
Maybe the situation is different in the states, but in Canada the stewards seem to be pretty active, visible and do enforce the rules. I have had a steward ask me to do my helmet strap up tighter, seen a steward give a competitor a firm warning (and read the rule to the rider directly out of the book) for excessive use of the whip and use of the whip in front of the saddle (way more than three "hits" per incident, on the shoulder and not behind the leg) and have also had a really pleasant chat with one while we were both watching the schooling ring.

You can usually always see one with a clipboard if you're looking and I have seen people report incidents or bring a steward over to answer a question, inspect tack, etc.

In other words, I think they're doing their job! They can't be everywhere, but whenever I see them they seem to be effective.

MHM
Apr. 12, 2011, 07:30 PM
Well, I for one had a great experience with one of the stewards at Spring Gathering this past weekend.... that steward was just on the ball and very polite and helpful in the way she went about doing her job.

So, in sum, stewards CAN in fact do their job, and often DO.

I'll bet I know who that was. :yes:

PoochPaddock
Apr. 12, 2011, 07:42 PM
DOGS....the nemesis of every Steward! Come one people! I LOVE dogs. We ALL love dogs! The rules are clear however!! WHY WHY WHY don't people think those rules pertain to THEIR dogs?!@ Half of the day if not more is spent corraling other people's darn dogs! Believe me we have better things to do and they keep adding to those things all the time!

This one is a tough one especially. I'm not qualified to have an educated opinion on the other issues raised here, but I have spent the last 2 years and tens of thousands of dollars trying to provide a useful service to help alleviate this issue and have met only a small percentage of people who believe this rule applies to them. I have even had a steward tell me "I can't spend my time policing loose dogs". I give up....and I do agree with a few who have posted here that until (and if) the stewards and judges are employed by the USEF and not by the individual horse show managers, it is unlikely that they will do anything to cause waves and upset the status quo. Entries are down everywhere. Why risk losing more entries by enforcing existing rules.

Brigit
Apr. 12, 2011, 09:09 PM
The trouble with this is that then everyone is free to lodge formal complaints left and right without paying for the investigation that results from such a grievance. The way it works now, IIRC, is that if you lodge the protest, and it's not upheld, you forfeit your $200 so that the USEF can recoup some of the money it spent investigating it (hearing committee and all that). If your protest is upheld, then you get your money back. I assume USEF uses a portion of any fines levied to pay for the investigation into the allegation.

The $200 fee exists for a lot of reasons, but one of them is to discourage people from lodging baseless complaints because they had a bad experience with a trainer, or they want little Sally to get a prettier ribbon. Sure, it works against itself in some sense by discouraging people from "risking" the $200 when they have a legitimate gripe, but it isn't because the USEF is trying to intimidate whistle blowers.

Think about it- the issue you're discussing is a subjective one, even by FEI standards. When the rider was disqualified from the WC qualifier (after the fact) for excessive use of the whip, a hearing committee was assembled, deliberated over the issue (video was examined, testimony given, etc.), and he was found in violation of the rule, then punished accordingly. That decision took a lot of man/mind power to reach, and wasn't free. If the USEF made it possible for everyone to lodge complaints whenever a particular individual saw something they didn't agree with, or just because they didn't LIKE someone, they'd go bankrupt just employing people to read the initial complaints...

I will agree that the $200 fee does keep people from making complaints left, right & centre. But as someone has mentioned above, it's usually one person's word against another's and the ruling usually goes in favor of the rider. In the case above, it was a high level rider that had luckily been video taped and thus there was obvious proof, this isn't always the case at the lower levels or at every show.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Apr. 12, 2011, 09:22 PM
I will agree that the $200 fee does keep people from making complaints left, right & centre. But as someone has mentioned above, it's usually one person's word against another's and the ruling usually goes in favor of the rider. In the case above, it was a high level rider that had luckily been video taped and thus there was obvious proof, this isn't always the case at the lower levels or at every show.

So what is the point you are trying to make? That particularly because it's really hard to prove a violation occurred, exhibitors shouldn't have to pay to file a protest? I'm not really sure I see the connection in your reply to my post...

I would venture to say that especially in cases where it's one person's word against another, it's critical for the USEF to have the means necessary to conduct an investigation into the matter at hand.

Napoles
Apr. 13, 2011, 05:26 AM
I've also noticed an interesting little rule in the Eventing handbook that says if a rider is repeated left behind the motion of the horse, he/she can be disqualified. I know of a few people that push themselves past their limit and get left behind over ever. single. fence. No kidding. Why is that allowed to continue? These people are cringeworthy and destined to have a wreck. .

This has been highlighted in the Eventing Ireland rule book for 2011. It makes things a bit clearer for the Ground Jury to impose penalties if riders are seen to be continuously riding dangerously during their round.

Presumably, as it is the exact same wording that Brigit has highlighted, it is also an updated FEI rule that has been rolled out by other governing bodies such as Eventing Ireland and Equine Canada. Will go check out my 2011 FEI rule book..

ETA: Yep - it's in the updates for 2011 in the FEI rule book.

Kinsella
Apr. 13, 2011, 11:10 AM
I have a suggestion... Why don't those that don't like the way things are being run either apply for their stewards license or judges card or try their hand at running their own horse shows.

I know the OP has said repeatedly that they are not bashing stewards, but maybe they should re-read the title of the thread. And then edit it...

As for the incident in the WC qualifier, there are people that do not feel that the rider was excessive or abusive. If you have a horse that has a jump issue, reinforcing your leg with a crop (which is proper use) is a time-tested and proper way to go about getting over the issue. Had the class NOT been under FEI rules, would it have resulted in any fines or suspension? Maybe, maybe not... (Not saying that is MY opinion, but it IS a valid argument...)

Brigit
Apr. 13, 2011, 11:30 AM
I thought about editing the title but decided not to. I'm not meaning it as in 'SHeesh, they AREN'T doing their jobs", I'm meaning it as "Why aren't they being allowed to do their jobs". (Ie due to show management)


So what is the point you are trying to make? That particularly because it's really hard to prove a violation occurred, exhibitors shouldn't have to pay to file a protest? I'm not really sure I see the connection in your reply to my post...

I would venture to say that especially in cases where it's one person's word against another, it's critical for the USEF to have the means necessary to conduct an investigation into the matter at hand.

My point is, the fee and the likelihood that nothing will be done as a result of their complaint, is likely why more people don't lodge complaints. It's a fine balance, I see your point that you don't want people making non-stop complaints just because they don't like someone, that's no good. But on the other hand, when someone has a viable issue, they don't report it because it's their word against another person's and they know the ruling will likely be in the favor of the rider. Does that make more sense?

Kinsella
Apr. 13, 2011, 11:33 AM
Every steward that I know, if you go talk to them - even without filing a complaint - will at least keep a closer eye on a situation. Does not mean that you will see them do anything, because it's likely that anything they do will be out of the public eye.

Pennywell Bay
Apr. 13, 2011, 12:10 PM
Another perspective- good Stewards talk and attempt to placate every sniveling competitor who comes to them whining that Suzy is beating Fluffly and why is she not removed ( but Suzy and Fluffy beat me , that is besides the point).

Annoying competitors get a reputation, "Rats- here comes Betsy, put on the smiley face and nod about whoever she is complaining about this week".

Personally, I have seen fabulous stewards. I have seen fabulous judges. I have seen great show management. In 2010 a competitor DID get removed from a show for slamming their horse around. You bet the next time they showed, the Steward was watching them. Word gets around.

Show management does not want people beating their horses at their shows. They want a high class of people coming. They want a good reputation. I daresay implying they turn a blind eye to abuse and dangerous situations is NOT occuring at shows around here.

ComeAbout
Apr. 13, 2011, 03:36 PM
For those who have wondered what a Stewards duties entailed, here it is right out of the rule book.

. A steward or technical delegate should clearly understand that he has no authority in connection with the management or the judging of a competition but should point out in a diplomatic manner any instance where Federation rules are not enforced. He should immediately report to the appropriate officials any violations of the rules which might invalidate a class; should keep himself available to judges, exhibitors and management at all times to clarify the application of Federation rules and investigate any situation where the rules are not upheld.

4. The other duties of a Licensed steward and technical delegate shall be but are not limited to, the following:
a. To protect the interests of exhibitors, judges and Competition Management. b. To investigate and act upon any alleged rule violations without waiting for a protest. c. To report to the Show Committee any misrepresentation or substitution of entry without waiting for a protest. d. To ascertain that all judges either are licensed in divisions to which assigned or that the competition has a Guest or Special card for the judge for the divisions not covered by his license. e. To supervise and record time-out, if time-outs are permitted by division rules, in the event of a horse casting a shoe or breakage of equipment, if an official timer or judge is not available as provided for in GR833. f. To satisfy himself that the accommodations for horses, feeding, training areas, etc. are suitable in all respects. The steward or technical delegate must commence his duties early enough to deal with these matters. BOD 1/17/10 Effective 12/1/10 g. To measure all animals required to be measured as provided for in Chapter 5, Chapter DR (DR134) and Chapter HU, HU170-HU180, and if necessary return Measurement cards to the Federation.
(1) Registered (R) Dressage Technical Delegates must have attended a Federation Dressage/DSHB Pony Measurement Certification clinic where certification testing to measure ponies for dressage or DSHB is conducted. Recorded (r) Dressage Technical Delegates must attend a Federation Dressage/DSHB Pony Measurement Certification clinic prior to January 1, 2011 where certification testing to measure ponies for dressage or DSHB is conducted. Refer to GR1051 and DR134 for additional measurement certification requirements.
(2)Only a USEF-certified Dressage Technical Delegate, working with the Competition Veterinarian, is eligible to conduct Dressage/DSHB pony measurements.
h. Stewards and Technical Delegates are responsible for ensuring that measurements are conducted in accordance with the rules and that all required paperwork is completed in a legible manner. Offenders could be subject to a fine or administrative penalty at the discretion of the Executive Director.
i. To conduct the breaking of ties in a Jumper class as provided for in JP110.3 and JP141. j. To report to the Show Committee any offense or violation of the rules and prefer charges against violators if the violation is not properly handled by the Show Committee.
k. To furnish the Federation with a complete written report as to the conduct of the competition including any offenses or violations of the rules by the competition or any exhibitors, within fourteen (14) days after the last licensed day of the competition, on the form furnished by the Federation.
(1) A written report is also required to be submitted for competitions comprised exclusively of FEI classes and at USEF competitions held in Canada. (2) If the Federation does not receive the completed report and/or attachments postmarked and/or electronically submitted within fourteen (14) days of the closing of the competition, the Steward/Technical Delegate will be fined a fee of $100. For the second offense and any offense thereafter in the same competition year, said official will be fined $250. A third offense and any offense thereafter will result in an automatic suspension from office as Steward or Technical Delegate for 90 days, in addition to the fines.
(3) Failure to pay any fine within 30 days will result in a violation of rules and the Steward/Technical Delegate will be subject to an additional $100 late fee. (4) If the Steward/Technical Delegate disputes that the report was not timely filed, he/she may appeal in writing to the Federation within 30 days of receipt of the Federation’s notice of the fine. The appeal must be accompanied by a check for $50., payable to the Federation, which will be refunded if the appeal is upheld. The CEO or Executive Director and three members of the Licensed Officials Committee will consider the appeal and may waive a part or all of the fine upon finding of good cause of why the report was not timely filed and/or a finding that extreme hardship
results from the automatic penalty. Note: only the fine may be waived. The rule violation will remain on record for the official. l. To collect all medication report forms filed, either with the Steward/Technical Delegate or Designated Competition Office Representative, and send them to the Federation’s Office of Equine Drugs and Medications, 956 King Avenue, Columbus, OH 43212-2655. m. To observe and report or charge in accordance with Chapter 6:
(1) To see that each entry blank has been signed by a trainer; (2) To see that every rider, driver, handler, vaulter, longeur, owner, lessee, agent and trainer participating in any Regular Competitions, Eventing Competitions at the Preliminary Level or above, Combined Driving Competitions at the Advanced Level or above, Dressage Competitions, Endurance Rides and Vaulting Competitions is a member of the Federation as required by the provisions of Bylaw 203; (3) To see that each Federation membership number appears on the entry blank or that a non-member registration fee has been paid; and (4) To see that every rider, driver and vaulter in a non-breed-restricted event in an FEI recognized discipline has complied with GR828.4.
n. Observe and report that Competition Management has required each exhibitor, rider, driver, handler and trainer or his/her agent(s) to sign each entry blank, or charge in accordance with Chapter 6. o. To make routine inspections of the stable area and to ensure that the stalls are in compliance with GR1215.
p. To ensure that Federation Member Reports and Judge Evaluation Forms are publicly displayed and available for Federation members during the entire competition. Insure that an announcement is made via the competition’s public address system, at least once each session, pertaining to the availability of said forms.
q. Notify exhibitors in classes where due to a violation, points will not count toward the Horse of the Year Awards (See GR1113). r. To take all steps necessary for the enforcement of the Drugs and Medications Chapter (see GR411).
s. The Steward’s and/or schooling supervisor’s decision regarding schooling fences, tack and equipment in the warm-up area is final. t. Additional duties of Endurance Stewards are listed in EN114. u. To report to the Federation details of injuries relating to both humans and equines on the official Accident/Injury Report form provided by the Federation. In the event of a fatality, the Federation or weekend on-call number must be notified as soon as possible but not later than 24 hours after the incident.
v. To submit to the Federation a copy of the competition’s accident preparedness plan,
along with his/her steward or technical delegate report as provided for in GR1211.5e. 4. No Steward or Technical Delegate may officiate at more than one competition at the same time. 5. Stewards and technical delegates must retain copies of steward/technical delegate report forms, and supporting documentation, for a period of three years.

GR1037 Warning Card - Stewards and Technical Delegates.
1. A Warning Card may be issued by a Steward, Technical Delegate, Federation Representative, or Competition Official working in any of these capacities at the competition to any competitor, spectator or participant for improper conduct, or for noncompliance with the rules, provided the issuer considers the conduct not severe enough to cause the issuer to file formal Charges pursuant to GR604.
2. To issue a Warning Card, a Steward, Technical Delegate, Federation Representative, or Competition Official must complete and sign the Warning Card after conferring with at least one official working at the competition and if possible, obtaining the name of at least one witness to the alleged behavior or incident. A copy of the signed Warning Card must be given to the alleged offender at the competition. The warning card must then be sent to the Federation with the Steward’s/Technical Delegate’s Report Form or Federation Representative’s Report Form and noted therein.
3. Upon receipt of the Form, The Federation will send an acknowledgment of its receipt of the Form to the alleged offender advising of the provisions of this Rule. 4. The issuance of a Warning Card is not meant to replace the filing of charges for a willful and serious violation of Federation rules, and shall not prevent the Executive Director from investigating the matter and filing a formal Charge pursuant to this rule and GR604 or from issuing an Administrative Penalty against an individual pursuant to GR616.
5. Within 60 days following the receipt by the Federation of a third Report Form indicating that a competitor, spectator, or participant has been issued three (3) Warning Cards within a twelve (12) month period the Executive Director has the option of either levying a fine of $500 or issuing a formal Charge pursuant to this Rule and GR604 alleging that the rules have been violated on all or any one of said three occasions pursuant to Chapter 6 of the Rules. If the alleged offender is found in violation of any or all of said violations they may be subject to the penalties set forth in Chapter 7 of the Rules.

gottagrey
Apr. 13, 2011, 04:09 PM
[QUOTE=Brigit;5542326].
I've also noticed an interesting little rule in the Eventing handbook that says if a rider is repeated left behind the motion of the horse, he/she can be disqualified. I know of a few people that push themselves past their limit and get left behind over ever. single. fence. No kidding. Why is that allowed to continue? These people are cringeworthy and destined to have a wreck.
[QUOTE]

With eventing you have uneven terrain cross country - banks, drops etc.. so to a H/J rider the eventer might looked unbalanced/behind or ahead of the motion but in reality they are very well balanced. As an example - enjoy doug payne's ride (hat-tip to eventing forum)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fl8C0t8i-Tg


and please note stewards are not required at every single horse show.. at USEF recognized shows - yes, at local unrated shows NO unless the organizers want one. Judges will often defer to show management for some situations (local/unrated shows) at least from my experiences.