New Rules

Sep 8, 2017 - 8:16 AM

To: All competitors

Re: New Rules

Dear Horse Show Competitor;

To be at your best, we know that both you and your horse need to feel focused, comfortable and confident when you step into the ring. To keep a “level playing field,” we are committed to ensuring that horses are not under the influence of any substances that alter their state of mind, physical wellbeing, or capacity for work.

However, it recently occurred to us that the current regulations regarding “forbidden substances” have been missing a whole half of the equation—namely, you.

Our research has shown that an alarming percentage of riders (predominantly in the “older” adult amateur demographic) regularly employ tactics that inordinately increase competitive potential.

To further the objective of “fair play,” we have established guidelines to remediate misuse of methods and materials that we have deemed unduly performance-enhancing.

Prohibited Practices for Adult Amateur Riders

DEFINITION: Prohibited Practices are defined as any substance or strategy, internally administered, externally applied or intellectually employed that remediates any of the following:

a) Physical pain, including that brought about by:

Acute, chronic or imaginary injury, poorly fitted boots, big knots in hairnets, menstrual cramps, botched Botox, too much sitting trot during the flat eq, hypochondria, excessive two-point during the George Morris clinic, blisters, underwear “creeping up,” overeating at the breakfast bar, overdrinking at the regular bar, the agony of defeat, or simply being “too old for this shit.”

The following materials and methods are prohibited for treating any of the above during a horse show:

Pain medication, allergy medication, muscle relaxants, Pepto-bismol, padded underwear, hemorrhoid cream, massages, holy water, the hair of the dog that bit you, adult beverages.

b) Mental Anxiety brought about by circumstances such as:

Bad behavior by significant others, unflattering photos of your equitation, the price of a decent hunter derby prospect, difficulty of keeping your white horse clean for, like, five freaking minutes, recent developments on Game Of Thrones, lack of single, attractive males at your barn, inability to ever get a good distance to a single oxer—like, ever—the increasing unlikelihood of ever making the Olympic equestrian team, global warming, “that time of the month,” your most recent vet bill, first-world problems, public or private humiliation, fake news, poor self-image.

The following materials and methods are prohibited for treating any of the above during a horse show:

Any product from Krispy Kreme or Häagen Daz, online shopping, uncontrolled ranting on Facebook, photos of your ex with the eyeballs poked out, chocolate anything, embellishing your online dating profile, binge-watching Netflix, angry Tweets, adult beverages.

c) Spiritual, Emotional or Existential Crisis, as evidenced by:

Loss of faith in mankind, lack of decent footing at horse show venues, poor food selection on VIP berm, lack of quality tissue in the porta-potty, wondering whether life has any meaning, purpose or value, poor self-esteem, poor sleep habits, hot flashes, forgetting why you walked in to the room, being first in the order of go, jumps with yellow flowers (or whatever color routinely spooks your horse), visible panty lines, global warming.

The following materials and methods are prohibited for treating any of the above during a horse show:

Things that help you fall asleep, things that help you wake up, things that slow your brain down, things that speed your brain up, things that slow your brain down and then speed it up, anything that creates a sense of calm, self-worth, competence, aptitude, positive body image, a feeling of belonging, accomplishment or pride, or creates the sense that you’ve got any clue why you even participate in this sport, including but not limited to essential oils, crystals, personal life coaching, Miracle Spring Water, professional counseling, Instagram photo filters, self-help books, hypnotherapy, Spanx, pore-minimizing foundation and full-coverage concealer.

And adult beverages.


Competitors will be selected randomly for testing at time of check-in. Those selected for testing will be issued a specimen cup when they pick up their numbers. How you get your sample into the container is your problem—we regret that we cannot hold the cup for you on the end of a stick. Please do not try to trick the testers by switching specimens.

If your specimen is found to contain by-products of Ivermectin, SandClear and alfalfa, we are not buying your story about “that great new cleanse” your weird herbalist put you on.


If you disagree with our test findings, you may file an appeal. For the purposes of expediency, an official appeal can be made by making a pouty face, bursting into tears, or, in most cases, staring at the steward until one of you blinks.

In the event of an appeal, additional testing will be required to determine your eligibility to compete. You will be asked to perform simple tasks. These tasks may include saying the alphabet backwards, tacking your own horse, filling out an entry form without assistance from Google or Siri, reciting your horse show number from memory, learning Hunter I and Hunter II courses simultaneously, and/or holding your ankle behind your ear for 90 seconds and then jogging back and forth on a hard surface.

If you are unable to adequately complete these tests, congratulations—whatever you’ve got in your system clearly isn’t enough to give you unfair advantage or any idea what the hell you’re even doing. Go forth and conquer.


Once initial testing is completed, bear in mind that we’ll be keeping a close eye on you throughout the competition. Should we observe you behaving suspiciously, or in a manner that indicates possible collusion with prohibited methods or materials, we may, at our discretion, call you in for follow-up testing.

Suspicious Behavior includes, but is not limited to: Agreeing with the way the judge pins the hunter derby, requesting to go first in your medal class, actually remembering to leave a check for the braider, making no attempt to conceal horse show expenses from your spouse, riding in a manner that fails to elicit expletives from your trainer, riding eight perfect distances in your hunter classic*, behaving pleasantly to the horse show office staff, jogging sound in the hunters (we mean YOU, not your horse), or being observed going from seated to standing position with no accompanying popping, creaking or distressed vocalizations.

* judges may, at their discretion, request a time out to view videos of your round to determine whether your riding appears competent enough to warrant further investigation.

These new guidelines are the first of several improvements aimed at creating a more streamlined and enjoyable horse show experience. Please look for upcoming press releases on the topic of micro-chipping vs. tattooing riders as alternatives to issuing those pesky membership cards.

After years of trying to fit in with corporate America, Jody Lynne Werner decided to pursue her true passion as a career rather than a hobby. So now, she’s an artist, graphic designer, illustrator, cartoonist, web designer, writer and humorist. You can find her work on her Misfit Designs Cafepress site. Jody is one of the winners of the Chronicle’s first writing competition. Her work also appears in print editions of The Chronicle of the HorseRead all of Jody’s humor columns for here.


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