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Dispute over rules

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  • Dispute over rules

    I was recently at a local non-USEA event where there was a dispute regarding my hunt cap and swan neck spurs. The questioning was brought up by a local BO/coach who also runs her own events who was at the show with some students. She kept going to the TD (who apparently didn't know the rules either) about my hunt cap and then approached me and very rudely (and incorrectly) told me that my spurs were illegal.

    I was prepared for this situation and had the necessary information printed off and with me. While the local eventing organization has some of its own rules to cover certain things not in the USEF rulebook, the rest follow the USEF rules. I also double-checked with our organization's president and rule committee about the hunt cap specifically since it's a very safety-oriented org, but they all said my hunt cap was fine for dressage.

    Despite my proof though, the woman still very loudly declared, "THAT GIRL JUST LIKES TO BREAK RULES!!" and complained to everyone about it during the rest of the event and afterward as well.

    So, my question is whether a show organizer or TD would be allowed to disqualify you under such circumstances. This woman runs events of her own and she obviously thought she knew the rules way better than she did. Even with my proof, she was convinced I was in the wrong. I'm worried now I may end up in a situation like this, but with the actual show organizer or TD
    "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

  • #2
    What happened--were you DQ'ed or allowed to continue?

    I don't know the event in question, but schooling shows may sometimes have rules that supersede those of the organizations (for example, maybe the farm hosting requires approved helmets whenever mounted, even if your local CTA and USEF do not?)


    • Original Poster

      I wasn't DQed, but that's because the show secretary/barn owner said that if the judge/TD didn't question my equipment, I didn't have to worry about it. They did look at my paperwork though and thanked me for it.

      This event did have some different rules, like I had to wear a vest during my stadium, but they were explicitly stated in the omnibus and during the show.
      "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


      • #4
        I would say that an organizer of a unrecognized H.T. can pretty much do whatever they want. You pay less to show unrecognized and this one of the disadvantages.


        • #5
          Swan neck spurs are one of those things that make me scratch my head - the rules specifically say that spurs must point "down". But swan neck spurs, by design, point UP and are legal.

          I realize they are usuall rounded on the ends, and if you just wore your prince of wales spurs upside down they would be kind of pointy (reason for not being allowed to do so) but from afar, SN spurs can look like they are pointing "up", which is not legal.

          This does not help your specific situation, but just something to think about. Were your spurs of legal length? Dressage allows for more spur than eventing.

          If you were allowed to compete, I would simply file this away as "good to know", smile, and say " I have been given the OK from POGJ but I'm glad you are so concerned that we are all on a level playing field" and go ride.

          Your other post indicated you are new to the Area 1 eventing community, so welcome, and please do ask questions.


          • #6
            I hate to have to beat this drum again but for the life of me I do not understand wearing a hunt cap. Why is it so difficult to wear an approved helmet with a chin strap. "Just dressage" is BS. At my last show my very fresh TB had a bucking hissy in the warm-up (which is always a dangerous area )before my dressage. I stayed on, but I was damn glad I had a helmet .


            • #7
              Yeah, I don't get the hunt cap either - especially since my approved helmet looks like the hunt caps, except approved and with a chin strap. No reason to buy a hunt cap.

              As far as the rules go - well, it is unrecognized so in the end it is all up to the TD. As long as the TD says it is ok, then it is ok. The other person may have been thinking of the rules at her place. She may not allow hunt caps or swan spurs. Either way, not worth spending to much time thinking about, in my opinion. Someone questioned the rules, you were found not in violation, all good.


              • #8
                Originally posted by riderboy View Post
                I hate to have to beat this drum again but for the life of me I do not understand wearing a hunt cap. Why is it so difficult to wear an approved helmet with a chin strap. "Just dressage" is BS. At my last show my very fresh TB had a bucking hissy in the warm-up (which is always a dangerous area )before my dressage. I stayed on, but I was damn glad I had a helmet .
                Because the freedom to smash our skulls in the dressage phase is one of the few freedoms we have left.


                • #9
                  At an unrecognized event, anything can happen.

                  But under the USEF rules, only the GJ (and in some limited circumstances, the TD) can Eliminate or Disqualify someone. Not the organizer, manager or secretary. And certainly not another competitor.

                  It doesn't matter whether you like the rule or not, unless there is an explicit local (state or organizer) rule to the contrary, "article of apparel " hats ARE permitted in dressage.

                  WRT swan neck spurs, the rule says that spurs must be worn "only with the shank directed downwards". In a swan NECK spur, the NECK points upward, but the SHANK still points downward.

                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                  • #10
                    In your boots, if I went to the complaining lady's unrecognized events I would not wear the swan-neck spurs and hunt cap. I'd wear something she's not going to fuss over. Or ... not go. It's her party. If I choose to go, as a gracious guest I'll make every effort to stay in her good books, and keep quiet about anything I think is incorrect or even silly.

                    Especially if it conforms to the information she published about her unrecognized event. But I'd stay low key about it even if it didn't, and make a decision about attending next time. Might follow up with a quiet word with the local event organization that sanctions the event, if it is sanctioned by them and included in their omnibus. That is, could the lady be more clear and specific about which rules she is going to stick to ... they could bring it up with her.

                    In your boots if I did not know the organizers of an unrecognized event I would check in advance about the spurs and cap. Just to save the disturbance and bother if they decide they aren't going to allow one or both of these things once I was warming up - or worse yet, after having ridden the test.

                    In your boots I'd simply keep in mind that the organizers of unrecognized events and CT's may follow some or all of the recognized rules, but they if they did not commit in full to them in their published material, they can change their minds about some detail at any moment. It's their party. I would ask about sticky items in advance. At the event I'd stay prepared to go with the flow ... and afterwards make a decision about whether to come next time. Just as with the complaining lady.

                    I would not go to any unrecognized event without other spurs and helmet on hand, ready to switch for the swan-necks and hat, just in case.


                    • #11
                      OverandOnward, I think the point is that this was NOT the complaining lady's event. That while she runs her own horse trials, this was someone else's where she was making a big deal, despite the fact that the officials at this event said that the rider was not breaking any rules by wearing this helmet and these spurs.


                      • #12
                        I've had issues with my swan necks at *recognized* events, so I'm not surprised. I used to carry all of my paperwork with me as well, but that didn't always stop them - then they were debating whether or not my spurs were really swan necks! It was extremely frustrating. My solution to the problem was to just stop wearing them and switch to something else. I really wish that USEA/USEF would clarify the rule on this.

                        Adams Equine Wellness