Is it okay to remove your helmet for the prize-giving, photos, anthem or victory gallop following a jumping class? I have heard you can be eliminated if your helmet is off, or even undone.

In EC classes it is not permissible to undo or remove your helmet. First offense is a warning, second offense is disqualification and forfeiture of prize monies (G902). In FEI competitions, senior competitors are allowed to remove their hats to receive prizes or ribbons, during a national anthem, or any other ceremonial protocol.

I often hear parents loudly complaining about the judging at shows to anyone who will listen. This seems inappropriate, especially in front of kids. Can something be done about this?

Yes! If the parent is the “person responsible” and is a sport license holder, a yellow card can be issued. At the very least, a strong verbal warning citing inappropriate behaviour is warranted from the steward.

Suppose I showed up at a recognized hunter show for an equitation class and only brought my black stirrups. Is there some last-minute quick fix for this so that I can still go in the ring without being eliminated?

Silly you – this is the second year that this rule has been in place. If, in the worst case scenario, you really have come to the arena with black stirrups for your equitation class, the best quick fix is to borrow someone’s silver stirrups. As a last-ditch fix, cover the black with silver duct tape. The judge may choose not to include you because of your lack of preparation. However, the reason for the rule is to show a distinct definition of where the foot is positioned in the stirrup and the taped stirrup (however tacky) will provide the distinction.

What can I do if I witness someone abusing their horse in the warm-up area, or on some other part of the show property out of sight of officials?

When you see abuse, please go immediately to an official (the steward if it is not a bronze show). They will help you fill out a form labeled “Eye Witness Report – Act of Alleged Abuse.” If you witness abuse at a bronze show, go to the organizer and they will help you with the form. That form will then be forwarded to the governing province. If the competition is silver or gold, the steward will forward the completed form to Equine Canada for follow-up.

It’s raining and my horse slips and falls during my dressage test. Neither of us is hurt; am I allowed to continue?

Unfortunately, in both eventing and dressage, if you fall, no matter how slippery the footing is, you are eliminated. In both cases balance is an issue. I am surmising that the Ground Jury has assessed the footing and given the competition permission to continue.

At EC dressage shows, if I want to bring a young non-showing horse just for the experience, does he need a passport?

It is up to the organizer regarding room at the competition, but if you do take a non-competing horse, you must abide by the EC rules and your horse will be issued a number. He will be treated as all other horses on the grounds. He does not need a passport, but as a responsible owner, you should be sure his health record is current and his shots are up to date.

Since the last “Ask the Steward” column, the FEI Jumper Helmet rule has been amended: Part of ART 256.1.4 is reprinted below. The bold words have been removed:

“As an exception to this rule Senior Athletes may be allowed to remove their headgear while accepting prizes, or during the playing of the National anthem and any other ceremonial protocol only; they must refasten their Headgear prior to the lap of honor.”