When further testing is called, does the judge have the option of flatting or jumping? If so, what should you ask for, and why?
If my winner is far ahead over the jumps and the rest are far behind, I will usually flat them instead of risking losing my winner. When there are good jumping rounds, then I will go ahead and further test them over jumps. If the weather or footing is not good, I will flat them rather than jump them for safety reasons.
In a jumper medal class, the rider comes into the ring and the horse spooks and spins before going through the timers. How do you score this?
In a jumper class they are not penalized because they are judged only after passing through the timers. In an equitation class, however, this would be considered a major fault, as they are judged from the time they enter the ring until they exit the ring.
What do you think of trainers yelling out instructions to their students while the student is on course?
Trainers usually do this after an error or fault has been committed, so it will be reflected in the placing in any case. However, if there are instructions being vocalized and there has not been a fault committed, it is not appreciated and the result will not be a favourable placing, either.
When you ask for a turn on the haunches, please describe what you are expecting.
It is a forward-moving exercise, never beginning from a halt. I can further describe it as always having the hind legs marching to the same tempo as the walk, but controlled by the inside leg with the outside leg asking for the turn. Too often I see riders halting and then they end up turning on the forehand. This is an exercise to activate the hind end, not the front end.
Is it acceptable to greet, acknowledge, address or salute the judge before starting your course?
No. Get right down to business, as the course awaits. Save the cordiality for another occasion.
Do you have any new and exciting projects coming up in the near future?
I am launching my ninth book in the fall entitled ‘Heads Up,’ which provides essential information from top trainers, managers, riders, grooms, vets and farriers. It identifies everyday situations that can prove disastrous to you and your horse in the van, paddock, schooling area, show ring, in-gate and barn. ‘Heads Up’ includes tear-out guides for posting at the barn or show, including vet rules and a course chart. This comprehensive, hands-on guide was designed to educate everyone involved in this industry from novice to advanced.