Monday, March 3, 2014

Advice to horse show spectators: Audio awareness!

 I've seen it happen over and over. Someone is videotaping a ride at a horse show -- dressage, jumping, whatever -- and people nearby are too busy watching and chit-chatting with buddies.  Later, at home, the videographer and/or rider find that there is unexpected commentary captured on the video. It has happened to me, and to friends of mine.

Two things to keep in mind while the ringside banter is going on:
  • Someone may be videotaping. Out of courtesy, and to avoid embarrassment, remember that videotaping is also audiotaping. You don't want casual comments on the ride, on your boyfriend, on your finances, whatever, captured for eternity and possibly posted to Youtube.
  • If you are commenting on a ride, remember that friends and family may be nearby. Zip it.
Years ago, I almost got myself in a pickle over this very issue. I was watching a lovely tall, thin, high-necked horse at a schooling show. The horse's ears tipped toward each other and I exclaimed, probably a bit too loudly: "Oh, is that a SADDLEBRED??? How cool!" A woman next to me -- a total stranger -- took me aside and said emphatically, "That horse is a Dutch warmblood by Contucci, and the rider's family is right next to you. They would not appreciate that comment."


  1. Totally Agree. One of my worst show experiences was at a ritzy warmblood farm, competing my senior appendix QH after we'd both had too much time off. I was too proud to scratch, and he was having a day where he just wasn't going to bend or round no matter what my inexperienced body tried. I will never forget the women on the rail, one to the other, "good grief. why is she even here? that looks horrible."

    I nearly rode right up to them & told them how I felt. A friend went to the show office and complained because I was so upset.

    It's not just on the videotape that we can hear you - sometimes your voice carries right across the short side to an insecure rider who's just trying to get through the test.

  2. Been there, done that, with a fairly well known ARabian dressage stallion. I commented (my "normal" carries quite well, sadly - makes me a good reader at a show, tho) about how I had seen the trainer riding the stallion in draw reins - he was showing FEI levels and I asserted that if you have to use draw reins on a proven FEI horse, I have to wonder about the quality of the training. And then the stallion was clearly pissed during the freestyle demo they were doing (tail swishing, jaw gaping) and I pointed this out, again in my disapproving voice.

    The owners of the stallion were in front of me. After the ride, which I did say it was nice to see an ARabian doing dressage and I wish people in the breed would do more for them, the owners turned around and introduced themselves.

    I wanted. To. Die.

    It was one of my more effective lessons in the message I often tell the men I work with "Just because its true, doesn't mean you really need to say it out loud."


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