Okay. I get it. It’s spring, school is still in full swing…reading rulebooks is just…too…much…work. BUT, I want to very strongly express that although you may think that the rules are a big pain in the butt, they are actually there to PROTECT you, your teammates, and your horses. If you take time to read your discipline and HM rules, you will find that there actually is a level of flexibility within them for you and your teammates to shine. Teams that do well know how to use the rules to their advantage, and to do that, you have to READ the rules!

The person who should be the MOST familiar with the rulebooks is the Captain, however, this does not mean that the rest of the team is off the hook. If your captain is off riding when HM scores are posted, you should all be knowledgeable enough to pick out what is an “inquirable” point.

An interesting thing to note (and a nuance that not even all Chiefs understand) is that if the Rulebook is silent on an issue, it cannot be penalized. I’ll use an experience from one of my own Championships experiences, many moons ago (okay, 1996). I was the Stable Manager and Captain (another PCer had been using my horse for the summer while I was doing an internship), and one of my members was docked 1 point at her formal inspection for having brown spur straps with black boots. (I’d like to point out that it is pretty impossible to find brown spur straps, but whatever.) As we all know, Champs are big business, and one point in eventing can become a problem. So I went to my rulebook (at this time, the 1992 HM rules, with MANY addenda–you think you’ve got it bad…check out the rulebooks from the late 1980’s and early 90’s!) There was a rule that “spur straps should be conservatively colored,” but no rule that “spur straps must match the boots.”

Yvette – 1, CHMJ – 0.

So take the time to read your rules. Also, be aware that if the discipline rules differ from HM rules, the discipline rules ALWAYS take precedence. A good example of this is Turnout Inspection in Tet. Tet rules indicate that riders are only required to ride in the minimal apparel for safety or cross country attire. So yeah, you’ll see our tet kids going to formal in their polo shirts, even if they are A Pony Club members. Lucky dogs. 🙂

For eventing competitors, I always recommend that you have a copy of the — USEA rules in your Tack Room Equipment, as those supersede even the USPC Eventing rules (since Champs is an official — USEA event.) Yes, the USPC rulebook reiterates many of the key rules, but would you study for an exam on the Civil War by only memorizing facts from the Battle of Gettysburg?

Knowledge is power. Now go do some reading!