Tomorrow, I shall be getting up super early and heading to Addington Manor for the Sports Horse Breeding and British Show Horse Association joint Judges assessment day. I was so excited to have been accepted although now the nerves are kicking in a bit. I love judging and I am good at it but am I good enough for the top people who will be assessing me? The people who have judged me, who I have aspired to be and now who I need to impress and potentially, confidently stand beside in the ring in the future.
In showing, there is a lot of etiquette and tradition and as a judge, one should carry a stick. However, I do not want to carry one as I don’t agree with their use.
Carry it because
- it is “correct dress”
- It is what will be expected – will it even be noticed? Will they just consider it a minor oversight by me?
- I would like to be accepted and not seen as the odd one out – hasn’t happened yet in 31 years!
- I shouldn’t rock the boat – change only happens when someone rocks the boat, but is this the right time?
Don’t carry it because
- I don’t agree with their use – I could carry it but not use it
- I would like to represent non-violent training and riding – I don’t need to use it, just carry it
I have so many conflicting arguments in my head and have been going back and forth but I think it comes down to this….. I just need to be me and if that isn’t what they want then so be it.
Yes, carrying a stick is traditional but I don’t believe a sport should be held back because of traditions. The debate about hats is still in the air – do we stick with traditional strapless hats and bowlers or do we wear a hat that will possibly save our life? Charlotte Dujardin stood up to be counted on that one and it certainly hasn’t held her back.
So, I will be studying my conformation books, swatting up on my rules, polishing my boots (well, Grannie will be!) but I will not be carrying a stick tomorrow or when I judge. And if that means I can not be a judge then I will have to accept that. I am different but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
I would love to hear your thoughts – are you a judge? Do you carry a stick? Do you think I’m daft and should just carry one?