What should I have done in the following scenario?
Hunter under saddle (“flat”) class. Ring is not large, and only the quarter line jumps have been dismantled and set aside.
There is barely enough room for one rider along the outside, with one to their inside. So, a 2 rider-wide area around the ring is all that works… or directly down the centre line. Ring was crowded, but do-able.
During this “flat” class, the following happened:
At the canter, 1 horse is on the outside, and I am on the inside. We have been in this orientation for at least half a lap of the ring.
As we round the corner, TWO large horses come up on my inside, rapidly cut me off, and I was effectively squeezed between three horses! ZERO room, VERY unsafe, and my feet even touched the horses on either side of me!!!
This all happened within 2-3 strides… I went from completely safe, to suddenly touching horses on either side of me, and one in front of me!
Thank God my horse is good natured because it could have ended very badly if anyone kicked or bit! As it was, the sudden squeeze caused him to HOP on the spot, pin his ears, and he nearly reared up.
It forced me to break from the canter down to a dead stop… I was told by spectators that it was very scary, what happened. A few said it was their “worst nightmare in a flat class.”
After the class, we did not place. My coach asked the judge, who said I was docked marks for breaking at the canter…
(we did not press the judge or second guess their decisions, we merely asked and got an answer, then walked away.)
There’s a good chance I would not have placed in that class even if this situation never happened…
BUT, this post isn’t to blame the judge, so much as it is to ask what should I have done?
I wish at the time that I had yelled loudly… “LOOK OUT!!” or something.
Because if I was going to lose so many marks anyways, who cares if I lost “etiquette” for yelling after that scary scenario?
Does hunter etiquette state that I should have stayed silent?
Should the other horses get docked marks too?
… (for the record, the horses who pulled that dangerous move both placed in the ribbons…)
Thanks for your input.
p.s. this was NOT at a high ranking show. It was basically a glorified schooling show, at a “schooling show circuit” across the province… so it’s not the end of the world that I did not place. But the situation left me with a horrible gut feeling, and realization that not only did it feel unjust, I wish more people were witness to that bull$*&t move!