Hi all – we discuss the dangers inherent in our sport a lot here on the Eventing forum, and one thread that runs through these discussions is frustration that the officials don’t do more to call out riders who seem dangerous or out of control. I’ve often wondered about that as well – the threat of not getting hired again by an organizer if so-and-so rider gets angry and complains about you is a real concern, but I’ve always thought that safety would or should trump concerns about being hired. (That is, of course, a subjective opinion on my part, as someone who is neither an official, nor makes my living associated with events.)
But, what I didn’t know until recently, is that it has become a Thing for some riders, any time someone official speaks to them about their riding and whether they are unsafe, to file a SafeSport allegation against the Official for bullying.
Um, what? I would be so mortified if I was called out for being out of control and catching the eye of an official that I would want to find a cave and hide for 48 hours and then would work my ass off to get better and/or have a serious heart-to-heart with my trainer to figure out what I could do to ride more safely. Even if I thought I was safe doing the level I was doing, the idea that it would appear to be dangerous would horrify me. I’d be humiliated and would probably cry – a lot. But, I wouldn’t assume an official was out to get me.
Apparently that isn’t the case with some riders.
How can we expect Officials to do their jobs if they have to not only worry about being hired by a venue again, but now have to worry that they will have a complaint filed against them with Safe Sport for DOING THEIR JOBS?! I have good, reliable information about two instances where this has happened, and I have a feeling that it isn’t isolated to Area III. Have any of you seen this behavior?
There are some days that I shake my head and wonder why anyone bothers to put on shows at all.
Libby (who used to dream of being a TD one day, but now figures no one at USEF would want me as a licensed official )