Hockey family meets Eventing

My supportive family.


The NHL playoffs are going on full force right now, bringing some family members and friends closer together and tearing other relationships apart. All Canadians (and some Americans) know how passionate people are about hockey and although eventers are equally as passionate about Eventing, they tend to be more stoic at competitions. When a hockey family enters the world of Eventing, there is bound to be a hilarious transitioning period… 

Early in my riding career it became apparent that my hockey family had to be educated on equestrian etiquette. At the first horse show that my “Poppa” (grandpa) attended, he was enjoying the show in the bleachers watching the stadium rounds when a very overweight rider rode into the ring on a considerably small horse. As the crowd silenced for the round to begin, my Poppa’s big booming voice echoed across the ring, “Oh-oh-oh that horse has its work cut out for it!”

Unfortunately, his commentary did not end there. As her round progressed, the horse slammed on the brakes before a fence, catapulting the rider over its neck and dropping her on the jump pole which broke with a resounding crack. As everyone gasped you could clearly hear Poppa over the crowd, “She snapped that like a carrot!” as he folded over in hysterical laughter. Embarrassed, all my mom could do was scramble out of the stands to distance her self from him… so she could laugh at the entire spectacle in the privacy of the outhouse.

For the record, my Poppa is my biggest fan and supporter and I do love him to pieces but after that show, we developed a set of rules for all of our family. When they attend a horse show, they are promptly provided a copy (kidding).

Poppa and I at a horse event in 2007...

Poppa and I at a horse event in 2007…

Feel free to use this top 10 list to help your hockey family make the transition.

1. They are called horse shows, not tournaments and we do not have playoffs.

2. You cannot cheer when someone takes down a rail, falls off or has a refusal. It is not the same as the other team missing a scoring opportunity.

3. You cannot yell profanities at the dressage judges, regardless of the score. “Yes” they make bad calls like refs, but in this sport, they are off limits.

4. You cannot chirp the competition no matter what they look like, how they ride or what they wear.

5.  When I do a combined test, choosing not to run cross-country the week before prepping for a CCI, it is not the same as quitting and not playing the third period. There is a strategy behind it.

6. If someone cuts you off in warm-up, under no circumstances is it acceptable to rip them off their horse, tear off their helmet and fill their face. So quit giving me tips on how to rough them up. And “no” a little slash with the whip isn’t okay either.

7. Most events do not serve alcohol so quit asking where the bar is.

8. “Yes” each phase has its risks but “no”… I am not wearing my cross-country vests into the dressage or stadium ring despite how much they cost.

9. Pinneys are not jerseys. My name will never be on the pinney and my number will change at every show. So learn to identify me on my horse.

10. I do not get bonus points for being the fastest on cross-country. So please quit looking at the scores and being disappointed that I was not the fastest one of the day.

Bonus tip: The low score wins. If I rack up 20 penalty points, do not start cheering!


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