When you watch riders take part in disciplines other than yours, do you sometimes wonder quietly to yourself how they do it, why they look like they do and the seemingly vast differences in etiquette between the sports? Maybe thoughts a little like these...?

When watching dressage riders:

stable stereotypes

  • “Why can’t I make sitting trot look as painless as they do?”
  • “Their competition riding boots look painfully stiff”
  • “Can they actually see a stride to a fence?”
  • “How do those at the top level remember such long dressage tests?”
  • “Why can’t those at the lower levels remember a dressage test? Do they really need a caller?”
  • “They need to cut their horse’s tails — I don’t get the dragging along the floor look?”
  • “Do they have an ongoing competition among themselves with regards to how few plaits they can get in their horse’s mane?”
  • “How much bling is too much bling?”

When watching showjumpers:

stable stereotypes

  • “So patent is a thing?”
  • “How do they jump so big in such a small indoor space?”
  • “Can someone explain to me how you can possibly teach yourself to clear a water jump/go down the Hickstead Derby bank?”
  • “How do they always seem to see such excellent strides to a fence?”
  • “Do they enjoy cutting each other up in the collecting ring?”
  • “Actually, just the collecting ring as a whole — it’s terrifying — can you explain the rules please?”
  • “Manes cut with scissors. Enough said.” (Also full tails…).
  • “Get a hair net.”
  • “What happened to standard show jackets?”

When watching eventers:

A fall in the water jump

  • “Galloping at solid fences. Please explain why you would put yourself through this.”
  • “How many plaits do you need to get a good score?”
  • “Your dressage/showjumping arenas are on the side of a hill. How does that work?”
  • “How much tweed is too much tweed at a trot-up?”
  • “Are quarter marks really so necessary?”
  • “Why do you cut your horse’s tails so short?”
  • “Why is a three-day event held over five days?”