H&H’s showjumping columnist reflects on the value of those behind the scenes at shows
Although my wife assures me that I still retain my boyish good looks, I have in fact reached my mid-thirties. I really thought by this age I would no longer be the youngest person in the judge’s box, both at national and international events, but that seems to be the case and is a serious problem. If something is not done now to attract the next generation of officials, we are going to experience a major shortage within the next few years.
I think there is a misconception that judges are only there to notice when poles fall down during a round, but this is such a tiny part of the role. There is a responsibility for timing, announcing, ensuring the course is not only safe to jump but also meets the competition specifications, noticing any errors within the show schedule, dealing with any disciplinary matters and ensuring horse welfare is paramount.
Lead officials then have to prepare a report, which is submitted to British Showjumping. It’s not as straightforward as some think.