Jun 27, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Judge: The One-Day

5:45am -- Alarm goes off.  Not too bad for a show day.  Try not to wake the kids as I get dressed, make a cup of tea in a to-go mug, and throw my big duffel bag with everything in it from sunscreen to hand warmers to galoshes into the car, along with four different jackets.   You never know what to expect.  Rule #1 of Judging: Be prepared for any kind of weather.

7:20am -- Stop at Starbucks.  Buy breakfast and a smattering of snacks for the day.  Rule #2 of Judging: Always bring food!

7:40am -- Arrive at show.  Check in at show office.  Say hi to USEF steward and catch up with other judges.  Get clipboard and walkie-talkie.  Judging the jumper and eq ring.  Drive car out to the ring--going to judge from my car because of cold and predicted rain.  Note location of nearest porta-potti.  Rule #3 of Judging: Always know where your bathroom is.

7:50am -- Set up card, learn course for first class, get stop watch ready.  Make sure walkie-talkie is working and I'm on the right channel.  Course designer comes to say hello and check in.  Also say hi to in-gate crew.

8:00am -- First horse on course.  Love it when a show starts on time!

9:00am -- Quick bathroom break between puddle and training jumpers.

10:10am -- Ring on hold.  Read People Magazine while waiting for last of children's jumpers.  Rule #4 of Judging: Always bring reading material!

10:30am -- Ring drag and course change before eq starts.  Go to the bathroom even though I don't have to go.  Rule #5 of Judging: Always take an opportunity to go to the bathroom.

12:10pm -- Rain starts in earnest.  Very glad I'm not riding!  Opening MHJ and MHC Medals to speed up the day.  MHC Mini Medal is going at the same time in the other ring so make sure not to grab those numbers by mistake when announced over the radio.

Glad I'm in here and not out there!

12:30pm -- Lunch arrives.  Yum!  It cracks me up when my non-horse friends ask if I get a lunch break when I judge.  No, I just eat fast!

1:10pm-- USHJA Jumping Seat Medal, M&S Jr/Am horsemanship and M&S Junior Medals don't fill.  On to the Washington.  Need to pee but now going to wait till after the Washington.

1:22pm -- Really have to pee now.  Ring empty but if I make a run for it the horse schooling will undoubtably rush up to the in-gate.  Make up my test for the Medal.

2:10pm -- Somehow the Medal started right away and I didn't get a chance to go to the bathroom.  Now it's really urgent.  Hold it and judge.

3:05pm -- Pin the Medal and rush to the bathroom.  Relief!  Settle in for the Maclay.

4:20pm -- Show's over.  Early day!  Empty car of discarded wrappers and napkins.  Bring clipboard and last remaining cards up to the office.  Climb in the car to head home!

Kim Ablon Whitney is an 'R' judge in hunters, equitation, and jumpers.