“Every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question.” – Carl Sagan
The adage, “there’s no such thing as a dumb question,” is perhaps so commonly heard that it may be tempting to overlook the wisdom at its core: it’s better to ask a question than to pretend to know the answer or to be wrong entirely. This is especially true when it comes to horse show rules. The 2020 AQHA rulebook clocks in at a hefty 324 pages, and within those pages are rules that change slighlty from year to year.
Because of this, horse showing isn’t always simple. But, when exhibitors have questions, the staff at An Equine Production has answers. Kathy Avolt and her staff at An Equine Production, a premier horse show management group, have compiled a list for AQHA exhibitors based upon questions they field while managing horse shows all around the country. This is the second year in a row they’ve developed this helpful list, and we spoke with Kathy to clarify the most frequently asked questions.
About The FAQ
When asked about the inspiration for the list itself, Avolt shares, “This is our second year to post the FAQ list. It was never designed to eliminate foot traffic in the office. We created it to allow more exhibitor certainty on the common rules. Many rules have changed and oftentimes people aren’t sure which version of the rule is correct.” The FAQ itself may clarify AQHA rules, but it can’t address the most common show office questions Avolt’s staff is peppered with while managing events. Avolt and her staff compiled a list of those most common questions, which are as follows:
1. When do we think class X will happen?
2. Where are the draws posted?
3. How many are in X class?
4. How many exhibitors do you have on your list?
5. Will we be staying in the arena or can we come out when our pattern is finished?
6. How many are in Aged Halter?
7. Do you think the youth or amateur will remain split?
Many competitors might worry that running to the show office with their questions is bothersome or annoying, but Avolt clarifies, “Exhibitors are just trying to plan their day, so these questions are never annoying.” She also points out that people are often trying to make sure they’re ready for their class on time or may even be making entry decisions based on the information at hand. Avolt imparts, “People inquiring about numbers may be deciding whether to go in Performance Halter or Aged Halter or may just be looking for information on splits so they aren’t late to their class.” While many of those frequently asked questions have concrete answers, other items on the list may not have answers right away. For example, some decisions, such as leaving the arena after a run, may be left up to judges. That information is relayed to the competitors as soon as the show office is made aware. “Some answers to exhibitor questions depend on show management, the judges’ wishes, and pattern layout in the arena.”