The horse show office is a very mystical place! It is the single most visited location on the entire show grounds and it is thought to hold all the hidden secrets to the ins and outs of an event. At some point, EVERY single exhibitor spends time in the show office while at a horse show. The show office atmosphere is a mix of excitement, fear, exhilaration, anxiety, and hope. The air within those walls almost crackles! My goal today is to break down the mystery and help my fellow exhibitors navigate the show office waters.
Mystery #1: Why do I need to have a copy of my horse’s registration papers and my current membership card? Don’t you know me?
There are 3 basic reasons why you must provide your horse’s registration papers and your current membership cards every time you enter a show.
1. It is a national breed organization rule, printed in the most current rule book.
2. It is generally a printed show rule, which is in the disclaimer that you sign, saying you have read and accepted.
3. The show secretary likely works with many different breed organization, and in fact is responsible for thousands of exhibitors each horse show season and millions of individual class placings each year. If she had to call the breed organization and look up the registration papers and membership cards for every exhibitor, can you imagine the ripple effect it could have on the flow and movement of the entire horse show?
Mystery #2: Why are pre-entries important to the show secretary? Are you really going to charge me a fee for not pre-entering?
There is a single reason for the enforcement of pre-entry deadlines, and it’s not the one you probably think. Pre-entry deadlines allow the show secretary to pre-load the computer software with your individual exhibitor information and class entries. By pre-entering your classes, you’re actually allowing the secretary to work more efficiently while at the show, which, as we all know, is when we need her the most. Very little income is generated by late fees for clubs, just so you know.
Mystery #3: Why can’t the show office tell me when lunch break is, or how long the break is? Why can’t they answer my general questions?
1. The answer to this question will seem strange, but it is the gospel truth. While all of us exhibitors assume that the show secretary MUST know everything, she is actually the person with the least amount of information. The show manager, who is generally a highly mobile person, decides things like breaks. It is entirely likely that the show manager has not made it back to the show secretary to give her the information you are seeking, and that is why she can’t answer your question.
2. The show secretary doesn’t get out of the show office a whole lot. She is entering class results, copying score sheets and updating high point standings, which take all of her time.
3. The show secretary did not create the class list, or the high point criteria, or the rules of the show. If you have an issue, she isn’t the person to have it with.
High point standings are tricky business. There are some hidden factors that require a double check, and some manual calculations to ensure they are correct. There are several reasons why your high point standings may be incorrect.
1. What type of scale is being used to calculate them? It is possible the show office is using a scale different than you, and that is why the numbers are off.
2. Classes that are open to an entire bracket of exhibitors, are placed, and then points have to be pulled out and manually entered into different age categories. If the show secretary hasn’t had a chance to do that yet, that is a reason why the count can be off.
3. Depending on the traffic in and out of the show office, the secretary may be interrupted 100 times within an hour. It is possible that she hasn’t been able to run a new high point list because of all the other things she is doing.
Mystery #5: Why does the secretary seem so mean? It seems like she hates me?
I hear this one a lot! It is extremely unlikely that the show secretary hates you. She is just extremely busy, and perhaps she is trying to multi-task, which is why she is not making eye contact with you. Also, remember #3…she may not know the answer to what you are asking.
So, here is my perspective. I have worked in the show office, and I am positive it takes years off your life. LOL. The same principles that apply to good manners everywhere else in life, also apply in the show office. If you use your manners, you know, the ones you learned as a child, you will be rewarded.
The job is great, and they are mighty! Show secretaries are amazing and hardworking people, who, I feel, are very misunderstood. I hope that I have shed some light for you, and that next time you enter the show office, you may look at the show secretary in a different light. It never hurts to bring her a gift either. Kindness goes a very long way in all parts of the world! My fellow horse show enthusiast, I humbly ask for your patience toward these hardworking people. Without them, the show would be unable to function.
– Respectfully Yours, Kory Kumar