Perhaps if you don’t follow horse sports, it will be news to you that RF Scandalous ran the majority of the cross-country phase at Fair Hill over the weekend with a bloody mouth. Officials did not stop the horse and rider to investigate the cause. Instead, the horse and rider finished, and officials reportedly found no evidence of blood once they inspected the horse.
In following commentary and photographs on social media related to RF Scandalous at Fair Hill, many people showed outrage, including me, but some people pointed out that perhaps the horse merely bit her tongue. Personally, I would prefer to be pulled up at a competition if my horse were bleeding from the mouth so that the cause could be addressed and my horse could heal. The FEI rules for eventing — available online here — seem to allow for a significant grey area of official interpretation.
I am interested in knowing what other people would do in a situation like this, as competitors. So I made a poll. It’s not terribly scientific of course, and perhaps there is a bias–suggestions for improving future polls are welcome. Answers are anonymous other than IP addresses, and I would like as many equestrians to answer as possible, although it won’t surprise me if only a dozen or so respond. This blog isn’t widely-read, but I truly am curious to know what other people would do, because I think there are a lot of possible ways to handle a situation such as this, and a lot of people have opinions about the right way or wrong way to handle blood on a horse during competition. I am not an eventer, so I don’t have a dog in this fight really, and the FEI Jumper rules are spelled out a little more clearly, and more recent changes have been prompted in relation to a rider being disqualified for a spur mark. Of course, there are other rules and other governing organizations, but I’m not sure how helpful creating an exhaustive list would be in this case.
You can take the survey online here. I think IP addresses will be collected, although I won’t be checking them, but otherwise it’s anonymous. And I’m not interested in who answers what, really, I’m just curious about what people would do. I’ll leave the survey accessible through the weekend, and share the results next Monday.