Recently I was at a show watching my class before getting on my horse to warm him up. As I was watching, I heard a loud squeal and a scream from a rider. I turned around to notice a very worked up stallion, kicking out at another horse in the warm up. This stallion was clearly young and confused, but is this really an excuse for the rider allowing a potentially dangerous situation to occur?
Now before I sound like a raving mad human being with a problem with people who ride stallions, I must say this. I have seen some impeccably behaved stallions that don't put a foot out of line. In fact while on a work experience type venture earlier this summer, I noticed that one of the horses on the yard was a stallion, however from a very young age he had been told off for looking to cover mares, and is so well behaved that he can be ridden around the school with mares in season and doesn't so much as look at them (He still does the occasional covering). I also have friends that taught their 14.2hh stallion that he was only to cover mares when wearing a certain bit, and again through repetition he was so quiet their 8 year old nephew rode him at shows. My final example was at the RDS in Dublin the four year old class was underway, and there were several stallions who did not put a single toe out of line.
Yet at a local show there was the most incompetent rude rider I have ever met, who frankly should have had her stallion under control before taking it to the show, which was full of novice riders, as it was more of a "fun" show than anything else. As this girl was walking around on the outside track (Something any rider should know is not very good warm up arena etiquette), another competitor in the class trotted along past her, this led to the stallion lashing out. In fairness to the rider of the young stallion, she did have a stallion disc on his bridle, but it should be remembered that it is common for one to place a white ribbon in the tail of the stallion to warn other riders. The rider of this youngster then proceeded to hurl the most vile insults at this other rider, who was no more than 15. To use such language to any other competitor is dreadful but especially to someone so young, as a role model that is unacceptable. It also meant that in fear of annoying the youngster (or worse the rider) the whole class came to a standstill while she warmed up, jumped and cooled her horse off. The horse, of course, jumped dreadfully, but then again I'm not sure if it was the earlier incident or the rider's tense attitude. This meant competitors such as I (I was bringing on a young horse) were held at the show longer than should have been necessary. However as much as I didn't mind the waiting, the "lady's" attitude toward a younger competitor appalled me very much.
In conclusion I believe when bringing a youngster to a show (whether stallion or not), it is important to exercise good manners to all involved in your sport, but particularly when bringing a stallion to a show, you should always be prepared for things not to go to plan, and to deal with it with good grace.
Manners go a long way no matter where you are.