If you have a background in showing your horse, you may want to consider a job as a Technical Delegate (TD). You can find them at horse shows for most every discipline. Sometime they are called “Stewards.” But no matter what they are called, their job is the same: to make sure that horse show where they are stationed complies with the rules established for that discipline. This, in turn, makes sure that all competitors have an equal opportunity to succeed at the show.
Remember that while many rules are the same for all disciplines, there are some horse show rules are different for different discipline. For example, while all mounted riders at a dressage show must wear approved helmet, those who compete in driven dressage are only required to wear a “hat.” You may be asked to oversee the proper of saddlery and equipment. Martingales of any type are prohibited at Hunter shows in the Under Saddle, hack and tie-breaking classes. However, standing and running martingales used in the conventional manner are allowed for all Hunter over fences classes. And in Dressage, martingales aren’t allowed at all. Bit and bridle checks are something that happen at nearly every show. With multiple ring, you may need to train others on how to do these checks. At smaller shows, you can do them yourself.
If it sounds like the job of a Technical Delegate is somewhat like a policeman, you're not far off. You’ll need to make sure that there is proper medical care personnel available, that horses are cared for in a humane way, that there are no issues between competitors or between a judge and a competitor. The US Equestrian Rule Book is your best friend as a TD. All the rules are plainly and comprehensively spelled out for you to enforce. While you can’t eliminate a competitor, you can point out to the show manager when a rule need to be enforced.
And yes! You will be paid for this. Rates will vary based on the length of the show, but usually also include meals, lodging and travel. It makes for a long week or weekend as you’ll be required to be on the show grounds for the entire show. But if you love horses and are a stickler for everyone following the rules, becoming a Technical Delegate might be a job for you.
For more information, visit the US Equestrian web site and download the appropriate forms. https://www.usef.org/compete/resources-forms/licensed-officials/become-licensed
photo credits: US Eventing, Somerford Park