One of the things I am always intrigued by and tend to keep an eye on during the season is FEI yellow cards and what they have been handed out for. As usual I find the whole yellow card system slightly baffling and completely inconsistent.
Things that have caught my notice this time:
- One managed to achieve two verbal warnings in the space of 14 days for two different offences and is currently on the list the most times in 2015.
- Several riders appear for the same offence which is carrying on after three refusals but this is where I find the whole yellow card system baffling because some riders get away with a verbal and then others get slapped with a yellow card on the whole it appears that the majority of dangerous riding and continuing on after 3 refusals get yellow carded but only just. 24 riders were yellow carded for this offence while 18 were verbally warned.
- One rider managed to mark two horses on the same day with the whip and was subsequently yellow carded.
- The biggest offenders as a nation are Great Britain with double the amount of yellow cards to any other nation with 11. This is perhaps not surprising with it being the largest eventing country. This is followed by New Zealand with 5 and surprisingly the Netherlands with 5.
- A Brazilian rider received a yellow card for excessive use of the reins.
- One rider received a verbal for abuse of the horse which was due to having too tight a noseband.
- Jumping from a standstill is another mixed FEI offence with 3 riders gaining yellow cards for jumping from a standstill while 2 riders only had verbal warnings. Surely on clear cut cases like this there should be parity across the board?
- Excessive use of the whip is tied for yellow cards vs verbal warnings with three apiece. Though unlike the other offences I have mentioned, this is much more open to interpretation on the day.
- Interesting ones which appear are riding too fast too early in the course and riding too fast, too late into the course. It feels like on the whole the out of control cards and warnings have gone down from last year but I would need to check to see if this is accurate.
I think its good to watch what yellow cards are handed out for and to provoke discussion about them as ultimately as we saw with Mary King last year they certainly can have an impact. So far this year the yellow cards and warnings seem to be much more standard from previous years when there were often some outliers.