Since I judged in Gainesville FL last week, I’ve been thinking about the seemingly sudden new ?look? for the FEI classes. At least half the FEI riders were wearing safety helmets or using snaffles or both. I came to feel that the usual top hat/double bridle standard at FEI levels actually looked retro. Snaffles have been ?legal? at USEF shows (not FEI CDIs though) for a year now, and safety helmets have always been legal but not the usual attire. Both seem to have really caught on over the winter. I’m wondering if I’ll find the same situation in other parts of the country as I travel around this year. Safety helmets, of course, are now required at Fourth Level and below. One oddity I noticed last week is that three riders I judged neglected to salute during their first halt. In the past I’ve seen this rarely, maybe once a season, including schooling shows. I rang the bell, informed them of the error, and made the two-point deduction. A couple of them said they didn’t know it was required to take their hand off the reins to salute ? and one rider was just very nervous and forgot. This sort of blew my mind ? these weren?t beginners or Training Level riders. How could they not know this is a very clear rule’ I realize some riders rely on their trainers and friends to help them with the rules, but this is always a mistake. The rider is alone in the ring ? they need to know the rules cold to avoid costly errors, and no one can help them once they’ve entered at A. I also wonder where the trainer was when they were practicing their tests, and salutes, at home. Didn?t anyone notice that they weren?t following the usual procedure for a salute’ Haven?t these riders seen other riders dropping their hand during the salute’ The usual question I might get is whether it’s legal to salute with either hand (it is), not that they don’t have to drop the hand at all. Stayed home this past week. Actually got to ride on the weekend but I was there by myself, because I got there so early, even with daylight saving time. The local orchard has cider donuts that come hot from the fryer at 9 a.m. If I ride early, I get the primo donuts to bring my family for breakfast. they’re still warm when I get home. This is the one big treat I’m still allowing myself during my resolve to better fit into my shadbelly by the first show on May 1. Resolution Report: Yeah!. Back on track, despite the donuts. Another pound this week. Working out three times a week, plus riding (of course) and 2-3 hours a week of aerobics. Heading out now for six days of travel to Tucson and Lexington, so my good intentions will be tested. Already checked the hotels for fitness rooms that have weights.