sign here……

Filling out an entry blank.  Signing an entry blank. The mysteries of the entry blank…. hopefully de-mystified today.


A rider has to sign the entry blank. then the owner of the horse is supposed to sign the entry blank. Then you have two options. Trainer signature, or coach signature. What’s the difference? and who cares?

Does this information get stored somewhere? Does USEF really want take notice to who is exasperated with my kid in the schooling area because she can’t figure out how to pass left to left? umm, er, no.

Most of the information you are signing off on an entry blank is for clerical tracking, and possible infractions should some questions come up. Like when non-member fees would need to be collected. Like whether or not an illegal substance was found in your horse/pony. The USEF would contact a show secretary and ask them to pull a copy of an entry blank and verify signatures. If a horse/pony would come up positive for an illegal substance in a random drug test, the USEF would want to know who might be responsible. If a trainer is signing the entry blank, the USEF is assuming the trainer is taking full responsibility for the care of that horse – i.e.: the horse/pony RESIDES at that trainer’s facility, and assumes feeding responsibilities, shoeing, vet care, and overall management. Including medication. Really, it’s about the medication.   

However, a signature under COACH would indicate the horse/pony does not live under the trainer’s supervision, and either lives in your backyard, or a separate facility all together, maybe a boarding facility owned by a non-show person. If you ship your horse/pony to a show, and stable WITH your trainer for the week, and you are not in control of feeding or medicating? It is more likely your trainer should sign, but if you have prepared little baggies of grain from home, brought or bought your own hay, basically do self care, then you can sign yourself as trainer and your trainer (who might just be your jump crew for the day) should just sign as coach.

In scenarios where trainers are hired for the day, it is acceptable for adults to sign themselves as trainer, and do not have to have a trainer signature. SELF appears on the documentation.

Juniors do need either a trainer or coach signature, because they are minors, but take note –  as a parent of a minor, your signature is acceptable, EVEN if you are NOT a member! This is ok, because you are the parent!! However, PUTTING a “N/A” under the trainer signature, is NOT accepted. (yes, that actually happens), so no panic, just put your name as trainer.  I would highly recommend that parents should never sign for children other than their own.

Does a coach need to be a USHJA/USEF member? Yes, the coach SHOULD be a USHJA/USEF member, highly encouraged, but if not, a non-member fee will be applied. To your bill.

Many horse show secretaries don’t ever feel the USEF should collect non-member fees (also known as a SHOW PASS FEE). If you think the show itself is collecting these fees, they aren’t. I promise. Non-member fees go directly to the Federation.

Did you lease or recently purchase a fancy new show horse/pony? Say you are reeeeeallllly new to the sport. You have no idea a lease has to be recorded with the USEF because no one offered this information earlier and you are in the horse show office on Sunday at 3 pm, wondering why so many people are glaring at you. you start sweating. Who is the actual owner of the horse? And what if the owner is not a current USHJA/USEF member? And when should it have been transferred? Where is the lease/purchase agreement? Ugh, so many questions.

If you have not transferred ownership or recorded a lease with the USEF, you will be subject to having to pay the non-member fee for the owner if you are not sure. So every secretary will encourage you to take care of this particular issue BEFORE you arrive to a busy horse show. It is not like the secretaries DON’T want to help you, but sometimes the line is a bit long at checkout! Recording leases with the Federation will allow you to sign as owner on the entry blank, and receive points for the division you are competing in.

Making up OWNER information and numbers just because you aren’t sure is NOT acceptable. Horses with USHJA/USEF numbers are registered online, accessible on your phone, or tablet, so please verify ownership. it is called a search box, it is located on the website. The secretary can get fined for things like this, so please don’t do that.

Secretary nightmares? Maybe not so many, most of the secretaries I know are super helpful, and do not want you to be miserable figuring all this stuff out. However, there are a few things which might exasperate a show secretary.


1.) a horse with no name……. this is not the desert, we are not traveling thousands of miles on horseback…out of the rain. An entry blank which is signed but offers NO information on what horse you are showing CANNOT be entered into the computer and issued a number. So even if you are sure your child is showing and are trying to beat the closing date of the horse show, but have no idea which creature she/he might be showing?? Sorry, pre-entering needs to come with an actual name of horse, shockingly. **If it is saying REQUIRED INFO, then really, it is required info**

2.) Waiting until the absolute end of day to check out of the horse show, only to learn any prize money issued will be mailed out the next week, and then expressing your frustration. Now, not all shows are the same, and different shows have different managements, so ASSUMING what happened last week in Virginia will happen this week in Gulfport is a bad idea.  Just ask. Orrrrr, here is a thought, read the prize list. (most of them are available online, too) The horse show office is open at LEAST an hour before the first class the first day, and has to be open an hour after the last class concludes every day. EVERY DAY. Surely you can find a moment to pop in and and say ‘HI! When would be a good time to ask questions, write you a check and close out my account? And how is prize money handled?’ No one judges you for this, trust me.

3.) Not closing out your account, then bitching about it later. Some shows have pretty strict policies when regarding your show account, like if you leave without verifying your bill and closing out the week, they have the right to charge you an additional $50. (this does not apply to emergency situations) So, just because you dropped off a check and picked up a number, doesn’t mean all the magic happens Sunday night at 8pm and you automatically receive a text message about the amount of your bill….. you need to be standing line with the rest of us and fill out your own check/credit card information. If the line is long and you ask a secretary to email your bill because you don’t want to wait, I feel ya, but please don’t do this. Nothing is worse than being about to shut down the computers and go home to your family, only to realize you still need to email exhibitors. That is ridiculous, and a major pet peeve with many secretaries.

4.) Not providing a Social Security Number. Any divisions exhibitors compete in and potentially can receive prize money will require a SS# or Federal ID #. Because, prize money. Income, people, can come in the form of prize money, according to the IRS….

5.) What are the little fees listed on the entry blank? Believe it or not, the USEF charges additional fees for showing horses that are not included in your membership fees. Yes, it is outrageous, no, the show secretary cannot control this, and no, there is no solution. It is a real problem. We know. Everyone knows. If you have an answer on how to solve this problem, we are all ears, but the secretary is not all ears about your objection to the drug fees. The USEF accrues hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue with that $16 per horse per show fee and there is absolutely NO way you are getting out of paying that today. The horse show in no way benefits from that ridiculous surcharge, they are the ones writing the check to the USEF for those hideous fees. None of it makes sense, so don’t even try.

6.) 99% of the questions asked of a horse show secretary are already printed for your benefit in a prize list. I know it seems like such a hassle to read something so mundane, but it is there for a reason. I have abused this privilege of wanting the immediate answer over and over again, and I know better, but this year I am going to try a little harder to remember someone went to a great deal of trouble to put the prize list together, so I am gonna look at it before I ask from now on. If I can, you can too.

7.) What classes did my kid show in? This is actually a thing. Parents are lovely, we love parents, but horse show secretaries around the country would really like you to know which classes or division your child showed in. Announcing to secretary that my child showed in three classes is, well, not really helpful. Different classes/divisions cost different amounts of money. Some division fees include a hack class, some do not. Some might even have prize money, and those results need to be recorded in the computer BEFORE competitors in the division or class check out.

8.) I have a problem with this one, too, and have probably overstepped secretary tolerance on more than one occasion, because I really like the secretaries I work with. However, having their cell phone is a big responsibility, and using their personal cell phones for a million questions leading up to a particular show really needs to be carefully considered. Before you send that text, make sure it is a really important question that you absolutely need to know the answer to, because this is real life! They have real lives! Kids! Families! Horses! Doggies! Whatever, but really truly, keep the texts and calls to a minimum. These are never 9 to 5 jobs, and Horse Show secretaries deserve to have a personal life. Respect it!

9.) Add/Scratch/Add again/Scratch again/ No one cares how many times you change your mind about what classes to go in, but please use the add/scratch form. Documentation is everything. Classes are numbered, you have a back number, and these numbers are helpful on an add/scratch form.


What about that small print on an entry blank? Has anyone actually ever read it? You will want to know it when you are suddenly up for a suspension and wondered how you got there. Ooops, and why New York? By signing and entry blank for a horse show recognized by the USEF you are basically agreeing that you cannot sue anyone for anything. Period. It is a hold harmless agreement which clears anyone involved with the horse show or on the grounds from being responsible for any misfortune you or anyone related to you might incur. One day you should take the time to read the small print. Just so you know what you are putting your signature on each week you attend a horse show. And the reason New York is the state of choice despite USEF headquarters being based in Kentucky? The original American Horse Show Association (formed in 1917) was eventually incorporated under the laws of New York. The logistics of transferring to Kentucky now would be too massive, but as my husband has always said, it is more likely the laws of New York work in favor for the Federation, rather than the ‘looser’ laws of Kentucky. Lawyers. So, so smart.

read about the history here!

Online Entering will be a big part of our future, websites include, and will offer your show of choice so get familiar with these sites! It is actually VERY simple to figure out and once you do it, you will be glad you did, but those signatures will still be required before you have a back number handed to you!


Good luck, and happy horse showing!

for the funnies :

these videos may have been made for a reason, lol.


One thought on “sign here……

  1. Pingback: New Era for Swan Lake Stables | deloise in america

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