Disqualification… Why and when?

What does it mean to be Disqualified, when is it correct to Disqualify a score, and why does the IKEqC do these things?Before we begin on this topic, let us define what a Disqualification is and more importantly what it is not.

According to dictionary.com:
Disqualify – [dis-kwol-uh-fahy]
verb (used with object), disqualified, disqualifying.
1. to deprive of qualification or fitness; render unfit; incapacitate.
2. to deprive of legal, official, or other rights or privileges; declare ineligible or unqualified.
3. Sports. to deprive of the right to participate in or win a contest because of a violation of the rules.

Of these three, the third is most appropriate here, though the second also applies.  I grant you, they all sound bad but lets dig a little deeper.

The IKEqC does not disqualify Riders, it disqualifies Scores.  Take a moment to let that sink in.  We do not make a decision about a Rider’s fitness or the merits of their skills based upon a single outing at a single Event or Practice.  For that matter, neither does the mundane horse-world either.

When a particular performance does not meet the baseline requirements of IKEqC participation, it is disqualified, ergo deprived of the eligibility to win the championship.  That does not mean the Rider is so barred from winning with a different performance.  It does not even mean that the Rider has to quit from the field that day.  It just means that the performance was not up to standards, that is all.

It does not mean that a Rider is a bad rider.  It does not mean that a horse is a bad horse.   It does not mean that a Rider or horses is unwelcome in the IKEqC.

Now that we have a grip on what it means, how about when it applies?

Some games have more leeway in scoring based on the performance of the Rider and so some things might simply be treated as a penalty rather than a disqualification.  Other games don’t have that and so the only recourse is to disqualify the run and under most circumstances permit the Rider another chance.

For example, if a Rider spears a Ring-Tilt ring, but can’t keep it on the lance, they are penalized by not earning any points.  If a rider swings and misses at a Behead head, they are penalized for not striking their target.  If a Rider strikes a Reed with the flat of their blade, they are penalized for striking incorrectly.  If a Mounted Archer fails to strike the archery target, they are penalized for missing.  None of these is worthy of disqualification.

If a Rider weaves out of the lane of Reeds in Reed Chop, that is not correct procedure and it disqualifies the run.  If a Rider makes a forward swing of their sword or mace towards a Behead head, that is not correct procedure and it disqualifies the run.  If a Mounted Archer grabs the reins while in the lane, that is not correct procedure and it disqualifies the run.  All of these issues are more serious violations of the rules.  Note that none of these examples show any sort of serious problem with the Rider.

Any Rider knows that sometimes or some days their mount will be a pill, or more interested in that new smelling horse they haven’t met before, pecking order fights, spooked by the foreign location or by someone wearing a horse-eating suit of chain mail, or that stallion two paddocks over that still has his…  In these times, we use Disqualification as a tool to permit another chance to the Rider.  Let that sink in a moment.  Disqualification is a tool to allow a Rider another chance to play IKEqC at a particular Event or Practice.

There has been some discussion lately about when Disqualification applies, and how it impacts Riders. First off, no Rider should ever fear that a disqualification means they are not good riders! It only means that a particular run doesn’t meet the standards set to form the baseline for IKEqC participation, that is all.

There are a couple of ways in which a Rider could find their score disqualified or DQ as it is often abbreviated.

Perhaps the easiest to explain, is a zero-score DQ. This one should be obvious, but I’ll spell it out. There is no reason to publish a Rider’s failures. Not earning any score on a game is not anything a Rider wants to be remembered for. Thus we DQ zero scores. We record that the Rider participated but no score will show on the master tables. This is to spare the Rider’s ego.

The next easiest to explain is a broken gait DQ. Riders must compete at a declared gait (§II.A.5.). If a Rider has problems with timing or if their mount is being a pill, performance suffers. EMiCs are encouraged to allow for this, and rather than – ahem – saddle a Rider with a poor score, offer them a chance to get it right. The standards are: Walk, Trot, or Canter. Galloping is right out.  , but when a gaited horse competes it gets a little complicated, but the rules allow for this.  Gaited mounts must be ridden to a comparable speed to the three divisional gaits.

Procedural problems are the remaining reason for a DQ. These are chiefly Rider errors that can not be easily scored down. Loosing an arrow when your horse was out-of-gait, leaving the Reed Chop lane, dropping the Ring Tilt Lance, and so forth. All of these things point back to the Rider in some fashion.  None of these things means the Equestrian Marshal is calling the DQ to be mean. In every one of these procedural problems, giving the Rider a clean slate is the intent.

“Why do we use the word ‘Disqualify’ it makes me think someone did something bad…” We use the word because it is a valid word. It does not mean that a Rider is a bad rider, though it might mean they performed poorly or made an error. This point is important, being disqualified is not akin to being sat on the sidelines by a Marshal in the Field Battle for breaking the rules.  Remember we disqualify the SCORE not the Rider.  Equestrian Marshals have other tools to handle problem riders, and handling those problems are outside the scope of the IKEqC.

In closing, remember that we are striving to achieve a true baseline that every Rider, everywhere, can look at and gauge themselves against. To do that we have to make some hard choices and make certain rules work in specific ways.  These decisions may appear to conflict with your perceptions of the game and even seem arbitrary to you.  We ask that you give the IKEqC the benefit of the doubt and come to us with your grievances, but remember we are working for the Knowne Worlde to provide a platform by which all Riders can be proud in the knowledge of where they stand.  –Sandor

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