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Horse Judge's Seminar - Update - I just remembered something!!!!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by welsummerchicks, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    Note: breaking bulletin - new rule - dressage riders can ride FEI tests conducted under national rules, in a snaffle bridle!

    I recently had a wonderful experience, attending a dressage judge's seminar on the new dressage tests.

    Rather than go into a lot of detail that pertains to dressage only(I know, I know, my fingers are just itching, I can hardly stand it), I would like to just touch on the more general issues.

    While I'm sure there are enough poorly educated judges who do a poor job, I think it's really important to recognize that there are people out there who are VERY committed to their job and take doing it well very, very seriously.

    I think it's really important to learn from the good judges, and understand why they judge as they do. What are they looking for and why is that requirement important?

    There's a very old joke that all the great horsemen and horses were in heaven (yes, in this joke, the horses were ALSO in heaven). They decided to have a great horse show and to have all the greatest horses and horsemen and women join in.

    But just as the horse show was about to start, St. Christopher, the patron saint of horses and riding, shouted out, 'We have a very big problem!'

    Everyone turned to him and said, 'what problem? Everyone is here, we are ready to go!'

    'I'm sorry but we can't', he said sadly, 'All the judges are in the other place!'

    Well, maybe they aren't ALL in the other place....LOL. With the next show season ahead I hope that some folks will take the time to learn what their judges are looking for, and maybe even give some thanks to the hard working judges that do a great job.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011

  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Oh come on, you know you want to, just go ahead and do it, or at least a condensed cut-and-paste for us of what you'll probably psot on some other forum anyhow [​IMG]

  3. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    I went to the one at Michigan State U with a friend. Very informative and nice to see demo riders performing movements and tests. We stayed for Intro-2nd, but we live about 3 hours north of Lansing, so it was a long day for us even just going for the morning session.
  4. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    I don't think I'll post it elsewhere - I'm trying to cut back for lent!

    Uh....Mi....I took 30 pages of notes, and I write REAL SMALL.

    And...summarizing....ah...what's that?????

    After 8 hrs, everyone else was exhausted and wanted to go home...I was like 'that was so cool, let's do it some more!' 8 hrs is still a very, very short day to me.

    The basic takeaway message was this:

    'It's not the horse you ride, it's how you ride the horse'.

    I loved this one: on all judges coming up with the same scores, 'Then why would you ever have more than one judge?' Judges not only should not score the same, there is always variation based on the judge's position and one judge may just have something that's more important to him than another. Like her, I don't expect judges to agree and I want to hear the opinions...I just made sure when I showed, that the judges were very experienced at competing, training and judging in dressage. If they were, I knew what they would say would be of value.

    Also - that 'negative comments' are GOOD - it means the judge sees that you could raise your score and she is ALSO telling you how - so read those negative comments and LOVE THEM. She said it is her fondest wish to get 'a 70 with all bad comments', which means she can score even higher - and the comment tells you exactly how!!!!!!

    I thought about all the people over the years I saw walking around the show holding their test sheet and muttering (or screaming) about the comments, I had to chuckle. I always thought the comments I got were excellent, and I used to save my tests and study them very hard, as well as compare them over time, and use them to plan my training.

    What we DON'T want to get, is a five and a nice comment....THAT'S BAD. That means the judge can just not see any way to get a higher score on that one.

    The tens, nines and eights were NOT for flamboyant gaits or fancy price tags - they were for things that were happening in the test, for balance, accepting the rider's aids, obedience, and forwardness, and the judge scored very, very consistently, and could explain satisfactorally, EVERY score she gave.

    The general impression scores are different now

    ---- the rider score is divided into three categories instead of being 3X.
    ---- the horse's gaits are 1X, not 2X (it no longer has a coefficient).

    The discussion about qualification basically, was that, since qualification is not going to be put in (soon), they changed the tests this time, in order to test the rider harder.

    AND...they are encouraging ALL judges to use the whole scale, and the presenter said that she had indeed, changed her scoring to not feel inhibited about scoring a 1 or a 10.

    And for training level riders - the three mistakes most often made by training level riders, aside from not going forward enough:

    ***1.)REINS ARE TOO LONG (rider)



    The videos were of GORGEOUS horses (from guess where, So. Calif.) and even THEY were getting fours and fives and even less - it's the riding and training of the horse that gets the scores.

    BUT - if the horse goes in there and goes forward and isn't fighting his rider, if he OVERALL looks like he's on the right track (FORWARD) he can make a few momentary mistakes and it is just not going to be much of a problem in the score.

    If there's an overall problem, such as the horse constantly struggling against the rein and not responding to the leg, yeah you betcha, it brings the entire score down.

    Before I go on, I'll say that very, very few people in the audience were actually judges. There were a few judges, a few L program graduates, and a few contemplating taking the L class, a scattering of a few experienced upper level riders, but most of the people present were riders - lower level riders.

    The other thing I found FASCINATING, was that the inexperienced people were not able to judge intro and training level - I have to say that those two levels are without a doubt, the most difficult for people to understand, how they would be judged. They just.did.not.understand, though I think that if they are open minded to the information presented, they would when they left!

    Though at all the levels, there were many many questions, puzzled faces and some of the people really, really would not accept the presenter's point of view on starting with looking for good and not bad. Because much of what you'd mark a first or 2nd level horse down for you just are supposed to forget about that - the presenter was constantly saying, 'Remember what we are judging at this level'.

    There were a few people who were grumbling quietly that she was not scoring LOW ENOUGH. As the seminar went on, I thought the grumbling lessened, I think they were starting to see WHY she scored that way.

    She also said that those who have not been trained as judges, tend to score rather too low. Again, because of looking for bad instead of looking for good.

    She also said that when she gives an 8, she is always asking herself, 'why isn't it a 9', she has to have a consistent logic to her scoring.

    I was just tickled though, I scored the tests the presenter scored, and I did really pretty good, especially considering I've been so out of the loop for so long, I was never different from her by more than a point, and even then I wasn't different by a point very often.

    So I went home and awarded myself with a big piece of well....tofu. I'm supposed to be getting back in shape!

    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  5. jettgirl24

    jettgirl24 Songster

    Feb 21, 2010
    Duvall, WA
    That sounds like such a great experience. I am going to have to be on the lookout for seminars here in Region 6. It sounds like it would give incredible insight and really give direction to your training. It would be nice if more instructors went to these seminars and I am so thankful I have one that does! When I listen to the vast majority of trainers in the warm up it's just amazing to me the things I hear [​IMG]
  6. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    Agree with everything you said, 1000%!!!!!

    You really do have a region with a ton of potential for growth, the down side of that is that there are a number of instructors and trainers who are not skilled or educated, and are 'hitching a ride', LOL.

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