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View Full Version : Resurrecting (or trying to...) USDF 4-Year Old Markel—2008



Oldenburg Mom
Oct. 26, 2007, 03:15 PM
So, my youngster did pretty well at his 3-year old materiale class(es). I thought I'd get him ready for the 4-year old competition next year.

Some interesting observations: I was surprised to learn you have to file a piece of paper with the USEF ... a letter of intention ... that you are going to try for the Kentucky finals. Cost: $50 Okaaaaaay. Don't exactly know why THAT is ...

Next, there are only specific shows where you can qualify. It's not just any old rated dressage show, it has to be one of the 7-8 they've specified.

Anyone have any insight or comments on this procedure? Or am I just waaaay behind the curve (a distinct possibility!!!)

Hidden Pond Farm
Oct. 26, 2007, 05:19 PM
I think as the new season kicks in, you'll see the recognized shows offering the 4 yo tests listed on the site will increase. If you're concerned or have question about whether it's offered at specific shows local to your area, I would simply contact the show secretary.

I also found Jennifer Keeler simply wonderful to deal with. Her contact information is on the USEF site (on the young horse page, which it seems you have found). So you could email her and ask her to keep you in the loop regarding young horse symposiums and clinics that might be marketed towards your horse's age-group.

As for the $50--It costs money to implement these programs. They require staff, materials, marketing, sponsor solicitation etc. I believe in the mission of the young horse program, and it's my hope that my $'s are serving that purpose.

Oldenburg Mom
Oct. 27, 2007, 12:21 PM
Hey HPF ... please don't think I'm being negative. I'm not! I think the young horse program is a fine addition to our SHBS and recognized dressage shows (and clinics too.) But I'm puzzled why a "letter of intent" is necessary ... or is it just to pocket another $50. I'm a marketing professional, so I understand budgets and costs. I'm just curious what difference a "letter of intent" would make. If it's a specific charge to participate in the finals ... which it seems to be ... I'm just surprised. Is there a specific charge to ride a qualifing class? Oh, actually, I think there is. I believe there's a higher charge if you're riding in a qualifying test. Hmmm. But isn't that a fee that's required by the USDF? I guess I should check that out.

I'll be honest too ... it irks me that the USEF asks for an additional $50 when they can't seem to process the breed show results from AUGUST, never mind Devon; show management, however, is required to file those results with the USEF within 10 working days... hmmmm. I guess I am being critical!! :lol:

As far as the individual staff members at USEF (and USDF for that matter) I have yet to run into a stinker. They are all very polite and very respectful, and they do try to help ... which, IMHO, is 99% of the battle. I just wish they were a little more efficient. Their deadline for posting show results from 2007 is, apparently, December 15th ...

ANYWAY, you've answered one question: it's not just the shows listed, it's any recognized show that holds either first level, test 1 (which is a qualifing test for the 4-year olds) OR the 4-year old test itself. That makes it easier for me as I always go to Fair Hill in August, and they have for the past two (or is it three?) years held the 4-, 5- and 6-year old test on the Sunday following the breed show. And I think it will be quite difficult: qualifying scores are 7.0 for the 4-year old test and 73.0 (I think that's correct?) for the first level test one. That means, obviously, at least (on average) a 7 on each movement...and you better pay attention to the coefficients!!!

contento's mum
Oct. 27, 2007, 12:50 PM
This year the letter of intent wasn't due until June 15. That gives you plenty of time to go to some shows and see if the scores are possible for your horse. If the horse is not quite ready to excell at that level you do not have to spend the $50. We are talking 4 year olds so some may be ready sooner than others and for some it will be difficult if they are growthy and not so balanced. I approached this year with a we'll see attitude and made sure the trainer knew it did not matter to me how the scores turned out.

Oldenburg Mom
Oct. 27, 2007, 12:58 PM
I approached last year with a we'll see attitude and made sure the trainer knew it did not matter to me how the scores turned out.

That's always a excellent attitude; kudos to you for that, and thanks for reminding me: it's always, without exception, about the horse!

Did you make it to the finals? How do you feel/what do you think about the process? Would you change anything?

I have to say, I think the USDF did the right thing in changing the FEI 4-year old test to their own. I was scribing for a judge (at a different show) after the debut of the tests at Devon a number years ago. The individual (naming no names, nor even gender of the judge) said the FEI test was ... well, problematic. That's why the USDF came up with their own.

contento's mum
Oct. 28, 2007, 10:05 PM
My guy did qualify - to my joy and amazement he was number one in the rankings. We chose ,however, to not send him to the finals as it was a long stressful trip. Instead we gave him four months vacation just to be a young horse. As one juge said - this horse has done everything a four year old can be asked. I didn't need him to prove anything more to me. He is currently fat ,fluffy and a big puppy dog. We will see next year if he can qualify as a five year old and maybe let him show his stuff then. Our main concern however is always the long term.
The process was no problem. Jennifer was great and answered all of my newbie questions so promptly. The lists of scores were available in a timely manner. No complaints here at all.
Some people say there is too much pressure in this program. There is only pressure if we choose to create it. The horse doesn't know the name of what he is doing. If it is too difficult for the horse - just don't show that week or month or year. If it is not fun for horse and human what are we doing?

flshgordon
Oct. 28, 2007, 11:10 PM
ANYWAY, you've answered one question: it's not just the shows listed, it's any recognized show that holds either first level, test 1 (which is a qualifing test for the 4-year olds) OR the 4-year old test itself. That makes it easier for me as I always go to Fair Hill in August, and they have for the past two (or is it three?) years held the 4-, 5- and 6-year old test on the Sunday following the breed show. And I think it will be quite difficult: qualifying scores are 7.0 for the 4-year old test and 73.0 (I think that's correct?) for the first level test one. That means, obviously, at least (on average) a 7 on each movement...and you better pay attention to the coefficients!!!

Just as an FYI, although the 4yo test IS the same as FL test one (except that you don't have to sit the trot except at the simple change through X), I am 99% sure that you can't use a FL test one score for qualifying, but instead have to use an actual 4yo test score because the scoring is quite different. For example, there are 2 judges required for the 4yo test so it wouldn't be just like any old FL test one.

I showed my 4yo once in the YH test last year. It was a GREAT experience, and I learned a lot and got some great comments even though I am no pro rider. But I'm pretty sure you can't use the FL test one because of the judging requirement. However, I found that shows are pretty receptive to holding the tests so if you want it at a show, ask for it. I did, and they agreed to hold it just for me.

TMPF
Oct. 29, 2007, 05:44 AM
The rules for the 2008 Young horse competition are posted on the USEF website and have changed for the upcoming year. You must pay the nomination fee and have two scores from official qualifying competitions if you want to be ranked for the championships.

Oldenburg Mom
Oct. 29, 2007, 02:29 PM
Just as an FYI, although the 4yo test IS the same as FL test one (except that you don't have to sit the trot except at the simple change through X),

They may have changed them this year...BUT, you have to have at least a 73. That's not going to be easy ... especially since one of the coefficents is the famous... "Stretchy Circle" I think I've only scribed ONE 8 on that bad boy over the years I've been scribing. ouch!

EXCUSE ME!!!! You are correct. I just checked...only the 4-year old test.

flshgordon
Oct. 29, 2007, 04:23 PM
They may have changed them this year...BUT, you have to have at least a 73. That's not going to be easy ... especially since one of the coefficents is the famous... "Stretchy Circle" I think I've only scribed ONE 8 on that bad boy over the years I've been scribing. ouch!

EXCUSE ME!!!! You are correct. I just checked...only the 4-year old test.


oops now you confused me :winkgrin:

When I rode the test earlier this year, there were no scores for movements on the 4yo test....it is more like a set of collectives. You get a score for each of walk, trot and canter, one for submission and one for overall impression. Then they add the scores and divide by 5. The actual score is from 1-10. Then they multiply by 10 to translate to a regular score. They don't score the stretchy circle or the 15 meter circles or anything....at least that is the way it was this year, but I haven't looked to see if it changed.

Oldenburg Mom
Oct. 29, 2007, 06:40 PM
flashgordon,

You're completely right, and I was completely WRONG WRONG WRONG! Yes, the collective marks... I was thinking of the L1T1.

Sorry about that!!! :)

flshgordon
Oct. 29, 2007, 06:52 PM
flashgordon,

You're completely right, and I was completely WRONG WRONG WRONG! Yes, the collective marks... I was thinking of the L1T1.

Sorry about that!!! :)


no prob! I was just thinking they had changed the whole scenario from one that I thought made a lot of sense for a test like that.

Hidden Pond Farm
Oct. 29, 2007, 11:05 PM
DH is in Iraq so i've been away from the computer for a few days. Sorry!

OM, looks like you clarified everything I would have added, so I'm keeping my mouth pretty much shut. Accept to add that I really don't know WHY they ask for the nomination fee--I just assume its a way to cover the costs of the program. The championships IMO was really cheap when I did it last year and I had a great time and had lots of help--I could go on and on about it!

I didn't realize things were so backed up in the score reporting. I guess contacting your regional rep and sending a letter explaining your points is a way to get the issue to the annual meeting. I'm sure enough people are complaining about it that it will surely be discussed. Honestly, I didn't do a lot of showing this past summer--the 7 yo wasn't quite finished enough for the PSG--developing horse stuff and I have a 2 yo I got out in hand once. He did well but I'm just not interested so much in that. I like riding.

So good luck next year!! Maybe we can have a COH wine party at the 2008 championships??

Oldenburg Mom
Oct. 30, 2007, 08:18 AM
Except to add that I really don't know WHY they ask for the nomination fee--I just assume its a way to cover the costs of the program. The championships IMO was really cheap when I did it last year and I had a great time and had lots of help--I could go on and on about it!

Oh, please do!!!! I'd love to hear about your observations ... especially horse related! Many have said they don't want to "push" their youngsters ... but I don't see it, quite frankly. All the movements that are in the test are, I think, part of the normal training pyramid--or at least should be.

siegi b.
Oct. 30, 2007, 11:36 AM
Ok, for anybody that wants to know - here is what's on the USDF Dressage Test for 4-Year Old Horses (Marking Sheet - including directives)...

Going across the sheet, it starts with the assessment of individual tasks (trot, walk, canter, etc.), has a space for commentary by the judges, and then the space for the mark.

Assessment criteria -

Trot - rhythm, looseness, suppleness, swinging back, ability to bend the joints of the hindquarters.

Walk - rhythm, relaxation, activity, ground cover.

Canter - rhythm, looseness, suppleness, natural balance, uphill tendency, ability to bend the joints of the hindquarters.

Submissiveness - contact, straightness, obedience, responsiveness to the aids of the rider.

General Impression - as a young dressage horse, standard of training on the basis of the "scale of training" according to the age.

Marks go from 0 to 10 with decimals allowed. Marks get totaled and then divided by 5 to get the total score.

1st error of course - total score reduction by 0.2 points
2nd error of course - total score reduction by 0.4 points
3rd error of course - elimination

And this is marked in bold letters right underneath the scoring part of the form -

The idea is to find horses with elastic natural gaits, trained in a correct way, according to the age which can reach higher dressage levels.

There were three judges at the Championships in Lexington, Ky this year. As a personal observation, there was a lot of emphasis on submissiveness, suppleness, and balance which was reflected in the scores given.

Hope this helps....

Hidden Pond Farm
Oct. 30, 2007, 12:49 PM
Ok, I'll go on a little more about my YH experience....

First, about my horse--as a 4 yo, he suffered pretty serious injuries after being ejected out the rear doors of a Kiefer Built trailer while we were moving. He was stall rested on and off for several months to get the wounds to close. He went back to work that fall. So we started behind the curve in terms of time in the saddle and fitness. Also, I really didn't know what other physical limitations would be left over from the accident. So I took my time on the one hand, but in trying to listen to HIM, I kept the work interesting enough to keep him happy and entertained. I have worked regularly, from the beginning, with a trainer that understands me and my horse--between the three of us it was and is a good program for progress. I can't stress enough how grateful I am for his help!!

We skipped the 5 yo tests--he wasn't strong enough and the training wasn't there yet. I need to stress that we just worked towards improving the horse. He dictated the progress, really. He did struggle I think with some discomfort when working on improving the collection. Maybe because his back is so long or maybe because of scar tissue or an undiagnosed injury--we would give him breaks when it seemed like he needed it--either hacking or simply a week off. But we were ready for the 6 yo tests last year. I qualified using the long way (meaning I didn't attend the qualifying competition in region 2, which was held in May. Rather, I attended two different shows, rode for S judges, and got scores exceeding the qualifying score) I love, love, love the format for the tests--that your horse is evaluated on the quality of gaits, ridability and correctness of training. Comments from judges were directed towards those issues. And while I found some judges better at it than others, all in all I learned a lot from the experience.

Markel--It was really inspiring to see the quality of horses and the riding going on with the young horses at a national level. Scott Hassler was in the ring constantly coaching and giving advice to anyone who asked. He is very approachable, and clearly committed to improving the US training program of young horses. I think he's a great ambassador for the program. I arrived on Tuesday (classes started Friday), and worked with my trainer on the grounds W & Thurs. This was great for my horse, who had never been to such a big show before. He needed the time to work on the grounds. J. Keeler was there Tuesday to let us know where to go and where we could ride. Thursday evening they held a competitors party at the USEF building where they did the draw. Folks like Michael Poulin, the judges for the event, and all the riders were there. Great party!

The classes were exciting and dramatic. Comments are announced over a speaker for all to hear. There was some grumbling about the judges comments, but again, Scott was great at directing the energy appropriately. I think its good to keep the perspective that the judges are really new at this too, and a lot of work still needs to be done in developing their skills at this type of evaluation. It's different from judging the level tests. I found Axel Steiner to be particularly helpful and constructive.

I noticed after 2006 they improved the purpose statement and updated the documents describing the program for clarity. Scott now chairsthe YH USEF committee. I understand professional development of judges is a priority. I like the improvements, and I'm also glad to have the developing horse program added it. I hope to participate in that next year. As an aside, I saw Scott Hassler at Devon this year. He remembered us, asked how my horse (called him by name--although he couldn't remember mine:lol:) was doing and if we'll be graduating to the developing horse program. I like it that the chair of the committee works at staying connected to program participants.

I have two youngsters at home, one I'll start next year. I will do this all again in a heartbeat if it seems that the work is easy for him, he likes the challenge, and he shows well in the ring.

Hope the commentary was helpful. Thanks for letting me relive that a little--I had the time of my life last fall!!

Oldenburg Mom
Oct. 30, 2007, 01:03 PM
Oh, this is great, HPF. I'm actually going to print out this thread and give it to my youngster's trainer. It's especially good to hear great things about Scott too. Did you read his recent essay in Coth. I've a thread about it on SHB forum... http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?p=2769812#post2769812

Oldenburg Mom
Jan. 29, 2008, 10:27 AM
Resurrecting this thread ... or hoping to. Anyone planning to do go this route ... ???

TMPF
Jan. 29, 2008, 01:24 PM
My horse has gone to Kentucky as both a 4yo and 5yo hoping to go this year again. The show is wonderful! I'll be sad when my horse ages out next year.

As i said in another post the rules have changed for this year because of the inconsistant scores at the regular shows so they now require that it is judged by two "S" judges and you need two scores. Shows can still hold the classes but only the offical qualifiers will count. They also raised the minium score to 7.2. I'm sure we will see additional changes at this program matures.

Oldenburg Mom
Jan. 29, 2008, 01:27 PM
Yes, I'm planning my show season now ... looks like the first show for us will be Morven on April 13th. Oh, did you notice, TMPF, they raised the price of the class ... it's now $55. *sigh*

TMPF
Jan. 30, 2008, 04:38 AM
Yes that's our plan also. Yes I saw the price (ouch!)but no muck fees this year yeah! Guess they are upping it due the the additional expense of the second "S" judge.

Oldenburg Mom
Jan. 30, 2008, 08:31 AM
Yes that's our plan also. So, you ARE going to Morven? Do you do BOTH the warm up AND the qualifier? I'm very tempted to skip the warm up ... plus, is the 7.2 really like a 72 in a regular dressage test? Yikes, that's pretty high!

TMPF
Jan. 30, 2008, 12:00 PM
That will be the trainers decision. I would guess that she will skip it with 2 of the horses but might ride it with one of the less experienced horses. She rides my horse in the Markel stuff I ride him at other shows at USDF levels. We agreed last year that I would not ride at the shows where he is doing the young horse classes.

Oldenburg Mom
May. 23, 2008, 01:15 PM
Well, trying to resurrect this, yet again.

We're going to the Morven show to try our hand,... it's on June 7/8.

Anyone else going?

BTW, have you seen the current rankings? YIKES! I've attached the PDF if anyone is interested. But holy smokes! There are some mighty fine horses competing out there!!!

Kimberlee
May. 23, 2008, 01:38 PM
Thank you for posting that list. This is great reading to see who and how these young horse classes work.

Oldenburg Mom
May. 23, 2008, 02:35 PM
Yes, I'm interested to see where this goes ... and to see if the judges have really "changed" to look for appropriate training scale and age performance.

magnum
May. 23, 2008, 09:49 PM
I have no first hand experience with this ... but reviewing the scoring method on the YDH tests, I'd have to guess that their 7.2 is NOT quite the same as a 72%.

Again, just a guess.

I am likening it more to breed shows ... where horses regularly get a 74%, even tho they may not be "international caliber."

The International caliber horses, from what I have seen, are more likely to score in the upper 80's ... IN HAND at a breed show.

Does anyone else have a better insight on this ...?

Magnum

ElizaS
May. 25, 2008, 08:34 AM
I am doing this test with a 4 year old Stallion next weekend at the Raleigh CDI. I'll try to give a report on how it goes. This will be his first real show, so we'll see!

ToN Farm
May. 25, 2008, 10:00 AM
I have no first hand experience with this ... but reviewing the scoring method on the YDH tests, I'd have to guess that their 7.2 is NOT quite the same as a 72%.
Agree. Same with keuring marks. I think one needs an 8 or better to really have a super prospect.

siegi b.
May. 25, 2008, 10:26 AM
The young horse classes are definitely scored more like breeding classes when you consider the catgories for scoring -

Trot
Walk
Canter
Submissiveness
General Impression

The horses are NOT scored on how they perform certain movements and patterns.

arnika
May. 25, 2008, 02:36 PM
Best of luck OMom!

I have a question. Looking at the ranking list, I saw Bergasohn received a 7.64 at one show (very nice score, by the way) but was eliminated at another. Why would the elimination score of 0 be averaged in to his overall score? Especially since these are young horses that might be expected to have a bobble or misbehavior occasionally. I have no idea what the "E" was for, perhaps stepping outside the arena?

I would think it would be better to just leave the score out of the rankings or to just use the best two of all scores . Seems a shame to blow a nice horse's chances over one poor showing.

Disclaimer: I don't know Bergasohn or his owner/rider/breeder from Adam. I would say the same no matter who it was.

eks
May. 25, 2008, 09:19 PM
You need to have 2 scores from 2 different judges that average at least a 7.2. So if that horse goes to another show and gets a score that can be averaged to the other score, then the score of zero can be dropped....they won't take an average of the 3 scores they will just average the 2 best ones.