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Velvet
May. 10, 2011, 09:45 AM
Okay, so I just finish reading ponyfixers unhappiness over judging and inside all the posts is a bunch of comments about a rider who is unable to sit the trot at (I think) Third Level.

This got me thinking about how many times rider's blame their horse or their saddle for their bad seat. And how people don't always seem to realize the connection between the seat and the rest of their body and how each piece can make or break a good seat.

I saw someone riding who definitely was off their toes and constantly reaching for a stirrup that was too long, and then they complained that their were in the back of the saddle and blamed their saddle balance for the problem. Hmmm...really??

If people are truly this misguided in analyzing the root cause of their seat problems, maybe we should start to change dressage scoring a bit. I know we recently increased the collective scoring for the rider's aids and seat, but maybe there should something else that can be done to put more emphasis on it. I mean, if you can't sit, how can you be doing the higher level tests? If you can't sit, shouldn't you be seeking better help with your seat? (I actually blame the instructors for this since it's their job to train the person to not only play with the fun stuff on their trained horses, but to actually help them realize where they need to work on THEMSELVES to improve their riding.)

Any thoughts?

ideayoda
May. 10, 2011, 10:01 AM
The score was not only increased, but divided into 1 alignment, 2 effectivity, 3 harmony. Unfortuneatly the description of these things which is usually in parenthesis for each of the other three general impressions was left off. So, for the next three years it (for some reason) cannot be added. Such a division WILL help IF, and only IF, the judges actually do not give a traditional 6, but actually hold the rider's effect RESPONSIBLE for the training effects upon the horse.

netg
May. 10, 2011, 10:18 AM
I don't know that a scorecard is the right place to address the issue, though certainly I'm sure it is a problem. I also don't know if this is anything new or a problem which has been around forever. I've seen it attributed to the prevalence of big-moving warmbloods, but I doubt that's all it is, as while it's easy to not sit correctly on the Friesian-x we have and still sit her trot easily, I would expect a judge to know the difference. To me the question becomes - does the judge score based upon how well the rider sits specifically, or does the judge score based upon the results of how the horse carries the rider? I've heard multiple judges say they look at the horse, and only look at the rider to see where problems come from. I have no idea if that's the official answer, though, but would like to think it's about effectiveness not looking "pretty."

In the specific instance in question, if the rider wasn't sitting the trot well, I would expect the horse's back wasn't lifted and soft as it should have been for the level, so I think the score should have been no higher than a 6 depending how much negative effect the rider had. If the horse was soft, back lifted, etc., I would say it's not a matter of the rider not sitting the trot well, but rather having an atypical style with extra movement which still didn't restrict the horse. I've seen some riders with amazing seats get somewhat half seat-ish on certain horses who just go better that way. This has especially been with horses who were recovering from an injury or coming back from time off, who had the training for a higher level but didn't yet have the strength.

ideayoda
May. 10, 2011, 10:38 AM
Rider effect on training should be placed at the feet (ok seat) of the rider doing the training. The horse can never be better than the effect of the rider. Inability to sit is a combination of a rider without sufficient time on a horse to be able to sit first, as well as insufficient ability to train which causes the back to become rigid and not 'sitable' for anyone (except with really good seats which still shouldn't be sitting such tension anyway).

In any case both things have to be noted. Poor rider scores, and poor (submission/impulsion=places for the tensions) scores. They are all so intertwined, and all riders (come trainers) should understand why (certainly by the point they are doing medium levels which the origin point of this discussion).

'Effectiveness' of the rider score is not only the effect of the seat (poor because it is bouncing), but the effectiveness of the trainer to not be able to produce a horse with a swinging back.

WHY would a person who cannot sit be given a 'satisfactory'/6 for their seat? Which is clearly not even minimal/sufficient/5? It is insufficient/4 to be unable to sit (especially at medium levels already). And the effect of the aids/harmony would be missing...so again, how would that be satisfactory? Or is there now justification (come December) to give a 4.5 or a 5.5 or whatever #$*(&(@#$?

Petstorejunkie
May. 10, 2011, 11:50 AM
The horse can never be better than the effect of the rider.
AMEN :yes:

netg
May. 10, 2011, 12:27 PM
WHY would a person who cannot sit be given a 'satisfactory'/6 for their seat? Which is clearly not even minimal/sufficient/5? It is insufficient/4 to be unable to sit (especially at medium levels already). And the effect of the aids/harmony would be missing...so again, how would that be satisfactory? Or is there now justification (come December) to give a 4.5 or a 5.5 or whatever #$*(&(@#$?

I agree IF the rider was so bad, that this is true for the rider score. Apaprently I deleted part of what I was typing when editing my post. I was referring specifically to a score of a trot circle w/ rider not sitting well, and that I can't imagine a horse possibly getting better than a 6 for a trot circle in that case. If the horse is able to get a better score, I think the rider more is "unconventional" than "bad", and shouldn't have such a low rider score - because apparently the rider is still getting decent work out of the horse, and therefore effective.

Velvet
May. 10, 2011, 02:44 PM
Well, to Paula's point on training, you have to realize that some of the people these days (even at 3rd and 4th) have learned from the Hunter people that you have your trainer do the warm up and then you hop on for you test. How exactly do you judge a horse that is still going well and is a saint to put up with the bad riding? You have to judge the horse and what it is doing first.

ideayoda
May. 10, 2011, 02:48 PM
You judge the training of the horse, and how well it is revealed in the particular test. Certainly a trainer can get on, knock it together, have student remount and steer through a test (but the horse can never remain well trained w/o imput from a rider). But effects of the rider also clearly reveal themselves. It's all judged through gaits/impulsion/submission/rider scores!

Pony Fixer
May. 10, 2011, 04:36 PM
In the case of the show this weekend, this was not a "big" moving horse. This was a FriesianX that I'm SURE is a rough ride, and possibly this rider has a good seat on an easier to sit horse. The first ride I saw was 4/3 which is why I was immediately incensed because that is the bridge to PSG.

But, I am only "judging" what I saw in front of me. I saw a person with 4" of daylight between saddle and arse for all the trot work, sometimes with sound effects to accompany. In the "extensions" the bouncing got bigger, faster, and louder. The rest of the riding was not terrible--there was no coasting on the reins, no swinging legs, etc. In fact, it almost looked like posting, only on every stride rather than every other.

But the horse was not soft or through, the riding looked painful, there were no extensions at any gait, and there were no flying changes. There was an ability to bend laterally while traveling forward and sideways, so there's that.

I know for a fact that this person, while an AA, does not train with anyone because they feel they are competent enough themselves to train this horse. So there is no hope of lunge lessons, etc., to develop the seat, or learn a proper lead change, etc.

As for ME, so that I'm not just bashing other poor souls, I can sit a trot. I have trouble sitting the mediums in my current saddle, but NO trouble in my trainer's saddle. It's not a fit issue for the horse, and I don't think it's "his back is up/it's not up" based on saddle, but rather where the stirrup bars, etc. align me. (I have never experienced such a black and white difference before with any saddles--it's quite eye opening). Obviously if my horse is tense it becomes quite hard to sit--at this show I had one medium (I'm at 2nd with this guy) where he saw something and got "looky" in the middle of the diagonal, and then yes I bounce-bounce-bounced for a few strides before getting him back up. I got straight 7s all weekend for rider, but the "less pretty" medium trots got 6s.

But I agree, Velvet, the seat in particular, and position in general, are not addressed enough. I am lucky that my trainer is all about it, but I just spent a week at a BNT and other than my hands my position was not addressed. I'm not sure if that's because he thought the rest of my riding was adequate, or if that's because he's not one that focuses on position.

Bogey2
May. 10, 2011, 05:26 PM
Any thoughts?

just a quick note...I can sit the trot well on a lot of horses BUT, there are some that are very difficult to sit...even at third level collection.

TickleFight
May. 10, 2011, 07:29 PM
It is unfortunate the number of riders at intermediate levels that have poor seats. I think it's a combination of not enough seated riding time, popular saddle designs, and people being over-horsed. Frankly, once you start showing second level I think your seat should be pretty well confirmed on whatever horse you are riding. Without a solid seat you can never be very effective at influencing your horse.

I'm always surprised at the amount of posting trot I see dressage people doing both at shows and at home. Rising trot belongs in the warm-up, cool down, and while out hacking... if you rarely do it at home how can you expect to do it at a show? People think that "drop your stirrups" means for a couple minutes, when they should really ride without them at least once a week for the duration of their ride.

As for saddles... I can't imagine sitting in anything other than a close contact saddle without padding or blocks. Everybody's seat is a little different, and forcing yourself to conform to a saddle that puts you in a specific position must be beyond difficult.

Velvet
May. 11, 2011, 12:07 PM
I'm always surprised at the amount of posting trot I see dressage people doing both at shows and at home. Rising trot belongs in the warm-up, cool down, and while out hacking... if you rarely do it at home how can you expect to do it at a show?

Totally disagree with you about only having it in the warm up and cool down. It's mixed throughout the ride to give the horse's back a break. Even if you sit wonderfully, you don't sit the entire ride. You can give the horse a stretch break in the middle of your ride and get off their back as a part of the reward.

Does this mean you can't sit longer and for the whole ride? Nope, but you should not be parked on their back for the entire work out/training session.

Doing a mix can also help horses coming back from a lay up. You give their back muscles a break--and you can do lateral work at the post. It helps develop their muscles without stressing their back.

dwblover
May. 11, 2011, 06:06 PM
I really can't imagine that someone sitting that horribly isn't negatively influencing their horse. Event though the horse scored well (obviously tolerant fellow), perhaps the scores would have been 10% higher had a better rider been sitting and getting him to connect and relax. I think it is hard to understand the reasoning for scores if you cannot actually talk to the judge, which of course we can't.