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MYalterID
May. 21, 2011, 11:45 PM
I took my youngster to her first big show last weekend, and while we didn't do as well as expected (She was pretty nervous first time in that environment, and was NOT on the aids AT ALL!), Ms. O'Conner did comment "lovely horse, loads of potential!" I was very pleased with that, but am wondering, should I be? Or does she say that to everyone whose horse basically runs through the whole test, just to make them feel better? :lol:

Zevida
May. 21, 2011, 11:57 PM
To be frankly honest, no, I would not put much stock in that comment. A lot of judges put comments like that to soften the blow of a bad test and/or bad comments to follow.

If you scored a 70%+ and that was the only comment at the end, absolutely take it to heart. But if it was a comment on a bad/disappointing test and followed by lots of things to work on, it was just the judge being polite and encouraging.

I scored at a show recently where one of the judge started her comment on almost every single test with the same compliment. I don't read the comments (none of my business) but sometimes you can't help but see a word and the notice a pattern! I can't even remember what it was, but it was every. single. test. Probably something like "lovely pair!"

CHT
May. 22, 2011, 12:02 AM
Sure, be pleased with it. Why not? Who cares if it was heartfelt or a consolation, if it makes you feel good then go with it!

SaddleFitterVA
May. 22, 2011, 09:10 AM
Always try to be satisfied with the nice comments in the collectives, even when you may have had difficulties in the test.

As for getting a 70% before taking any stock in the positive comments :rolleyes:.

GreyStreet
May. 22, 2011, 10:31 AM
IME, most judges are fair - some are a bit harsher than others, but a decent judge will score as fairly and accurately as he/she can and will also provide both constructive criticism and perhaps a positive comment. The judge really doesn't have any reason to stroke anyone's ego. Enjoy the positive comments and learn from the experience, too!

FlightCheck
May. 22, 2011, 10:40 AM
Sally O'connor does NOT "just say things". If she bothered to say it, she meant it. Believe me, she is not a "coddler" of rider's feelings. This is why I so enjoy listening to her!

Leprechaun
May. 23, 2011, 08:08 PM
I won a test last year. The only comment on the entire test was NICE HORSE in huge letters. Where do you suppose that left me?!? After a good laugh, DH and I decided it was a compliment to my ability to find a nice prospect and we left it there. Better than, your horse rots, huh!

AllWeatherGal
May. 24, 2011, 07:54 AM
Sure be pleased! That's shorthand for "Look forward to seeing here again when she's more mature and you are bringing out the best in her."

I haven't seen a comment about potential when it didn't exist. That's where I'd focus! Along with that silly contact thing :winkgrin:

MeghanDACVA
May. 24, 2011, 01:40 PM
I was at a recognized show (event) a few weeks ago with a bunch of friends. We all rode our tests with the same judge though at different levels. The comments were identical and verbatum. A stamp would have been just as effective.

AllWeatherGal
May. 24, 2011, 02:16 PM
I was at a recognized show (event) a few weeks ago with a bunch of friends. We all rode our tests with the same judge though at different levels. The comments were identical and verbatum. A stamp would have been just as effective.

This information needs to get to the USEF!! PLEASE complete a judge evaluation form. They should be available at the shows and you can also find it here: http://www.usef.org/documents/competitions/LicOffEvaluation.pdf (http://www.usef.org/documents/competitions/LicOffEvaluation.pdf).

I know that compliments are forwarded to judges (without a name attached) because from time to time judges have told me that they've received them. I believe complaints are recorded. They may also be forwarded and nobody wants to admit it ;)

IdahoRider
May. 24, 2011, 02:18 PM
I was a volunteer at our regional show a few weeks ago. I ran the tests from the judges to the scorer (okay, I *walked* the test sheets from the judges to the scorer).

I had gone in to collect a test from the judge's table and since the current rider was almost done with her ride, I decided to wait for that test to be written up and signed.

The horse was young and bug eyed at everything. He spooked at the corners and just could not totally settle. He would have moments of "very nice" and then lose his mind.

The rider halts and gives her final salute and then rides forward to the edge of the arena and tells the judge that she was sorry for such a horrible test. She mentions that this was her boy's first indoor show and apologizes again. The judge was so supportive, and said that the babies have to start somewhere and that this youngster had a bright future, he just needed more experience.

The rider was grinning from ear to ear as she rode out. I was impressed by the judge taking the time to respond to the rider and for being so positive. It meant everything to the rider. And it was true...that was a really nice young horse.
Sheilah

Janet
May. 24, 2011, 02:22 PM
I know that compliments are forwarded to judges (without a name attached) because from time to time judges have told me that they've received them. I believe complaints are recorded. They may also be forwarded and nobody wants to admit it ;)
I have been led to believe (don't know if it true or not) that if a judge receives two or more negative comments on basically the same thing, the judge will be contacted and informed of the gist of it, though they will not see the actual comments.

When it is time to renew a judge's license, I think the LOC reads everything in the judge's file.

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
May. 24, 2011, 02:36 PM
To the OP: I'd be happy with that comment.:D Experienced horse people can see through the "young horse crap". I have a 5 yo mare that on one day can blow you away with her talent, and the next day decide that she's not participating. I clinic regularly with an I judge, and in my first lessons with her, my mare was doing the giraffe impression the entire time. The judge still assured me that I had a really nice horse on my hands. And she's darn right! :winkgrin:

Druid Acres
May. 24, 2011, 03:42 PM
Sally O'connor does NOT "just say things". If she bothered to say it, she meant it. Believe me, she is not a "coddler" of rider's feelings. This is why I so enjoy listening to her!

Yup. I audited a Sally O'Connor clinic several years ago. She does NOT mince words, but rather says exactly what she thinks, in no uncertain terms. I would take her compliment as high praise.

ToN Farm
May. 24, 2011, 04:01 PM
I was at a recognized show (event) a few weeks ago with a bunch of friends. We all rode our tests with the same judge though at different levels. The comments were identical and verbatum. A stamp would have been just as effective.

I have seen that on several occasions. I've volunteered in positions where I could see the test sheets.

evntr5218
May. 24, 2011, 04:14 PM
Yup. I audited a Sally O'Connor clinic several years ago. She does NOT mince words, but rather says exactly what she thinks, in no uncertain terms. I would take her compliment as high praise.

absolutely take it as a compliment :):)
every year i get the headset at rolex for dressage and while she isnt cruel about it at all she definately doesnt sugar coat anything. i also agree with the other poster when saying an experienced horse person can see through a bad test when it may just not have been yours and your horses day. she doesnt seem like the type of person that says something just to make you feel good.
must mean you and your horse really are a lovely pair!!!

esdressage
May. 24, 2011, 04:54 PM
I'd be thrilled with that comment!

It's kind of interesting, because I just rode in a clinic with a judge who was very straight-forward about her thoughts on my horse this past weekend. They weren't as "sweet" as I'm used to hearing, so I looked back at the sheet from a show I rode in that she judged, just out of curiosity. Her scoring and comments were right in line with what I heard from her in the clinic (and were absolutely the lowest scores we've ever received, lol). So, I do think that many judges put good thought into their comments, not just a cookie cutter response. This one happened to be brutally honest, which I do appreciate, and I'm thinking that her advice on how to improve will give us some good results, actually! :)

shawneeAcres
May. 24, 2011, 05:02 PM
Well YEARS ago I rode a young horse in a Sally O'Connor clinic. This was a gangly 4 yr old who literally had difficulty even STAYING in a canter lead. I was a young rider, 14 yrs old I think and was DEVASTATED when Sally said the mare would "never amount to much"! Of course, that made me work THAT MUCH HARDER and the little mare went onto event thru training with me. I was "self made" at that time just a few clinics here and there in dressage but no real lessons and NO idea of how to event! I sold her when she was a 9 yr old (had owned her since she was a yearling) and she went on to be Pony Club National Champion at 2nd level, and then MANY MANY years later (1989) I found out she was still going strong as a "schoolmaster" in SC for an older lady. Should would have been around 17 yrs old at that point. So no, Sally isnt going to stroke even a "little girls" ego! But she was DEAD WRONG on that horse!

MYalterID
May. 24, 2011, 05:37 PM
I was at a recognized show (event) a few weeks ago with a bunch of friends. We all rode our tests with the same judge though at different levels. The comments were identical and verbatum. A stamp would have been just as effective.

This is what I was hoping is not the case with Ms. O'Conner. I think this type of thing should DEFINITELY be reported. I mean as an "expert judge" you can't come up with two to four words to comment specifically upon what you just spent the last 5 minutes watching??
The scores and feedback that went with them were definitely right on, although a little tough :) but it was our first time at a rated show and I was just proud we made it through! My mare did her best to hold it together, but it was not her best by far! If she had given us a 70%, then I would be expecting 85-90% after we get a bunch of shows under our belt ;)

jenm
May. 24, 2011, 05:57 PM
I was at a recognized show (event) a few weeks ago with a bunch of friends. We all rode our tests with the same judge though at different levels. The comments were identical and verbatum. A stamp would have been just as effective.

I was told by a judge that they are instructed to always put some sort of positive comment at the end of the test no matter how bad the ride.

I now take those comments in stride and while the may be sincere, it appears they are some sort of requirement. (please correct me if I'm wrong) That being said, a judge should at least try to be unique with the comments.

My first dressage test ever was ridden after my horse spooked and bolted after seeing mirrors for the first time before we entered the ring for our test. Needless to say, there wasn't much good that came of the test, although I do remember the comment which was "A lovely pair with lots of potential". At the time it meant a lot to me! :)

AlterBy
May. 24, 2011, 07:03 PM
Some people are just never happy.

Because the nice comment might be a judging requirement.
Because the nice comment is not reflecting totally the truth on said given day.
Because the nice comment is identical to what many other riders received.

Come on...how many comments can there be!
It is not a clinic. It is not a lesson. It is like 5 min ride. and judge can see up to 100 rides per day...
What do people want? A detailled personalized novel?

If you want more comments on the show results, better ask your trainer who is paid for that!

Just can't imagine what people would do if the judge would write bad comments...or worse, none! Many disciplines don't have a remarks box to be filled...

ozjb
May. 24, 2011, 08:17 PM
I recently pencilled for a judge at a One Day Event. We had the Newcomer's group (that's 60cm here). I have a whole new respect for judges. The standard was terrible, but to be fair it WAS Newcomers. The poor judge was beside herself.

First, the organisers had not given her any of the rules that are specific to eventing dressage, then they gave her ( a qualified and respected judge) the worst group of the day. She was so upset that she had to give such crappy scores. I doubt the riders were happy when they got their test papers, either. :-)

She kept saying, "hate to take THAT cross country." But her comments were fair and at the end of the day, the two best tests came out first and second.

It's harder with kids because they tend to take the comments personally. I try to get my daughter to pencil or at least sit in the back seat to listen so that she can see that each judge has things they like or really dislike and that it is NOT personal.

I think the lesson finally hit home at a recent event where her pony was a complete lunatic and she did well to keep the test in the ring. Judge gave her 6s and 7s and then gave her a 4 in the collectives for the rider effectiveness part. Even I know that the collectives have to reflect the rest of the test and that a 4 should not have been given.

I think it's great when a judge at least tries to find something positive to say.

AllWeatherGal
May. 25, 2011, 10:09 AM
I was told by a judge that they are instructed to always put some sort of positive comment at the end of the test no matter how bad the ride.


Not unique to dressage judging. Toastmasters International also advises speech evaluators to sandwich "suggestions" in between observations of positives.

This technique is generally accepted as a way to help recipients hear or read the comments about what needs to improve without shutting down because all the feedback is negative.

Classicgal
May. 25, 2011, 10:16 AM
I just audited the L program and they want them to say something positive first - and then an honest but constructive and hopefully helpful critique. They said they don't want to discourage riders, and they don't want them to say things that are going to take the wrong way and go home and overdo or torture the horses with. I've been involved with our local club for years and some of the old time judges could be very harsh- say things like take up another sport, learn to ride, etc. And some say the same things over and over. They do see the same issues over and over. But the program wants them to find a lot of differn't ways to say the same thing. It was quite enlightening and I hope the new generation of judges coming up will follow these recommendations.

Classicgal
May. 25, 2011, 10:20 AM
PS - not to say alot of the experienced judges do not!

PFMJ
May. 27, 2011, 04:01 PM
I've had a green horse act like a green horse in spooky conditions, and had some not so nice comments. They certainly did not take into consideration the obvious spookiness (high wind conditions, flapping banners, etc) and instead went along the lines of "highly disobedient" etc. Not exactly called for, but some people/judges are more negative. It is nice when a judge acknowledges what is happening and is encouraging.

netg
May. 27, 2011, 04:08 PM
Just can't imagine what people would do if the judge would write bad comments...or worse, none! Many disciplines don't have a remarks box to be filled...

I have a test at home with nothing in the remarks section at the end of the test. I'd never heard of a judge simply not giving *any* comments before then.

It wasn't a good show for us, so it may have been a case of "if you have nothing nice to say..." :lol:

The day before the judge I rode in front of commented on it being unfortunate that it was such a cranky day for my horse. Second day, my horse was showing the after effects of being so cranky, and while more obedient wasn't quite capable of doing well. But it was *really* needed for his training. Sometimes if a horse is a superstar at home and bad at shows, you have to suck it up, accept that you'll get very low scores, and go anyway.

atr
May. 29, 2011, 01:24 PM
Can't stand it any longer... It's O'Connor.

JMurray
May. 29, 2011, 08:21 PM
She was tuff on everyone at Heavenly Waters today. all the scores were low. I would say it was a compliment what she said to your DD.