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View Full Version : Dressage really IS all about looks!



Kyzteke
Jul. 11, 2011, 12:17 AM
Wandered over to the Eventing Forum where there is a conversation going on about using fake tails in the dressage phase.

At first I laughed, then was shocked to hear that they are extremely common in the UK and Australia already. Then I was shocked even more to read that a number of posters declared their scores went up significantly when their horse was wearing it's fakey.:eek:

So if that doesn't tell you how much dressage judges have their heads up their....uhmmm, somewhere.... nothing will.

This sport is getting to be a bigger and bigger joke all the time...

amm2cd
Jul. 11, 2011, 12:58 AM
This sport is getting to be a bigger and bigger joke all the time...

Not until we show up in color coordinated outfits with sequins...

alto
Jul. 11, 2011, 01:42 AM
Uhhmmmm no, the Welsh pony beat out the Friesian & the Andalusian, & cute though the Welsh might be, he would not win a model class against either ...
so NO, dressage is NOT all about the looks.
No fake tails.
FEI judge.

Lost_at_C
Jul. 11, 2011, 09:11 AM
Wandered over to the Eventing Forum where there is a conversation going on about using fake tails in the dressage phase.

At first I laughed, then was shocked to hear that they are extremely common in the UK and Australia already. Then I was shocked even more to read that a number of posters declared their scores went up significantly when their horse was wearing it's fakey.:eek:

So if that doesn't tell you how much dressage judges have their heads up their....uhmmm, somewhere.... nothing will.

This sport is getting to be a bigger and bigger joke all the time...

First of all, a quick look at the thread in question shows that the "number of posters" who declared their scores went up was exactly FOUR. Of those, at least two were reporting on secondhand anecdotes. This is pretty thin evidence I think. I can also tell you from personal experience that they are most certainly not "extremely common" in eventing and dressage in the UK, though I can't comment on Australia.

Secondly, if some people have noticed a difference with fake tails attached, consider the possible reasons... as mentioned on the eventing thread, the added weight of a fake tail can discourage swishing, and therefore disguise tension. I also wonder if there's some kind of placebo effect for some people, whereby they feel higher scores are possible with a fake tail and therefore ride better or with more confidence. You can't simply assume that a judge sees a pretty tail and is dazzled by it - really, you think they have nothing better to think about, or are somehow all 12 year old girls at heart??

I honestly doubt there's much truth at all to your suggestion... All in all it's quite absurd to use a few anecdotes to make such insulting remarks about judges in general. :lol:

siegi b.
Jul. 11, 2011, 09:19 AM
Stated by Lost_at_C ..... "I honestly doubt there's much truth at all to your suggestion... All in all it's quite absurd to use a few anecdotes to make such insulting remarks about judges in general. :lol: "

THIS, for sure!

Rhiannonjk
Jul. 11, 2011, 09:44 AM
I've heard of scores going up in dressage with a fake tail, but it wasn't because the judge was "dazzled," but because it brought attention to the horse's movement - a happy tail bouncing from side to side brought attention to the looseness that the horse had through the back.

The only thing wrong with this sport are assumptions that the judges are stupid enough to be dazzled.

fuzzy.pony
Jul. 11, 2011, 09:49 AM
Of course its all about looks, its about which horse looks the most supple, elastic, and through, and which rider looks to be sitting the quietest with the most tactful aids, and which combination looks to execute the test the best.

kinnip
Jul. 11, 2011, 09:58 AM
I'm sitting with a judge every weekend now, mostly at horse trials. I can tell you without any doubt that they really don't care about the state of the tail. The only comment I've heard regarding appearance was the sentiment that one mane in particular should have been braided because it played havoc with the judges ability to see the neck/poll clearly. In fact, this weekend the very best turned out pairs didn't fair so well. They spent too much time shopping and primping, and not enough time slapping ass to saddle leather.

The Hobbit
Jul. 11, 2011, 11:39 AM
As others have said, I doubt judges are scoring higher simply due to a fake tail. I will concede though that it is entirely possible that the fake tail helps create a more "balanced" picture which might somewhat help scores as it could tend to highlight if the horse is more supply, relaxed, etc. The latter scenario, however, is a far cry from proving that dressage is all about looks (at least looks in the superficial, non functional sense). If your horse is a tense, fire-breathing dragon with its head straight in the air, and a hollow back no amount of tail in the world is going to fix that score.

This is slightly off topic, but just curious, are fake tails allowed in USDF shows? I ask because I just bought a horse whose herd mates ate his tail off above the hocks.:dead:

oldernewbie
Jul. 11, 2011, 12:49 PM
... In fact, this weekend the very best turned out pairs didn't fair so well. They spent too much time shopping and primping, and not enough time slapping ass to saddle leather.

Love it!

GreyDes
Jul. 11, 2011, 01:44 PM
Hobbit - one of our club members showed her Curly last year in USDF shows with a fake tail. I believe his pasture mate had nibbled it almost to the tailbone. She chose to do it purely for cosmetic reasons.

They did quite well at the shows, but given how hard that rider works, I seriously doubt the tail impacted their scores!

Old Fashioned
Jul. 11, 2011, 02:30 PM
Yes, they are legal for USDF dressage.

The Hobbit
Jul. 11, 2011, 03:04 PM
Yes, they are legal for USDF dressage and I like using them. But a fake tail can work against you. It needs to be well matched in color and size. A slender horses with 1-2 pound tail is going to look lopsided and may create the optical illusion that the horse is strung out behind. If the color is off or it's put in wrong (or falls off) it just becomes distracting.

Thank you for the information! If I get my guy going and ready to show before he has a chance to grow a bit more I'll certainly consider the tail option. :winkgrin: I think he'd look better with it a *bit* longer.

esdressage
Jul. 11, 2011, 03:53 PM
I have trouble believing that a falsie would impact scores, BUT have considered getting one for my mare, who has a pretty sparse tail. That said, I've opted to spend those dollars on lessons instead each time I consider it (which is pretty much each time I go to shows, and have thrown so much elbow grease into our presentation, yet her stringy little tail remains, lol). She's an Arab, too, so she pops out her miniscule tail and flaunts it for the whole world so see (or in this case, not see much of it). Sigh…

I really like kinnip's "ass to saddle leather" comment above. Yes, yes!

rcloisonne
Jul. 11, 2011, 04:10 PM
The only thing wrong with this sport are assumptions that the judges are stupid enough to be dazzled.
Then please explain Totilas's recent very high scores for a so-so (bordering on lame) performance. Those scores looked pretty stupid to me.

Velvet
Jul. 11, 2011, 04:18 PM
Then please explain Totilas's recent very high scores for a so-so (bordering on lame) performance. Those scores looked pretty stupid to me.

No idea if this is true, but that would be the halo effect, not the horse's looks.

Velvet
Jul. 11, 2011, 04:21 PM
Personally, I think the USEF changing the rule from no false tails to "False tails are permitted and if used may not contain any metal parts" is horrible." And unnecessary. Leave the horses real tail's alone. Just another step down the slippery slope for dressage.

DutchDressageQueen
Jul. 11, 2011, 05:40 PM
Secondly, if some people have noticed a difference with fake tails attached, consider the possible reasons... as mentioned on the eventing thread, the added weight of a fake tail can discourage swishing, and therefore disguise tension. I also wonder if there's some kind of placebo effect for some people, whereby they feel higher scores are possible with a fake tail and therefore ride better or with more confidence. You can't simply assume that a judge sees a pretty tail and is dazzled by it - really, you think they have nothing better to think about, or are somehow all 12 year old girls at heart??

I honestly doubt there's much truth at all to your suggestion... All in all it's quite absurd to use a few anecdotes to make such insulting remarks about judges in general. :lol:

:yes:

DutchDressageQueen
Jul. 11, 2011, 05:44 PM
Then please explain Totilas's recent very high scores for a so-so (bordering on lame) performance. Those scores looked pretty stupid to me.

do you have a video of his test?

Velvet
Jul. 11, 2011, 06:05 PM
Let's all just start tarting up our horses and see what happens. There's that sparkly hoof polish out there. We could dye a horse's mane hot pink. (They allow false tails, does that mean they now allow dying a horse's socks and other body parts? I'm assuming they must.) Someone can wear a conservative coat that's made of spandex. :yes: I can see it all now. If they don't think it's Halloween, they're sure to place that horse and rider first! Even if they have a miserable ride and look like they think sitting the trot is supposed to look like you're trying to pound holes through your horse's back with your seatbones. :lol:

kinnip
Jul. 11, 2011, 07:18 PM
I believe it was in Topline Ink (or one of the other dozen publications I read) that I recently read an article from a judge pleading with competitors to please not be so fashionable. She used as an example a ULR who went into the ring wearing a beautiful brown coat and a lovely, tasteful lemon yellow shirt. She went on to describe what seemed like a gorgeously put together outfit. She then stated that she felt it detracted from the horse's place as the star of the show. I know of several judges who agree, so no, I don't think we're in any danger of turning dressage into a fashion show.

esdressage
Jul. 11, 2011, 07:22 PM
Let's all just start tarting up our horses and see what happens. There's that sparkly hoof polish out there. We could dye a horse's mane hot pink. (They allow false tails, does that mean they now allow dying a horse's socks and other body parts? I'm assuming they must.) Someone can wear a conservative coat that's made of spandex. :yes: I can see it all now. If they don't think it's Halloween, they're sure to place that horse and rider first! Even if they have a miserable ride and look like they think sitting the trot is supposed to look like you're trying to pound holes through your horse's back with your seatbones. :lol:

OK, I know there's a semi-universal fear that the dressage arena might inch towards the western-ish style, complete with sequins, bright colors, hot pink saddle pads, etc. BUT don't you think it's a bit extreme to jump from helping fill out a sparse tail to dying a horse's mane and socks hot pink, slathering on sparkly hoof polish and sporting spandex? I'm not seeing the connection here… :confused:

DutchDressageQueen
Jul. 11, 2011, 07:23 PM
OK, I know there's a semi-universal fear that the dressage arena might inch towards the western-ish style, complete with sequins, bright colors, hot pink saddle pads, etc. BUT don't you think it's a bit extreme to jump from helping fill out a sparse tail to dying a horse's mane and socks hot pink, slathering on sparkly hoof polish and sporting spandex? I'm not seeing the connection here… :confused:

haha, yes:yes:

cuatx55
Jul. 11, 2011, 07:30 PM
Rule DR 121(7): False tails are permitted and if used may not contain any metal parts.

Xanthoria
Jul. 11, 2011, 08:13 PM
At first I laughed, then was shocked to hear that they are extremely common in the UK and Australia already.

I don't remember fake tails growing up in the UK as a kid, and I know Uk showing types to be far more traditional and less fashion-afflicted than their US counterparts :lol: so I asked over at the H'n'H forums.

So far the result is... crickets:

http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?p=9823778&posted=1#post9823778

merrygoround
Jul. 11, 2011, 10:00 PM
Oh then, will someone please note the photo of the rider in the "Interview with a judge" I think it was titled. A gold trim belted look, with gold touches on the gold collared jacket?

Not totally germane to the subject but along with the WP turn out comments.

If a false tail helps you think your horse looks better, go for it. I just would be worrying the whole test long about it falling off. :lol:

DutchDressageQueen
Jul. 11, 2011, 10:02 PM
I know they were common in Holland

dutchfan
Jul. 12, 2011, 12:39 AM
"Yes, they are legal for USDF dressage and I like using them"

USEF shows! There are no USDF shows.

CFFarm
Jul. 12, 2011, 01:28 PM
"Yes, they are legal for USDF dressage and I like using them"

USEF shows! There are no USDF shows.

Let's face it, the USDF is becoming more about horse showing and less about correct training. Movement and accuracy are what's suppose to matter. Not tails or braids or saddle pads. Yeah, one wants to have a smart turn-out but adding parts to the horse is a bit much. I see it morfing into saddlebreds between the exaggerated gaits and heavy shoes, fake tails......:confused:

Lost_at_C
Jul. 12, 2011, 01:45 PM
Let's face it, the USDF is becoming more about horse showing and less about correct training. Movement and accuracy are what's suppose to matter. Not tails or braids or saddle pads. Yeah, one wants to have a smart turn-out but adding parts to the horse is a bit much. I see it morfing into saddlebreds between the exaggerated gaits and heavy shoes, fake tails......:confused:

Please. It's not as if there's a plethora of fake tails in dressage competitions, any more than some of the more obscure but allowable pieces of tack are commonplace. I promise you, the sky is not falling and someone padding out a poor Appy's tail with a bit extra will NOT result in a Saddlebred winning the gold in 2012. I really don't think fake tails are necessary, but I also don't buy the suggestion that they have anything to do with an increasing concern with "Looks" on the part of judges and trainers.

sirensong4
Jul. 12, 2011, 01:59 PM
Was it on COTH, or did i read it somewhere else, about a fake tail falling out in the show ring and the horse coming back around and spooking at it?? :lol:
Can't remember if it was a dressage test or a rail class, or if the story was even real or just apocryphal.

Tallac
Jul. 12, 2011, 02:05 PM
"They spent too much time shopping and primping, and not enough time slapping ass to saddle leather."



Love, love love this!!!!!!! Don't know how to say it any clearer!

Thanks for that!

netg
Jul. 12, 2011, 02:10 PM
I know of one horse who has a fake tail if the show is big enough. Honestly, his scrubby little tail is kind of distracting - any movement of his tail and you get these scruffy looking wisps flying around behind him.

His fake tail isn't some huge thing, but rather just weight for the hairs to not be so flyaway. And it keeps the tail from distracting, which allows the entire image to be more harmonious. I think a fake tail to try to make it look like a quarter horse showmanship horse's tail would be ridiculous. But just some neatening up to keep the tail from distracting like this horse? Nothing wrong with it.


I love that point about not wanting outfits to distract from the horse. I don't want judges to even really notice I'm there, but rather to notice how nicely my horse is going. I don't want them noticing his tail, his blowing mane, or the bling on my collar. Therefore, everything is as contained, controlled, and out of the way as I can get it so all focus is on him.

osgoka01
Jul. 12, 2011, 03:26 PM
So I am a hunter person through and through...have been since I was small. However, one of my last green horses was quite difficult and I kept him in partial training with a Dressage rider/ trainer for quite a while as she did a lovely job getting him flatting correctly etc... Anyhow, she mentioned he would make a very nice dresage horse and why don't we bring him to a show to do some training level classes.

Being from hunterland, ALL of our horses show in fakes ALL the time. So morning of the big day, I tie in his big lovely fake (this horse had a TERRIBlE tail) and get him ready to hop on the trailer. This is the day he decides he WILL NOT load onto the trailer and through a series of leaping/diving/pulling backwards, manages to STEP on his beautiful fake tail and pull it out, WITH the real tail hair that it was braided into.

Long story short, I left the tail at home, got him loaded and to the show and he competed, scrappy tail and all..... And he was perfect. :) I certainly learned a lesson A) About vanity and B) about never tying in a tail before shipping!

Here he is before warming up (scrappy tail & all)...
http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=537815546364&set=a.537814952554.2059496.19301855&type=1&theater

UST
Jul. 12, 2011, 03:49 PM
If somebody really thinks they need a fake tail for their horse (because the horse does just really have no hair) - so be it.
BUT: they are expensive, it takes quite some skill and time to put them in correctly and yes, we can still tell it's a fake tail....
Does it make you a better rider or "enhance" your horses performance - NO:no:
It can be a very entertaining day observing the QH, PH etc. at the shows performing with all that luscious hair....and all that GLITZ:eek:

TheBarnRules
Jul. 12, 2011, 07:17 PM
They spent too much time shopping and primping, and not enough time slapping ass to saddle leather.

I am so stealing this... :lol: