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View Full Version : Radical idea for show organizers/participants



mzm farm
Aug. 3, 2011, 11:33 PM
It seems the show entries are down, at least around here.
I have a life outside horses/childcare issues and it would be very nice to know when I am showing - actually to pick the time when I am showing :)

Would it work for show organizers/competitors if the entries allowed the rider to pick a time for the class? First come/first pick of the time slot.
Yes, you would likely not have your class "pinned" until the end of day, but you would have your score/be able to read the comments. Most people don't need all the ribbons anyways.

This would really encourage people to enter early, and likely allow enough "empty" slots so same day entries would be practical - just fill in the empty slots. If two riders pick 8:57, I assume no one would have a heart attack if they were bumped to 8:50 or 9:10.

The judge likely does not care that much what goes on in front (they do not need to see 10 training level rides in a row to stay in the groove of judging?), plus they judge against a standard, not "best of class shown".

This is just a thought I had. What do you guys think? Would that work? Be a good thing?

Equus
Aug. 4, 2011, 12:50 AM
That would never work, that's asking for scheduling conflicts. What about riders who show two different level in different arena's? Or what about riders who have multiple horses to show?

honeydoozy
Aug. 4, 2011, 01:39 AM
It would be convenient for competitors, but there is a very specific rule (USEF) on the books that says you have to run classes in their entirety (with exceptions for riders on multiple horses in the same class) to keep judges/conditions consistent and fair.

Interesting idea, though. :)

xQHDQ
Aug. 4, 2011, 06:42 AM
We sort of have something like that for casual shows. These shows are held on Thursday afternoon/nights. They don't count for anything. It used to be that you could just show up whenever and ride in front of the judge when you wanted to, but they've become very popular, so now you need to call quite a bit ahead. However, you can still say, I want to show around 5 pm or around 7 pm. Horses aren't pinned; you just get your score sheet. And you can come straight from the field (no braiding and in schooling breeches).

Commander Cody
Aug. 4, 2011, 06:44 AM
I actually did that for an evening series of schooling shows. I made "blocks" of time, ran each "block" as a class (regardless of test) and let people pick which say half hour block or blocks they wanted. It worked great for a SMALLER schooling show (very informal) but would be impossible for a USEF licensed show. I do suggest people try it for schooling shows - it works pretty nicely.
You do need to have a judge that is flexible. My tests ranged from Intro to Int I.

dudleyc
Aug. 4, 2011, 07:32 AM
You might enjoy this:

http://www.horseshow.com/

mzm farm
Aug. 4, 2011, 09:57 AM
Is there a USEF rule that specifies that classes need to be randomized throughout the day?

Why don't the shows run from most advanced to least advanced or vice versa. Any predictable order, or at least announce order prior to entries being due - is that against the rules as well?

As far as riders with multiple horses/multiple rings - if the rider has the choice of time, they would not schedule themselves at the same time for two horses anyways, so it seems like that could be worked out. Interesting that there is a rule against it. I did not know.

Horseshow.com is a fun idea. Natalie Lamping is judging the dressage portion, so her opinion would not be unworthy, IMO.

AllWeatherGal
Aug. 4, 2011, 10:15 AM
Is there a USEF rule that specifies that classes need to be randomized throughout the day?

No. The schedule is usually put together for the convenience of competitors. Often upper level will be early if it's expected to be hot. Other times it's scheduled near the lunch break so the most people can watch. Especially musical rides, which are the biggest crowd-draw.

There is a requirement that a horse be given at least a half-hour break between tests, so that requires some scheduling ... and ideally the show runs such that competitors don't have to spend all day at parked trailer because one test is early and the second test is late in the day.



Why don't the shows run from most advanced to least advanced or vice versa. Any predictable order, or at least announce order prior to entries being due - is that against the rules as well?

Difficult to predict. Rules also specify that judges get a certain amount of break time. It's nicest for everyone to not schedule that in the middle of a class, so if you can fit in two smaller classes instead of a big one, it's a plus.

Having said that, I think show managers do tend to run shows from least advanced to most.



As far as riders with multiple horses/multiple rings - if the rider has the choice of time, they would not schedule themselves at the same time for two horses anyways, so it seems like that could be worked out. Interesting that there is a rule against it. I did not know.


One rider may not, but someone needs to coordinate three or four different riders. And then you have people like Lynn Palm who easily rides 10 horses a day in 4 different test levels and two arenas. Plus she wants to support her students that are showing.


Horseshow.com is a fun idea. Natalie Lamping is judging the dressage portion, so her opinion would not be unworthy, IMO.

The web site is a fun idea and has a lot of merit. Natalie can sit in her favorite chair with a cup or glass of her favorite beverage and no other distractions. Presumably she can also sort the videos herself to view the rides grouped by test.

But if you want to understand how a dressage show actually works, sign up to be an assistant at a dressage show, even with 1 arena. I can't think of anything better than personal experience to get a flavor of the effort. Even with super-duper software support!

MysticOakRanch
Aug. 4, 2011, 10:49 AM
Is there a USEF rule that specifies that classes need to be randomized throughout the day?

Why don't the shows run from most advanced to least advanced or vice versa. Any predictable order, or at least announce order prior to entries being due - is that against the rules as well?

.

For one ring shows, I totally agree, run them in some kind of order, either highest to lowest, or lowest to highest levels! Too many times, I see the FEI scheduled mid-day, which means a huge break between concurrent classes (and hanging out at the trailer for hours). It is often the one-ring shows where we just haul in for the day.

But for multi-ring shows, the only way to make it work so people get a mixture of judges (which most riders want/need for awards and qualifying requirements), and without conflicts, is to mix up the levels. AND - it makes the judges happier, since they get a combination of levels to judge.

I find the best way to make it convenient for MY schedule is to ride one test each day - which only works well if you have a horse who doesn't need a "warm up" test...

mbm
Aug. 4, 2011, 12:21 PM
That would never work, that's asking for scheduling conflicts. What about riders who show two different level in different arena's? Or what about riders who have multiple horses to show?

our local schooling shows pretty much do this..... they give folks the slot they want or if nothing requested put the rider where they want them.

it really helps riders with many different horses becuase they can ride them all together and then go home :)

honeylips
Aug. 4, 2011, 12:33 PM
"There is a requirement that a horse be given at least a half-hour break between tests, "

Umm - no.
There is a rule that one rider on DIFFERENT HORSES must be given at least 50 minutes between rides. But no rule about a 30 minute break between rides on the same horse.

rothmpp
Aug. 5, 2011, 07:32 AM
.

it really helps riders with many different horses becuase they can ride them all together and then go home :)

Take it from someone who schedules dressage shows, for every person who wants their rides one right after the other, there is another person who needs half the day for either themselves or their horse to recover before their second ride.

Same thing with putting the tests in order. For every person that is riding First 3, some will want First 2 to be first so they have a warm up test, others will be using First 3 as the warm up for Second 1.

I've been known to say "Damned if you do, damned if you don't."

SillyHorse
Aug. 5, 2011, 08:19 AM
The only way you could do what is suggested would be have the rider carry his or her test sheet down to the scribe. Otherwise, the scribe would have to fish through the whole day's pile of tests to find the right one. And then, in order to get the test sheet the scribe would have to come out of the booth or tent before every test and approach a strange horse. Untenable, in my estimation.

AllWeatherGal
Aug. 5, 2011, 10:22 AM
"There is a requirement that a horse be given at least a half-hour break between tests, "

Umm - no.
There is a rule that one rider on DIFFERENT HORSES must be given at least 50 minutes between rides. But no rule about a 30 minute break between rides on the same horse.

Oh! Thanks for the clarification. Musta been a convention at the shows at which I assisted.

handfish
Aug. 5, 2011, 12:46 PM
On-site childcare!

CosMonster
Aug. 5, 2011, 02:03 PM
Yeah, I've seen local schooling shows run like that and it can work really well in that venue, but from volunteering at rated shows I just think it would be a logistical nightmare. Plus I have to admit, I wouldn't want to be showing my training level green bean sandwiched between two lovely third level horses while someone else gets to go after an intro rider...judges are only human and it seems like it's a more level playing field if they're judging the rides in any given class all in one go.

It is really nice in a small casual environment, though. I do kind of think more schooling shows should consider it.

Spectrum
Aug. 5, 2011, 02:34 PM
As a horse show organizer, I can tell you there are many reasons why horse shows may seem to be randomly scheduled to the casual observer. However I can tell you that while some organizers may have different preferences, almost all recognized shows are scheduled they way they are for a reason.

Regarding the rule that classes must run consecutively, there is a very important reason for this: FAIRNESS to competitors via consistency of judging and similar riding conditions. Judging requires the judge to sit at high attention for several hours of the day analyzing the slightest movements during each ride with a great deal of detail. A judge is not going to be in the same mental place at 8:45am after a cup of coffee as at 3:45pm in the sweltering heat of a summer afternoon. Nor is a horse. Would you like to be the person riding your third level test in front of a cranky judge on a hot horse in 90 degrees at 3:45 when your competitor Sally from across the aisle had a sweet 70 degree ride in front of a fresh judge at 8:45? No. It wouldn't be fair to either you or your horse, and it isn't a representative score for placings because you didn't compete under the same conditions. But it might make Sally very happy if she were to send off her entry on the opening date for every show and thereby achieve a 2-3% advantage on every score for year end awards simply by being first in line for a "good" time slot.

Regarding timing of FEI classes, I've heard many opinions on this. Some like to schedule the classes early when the weather is more cool and the footing is more fresh. Others will schedule at noon and say "Eff the horses, I want spectators to be able to see the fun rides." Still others will schedule FEI at the end of the day in an effort to keep competitors on the grounds (buying stuff) longer.

Scheduling the inevitable smattering of trainers who are riding 4-6 horses each ends up being the biggest scheduling hassle, and inevitably prevents the type of orderly schedule (going lowest to highest or vice versa) that might make the day easier to plan out. When you have a trainer riding in T-1, T-3, 1-1, 1-3 (with 3 horses) and I-1, you can see how that would require delicate scheduling. Now multiply that number of rides times 3 and space it out between 2 rings throughout the day. Now do that with 4 trainers. Now look at your time conflicts and rearrange everything.... Wash, rinse repeat until you get a workable schedule.

At the end of the day, competitors get a scheduled time so they know when they need to ride. Giving "convenient" ride times is just not a workable concept if all competitors are to be given equal opportunity within each class. The only way to make it fair is to make everyone equally out of control of their own ride times and make them all ride together in the same conditions.

Spectrum.

DutchDressageQueen
Aug. 5, 2011, 05:58 PM
Would be VERY nice to pick your own times, but too much/hard to handle for show organizers.

mzm farm
Aug. 5, 2011, 07:19 PM
Do show organizers know how many rings they are going to have prior to receiving all entries?

As far as "fair" - well, some horses are better 1st thing in the morning, and some are better when the heat mellows them out. As far as "fresh" vs. not judge - that is always luck of the draw. So it may be that Suzy has a lovely ride at 3-1 at 8am, and Sally's hottie does better at her 3-1 test at 12:45 and a couple of dozing off moments from the judge don't hurt either.

I do not think it is realistic to say that a judge is consitently less attentive as the day goes by, or that footing deterioration happens at a consistent rate, etc.

Really, if people knew how many rings, and which judge is in which ring, why could they not be responsible for scheduling their own rides and avoiding conflicts for themselves? They know what they need as far as time to coach, prep, etc.

I really find it very frustrating when the higer level of the test is assigned an earlier time then a lower one (like 1-3 being before 1-1), that makes no sense to me.

I really understand that show organizers have a tough job. I just do not find the current system "in my favor" as far as time management. And in this economy, I find myself voting a lot more with my pocketbook - less customer service, less of my money allocated to that "product". With a majority of shows depending on AA, and we are not getting any younger as a group :), nor have less commitments outside of our hobby, I think show management needs to give some consideration to their consumers in order to keep them coming and increasing the demand for their product.

Petstorejunkie
Aug. 5, 2011, 08:44 PM
you could bid on ride times.... like ebay
keep the class time slots relatively together so as to keep with the rules.
I know I'd pay an extra $10 to get an 8:00am time when by 11:00 it's already reaching 100* out....

Eggplant_Dressing
Aug. 5, 2011, 10:44 PM
Then what would the show manager do with 15 entries that requested a 9am ride? Meaning - do you think anyone prefers to show at 1pm in 103 degrees?

Let the judges judge the classes. They are a class, one at a time, but a class nonetheless.

TheHorseProblem
Aug. 5, 2011, 11:48 PM
At the last show my horse was in, the classes reversed their order from day to day, so that on the first day, the upper level classes were held early, and the following day, the lower levels were first and the upper levels went last. So if you were a PSG rider, you had to ride at 7:30 AM, Saturday, but not until 3:30 PM Sunday. Fair as far as the "freshness" of the judge, but that makes for an awfully long show for that upper level rider.

I get what you are saying, MZM (and hello there!;)). Maybe it's as simple as listing the classes in order of scheduling on the show premium, so that you can guestimate when you might be riding, if you'd have time to trailer in, or if you should get a stall, etc.

AllWeatherGal
Aug. 7, 2011, 10:26 AM
Do show organizers know how many rings they are going to have prior to receiving all entries?
.

A hopeful idea, maybe, but the number of arenas often depends on the number of entries.

mzm farm
Aug. 7, 2011, 11:42 AM
Doesn't each ring need a separate judge? Those are usually announced, at least in our area, months in advance. I hear some people basing their decision to enter a show or not depending on who is judging. I can see adding another judge/ring last minute creating some discontent.

If a show decides to have an extra ring a week before the show, as the entries are coming in, how do they line up a judge?

This seems a very nuanced process.

yaya
Aug. 7, 2011, 02:42 PM
It's all a crapshoot.

You start by basing your needs for judges on previous shows. Obviously, this only works for established shows. And sometimes that doesn't even work. We've had shows go from two full rings one year to barely filling one ring the next, which left us with an extra judge. We didn't want to have both judges judge each class, because that wouldn't give competitors two chances at qualifying in a weekend. You could double-judge all but the qualifiers, but that makes for a lot of traffic in and out of the judging boxes (and I think that particular facility wasn't set up for a side judge). Luckily, we are near a great tourist area, so with their permission, we just used each judge one day (but paid them for both days) and each judge got to go play tourist on their day off.

A new show would have to make a flying guess, but sometimes a show manager will poll the local trainers to see who would be interested in attending a proposed show and try to gat an idea on numbers from that, to see how many judges are needed.

In cases where a show needs an extra judge in a hurry, often they go to whoever is closest and available.

yaya
Aug. 7, 2011, 02:47 PM
Oh, and many new shows will just limit to one ring the first year and see how entries go from there. If they are lucky, they might have to turn away entries the first year, but they can add a second judge/ring the next time.

J Lav
Aug. 7, 2011, 04:14 PM
We have a space on the entry form that allows riders to put their preferences as a request ie early or late times, longer or shorter gap between rides, order of horses if riding more than one etc.

It doesn't guarantee the organiser will be able to fulfill these requests but most will try to accomodate riders wishes were possible.

We do have a rule though that championships, regionals, area festivals etc must be drawn order (with obvious allowances if a rider has more than one horse in the class) so you could end up with huge gaps between classes if you're doing more than one.

Alpha Mare
Aug. 8, 2011, 01:59 PM
I have had good experience asking the show manager for ONE (1) general request, e.g., 'show after 11am' or 'show before 3pm' on the entry form.

Here in mid-atlantic they usually have the FEI levels early in the day both for the heat and so they won't scare the newbies while practicing extended canter in their warmup. They go in reverse order (FEI, then Fourth, then Third) for 1-ring show.

For 2-ring shows it may get more mixed up but having the higher level classes early on the hot days seems to be the general guideline.

I think it is hard to ask for a very specific time - if you can have a 'before' or 'after' time request that seems to be viable.

Posse977
Aug. 12, 2011, 08:21 AM
I do the scheduling for very popular, 2 ring schooling shows in NE Ohio. We seldom use local judges- we have been bringing judges in from other states. My shows are always oversubscribed- especially in the current economic climate, as our prices are reasonable and we have good judging.

That said- you can never, ever please everyone. Scheduling varies widely in my shows- based on what mix of tests people are entering. the tests are a smidge longer than they were, and the drop to only 3 tests per level has often made getting people in front of both judges impossible. I run the intro classes first as we run them in the small ring to save on time. We also run our Novice Training 1 and 2 in the small ring. I try to schedule the ring change at either the morning break or lunch. It all depends on the mix of entries. Then, I finish the TL level tests and go on from there. First Level and up can be in a variety of orders- depending on how many entries. The show this weekend is heavy on First 1 and 2. Intro tests are basically 20 minutes apart. I try to schedule the rest with less than an hour between, but it doesn't always work. There are some lengthy waits at this show and I expect complaints. Basically, too bad, try scheduling yourself if you think it's so easy. Oh- and don't forget the equitation classes. I get paid $3 per entry and the entering, scheduling, and prep work for the show takes me close to 20 hours, plus at least a 10 hour day for the show, plus a couple hours getting results posted online and misc things mailed out. We accept about 60 entries per show. You do the math. Scheduling is done by hand (well, I use an Excel spreadsheet, but the popular show secretary for recognized shows around here uses a pencil and paper... It's very time consuming!).

SillyHorse
Aug. 12, 2011, 08:37 AM
Quit yer bellyaching, Posse, and get back to work. :lol:

AllWeatherGal
Aug. 12, 2011, 09:17 AM
And oh, by the way, if you're not full it's tempting to accept late entries ("but I only need ONE more score to qualify, please, please help me!") which means you can't release a final schedule until ...

I've been secretary for a 1-ring 1-day show ONCE ... let me say I'm very grateful for all the folks who contribute to the sport by dealing with all of this -- volunteer OR paid!!

I'm really appreciating this thread and getting a reminder of how much effort organizers devote to a few special minutes of a rider's life. And THEN we show up with all the paperwork we didn't include in the entry and you have to collect the fees or verify memberships on the spot. With a smile. You guys rock.