PDA

View Full Version : Tell Me How to Judge Hunters in a Schooling Show!



Nomini
Nov. 2, 2011, 08:28 PM
I'm soliciting a little cross-discipline help. So I am by all definitions an eventer. I have competed through the ULs and I teach, train, etc. I often judge small local schooling shows (jumpers and equitation) and teach eventing clinics. The show I am judging this weekend, however, has thrown in some hunter flat and o/f classes.

Any pointers on how exactly to judge these? Its a very small local show, nothing fancy. Lots of green kids and horses. I know what I'm essentially looking for in a good horse/ rider, but I figured someone here would have ideas on how to pin 10 kids in a hunter class a little better than I do!

Thanks in advance!

amylmac
Nov. 2, 2011, 08:46 PM
If they are anything like the schooling shows around my neck of the woods you'll be lucky to get 10 horses in a class and of those maybe 2-3 will get around without a refusal or two. There within lies the rub. Do you pin the best of the worst or talent? Good question ...hope more contribute . I am anxious to hear opinions, thoughts about this. I say pin talent.:yes:

Brydelle Farm
Nov. 2, 2011, 08:56 PM
Check out, http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2011/16-HU.pdf, HU-5 (HU 131-137) and http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2011/12-EQ.pdf, EQ-1 (EQ104) and EQ-2 (EQ108-114).

If you can get your hands on Anna Jane White-Mullen's book, Judging Hunters and Hunter Seat Equitation, you will be good to go.

Ray
Nov. 3, 2011, 07:03 AM
in Hunters, you are judging the horse. for o/f, score each fence, for form over the jump, a nice distance, correct strides between related distances, hitting the middle of the jump, straightness and evenness of pace to and away. performance at the beginning and end of the round and between fences also contributes to the score. good transitions should be rewarded. rubs and rails are penalized. you should decide ahead of time, perhaps consult the show management, if its a low level show with young kids, you might not penalize simple changes of lead, but a horse with flawless auto changes should be rewarded and disobedience related to changes should be penalized. a hunter should go around calmly and look very easy to ride, with a ground-covering canter with a good rhythm. for the flat class, you are again judging the horse. the quality of gaits, and responsiveness to the aids. its up to you to instruct the steward as to the commands, ie when to walk, trot and canter. green horses should canter with very few at a time, maybe 3, so they dont get excited. the other kids stand in the middle of the ring to wait their turn. good transitions should be rewarded as well as a pleasant demeanor (on the part of the horse) and obedience. at the lower level, a hunter will go in a very long frame, and lower level kids wont have mastered connection with their hands, but some connection and/or a horse that carries itself in a nice balance should be rewarded

hntrjmprpro45
Nov. 3, 2011, 09:29 AM
It usually comes down to which round scares you the least :)

No, in all seriousness Brydelle Farm offers great advice. It's really not too hard, Anna Jane White Mullin's book is excellent.


Check out, http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2011/16-HU.pdf, HU-5 (HU 131-137) and http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2011/12-EQ.pdf, EQ-1 (EQ104) and EQ-2 (EQ108-114).

If you can get your hands on Anna Jane White-Mullen's book, Judging Hunters and Hunter Seat Equitation, you will be good to go.

Lucassb
Nov. 3, 2011, 09:34 AM
As the indoor shows just wrapped up, you can likely find plenty of Youtube examples of what pins in a (higher level) hunter class. At a local show you are basically looking for the horse that comes closest to that ideal, as described above.

On a practical level, though, your challenge will be deciding which faults are the least egregious... ie, is the horse who had the late change/cross canter in that one corner the winner over the other who had the "clean" round but hangs a leg over every oxer? What about the nice animal who packs the rider around like a seeing eye dog, but whose rider had steering issues or added in every line because they were hanging on by the reins?

Judging local schooling shows is a tough job; I wish you luck!

HRF Second Chance
Nov. 3, 2011, 09:40 AM
It usually comes down to which round scares you the least :)

.

I just had to say :lol::lol::lol::lol: Amen to that!

snaffle635
Nov. 3, 2011, 09:49 AM
Brydelle's suggestion is great. Anna Jane White Mullin's book is excellent.

We recently had a small schooling show for the lesson kids and gave our judge the advice to pin in reverse order of her heart rate. :)

I judged a small local show last year and it was ridiculously difficult. At shows like this, I'd give a huge bonus to safety over type and style.

GypsyQ
Nov. 3, 2011, 09:53 AM
It usually comes down to which round scares you the least :)


This.

In judging schooling shows in the past, I have focused more on safety, suitability and obedience of mounts over talent. A lot of people are either riding school horses, or else greenies who don't know where their feet are.

Just remember, if you can't watch the round then it probably shouldn't get a ribbon.:eek: And 2-strides should not be jumped as a bounce.

AmmyByNature
Nov. 3, 2011, 10:10 AM
Step 1) Buy Anna White Mullin's book Judging Hunters and Hunt Seat Equitation.

Step 2) Read it cover to cover. Read it again. Agonize over the difference between a 9 mover and a 10 mover. Think about what bothers you more, a slight lean in the air or less tidy hind end.

Step 3) Agonize some more.

Step 4) Go to the show.

Step 5) Ignore 99% of what you just learned from the book.

Step 5a) Decide what's less bad -- scary or dangerous. Is trotting changes worse than missing distances? Is cross cantering through the corner worse that one-legging it out the line?

Step 6) Pin the rounds that don't make you wet your pants.


Seriously, though, at a schooling show you'll have to thing about a few major things. These include lead changes and quality horses vs accurate rides. You should talk to the organizers before the show and see how they feel about the classes. You can ask them -- do you want me to mark down for simple changes? Should I spread the ribbons around in the beginner classes? Are we allowing polos and martingales in the flat classes? Should I tie up sixth place?

When I judge a schooling show, my hardest decision is between horses that are CLEARLY the best animal out there but not ridden very accurately vs. horses that are, honestly, pretty terrible movers and jumpers but march around like a champ. Schooling shows are where accuracy should count for a lot, but in a hunter class, you also HAVE to consider the quality of the horse. That'll probably be your hardest task. (Unless the rounds really are so terrible that it's just a matter of ranking them in order of the number of refusals and major errors they make.)

Also, and I know this from experience, if you pick your favorites in the flat class and then use the second direction to rank their order, be careful at whom you're looking when you ask them to canter the second direction. I've have to re-trot more flat classes when my favorites pick up the wrong lead...

Small Change
Nov. 3, 2011, 10:15 AM
Another suggestion with your flat classes is to try to walk the line between working your class long enough to find your winners (and let everyone feel they had a goodly amount of time in the ring under your eye), and not so long that you lose your winner when it becomes exhausted and breaks the canter, or spooks in the corner and switches leads on their 89th lap of the ring.

NancyM
Nov. 3, 2011, 10:16 AM
An easy method is to assign a score for each jump on the hunter course, out of 10. Don't be afraid to award full marks if you think it is lovely, and 1 or 0 if it is horrific. Circled "R" for a refusal. Circled "K" for a knockdown and a sideways Z for breaking pace (simple change). Then at the end of this shorthand critic of the round, award a grade based on what you have seen so far, or your overall impression of how you think the round will end up placing. A+, A, A-, etc, down to the lower grades. This will grade the overall appearance of the round in your opinion, including smoothness between the jumps, striding etc.

For a low level schooling show, with few entries, this system will produce a winner and placings that are adequate without using the system of squiggles used in higher level shows, where there will be less to choose between the well ridden rounds.

joiedevie99
Nov. 3, 2011, 11:37 AM
The only thing I can add to what's been said is to look at the prizelist. Technically, hunters is judged on performance (of the horse) and soundness, unless stated otherwise. Sometimes, a prize list will say "manners and suitability to count." IMHO, this is a good indication that the show intends for the safe, accurate trip to win. The only other thing that can be added is conformaton- but I highly doubt you'll run into that.

DMK
Nov. 3, 2011, 11:57 AM
And sometimes a really brutal assessment of the weighting of common faults is warranted (this is my list, YMMV):

refusals are bad, pray for the scary horse to have 1 more than the good horse!

knock downs are bad, knock downs with the front end are worse than with the hind end

Not getting the lead is inevitable, but in the not getting a lead department I think of it this way:
bucked kid off after request for lead change (worst)
drop change (breaking gait)
cross canter
counter canter
late lead change behind
got actual real lead change! (best)

within that group it gets kind of grey, because if the cross canter was scary unsafe and the drop change was safe and kind... well the breaking gait was bad, but not as bad as dangerous, then you can beat yourself up about how dangerous is dangerous, because you are never lucky enough to have it be the really hair raising kind of scary, just the kind where you go "note to self - don't buy this horse if he is for sale..."

Getting the numbers is good, adds are worse ... UNLESS getting the numbers meant a headlong frightening gallop down the lines. Again safe trumps dangerous. I wouldn't punish them for not getting the numbers, but if somebody makes the numbers and does a good job with one minor mistake (gappy getting out of the first line, for instance), chances are it's going to pin over the horse that added without that minor mistake.

But a lot of the local shows come down to an easy 1-2-3 place and then toss up the papers for 4-5-6 because again, the desired goals versus safe/scary rides can really play havoc with your ideals.

Oh yes, and be prepared for your winner to be that old campaigner, kind as he can be, looking sort of crippled behind.

Come Shine
Nov. 3, 2011, 12:42 PM
These are great!

hntrjmprpro45
Nov. 3, 2011, 01:32 PM
And to add to DMK's list, You will often see alot of really bad distances.

You'll see anything...

From small chips to spots so deep the horse jumps off of 3 legs.

From long spots to leaving strides out, reaching and diving.

From slightly crooked, to knocking over standards.

And usually the lower the division, the worse it gets. I once judged a beginner division where no one scored over 55. One horse was so bad I considered asking for a DNA check to verify that it wasn't secretly a cow.

DMK
Nov. 3, 2011, 01:45 PM
Another suggestion with your flat classes is to try to walk the line between working your class long enough to find your winners (and let everyone feel they had a goodly amount of time in the ring under your eye), and not so long that you lose your winner when it becomes exhausted and breaks the canter, or spooks in the corner and switches leads on their 89th lap of the ring.

And for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT watch your "winner" when they ask for that last canter depart - you know where he is in the ring, look someplace else!! You are well within your rights to sort out places 2-6 during the second half of the class (and no sense jinxing him). :D

War Admiral
Nov. 3, 2011, 01:49 PM
And for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT watch your "winner" when they ask for that last canter depart - you know where he is in the ring, look someplace else!! You are well within your rights to sort out places 2-6 during the second half of the class (and no sense jinxing him). :D

Bwahaha, wish someone had trained the judge to do that at my greenie's last show! (Yes, he did, he had the class WON until he spotted cookies at railside during the 2nd canter depart!) :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

Realistically, it actually DOES come down to which round scares you the least, for the most part.

December
Nov. 3, 2011, 01:50 PM
I think schooling shows are the hardest to pin. I would agree with pinning safe and steady, but sometimes you don't even have that! Good luck!

M. O'Connor
Nov. 3, 2011, 06:53 PM
The ribbon winners have to be the ones who have most successfully delivered the goods in executing the course, with the nicest style in comparison to the others.

The indoor shows aren't actually all finished with--the National Horse Show is going all week, and the rounds are archived, so you have ample opportunity to do some practice scoring.

AmmyByNature
Nov. 3, 2011, 06:56 PM
The ribbon winners have to be the ones who have most successfully delivered the goods in executing the course, with the nicest style in comparison to the others.

The indoor shows aren't actually all finished with--the National Horse Show is going all week, and the rounds are archived, so you have ample opportunity to do some practice scoring.

If I practice scored the National Horse Show and then showed up at the types of schooling shows I usually get roped into doing, I think I would cry.

rugbygirl
Nov. 3, 2011, 07:04 PM
Don't you just accept bribes from "big name trainers" and the biggest one gets the highest placings?

:cool:
:winkgrin:

vbunny
Nov. 3, 2011, 07:13 PM
No great advice to add but I just looked at your photos and I LOVE your pony. I have a young one coming along that's a little small (and also chestnut) so it's extra nice to see :).

Fillabeana
Nov. 3, 2011, 07:39 PM
For a schooling show, if your first-timers, really green kiddos classes are really big, get some extra ribbons for third through sixth, and have lots of 'ties', even 3-way or 4-way ties, so everyone gets a ribbon.

I would suggest a fence-height cutoff, say 2'3" or 2'6" for example, below which simple changes will not be penalized, discuss with show hosts and make it public. Nobody needs to be careening around trying not to break gait, in a 2' hunter schooling show.
A pre-arranged method of dealing with adding strides isn't a bad idea, either. No reason to penalize a nice trip around a 2'3" course with several added strides, over someone going too fast and unsafe but getting the strides every time.
You DO want to reward safe, pleasant, quiet trips over scary ones.

And hey, if it were ME judging, I'd have everyone do their canter depart at a particular place in the arena, trot until you get there, and canter at the far gate...for the more beginner types you can pre-arrange a nice corner to help them get their lead, for the more advanced make them do it at E, along the longside. Same for transition canter to walk, then you can see everyone's transitions. That would make it a lot easier for me to judge a class, without anyone having to complain about Joe the Winner whose horse didn't take the right lead at first so had to trot and do it again.
But that's just me.

MHM
Nov. 3, 2011, 08:00 PM
When you weigh the faults in the jump classes, remember: Safety first. If you're not sure, think to yourself, "Which of these horses would I put my own (hypothetical) child on?"

And again in the flat classes: Safety first. If you have a flat class of beginners, don't hesitate to split them to canter if you think things look questionable. If I'm watching them trot and the thought even crosses my mind, I go ahead and split them.

My preferred method is to have them all walk and trot, walk, reverse, walk and trot, and line up. Then I will count halfway down the line, and tell the announcer, "Number 123 can walk forward and track left, and everyone to her left can spread out and do the same." Canter, walk, reverse, canter, walk, then that first group lines up and the other half goes to the rail to canter.

It takes a few more minutes for each class, but it takes much longer if something goes wrong and you have to wait for an ambulance to show up. :eek:

WB Mom
Nov. 4, 2011, 08:41 AM
Not a judge here, but remember, how (or what) you pin will encourage that type of ride when they go home. I think small schooling shows are very difficult to judge for all the reasons mentioned. Of course judging means making some folks happy and some upset, that can't be helped. However, it is very important the judging is consistant regardless of how you go about it. My personal opinion FWIW is for schooling shows to encourage young riders to place value on a good solid safe foundation.
So, ask yourself, after the show is over, what message do you want all those young folks taking home with them? The answer to that question may very well be your most important job as a judge.

DMK
Nov. 4, 2011, 09:23 AM
If I practice scored the National Horse Show and then showed up at the types of schooling shows I usually get roped into doing, I think I would cry.


Well it could replace Step 1 in your very thoughtful process, and you know, there *might* not be enough time to pick up and read a copy of The Bible. :D

Herbie19
Nov. 5, 2011, 08:28 PM
And for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT watch your "winner" when they ask for that last canter depart - you know where he is in the ring, look someplace else!! You are well within your rights to sort out places 2-6 during the second half of the class (and no sense jinxing him). :D

I'm so glad the judge did this when my hack winner broke stride when cantering right to avoid a horse cantering at him going to WRONG DIRECTION!!! This was actually at a AA horse show. Go figure.

lisa
Nov. 7, 2011, 04:31 PM
Step 1) Buy Anna White Mullin's book Judging Hunters and Hunt Seat Equitation.

Step 2) Read it cover to cover. Read it again. Agonize over the difference between a 9 mover and a 10 mover. Think about what bothers you more, a slight lean in the air or less tidy hind end.

Step 3) Agonize some more.

Step 4) Go to the show.

Step 5) Ignore 99% of what you just learned from the book.

Step 5a) Decide what's less bad -- scary or dangerous. Is trotting changes worse than missing distances? Is cross cantering through the corner worse that one-legging it out the line?

Step 6) Pin the rounds that don't make you wet your pants.


Seriously, though, at a schooling show you'll have to thing about a few major things. These include lead changes and quality horses vs accurate rides. You should talk to the organizers before the show and see how they feel about the classes. You can ask them -- do you want me to mark down for simple changes? Should I spread the ribbons around in the beginner classes? Are we allowing polos and martingales in the flat classes? Should I tie up sixth place?

When I judge a schooling show, my hardest decision is between horses that are CLEARLY the best animal out there but not ridden very accurately vs. horses that are, honestly, pretty terrible movers and jumpers but march around like a champ. Schooling shows are where accuracy should count for a lot, but in a hunter class, you also HAVE to consider the quality of the horse. That'll probably be your hardest task. (Unless the rounds really are so terrible that it's just a matter of ranking them in order of the number of refusals and major errors they make.)

Also, and I know this from experience, if you pick your favorites in the flat class and then use the second direction to rank their order, be careful at whom you're looking when you ask them to canter the second direction. I've have to re-trot more flat classes when my favorites pick up the wrong lead...

This. Is. So. True.

I still remember when I was judging and had to decide where to place a non-hunter that was actually ridden quite well, and the others, most of which had some fault but were higher in quality.

ccoronios
Nov. 7, 2011, 04:45 PM
I second the "safety first" advice. I also really lean toward the 'thinking riders' - those who may take a bit more time in their transitions, those who anticipate and RIDE rather than just try to imitate the BigEq look and get in messes because they can't concentrate on looking pretty and riding at the same time.

I knew NO ONE at the last small schooling show I judged - a friend (who did not show) boarded at the barn and recommended me. After the show was over, several trainers were milling around, and one thanked me for judging and told me "You are the most consistent judge I've ever seen. After the first two classes, we knew exactly what you were looking for at the different levels and you never waivered. Thank you." She did not mean that I pinned her kids first all day long. I was overwhelmed.

I like the idea of lots of ties for the little-bitties.

Carol