Q for Judges: Why no test scores in the 10% to 30% range?
In the qualifying rule thread, a statement was made that there are FEI level riders that are making judges "cringe." My question is why are those rides not marked between 10% to 30% which are variants of "bad?"
No one came to the BB to answer the question of why judges award scores of 5 and above to rides that make judges cringe. I am truly intersted in this question and its answer as judges & the test scores are at the heart of a qualifying rule.
So why are judges giving scores of 50%-60% (sufficient-satisfactory) to rides that are so bad that observers pity the horse? Can anyone shed some light on this?
9 Very good
8 Good 2 Bad
7 Fairly good
5 Sufficient / Marginal
3 Fairly bad -->> is the riding bad enough to elicit the cringe cringe reaction here?
2 Bad -->> or here?
1 Very bad -->> or here?
0 Not executed
Where are the test scores in the 10% to 30% range if there is such bad riding out there?
I highly recommend that every rider get the (new) fei book which defines 0-10 for every movement, with explainations.
Scores of 4 (insufficient) and below necessitate impurity of gaits or that very little of a gait continously shown or just plain major errors (ie broke). But most riders have some idea of the training scale/rules, and have a few things correct. That does not mean that scores within 50% do not have some 4/3/etc with in the body of the test or even in the general impressions, but also perhaps a 6 here and there. I know the lowest score I ever gave was 19% (to a fourth level ride) because there was not a recognizable gait and/or movement throughout the entire test...no hysteria just no clue. Two L's sitting with me thought that that was too high, it was awful (the highest score was 3 with 2s/1s/0s. There usually are a some high 30s-40 at every (average) show,just like there are a few 70+. But both ends of the bell curve is very thin at both ends. My highest ever was a 90% at training, and an 86% at third, they were 8/9/10 tests with a few blips. Most of the time sustained lower scores are either problematic (ir)regularity/poor riding/misbegotten methodology or out of control horses for what ever reason, but few riders are steadily that problematic. Most of the time sustained high scores have horses/riders with very secure developed seats, wonderful balance, clear methodology, and a clear understanding of the rules.
A 5 is not a good score, it is marginal. I have seen horses in the 40's if something in the basics was really wrong... lateral walk and canter.
The judge gives credit for making it past the letter in more or less the right gait.
A formula given to me by one judge to watch simple changes through the walk at 2nd level where this movement is introduced.....
6 c-t-w-c or also c-w-t-c (some judges will more harshly score the cwtc with their own personal methodology)
4 c-t-c or c-w-c with 1 walk step
3 c-halt canter
2 canters through the movement does a flying change a half a circle later
Did they make it from point a to point b....did they more or less do the movement.... if they did you can't give them a 0
the 8' are for a nice moving horse with a good quality canter that correctly performs the movement, your 9 might be for that same horse that sat and really engaged in the transition to walk, and your 10 might be for the same horse that also was really well balanced into the canter depart.
Judging is slightly subjective as each judge has her own personal judging methodology, however...it was really interesting to see that groups of us had really close scores and comments and placings. The biggest difference when judging is when one judge is at C and one at B... You see different qualities in that test.
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i think a lot of people stop when its going that badly. so their scores dont show up in the numbers, too when someone has that poor agrasp of things they tend to do things that get them elliminated so another reason the scores don't show up in the numbers.
You have to think about it from a mathematical perspective. I have seen judges give out plenty of 3s and 4s before for individual movements (obviously that is how they score). So if most movements are 5s and then you have a few 3s, 4s, and 6s thrown in, well, then mathmatically, the actual score will likely be in the 40s and 50s which I think you will find there are much more of. It is the same mathematical formula that might give someone a 4 on a movement or the horse bucks during a movement and they still win the class.
Like someone said before, no matter how bad it might be, the pair is typically at least doing something resembling the movement so a 3 or 4 is realistic unless it is a flat out 0 for not doing the movement at all. It is very subjective (even more so than doing a movement well vs great IMO) as to what constitutes a 1, 2, or 3. I mean, what is the difference between a fairly bad canter transition or a very bad one? They are just BAD!
After I sold my GP horse a guy by the name of Frank Grello rode him in a FEI test and since he had no idea what was asked for he only received 30%. He left the arena and never returned to dressage as we know it.
Thanks for the replies. As a quality engineer, one of the first things one does is do a "measurement systems analysis." This is to determine whether the measurement system in place can actually measure whatever one is trying to measure.....in this case how can one measure "cringe factor" riding.
So what data do we have:
(1) There seem to be enough poor riders to elicit the "cringe" reaction from judges and other observers. No one seems to dispute that there is some really bad riding going on.
(2) Yet only 0.027% of the dressage test scores were below 39.999% (qualities of "bad") out of 107,232 rides between training and 4th level in 2007.
This is an incongruity that would interest most anyone that studies quality systems.
The answers thus far to explain the "incongruity" are:
(1) Judges give high marks to get invited back, which effectively truncates the lower half of the judging scale.
(2) The directions for use of the judging scale (per ideayoda/FEI book) do not provide for use of the low end of the scale to sanction "cringe factor" riding.
Scores of 4 (insufficient) and below necessitate impurity of gaits or that very little of a gait continously shown or just plain major errors (ie broke). But most riders have some idea of the training scale/rules, and have a few things correct. That does not mean that scores within 50% do not have some 4/3/etc with in the body of the test or even in the general impressions, but also perhaps a 6 here and there.
So the question that a "measurement systems analysis" would ask is how come a measurement tool (the dressage test) does not allow appropriately LOW total test scores to be given to riders who everyone agrees are riding poorly enough to make observers cringe?
I have attended several A-B-C sessions in the L-judge's training to understand this myself. The sessions did not answer the question for me as there were no video examples of rides meriting 1-2-3 scores.
Perhaps if we engage in a dialog with people experienced in shows, judging, and training we can arrive at some objective conclusions...or at least compare notes and arrive at some common observations.
I'm sure there are people who agree with this statement. That effectively truncates the scale from being a 10-point scale to a 5-point scale effectively making 5 the "new" 1.
Using a 5-point scale is ok from a quality perspective.
However, today we do still have a 10-point scale that judges are trained to use. What I don't understand and would like someone to explain is how the use of the dressage tests allow "cringe" riding not to get the lower end of the 10-point existing scale currently in use.
How many tests do you all get to see? How do you know that the judges do not give 0/1/2/3/4 and a few 5/6s???? I know I use the scale (ride it get it, or not), but equally I know that the further you go to either end the more one score can really drop the average...ie 9/10s with a couple of sixes and you are into mid 80s rather than 90%. Equally one can give 0-4 but one or two 5s and the score is up high 30s/40s. Remember that 40 means the average of the test is insuffienct.
Could you post what % of tests is 40-49%%?
I DO think the 'cringe factor' SHOULD BE addressed on the RIDER score...which should have clearly divided factors (which we have already discussed here).
And within the 'cringe factor' how many horses STILL (because they are so naturally generous) have pure gaits (5=)? If they are pure than what aspect is 'cringeworthy'? Breaking repeatedly? Drop the score? Above or behind the bit steadily/submission problems? Drop the score. Impulsion problems? Drop the score.
I was a runner for FEI classes once and had to stand right behind the judge to take the sheets to the scorers right after the test. She gave quite a few 1's and a couple of zero's. That by NO MEANS would indicate that the WHOLE RIDE got a 10 or less. Most of these people wound up with scores in the 40's with some individual scores of 0, 1 or 2. As bad as some people are, I can't even imagine an entire ride with a score of 10 or less, or even in the 20's. It's just that some movements just aren't executed. E.g. - 'There was supposed to be a piaffe there. I didn't see a piaffe - zero.' That doesn't mean the whole test rated a zero.
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I scored in the range of 59-63% once with a 3 in the test, there might have actually been two because of the movement. Pony picked up the wrong lead on canter circle so we broke gait to pick up the correct one. I think we got a 3 on the canter and then a 3 or 4 on the circle because of it. Fortunately the rest of the scores were mostly 7-8's.
i think part of the "problem" is that the system was created back when the quality of riding probably was much higher generally. so they didint have to factor in "the cringe factor"
it is an interesting problem - because i absolutely believe there are plenty of bad riding going on and yet those bad rides get decent scores......
i think for dressage to become more transparent and happy within its own constituents, TBTB will have to figure out how to correctly judge cringe worthy rides.
and also, i just want to say that i am super happy that finally people are noticing the bad riding and hopefully something will be done about it!
Hmmmm. I don't think that the quality of riding used to be higher. I think that today, the quality of horses are higher because of shorter generation time and ease of importing breeding stock and semen. Flashier gaits score well. Not that that long ago, people used to compete in general purpose saddles. Look at dressage riders in the 70s - only 30 years ago. many of our best riders clocked what would consider to be "cringe worthy rides" by many today.
I also see plenty of trainers mounting their students with expensive horses that they make a nice commission from. THAT is a problem.
Judging truly cringe-worthy rides is simple. Score them low. Very low. A judge is clearly not doing his/her job if they don't score this way. The excuse about not being invited back is just that - an excuse. Reward non-flashy gaits but good riding. It won't take long for people to figure out that quality training supercedes flashy gaits. As long as flashy gaits are rewarded, good and bad riders alike will continue to seek out and show flashy gaited-horses.