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  1. #1
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    Default Sporthorse Judge writes comment: "Horse won't make 4th level"

    I scribed for a judge yesterday who is also a sporthorse judge. I have scribed for MANY judges, including some I's and O's on both right and left coasts, and have ALWAYS come away with a good feeling about each judge. WELL, not this time. Zero personality, expressionless face, dry sense of humor that was humorless. Oh, and some really odd comments about some of the rides.

    This person also said she competes and is planning on bringing her mare out at an FEI level. Sitting with her reminded me of a comment she wrote on a friend's mare's in hand test last year. She wrote in the comments, "this horse won't make 4th level". When I read this last year, I thought: That is a bunch of B.S.!! How could any compitent person claim that a horse will not make 4th level based upon it's conformation, it's walk, and it's trot? My friend's mare was very well mannered, so that says something about her mare's brain to me. Having a good brain it one of the most important parts of trainability up the levels.

    What are your thoughts on this?


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  2. #2
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    Apr. 6, 2006
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    Chalk it up as a learning experince: you have learned that this is a judge that you will never choose to show under.


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  3. #3
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    Default

    Ha, ha, ha. Yeah, not a fan. But, has anyone else ever heard of such a thing, or does anyone follow the same train of thought?


    She judged one of my young mares at the same sporthorse show and commented that my mare was lame in front. Laughed HARD at that one! "No sweety! Mare is as sound as well, I was gonna say a dollar, but that might not be a good analogy! (you get the picture!). My mare just has one white foot in front, and your judgement is way off! Thanks for playing!".


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  4. #4
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    Oct. 6, 2003
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    Purcellville, VA USA
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    Hmm, wonder if it is the same judge that told a friend of mine her mare
    "needed a stronger hoof wall" in a breed show...we almost wet our pants we were laughing so hard...we could only look at each other and say "REALLY??!"


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  5. #5
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    Oct. 2, 2007
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    Mirabel, QC
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    Default

    In fact, some people ARE capable of telling a horse's limits just by their conformation!

    Let's not forget, conformation is not about PRETTY. It's about FUNCTION.

    If I had such comments on a scoresheet, I'd run to the judge and ask more questions. But I have a genuine interest in the critics I get.
    www.EquusMagnificus.ca
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  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EquusMagnificus View Post
    In fact, some people ARE capable of telling a horse's limits just by their conformation!
    Conformation only tells part of the story. Some beautifully conformed horses have no heart, are stupid and/or ill tempered. Some poorly conformed horses have the heart, mind, and will-to-please to overcome all of their conformation faults.


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  7. #7
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    Exactly what Renae said! No one can predict how far a horse will go based on conformation and W-T alone.

    E.M., I too would have asked for a further expansion on the "won't make 4th level comment", but the owner chose not to pursue it. I think it would have been educational. After having sat with this person who is no scintillating conversationalist, I can't immagine a person being able to have a constructive two-way conversation with her about the said topic.


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  8. #8
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    May. 5, 2008
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    Default

    Years ago I had a horse who was a bit weak behind when we began extensions. He would sometimes compensate by swinging one hind leg out to the side to avoid stepping under.

    One renowned judge told me the horse had locked stifles.

    Another renowned judge who was also an international rider told me he had a horse with the same tendencies and that horse went to the Olympics. He then proceeded to tell me how to fix the problem and strengthen the rear end.

    Dressage is a process designed to build the horse's ability. It is not an end in itself.


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  9. #9
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    Mar. 8, 2004
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    Baltimore, MD
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    Not making 4th level is sort of irrelevant at this point isn't it? That would be like someone telling me my horse won't be a derby horse. Well there is a lot of room inbetween derby horse and can't run a lick, so I think I could live with that. Some people are stupid.


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  10. #10
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    Sep. 15, 2005
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    near historic Gettysburg PA
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    the QH cross I had as a kid, with the best of minds, and the most barely average trot ever born, made it to FEI... and did well.

    It's one thing for a judge to add a comment like "very athletic type, should jump great as well"...

    or negative one like " lack of suspension and hind end strung out behind" .

    I find it inappropriate for a judge to make a comment negatively predicting the future, Breed Classes are generally one day ( in a very controlled atmosphere) in a growing horse's long childhood. I know of several FEI judges who think a breed show record generally worthless in some cases for predicting a horse's abilities.

    I think I would be tempted to file a competition evaluation.
    "It's not how good you ride, It's how good your horse covers for you." -Kristan
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  11. #11
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    Oct. 23, 2001
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    I wonder if this is the same inspector turned judge- that told everyone at inspections like 3-4 years ago in several states that their horses were narrow at the base~LOL~
    I was at one inspection where there was a girl there with her very first WB at her very first inspection & the inspector told her that her horse would be nice if they could cut its legs & head off & give it a better shoulder- OH!~ and it was narrow at the base..
    Poor girl left crying.


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  12. #12
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    Jun. 21, 2004
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    Cairo, Georgia
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    I don't think that judges should make such bold statements as they judge youngsters. It's just a phase in the young horse's life & those statements could stay in everyone's mind for the life of the horse when in fact it might either grow out of the problem or compensate for it in other ways.
    Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!
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  13. #13
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    May. 25, 2006
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    Nor Cal
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    I once got the comment: "very cute, but dressage?," at the next show we were called back for the breeders championship. That is showing for you. I never take one persons opinion to heart....but try to take all comments into consideration as part of a whole.


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  14. #14
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    Aug. 3, 2006
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    64

    Thumbs down

    I too have done a lot of scribing - and most of the judges I have scribed for are great. The one you are talking about sounds awful - and frankly I think it is long since past time for people to stop ignoring the really bad ones. If it was not fun or educational to scribe for her - it was not fun or educational to ride for her. She gets paid to do a job - if she is doing a poor job, somone needs to hear about it.

    For dressge to grow as a sport we have to have good judges - unbiased, fair, knowledgable and positive. Without that - what is the incentive to compete?

    Write a letter to the USDF. You can go to their website and get the names of the people that are in charge of judges. Be specific about your concerns. Sign your name. They will get back to you. One of two things will happen, the judge will get some feedback from the USDF and modify her behavior, or with enough complaints she will stop judging.


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  15. #15
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    I would definitely write a letter to the USDF about this. It's totally inappropriate. And why is this judge wasting time being a judge - he/she could travel around the country telling people what levels there horses will be able to compete in for a fee!
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  16. #16
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    May. 5, 2008
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    Default

    I was scribing at the USEF/USDF Young Horse Championship once upon a time and the judge commented "Oh gawd, I'm not going to be forced to judge THIS!" when a non-warmblood entered the ring.


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  17. #17
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    Jan. 28, 2002
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    Alberta, Canada
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fantastic View Post


    What are your thoughts on this?
    As a judge myself...embarassed to know she is a fellow judge. Sounds like someone's ego has gotten the better of them...and if they are that bitter and not enjoying their job anymore, they need to retire from judging! As a side note, I've often found the officials that judge like that, and then boast about their own showing, FEI prospect, etc. are often the ones that are an embarrassment in the ring when they do come in with their horse to show!

    Our job as a judge is to judge what's in front of us on that particular day ONLY! Each exhibitor has spent countless hours grooming, training, traveling to the show, money spent on entries, hotels, stabling, trainers, lessons, etc., etc. and each deserves a judges undivided attention and their 15 minutes of fame in the ring to show the judge what they've got or what they can do.

    Contrary to popular belief, the good judges are really rooting for each and every exhibitor to come in the ring and do well with their horse, be it in dressage, hunters, in hand, etc. And we do keep our fingers crossed that all goes well. What if that particular rider and horse combination only ever wanted to just take dressage lessons at home and attend the occasional show at First Level and never go past that? Does the judge really have to throw in a comment about never being able to do 4th level? And what does that have to do with that particular animal, in that class, on that particular day? What if this is a hunter/jumper person who has decided to switch over to dressage and is just being bit by the dressage bug? Does anyone think that a comment like that will keep the exhibitor interested in staying with the sport? I'm not saying that a judge should sugar coat anything either, but jeepers!

    And like others have said, while conformation can tell a lot, under saddle training, heart, attitude, conditioning and growing into oneself can also tell a lot, and sometimes that can take a long time to develop. Crumb, look at Big Ben. If anyone has ever seen him in person or seen a conformation shot of him...even Ian Millar will tell you he's a conformational nightmare as a jumper. But somehow it just worked!

    As a scribe, I don't know that there is much that can happen if you complain to the USEF or USDF...but having that complaint on file might end up coming in handy for them at some point.

    How disappointing.
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  18. #18
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    Jul. 5, 2002
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    FL
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    Fantastic, you have a PM.


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  19. #19
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    Sep. 29, 2007
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    Northern CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse'sMom View Post
    I wonder if this is the same inspector turned judge- that told everyone at inspections like 3-4 years ago in several states that their horses were narrow at the base~LOL~
    I was at one inspection where there was a girl there with her very first WB at her very first inspection & the inspector told her that her horse would be nice if they could cut its legs & head off & give it a better shoulder- OH!~ and it was narrow at the base..
    Poor girl left crying.

    Hahaha, and if you go through and dressage biomechanics training, they will tell you base narrow is what you WANT, it is much easier to influence a base narrow horse (ie lateral work becomes much easier). Base wide (sprawled) horses are harder to ride in the mid and upper levels! Hmmmm, I had an inspector who did that too - wonder if it was the same inspector?

    What an obnoxious comment to the girl

    Now, here is the interesting question - what correlation is there between horses who do well "on the line" - ie. look pretty and can walk and big trot in hand, and those who do well under saddle? I read a few statistics two years ago - and I can't remember WHERE, darn it - that said NO CORRELATION AT ALL! And I think much of that is because in-hand classes (and inspections) don't evaluate temperment or the canter - two "kind of" important factors for the performance horse!
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  20. #20
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    Nov. 1, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by ise@ssl View Post
    I would definitely write a letter to the USDF about this. It's totally inappropriate. And why is this judge wasting time being a judge - he/she could travel around the country telling people what levels there horses will be able to compete in for a fee!
    They could make quite a good living at that couldn't they? Would be nice ot have such an accurate crystal ball.

    There is a draft cross in B.C. (name of course escapes me, read about him in Connections magazine..Dressage Canada publication) who is a P.M.U. auction find. Doing FEI level work and not too shabbily at that apparently. Would have been interesting to see that judge's comments about him as a young horse.
    I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.


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