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  1. #1
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    Default Weird judging choices at show -- Bugging me

    I stopped at a small, local open show yesterday just to watch the group of English Pleasure and Hunter flat classes. I didn't know any of the competitors, so I'm not going all sour grapes on you here, but the judging was poor.

    There were many lovely, classic hunters and hunter riders tooling around the ring, and there was one peanut-roller type thing gangling around with a passable but awkward-looking rider aboard (there was much better equitation in the ring than his).

    This peanut-roller won ever class he entered. The horse was held in a humped-up, head-down, shuffly stance, not as short-strided as Western Pleasure horses, but not your nice, long cadence of the hunter horse.

    I'm guessing the judge came from the Western Pleasure world and was judge calling things as he saw them, but if this is the case, you would think he would attempt to educate himself a bit before judging these classes?

    On an interesting side note, in one of the open classes, there were about 10 or 12 horses and just three had male riders, and the men took first, second and third. Isn't that an odd coincidence, considering, well, the odds?

    Just wanted to throw it out there because it was troubling to me. It seems, at the least, the better hunter riders on more huntery horses would have been fairly confused. Was this a fluky thing -- just a small show with a Western judge?



  2. #2
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    Small show, western judge. One of the reasons I don't do our local open shows. Cheap to enter and decent prize money but the judging can be quite questionable!



  3. #3
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    Ha ha, yes I went to a show like this this summer. My mare is green, but very confident and lovely, never-miss style. Classes were held in an outdoor field, rolling terrain, impressive solid jumps. I think we were about the only entry who made the distances, did not add stides down the lines, bold galloping. And were only placed when all other clean rounds had been exhausted in the prize order. Judge liked hunters that went SLOWLY, slow canter, adding strides. A friend did a lovely round on her green horse too, a winning round IMO, and didn't get placed at all in one class. Sigh, shrug. Cheap to enter, cheap milage for green horses. Sometimes it goes the other way, your horse does things that the small time judge likes, or is the colour that the small time judge likes, and the payoff swings your way instead, and you win when you should not. So it all works out in the end. Results at small time schooling shows are not important to people there to school their horses. What is important is how YOU feel about your ride and your horse's performance.



  4. #4
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    Apples and oranges...and the judge may well have been educated. Just because he preferred a different style of going does not mean he was ignorant. And I doubt there was a "male rider" conspiracy going on.

    Breed show "Hunters" simply don't go the same way...heck, most of them never see a jump or get out of that slow canter into anything resembling "pace". The don't have to, it is not what they are judged on. They are simply different.

    Small, unrated shows hire judges that are available on the show dates at a price they can afford. Sometimes they get lucky and sometimes...they get what is left, cheap, that does not need a plane ticket and hotel.

    Never overthink this too much.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilbertsCreeksideAcres View Post
    I'm guessing the judge came from the Western Pleasure world and was judge calling things as he saw them, but if this is the case, you would think he would attempt to educate himself a bit before judging these classes?
    Nope.

    The judge is hired for his/her expertise. The judge has the right to believe that his perspective is exactly what the show organizer wants.

    So blame the show management if you don't like the judging - they picked out the person and their POV. And yes, at many small local shows, the organizer is either choosing someone cheap, someone they heard about but don't really know anything about, or a good friend.

    Been there, been judged by that.
    "She still had all of her marbles, though every one of them was shaped funny and rolled asymmetrically."



  6. #6
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    Most open, local shows here are breed show-type shows, not hunter/jumper shows. I am guessing the prize list said who the judge was, and if you were showing you probably would have found that out for yourself - but that this was a breed show judge. As said by others, educated, but in a different style. It's a good chance to school a hunter, but not a show to expect placings if not in the breed show style.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  7. #7
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    OPen show judging is also somewhat political as most people know the judge as they are from the area.

    Last summer I was asked to judge an open show. Prize list stated to be based on EC rules, so I reread all the applicable EC rules, including what was considered a major fault vs minor and so on. As a result, I could not pin an lovely little appy who regularly had his head well below his withers (subject to disqualification by EC rules) and went painfully slow and shuffly...and instead placed some more forward going horses that were cross overs from the english classes.

    Found out later that Mr Appy wins EVERYTHING normally.

    I am sure people left there thinking I hated appies!

    Same sort of thing with a kid who sat nice, but was constantly jerking on her horse when she thought I wasn't looking. She placed, but low...she is used to winning.

    It was also awkward having to judge the person who hired me...fortunately her horse really acted up, so I felt fully justified/safe giving her a low placing.

    When the jumping came up...it was frightenning. So I did place the horses that added over ones that made the strides if I thought they looked safer. Jumping form hardly came into the judging...mostly just picked people/horses that I could watch without cringing.

    Judging can be a complicated business!



  8. #8
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    Yep, I would guess breed show judge, not necessarily western.

    And, for the record, I've been to plenty of local shows where the Token Males won regardless of their abilities (and, yes, classes that neither I nor anyone I'm attached to was in, so no sour grapes). I always kinda figured the judges felt (subconsciously, if nothing else) that they should encourage the guys at that level where they are so few and far between.

    I've also run open shows, and as others have said, you choose judges that fit your own ideal and that you can afford. We published the judges' names beforehand, so if competitors didn't like their style they didn't have to come - just like any other show. (And, yes, there is one particular judge who is carded but does lots of local stuff who I Will. Not. Show. Under. He spends the whole day making up rules and judging criteria out of thin air, and it's not worth the frustration even to just put on mileage! At least with a breed circuit judge I can anticipate what they are looking for, even if don't agree with that ideal or can't produce it on my own horse...) I hired judges who were more USEF-standard types rather than breed show-types, and so sometimes the breed show folks were irritated. Ya can't please everyone!
    Proud member of the EDRF



  9. #9
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    Thanks for the feedback. Just to clarify, this was not a breed show.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilbertsCreeksideAcres View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. Just to clarify, this was not a breed show.
    No, but most open shows in many areas (not sure about your area) are breed-type shows, not hunter/jumper type shows, and therefore have judges from the breed show world.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by katarine
    If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilbertsCreeksideAcres View Post
    I

    This peanut-roller won ever class he entered. The horse was held in a humped-up, head-down, shuffly stance, not as short-strided as Western Pleasure horses, but not your nice, long cadence of the hunter horse.

    On an interesting side note, in one of the open classes, there were about 10 or 12 horses and just three had male riders, and the men took first, second and third. Isn't that an odd coincidence, considering, well, the odds?
    Can't comment on judge being western background or not but we had similar experience a while back w/ a small schooling series... 1 Male rider - sloppy turn-out no tie shirt unbuttoned to bout the 3 button (not quite the Saturday Night Fever look but close).. ill fitting jacket and not a horrible rider but certainly not as good as some of the ladies in the class. These were equitation classes and DANG if he didn't beat out much better riders. First time it happened we thought OK fluke, second and third times (shows) same thing happened with different judges! We chalked it up to the judges deciding to encourage male participation and just gave him the ribbons



  12. #12
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    Back when I was showing top-level Morgans on a regular basis, my barn would hit a couple of open shows in the spring and later summer to tune up for the big Morgan shows...

    Judges either hated us or loved us.

    Morgan hunters look like nothing else in this world... they are forward-moving, at least a little hot, archy-necked, and tend to have a LOT of knee action. Many people unfamiliar with Morgans would probably think they look like saddle seat horses.

    We showed our horses according to THEIR breed type. And they looked nothing, nay, not a hair similar to the hunter/jumper types or the QH/Paint/App types. If the horses were good, we considered it a success. Rarely did we ribbon - and never did we expect to! - most judges were familiar with stock breeds. Just the way it goes in the Open show world.



  13. #13
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    Our local shows rules state "AQHA Horse show rules are generally followed." They are a basically a warm-up for the breed show circuit, so it's typically breed show judges hired to judge. MANY open circuits are this way.

    I would take a horse there ONLY for cheap miles over fences in a busy environment. The competitors in the jumping classes are downright scary, but since I volunteer to help set the course every time I'm there I know the lines are set correctly and the jumps are safe (and the footing is quite good). When I get my next green bean, I will probably show there as I can get in three rounds over a tiny course in a scary environment for $15 bucks LOL.



  14. #14
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    I did two "open shows" this spring that were placed more along the lines of what little I understand from the breed show world. I was definitely disappointed when I knew I had nailed the equitation pattern (breed show thing) but was left out of the ribbons below people who made blatant mistakes but looked like AQHA "hunters." I shrugged it off as cheap mileage in an indoor ring since I was planning to do the VHSA year-ends and wanted to get my horse indoors before that show.
    "Beware the hobby that eats."
    Benjamin Franklin



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by theinstigator View Post
    I would take a horse there ONLY for cheap miles over fences... I can get in three rounds over a tiny course in a scary environment for $15 bucks LOL.
    That's it in a nutshell. Low entry fees and cheap miles = low budget to pay the judge. You may end up with somebody who is just starting to judge, or lives nearby, or whatever.

    If your horse was good, you had a good day, regardless of the ribbons.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Across Sicily View Post
    Back when I was showing top-level Morgans on a regular basis, my barn would hit a couple of open shows in the spring and later summer to tune up for the big Morgan shows...

    Judges either hated us or loved us.
    We always said the same thing about our little ASB pony gelding my lesson kids would show. They would be let know that when showing him their only goal was the ride him to the best of their ability and to be pleased with their own performance with him because 90% of the time the judges had no clue how to judge him against the QHs & ponies. The few times he ribboned REALLY well (& won a class that show) the judge made a note "safest horse in the class" - i.e. he simply packed his little rider around doing what she asked and ignoring the other antics going on in the ring even when another pony ran up on him (I had even held my breath on that one not exactly sure what he would do). But ultimately the judges either liked him or they ignored him. And I'll admit SOME days he brought attention to himself in his hunter over fences classes by taking them all like a jumper round *sigh* (he rolled back on a corner like he was turning a barrel pattern - he gave us all a laugh, and the gal rode him well . . .thankfully it was an Eq class - she even placed, apparently his "fast pace" hit all the stride right and the judge had no clue how close to "out-of-control" he was coming; but he did all 10 jumps and slowed to a trot for his closing circle - the rider laughed as she came out "well I guess he remembered how many jumped he had to take anyways").

    But yeah = it's all up the judge and some of the smaller shows can REALLY make you wonder.
    Crayola Posse~ on the bus in Mahognany



  17. #17
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    I see this often in my area. The worst was last year, at a large schooling show. There were some superb hunters and hacks in very large classes. For one, the classes should have been split, having 40-50 horses all going around a comparitively small arena for the amount of horses was silly. Putting that aside, the judge was very similar to your judge. I ride western and English so although I was sitting next to confirmed English riders who were totally baffled by her choices, I could actually see why she was placing the way she was placing ... she was raving western! Had she been both an English rider and a western rider/judge then I think she would have been able to judge better but when you stick with only one discipline many people lose sight of what the style is for another discipline. I have to say, the first thing I did when I got home was run a search on her and yep the judge in my story is a western judge and has no affiliation with any type of English riding.

    The person who says the show organizers were at fault are right. So many show venues scrimp on costs and many are not experienced enough to make valid judge choices anyway.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebe View Post
    Nope.

    The judge is hired for his/her expertise. The judge has the right to believe that his perspective is exactly what the show organizer wants.

    So blame the show management if you don't like the judging - they picked out the person and their POV. And yes, at many small local shows, the organizer is either choosing someone cheap, someone they heard about but don't really know anything about, or a good friend.

    Been there, been judged by that.
    Yeah...that's it. Blame show management who is trying to get a diversity of judges on a tight budget and is just hoping that this person who agreed to judge is going to be good. Don't bother looking at the fact if they are never asked back.

    Small local shows, especially those in areas that aren't H/J populated, can have a very difficult time getting judges.
    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by GilbertsCreeksideAcres View Post

    On an interesting side note, in one of the open classes, there were about 10 or 12 horses and just three had male riders, and the men took first, second and third. Isn't that an odd coincidence, considering, well, the odds?
    Hmmmmm. Was the judge a woman, by any chance?

    I grew up in the Midwest. I was once beaten in an O/F class by a girl whose horse ran through a standard. (Not through a fence, mind you — through a four-foot wooden standard.) She had a very nice QH, but hey....

    Six weeks later the 4-H powers-that-be found a retired H/J judge that was willing to come out for the day, which made the H/J riders very happy, and everyone else miserable.

    Don't even ask what happened when they hired the Arabian judge....

    PS: No, I am not a snob; I do LOVE quarters and Apps and have had ridden more than a few!
    "Go on, Bill — this is no place for a pony."



  20. #20
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    We've got a saddle club in the area that regularly runs wester pleasure shows and English pleasure shows - One Saturday, one Sunday. I've gone to get some miles BUT true H/J type horses don't place well at all at these shows.

    Typically the English pleasure show is won by the same horses that won in the Western pleasure show.... they do the exact same thing both days, just under different tack. Typically the saddle club uses the same judge both days.

    In my mind, pleasure show = stock horse type.



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