I have been asked to judge a schooling show that is state level. It is most likely going to be Intro - 2nd. I am both honored and excited; it is going to be fun!
I have scribed extensively at national levels, for CDI's on both coasts, and have received extensive training from an I and and S judge, etc. I have taken usdf instructor cert classes, have my usdf bronze and silver medals, and do some teaching.
Aside from brushing up on rules, studying and familiarizing myself with all of the tests, any advice or words of wisdom out there?
Keep in mind the range of scores all of the time. Sometimes you just get "6" tests, but if you're only using a range of 3 or 4 points, you have a bunch of automotons, or you're not doing something right. I'd rather see a variety of scores that show me clearly where it's right and wrong, and I assume other people do, too. It's great if you can really find one thing they did "good" and give an 8.
It's VERY easy to get overly critical and low. Sometimes you need to. I feel like I score high, but when I look at the added up scores, they don't seem so.
Try to give useful hints throughout as to what they need to do in scoring, as in "circle needs to show correct geometry."
For end comments, start with something good, and then try to be instructive. A lot of times people already know what you're saying, and while you might want more expression or straightness, they're just glad they stayed on. If you have time and they allow, since it's a schooling show, I just like to say a few words to them to give them an idea of one or two things to work on so they can improve before them come in again. It's a schooling show, so being as helpful as possible is good.
Remember the levels. At intro., if they stay on and in the ring at the right gait, that's pretty good! Often these horses or riders are about to have a heart attack. (Exaggerating, but you get the idea.) Training level is TRAINING, so relax. First level is a bit more, and second level you can be more to the point.
I have never found a need for aspirin and thick skin if you keep the attitude of you're just trying to tell them what you see at that time and that day and be helpful. Laughing with them when everyone knows what that horse just did is very helpful. Relax. Have fun.