The L program can be a money maker for the GMO - it must be hosted by a USDF GMO. I'm in California, which means a local chapter of the California Dressage Society hosts it - and they can make quite a bit off it, especially when they run a double session (20 people) in part 1 (sections A - D-1).
I don't think USDF makes much off it though.
As you wonder why it is an expensive program, remember a faculty member (S judge or higher) must be brought in for each session, and paid for their time and travel costs. Then materials must be copied, rooms rented, equipment available, riding facility for demo riders rented, volunteers and participants fed, etc. It is a big venture.
For those who have an L program going on in their region - I'd highly suggest auditing - generally a low cost alternative to actually going through the program! I'm waiting for it to come back to my area, would love to re-audit some of the sessions!
I'm in Region 2 and wintered in FL this year and decided to go to Region 8 for the "L" starting in January. Yes, I could have done it nearby in Region 2 or 3, but NEDA puts on a VERY well run program (Sally Davenport runs it for NEDA and does a beyond incredible job). Also, the timeline was shorter and worked out better for me. Since I had to fly out and pay for hotels each session it was a bit more expensive for me, but it was definitely worth it. It might be worth it to look around and see what other GMOs are doing the program
I'm auditing the L Program in October. It's nearby and the cost of auditing is not too high. Some days I think I'd like to be a judge, and some days, not so much. I'd rather find out first if this is for me, then worry about scores and fees. Regardless, I don't see myself making it to "r". I know some judges, and they all say that they never made back the money they spent on certification. For them it was a labour of love, not a keen business strategy.
Mystic--Hm. I don't know where the costs are coming in. I was really, really, really poor (below poverty level) when I went through it, and it was doable. I don't know why the requirements to pass with distinction would be so different now, either. Maybe I came into it with more training and background as I had done some "horse college" as well as a regular BS. Dunno. It didn't seem that hard.
I also still do not have money and have to buy "problem" horses no one else can deal with or make them from the start, and do not have the ability to get much or any help from anyone else, and I still don't think it's that hard to get a %65 at 4th level. And I'm in CA, too, competing against people who make about 50 times more than I do and spend about 100% more on everything than I do. I just don't think you need a fancy horse to be able to do it. But, maybe the word has gotten out in judging the last few years to lower the scores more. I haven't been able to do 4th level since starting up again because of horse injuries that arose this year.
I don't have a problem with this kind of requirements in ability. There really does need to be some changes in other requirements, though. There are a LOT of really capable people out there who have ridden and trained through the levels horse after horse who will never be judges because they don't want to do all of the extra costly, time-consuming stuff. A friend was an international GP rider, and he said no way. Why would he spend that much to do all that and lose money training and teaching? We need to find a way to allow those people to get their cards. We have people like Charlotte Bredhal and Hilda Gurney, which is great, but we should try to find a way to get Leslie Morse, Geunter Seidel, Steffen Peters, and all of those people who keep doing it judge's cards without having to leap through the hoops us lesser mortals have to ( and should.)
after horse who will never be judges because they don't want to do all of the extra costly, time-consuming stuff. A friend was an international GP rider, and he said no way. Why would he spend that much to do all that and lose money training and teaching? We need to find a way to allow those people to get their cards. We have people like Charlotte Bredhal and Hilda Gurney, which is great, but we should try to find a way to get Leslie Morse, Geunter Seidel, Steffen Peters, and all of those people who keep doing it judge's cards without having to leap through the hoops us lesser mortals have to ( and should.)
This position presumes that Leslie, Geunter and Steffen WANT to judge rather than ride, clinic and show. I think the fact that the judge's programs are time-consuming, filled with annoying paperwork, require inconvenient travel, and so on are excellent requirements to prepare judges for the actual job.
Not to mention the loss of income. As far as I have been told by judges about their rates, internationally-ranked riders would be hard pressed to make as much judging as he or she could do in a one-day clinic.
When I was in California I saw a fair number of younger people (25-35) going through the L program and expecting to go on to the r at some point. But they weren't done RIDING and it's a rare person who can show competitively AND judge at the same time. I also have come to learn how much mental maturity is required to be a good judge ...
I'd rather scribe for free than be faced with all the pressures. IMO, it's not a job for the faint-of-heart or stomach.
Dressage becomes art when it is a joy for the horse. -KBH
This position presumes that Leslie, Geunter and Steffen WANT to judge rather than ride, clinic and show..
No kidding Just to give people an idea of what a judge makes - S judges (Senior judges) make about $500/day of judging - which might sound like a lot, but they are probably giving up TWO days to do that, with travel time tacked on (unpaid). Those are long days - judge has to be there before the first class starts, and usually there at least 30 minutes after last class ends, then back to a hotel room, or the airport. Leslie, Steffan, and Guenter make that much for two lessons, so economically, it makes no sense at all to be a judge
r judges often work for free, since they NEED so many judged 2nd level rides before they can even think about moving on to the R status. And they only get work at multi-ring shows, since no show can limit itself to 2nd level and below (which is what r can judge). So that cuts out their ability to find work.
And there is the ongoing expense of required "continuing professional education".
Judges earn their keep - really! Many big-name clinicians don't desire to judge because it costs them too much.
Mystic--Hm. I don't know where the costs are coming in.
It costs about $2500 - $3500 to sign up for the program (including the exam which is an extra fee). Then you have travel costs (for yourself and your scribe). The program runs four weekends (sessions A - D-1), then two weekends for testing (D-2 and Exam). So you potentially have six weekends of travel costs, and for some of those sessions, you have travel costs for your scribe.
This position presumes that Leslie, Geunter and Steffen WANT to judge rather than ride, clinic and show.
I really don't think they ever would. They make much much more riding, teaching and of course showing.
Would I love to go for an "r"? Of course!
Will I? Most likely not but NOT because of the cost of the program but the cost of travel and showing.
Though many people have commented that the criterias are not that difficult to meet so I guess I'll see where I am when I get to my first rated show next year. I have two schooling shows picked out this year for which I had already wanted to try a 2-1 test.
And if it's feasible, I'll keep on working on improving up the levels.
My goal is to test for L graduate by the time I'm 40. I have 8 years to meet the goal. lol.
I have a few years of down time in the eventing world while I wait for a homebred to be born and grow up.
What not a better time to concentrate on pure dressage.
So let's look at our pool of people showing at fourth level, consistently scoring around 65%. Of this pool, you have the Olympic caliber types (Steffen et al), the instructors/pros, and a pool of dedicated AAs.
The consensus seems to be that the Olympic caliber riders, for the most part, aren't interested in the effort and expense of the judging certification. Instructors have the choice between the instructor certification program and the judging program for their certifications, and this thread seems to point toward it not being a money maker for the Professional with horses in training, students competing, and a farm to run at home.
Of course, there are benefits beyond the actual pay of judges, like being more desirable as a trainer, coach, and clinician.
So should the pool of upper level, dedicated, AAs be considered for part of the next level of judges? Evidently they would not stop being AA's... But I could imagine the judge certification program being part of my "hobby" for the next decade or so (during which, I'll could, hypothetically, get to 4th level and achieve the necessary scores), and then having it as a way to enjoy the sport as I grow older - even something to entertain myself with into retirement. There wouldn't be as much "political" pressure for an AA that's not also a coach, clinician, or trainer.
And by "Hobby," I still mean that it is something that is taken very seriously.
Last edited by Rhiannonjk; Sep. 23, 2011 at 01:51 PM.
Reason: Changing my line about them not being AAs.
The 2-1 test can be a harder ride that 2-2 or 2-3. The serpentine loop makes it quiet challenging. 2-2 is a bit of an odd test. I really prefer riding 2-3, I think it has the best flow. Highly suggest riding through all three before just picking lowest test of the level.
Not sure if I'll ever have time to go through the program but I've found that even sitting in a judges box watching is a huge help. That way you have an idea of what is and isn't visible once you get in the show ring.
Yikes guys! Yes it's true that BNT and our tip-top riders make more in one day of a clinic than they would in a weekend of judging. But not all are in this for the money!!!!! I actually know of an big big big name Olympic rider who is pushing VERY hard to be fast tracked to become an Olympic judge, and he is not alone. I know of another team rider who is too old to become an FEI judge and at this time has too many other committments to USDF and USEF - none of which he gets paid for. When he was younger he had no interest in judging, only riding, but like I said, now it's too late for him. Other top riders don't think they would be good at judging. And then yes, there are riders and BNT who don't want to simply because of the finances. But my point is that some of our international riders actually do want to become judges, and it's not all about the money (to be honest, not a lot of trainers make a ton of money either).
there is an advanced edit that allows you to delete a post.
though I think your post IS in the correct thread.
But to address your post--the % of upper level riders that want to become judges is weak.
And futher more, how many of them are doing it right now?
There is a huge difference between talk and action.
Originally Posted by Rhiannonjk
So should the pool of upper level, dedicated, AAs be considered for part of the next level of judges? I could imagine the judge certification program being part of my "hobby" for the next decade or so (during which, I'll could, hypothetically, get to 4th level and achieve the necessary scores), and then having it as a way to enjoy the sport as I grow older - even something to entertain myself with into retirement.
This is true. I think the upper level dedicated AAs are the bulk of the next generation.
But, the % of AAs in the upper levels is quite small over-all. And then we have to consider AAs that are able to take the time to pursue such an endeavor.
But I agree--it's a 10 year ordeal.
Wow, I knew you could be a Steward, and TD makes sense, but to be an AA and a judge is incredible.
So judging a schooling show would be fine, but a Ride-a-test show would cross the line?
(ARE there AA judges out there?)
I'm an AA and judge schooling shows, and yes, the "fix a test" gigs are something I won't do because it "crosses the line" into pro-hood. I do know of one R judge in my region who is an adult ammie, and I'm sure she's not the only one.
Judging is not training - and the L faculty are very clear in letting us know that! A few of the candidates I saw in the program couldn't get past that distinction, and their comments were training comments, not judging comments, and they didn't do as well in the testing because of that. It is one reason some good trainers DON'T want to become judges - too frustrating for them.
DressageArt hasn't chimed in yet, but she's also an AA who went through the L program and passed with distinction (different group then mine, but same region, and she and I scribed back and forth between the programs so had a lot of contact during the process).
And NWDressage - you are right, many of our top level judges do it for love of the sport - but reality is, if you want to train AND show, it is hard to fit judging in to the mix - and of course, if you have a lot of students, you can't judge in your region without excluding your students (and their horses) from the show, so it is hard to juggle, and one reason many talented rider/trainers don't become judges. Plus, of course, the money to get through the program...
No kidding Just to give people an idea of what a judge makes - S judges (Senior judges) make about $500/day of judging - which might sound like a lot, but they are probably giving up TWO days to do that, with travel time tacked on (unpaid).
Just curious... is there any reason show organizers don't pay the travel expenses of the judges? It seems reasonable to me that this is something they should pay for - not the judge.
Oh there are certainly complications beyond the less than stellar income. I was just pointing out that the lesser pay isn't what deters the top riders. The one Olympian I was referring to wants to be fast-tracked, which is what many others want as well because of age. It isn't a 10 year ordeal, it's at least 20 to get to the FEI. Also, they say those who can't do, teach. Well not all good riders would make good judges. And let's face it, the percentage of riders who want to become judges, not just top riders, is very low. That is not unknown to USDF, USEF and the FEI and it is something that is bring worked on.