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  1. #1
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    Default Differences in how the hack is judged at local/schooling/smalle shows

    Has anyone else noticed a slight difference in how the hack is judged at bigger/rated shows and smaller/local/schooling shows?

    I've got two horses. One that's a very very flat kneed "Virginia style" horse and one who's more of a modern warmblood with a bit of knee. The flat kneed VA horse always seems to pin at smaller/local/schooling shows no matter how he goes (assuming he behaves). He has both a good trot and canter. When he's tired, he doesn't always want to frame up and move from behind. When he's not, he tends not to do as well at bigger/rated shows. Doesn't seem to make a difference at smaller/local/schooling shows.

    The other horse has, IMHO, a really great canter and a good trot. But man, it's a GREAT canter. He tends to always pin better at bigger/rated shows. Even in clearly better competition.

    I especially notice this difference at CCHSA shows where in some divisions the hacks come before the jumping (don't ask me). The VA type horse always does better at these shows.

    My theory is that the judges at smaller shows are making their ranking decisions much earlier, during the time that the horses are trotting the first direction. The flat kneed horses is starting off higher because he's got the trot and the other horse is starting off lower because he doesn't. And that judges at bigger/rated shows are sitting back and waiting to see the entire picture/including what they saw of movement over fences and the second horse is getting a bump up for the good canter/jump.

    Other theories? And assuming that theory is correct... why? Just the judging style of less experienced judges? Regional judgind difference (the local/schooling shows tend to have very local judges where as the rated shows have more of a mix).

    This has always left me a bit curious...
    Last edited by vxf111; Dec. 18, 2012 at 12:14 PM.
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  2. #2
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    I've always assumed that its because the local shows are a little more "behind the times" if that makes sense so award the more traditional flat TB type of mover moreso then the more modern WB type.

    Also maybe that local judges are going to be more "all arounders" with more western/QH style exposure?

    I'm not sure...that's just what I've believed on my local circuit!



  3. #3
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    I really think it all comes down to the judge, personally. Plus I think local shows might take suitability into account more than a bigger rated show, especially because most local shows I've been to the divisions are lower than that of rated shows. I've never been to a local show with a 3'6'' hunter division, and anything under that suitability is going to count for something. But I will readily admit my schooling show experience is fairly limited.
    Currently blogging for Chronicle of the Horse. Articles can be found here: http://www.chronofhorse.com/category...ryan-lefkowitz



  4. #4
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    Not sure, but I will share some of my observations, whether they are rated or non-rated shows.

    It seems that some judges prefer the flat-kneed, toe pointers and focus a lot on what the horse does at the trot. IME many, but not all, of these toe pointers tend to be a bit tight in the shoulder, with much quicker action. These types of horses tend to point their toes whether they are framed up and moving from behind or not. So even if they are not moving their best, they still look ok enough to pin.

    Other judges tend to focus on how free the horse is through the shoulder and engaged they are behind, which happens to show well at the canter. Often, I have found these horses have a bit more knee action and have a bit more suspension so they are slower and cover more ground. These horses tend not to move as well when they are poking around on their forehand. I have had a few that can move like absolute cart horses if not ridden right, but then, when ridden right, can do quite well, even win a few hacks here and there. Even so, they absolutely, will be at the back of the pack if the judge likes the flat-kneed toe-pointers.

    I have always felt that the local level shows focus on pinning the "pretty" trot. It could go either way at a rated show. The difference could be a matter of preference (like you said regional vs. national-level judges) or it could be a matter of the type of horse at the shows. The more I show, the more I learned that flat classes are where judging preferences tend to have more weight, so I just go in and hope for the best


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  5. #5
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    interesting...I have a very flat kneed "Virginia" hunter pony myself...she's a classically good mover in a TB style. She wins the local hacks, has not shown rated but I would be curious how she'd pin. Her canter is nice, but her trot is what gets her noticed I think, so that is interesting your thought OP about making the decision in the first trot. Interesting discussion!



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by salymandar View Post
    Not sure, but I will share some of my observations, whether they are rated or non-rated shows.

    It seems that some judges prefer the flat-kneed, toe pointers and focus a lot on what the horse does at the trot. IME many, but not all, of these toe pointers tend to be a bit tight in the shoulder, with much quicker action. These types of horses tend to point their toes whether they are framed up and moving from behind or not. So even if they are not moving their best, they still look ok enough to pin.

    Other judges tend to focus on how free the horse is through the shoulder and engaged they are behind, which happens to show well at the canter. Often, I have found these horses have a bit more knee action and have a bit more suspension so they are slower and cover more ground. These horses tend not to move as well when they are poking around on their forehand. I have had a few that can move like absolute cart horses if not ridden right, but then, when ridden right, can do quite well, even win a few hacks here and there. Even so, they absolutely, will be at the back of the pack if the judge likes the flat-kneed toe-pointers.

    I have always felt that the local level shows focus on pinning the "pretty" trot. It could go either way at a rated show. The difference could be a matter of preference (like you said regional vs. national-level judges) or it could be a matter of the type of horse at the shows. The more I show, the more I learned that flat classes are where judging preferences tend to have more weight, so I just go in and hope for the best
    Ditto this. I think most rated judges tend to be better educated than local ones and so they put more emphasis on the canter and on correct, engaged movement whereas many local judges are swayed by a flashy trot. I also feel that at rated shows how your horse jumps and how you did over fences has more bearing on your placement in the hack.

    I've found that at local shows the same horses tend consistently to be the hack winners while at the rated shows a horse could be the winner one time and not even get a ribbon next time out.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayaty02 View Post
    interesting...I have a very flat kneed "Virginia" hunter pony myself...she's a classically good mover in a TB style. She wins the local hacks, has not shown rated but I would be curious how she'd pin. Her canter is nice, but her trot is what gets her noticed I think, so that is interesting your thought OP about making the decision in the first trot. Interesting discussion!
    I'm wondering if the judges look a little differently at the ponies and still reward the daisy cutters.



  8. #8
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    CCHSA judging is pretty consistent in quality, however I would say the judges tend to be on the more "old school" side. In my experience they regularly pin the most flat-kneed mover in almost all shows i've attended. This past summer I rode a big Eq type WB that is like the WB you describe. Didn't pin in the hack at all, has more suspension than is desirable for the hunter hack. I also ride an Appendix QH with a flat kneed daisy cutter stride, wins reds and blues all day under saddle.

    It's been my experience at CCHSA shows that the best mover wins as long as it goes under saddle with a good attitude.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tua37516 View Post
    I also ride an Appendix QH with a flat kneed daisy cutter stride, wins reds and blues all day under saddle.
    This is perhaps a good example of what we're talking about here. I also know of an attractive QH cross large pony who has a nice flat kneed trot and pins very well (usually blues) at local shows, but because of his shoulder conformation cannot pick up his forearms over the jumps. He did the children's at an A and did not pin at all. The owners could not understand why, but after watching him jump the judge did not use him in the under saddle.



  10. #10
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    I was at a small local show a few years ago to get qualified for our state medal finals and did the Adult Hunters on my horribly awful-moving jumper. He jumps really cute, but 2 splints later he is far from a hack winner, or placer when there's more than 6 horses

    But to fill the hack for someone who needed points we went in and loped around and won! Haha the judge actually came up to me after the class (there was a water/drag break) and said "I just love your horses jump, he's not a great mover but he seems so happy, so I placed you first"

    Now, was I happy I won? Sure. Did I look dumfounded walking out of the ring? Absolutely. Do I agree with the placing? Not at all. But I guess it made up for all of those classes I "should have" won



  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by roamingnome View Post
    I was at a small local show a few years ago to get qualified for our state medal finals and did the Adult Hunters on my horribly awful-moving jumper. He jumps really cute, but 2 splints later he is far from a hack winner, or placer when there's more than 6 horses

    But to fill the hack for someone who needed points we went in and loped around and won! Haha the judge actually came up to me after the class (there was a water/drag break) and said "I just love your horses jump, he's not a great mover but he seems so happy, so I placed you first"

    Now, was I happy I won? Sure. Did I look dumfounded walking out of the ring? Absolutely. Do I agree with the placing? Not at all. But I guess it made up for all of those classes I "should have" won
    It pays to assess your competition!!! - I think in this case, although your horse is not a particularly good mover, he was pleasant and had a good expression, and in a class of a bunch of average movers with no clear winner, as a judge, you take the well mannered, pleasant animal that jumps well to boot.



  12. #12
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    My hunter and my eq. horse/back up hunter are both lovely movers; not quite 10's, but they always pin in great company. They are both BIG boys and BIG moving with super lovely shoulders. If my hunter has enough energy, he hacks well enough to be in the top 6 at WEF, HITS, VT, The Hamptons, etc. If my eq. horse doesn't get heavy and on the forehand and gets that delicious slooooow, massive step, he hacks well enough to be in the top three at WEF, HITS, VT, The Hamptons, etc. Unfortunately my eq. horse doesn't jump nearly as well as my main hunter. He'd be the whole package otherwise!

    That all being said, they almost *never* pin locally, or if they do it's quite low. This seems to be pretty common across the board for the "bigger" show horses (as in the ones who do more than just the local circuit), so it may be that the judges are trying to give other deserving trips a chance at good ribbons/points/championships/etc. Many of the judges at our local circuit are "r" or "R" judges and will pin these same horses at the bigger shows. But it also may be that they are big, lofty movers and not daisy cutters. Who knows!
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  13. #13
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    My mare on a good, I'm not a total fruit bat, spooky, crazy day will win the hack in good company at AA's, even places well in real derbies, take her to a local show as a more affordable prep for the bigger shows and on her best day is dead last. She is a big mover, toe pointing, round, with lots of suspension. Carries pace but is rhythmic with a 10 jump. Every local we've gone to the nose poked out, dead to the world flat mover wins, even the "derbies" which is supposed to reward brilliance.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by EAY View Post
    Ditto this. I think most rated judges tend to be better educated than local ones
    Oh please...

    I also feel that at rated shows how your horse jumps and how you did over fences has more bearing on your placement in the hack.
    You killed your own argument stone dead right there. The judge is supposed to judge the horse as it appears in front of them during the hack, NOT on what it did 10 minutes ago over fences. Giving special preference in the hack to a horse they liked over the jumps is a judging ERROR. End of.

    As to the OP's question, I vote that local trainers are more likely to be old school.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by War Admiral View Post
    Oh please...



    You killed your own argument stone dead right there. The judge is supposed to judge the horse as it appears in front of them during the hack, NOT on what it did 10 minutes ago over fences. Giving special preference in the hack to a horse they liked over the jumps is a judging ERROR. End of.
    I agree my logic is a bit faulty there and I myself have been on the receiving end of this prejudice, being completely overlooked in the hack on a horse who was not jumping well that day, but I would still argue that for the most part the rated judges are better educated than local ones. In my experience the former are more likely to look at the entire package, i.e. the canter as well as the trot, the engagement from behind and the ability of the horse for self-carriage.

    Consistent with HJAlter84's experience, many local judges will not pin big moving horses with suspension. I had the opposite situation, a big-strided, pretty toe pointer who would win the local hack every time but who had a tendency not to engage her hind end properly (it turned out to be a physical issue). At the AA shows, the judges would only use us when I really got her using herself correctly, and rightly so.

    I agree that some of this is old versus new school, but I think sometimes it's because the judge has been swayed by a flashy trot and is not looking at the entire package. Rated judges might also be more likely to look to the canter as the more important gait, since we jump from the canter.



  16. #16
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    My sister and I both own lousy trotters with a lot of knee. We didn't buy either one to win the hack on, and that's a good thing, because they don't. I filled the flat for her junior/amateur division at a local show a few years and we joked that we'd finally find out which of our bad movers was worse! Between them, my sister's Thoroughbred horse has a flatter trot with better length of stride; my horse has a very nice canter and looks nicely through the bridle. It was a class of one decent mover plus our two. The decent mover won, my sister's horse came second, and mine came third. I watched more flat classes later in the day (it was a judge I respect who trains some very nice A horses) and she was liking good trot, OK canter better than OK trot, good canter. A WB type with a really exceptional trot won everything, even though he was being young in the canter. He came into the ring so far ahead of everyone else that he was doing it better wrong than everyone else was doing right!
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by War Admiral View Post
    Oh please...



    You killed your own argument stone dead right there. The judge is supposed to judge the horse as it appears in front of them during the hack, NOT on what it did 10 minutes ago over fences. Giving special preference in the hack to a horse they liked over the jumps is a judging ERROR. End of.

    As to the OP's question, I vote that local trainers are more likely to be old school.
    AGREE! Each class "should" be judged like they never saw your horse before.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tua37516 View Post
    CCHSA judging is pretty consistent in quality, however I would say the judges tend to be on the more "old school" side. In my experience they regularly pin the most flat-kneed mover in almost all shows i've attended. This past summer I rode a big Eq type WB that is like the WB you describe. Didn't pin in the hack at all, has more suspension than is desirable for the hunter hack. I also ride an Appendix QH with a flat kneed daisy cutter stride, wins reds and blues all day under saddle.
    Suspension has little to do with flat-kneedness. The really awesome horses point their toes AND have suspension (i.e. that push across the ground that just oozes power). Rumba, for example, has suspension but also points his toes.

    It's been my experience at CCHSA shows that the best mover wins as long as it goes under saddle with a good attitude.[/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by Showpony View Post
    AGREE! Each class "should" be judged like they never saw your horse before.
    M'eh. A lovely moving horse that jumps terribly shouldn't be winning the hack, IMO. If you want to win, find shows with flat divisions only.
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