Sep. 21, 2011, 03:36 PM
"L" Graduates and "r" Judges: Who's certified, how did you do it?
The recent thread on L Certification volunteer riders started me thinking about Dressage Judge Certification Programs.
I'm not ready just yet to pursue this but it has been an endeavor I decided a few years back that I woluld love to take a crack at. I'd LOVE to judge at our local eventing and dressage shows.
To be eligible to take part, you have to show success at Second Level with some scores above 60% or training horses to Fourth Level, or you have to have taught pupils at Fourth Level or above.
understandable, as the dressage judge should be competent riding at the level they are judging. No brianer there. I don't have access to anything more than youngsters or green horses so I'll have to make a horse to meet these reqirements....
but then comes "r" requirements--
In addition to having graduated an "L" program with distinction, a candidate must meet a Fourth Level riding proficiency requirement at a designated number of USEF competitions. Applicants also must have recommendations from at least 12 licensed dressage judges.
"r" status makes one a USEF judge for Intro-Second Level
The difference between 2nd level and 4th level is dramatic.
If an "r" judge will never be judging above 2nd then why must they have proved in competition fluency at 4th?
I feel confident that I will never have a fourth level dressage horse of my own and meeting this reqirenment will take me years. Figure, in my world, 4th level is the equivalent of an Advanced Eventer and all of my horses are sold off well before they reach that point.
In this case, do people lease school masters to get the level/score requirenments?
Last edited by purplnurpl; Sep. 21, 2011 at 05:59 PM.
Sep. 21, 2011, 03:50 PM
I think the premise is that people should have the knowledge/skills to ride and train a couple of levels beyond what they are judging. Part of the job of a judge is to guide riders to improve and move up the levels, and for that knowledge of those higher levels is essential. Also, riders pay to get the feedback of individuals who have more experience than themselves or their peers, so it makes sense that judges should have experience to a significantly higher level... otherwise we could all just video ourselves and evaluate our own rides.
Proud COTH lurker since 2001.
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Sep. 21, 2011, 04:32 PM
I completely agree! As an aside, I was stabled next to an L graduate at a show this summer who had leased a horse for the year to show at 4th in an attempt to get the scores for her "r." She had some success, but wasn't there yet.
Originally Posted by Lost_at_C
Sep. 21, 2011, 04:35 PM
and then we have:
so sad. no requirements?
Looks like my best bet would be to go for an L Graduate cert and an "r" Event Judge Cert.
I didn't realize that even existed until I googled it...today.
Sep. 21, 2011, 04:40 PM
Sep. 21, 2011, 04:44 PM
Sorry to break it to you but there ARE requirements for "r" eventing judges. Maybe you meet them, but they're not so very different from dressage. See here.
Originally Posted by purplnurpl
You missed my point... I wasn't suggesting riders are qualified to judge themselves, but rather that judges should be of a certain level/ability. That is what the judging requirements are designed to ensure.
Originally Posted by purplnurpl
Proud COTH lurker since 2001.
Sep. 21, 2011, 04:59 PM
Sep. 21, 2011, 07:50 PM
Its not just a 4th level riding proficiency, it is 5 scores of 65% or higher at 4th level from 4 different judges at USDF rated shows. That means owning or having access to a fancy horse. It does seem like overkill - the "L Program" is already a fairly high barrier, only a handful of people pass with distinction.
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Sep. 21, 2011, 09:49 PM
I graduated from the L-program last summer. I was alot more educated and alot poorer. Gotta wonder if it is a big money maker for the USDF....
Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.
Sep. 22, 2011, 12:34 AM
I have to disagree with you, MysticOak. I don't think it's hard at all to pass the "L" program with distinction. It may cost a LOT more than when I did it, but it's still a very educational process, and a LOT cheaper than what it costs to be a USEF judge. You should really not be judging if you cannot meet those requirements.
As for the "r", which I'll never do (even though I have riding requirements for S) because you have to have SO much money to have the time to do all of it, I think it's really good they have the riding requirements where they are. We used to have a LOT of judges who had not competed or trained at any level. There are still ways around it, but it's really important to have ridden and trained to help understand what you're seeing. I can always tell judges who have really done it versus those who found a way around it. You should not have to have a very fancy horse to get 4 scores at 65%. If you've trained your horse adequately and you are a decent rider, you should be able to do it, though it may take longer and more effort. I don't think there is any way they can require it, but I think the scores should be on a horse the judge trained, not bought. There's a huge difference in competency there.
I think the USEF is right in the requirements for their judges. The "L" is pretty easy to get around. I know one who got them only because I was training the horse (schooling I-1) so they could get the scores, though this person claims they trained the horse. There is no way this person could ever get into the USEF program.
Sep. 22, 2011, 03:34 AM
I passed the L program with distinction and I am an amateur rider. I will not go for my r as the requirements are set too high unless I buy a fancier horse. 65% is a high score at fourth level. I currently have a pro friend riding a lovely talented dutch horse and it has been 2 years and $$$ and still needs one more score. Plus how am I supposed to know 12 judges to give me a recommendation. When the r score was 60%, it was more realistically obtainable.
Friesians Rule !!
Sep. 22, 2011, 08:13 AM
And for R it's 5 scores of 65% or better at FEI, which definitely requires an above average horse. I'm now stressing about getting new GP scores (mine are "older" shall we say) to get my S. Not like I can just go out and get a GP horse and the ones I've brought up to FEI recently just have not had the ability for it (and I certainly will not force the issue just to get scores). It's become a pretty tough road to the top, or at least an expensive one.
As for knowing judges (or TDs) for recommendations - that's easy - get involved locally with your GMO that runs shows. Work at licensed shows, scribe, get involved with USDF in any way you can manage. Like any business, it's all about networking and it's really not that hard, but you have to get out there and meet people.
Sep. 22, 2011, 08:40 AM
This thread is an easy place to ask a question I've had for a while.
I cannot find an easy-to-read table for the allowed levels (to judge) for each tier of judges.
I found this OLD quote from an old Equiery article (AHSA has been gone a while)...and I'm adding line breaks for easier reading.
I scanned the rule book, probably not looking for the wrong thing, but didn't find it in the dressage section.
The American Horse Shows Association is responsible for licensing judges in the United States:
"Recorded" judges, known as little "r" judges, are licensed to judge Training through 2nd Level;
"Registered" judges, or big "R" judges, are licensed through 4th Level;
International judges, "I" judges, are licensed to judge through the international levels of Grand Prix.
Making things a little confusing, the Federation Equestre Internationale also appoints judges for international competitions:
there is the International Candidate or "C" judge; the FEI International judge, or "I" (which should not be confused with the AHSA "I" judge);
and the FEI "O" judge, which does not mean Olympic, but "Official", and is the highest level of judge (one of the requirements is that the judge must be fluent in one of the two official languages of the FEI - English, and French).
FEI judges are qualified to judge various levels of international competition, including World Championships and the Olympics. There are only 20 FEI licenced "O" dressage judges in the world, and only two in the United States, one of whom is the Davidsonville resident, Linda Zang.
"L" - Learner? judge - Intro - Second level at non licensed shows
"r" and "R", are they the same as above?
"S" - ??? What does that stand for now?
Sep. 22, 2011, 08:54 AM
S is Senior level - allowed to judge national
level FEI classes, but not CDI 's
Sep. 22, 2011, 09:10 AM
Thanks, and I also found the requirements (to apply for license) for the judges.
o Applicants must have been licensed by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) as a Registered “R” judge for at least two (2) years; they cannot start with their application procedures before the two years (24 months) have actually been completed.***
o Candidates must have judged Fourth Level, Test 2 or 3 at a minimum of eight (8) Federation‐licensed open Dressage competitions with a minimum of 40 rides total.
o Candidates must have judged at a Federation licensed open Dressage competition on a panel (at B or E) for a minimum of three (3) classes at Fourth Level with one of these three classes being Fourth Level/Test 3.***
o Applicants must demonstrate knowledge and experience by earning five (5) riding scores at a minimum of 60% from 4 different judges at the Intermediaire 2/Grand Prix/Grand Prix Special level, of which three (3) scores must be at the Grand Prix Level at Federation licensed open Dressage competitions.**(Freestyles do not count.)
Sep. 22, 2011, 10:23 AM
yup. sound REALLY time consuming.
I do still want to at least participate and test for an L certification at some point.
Seems these days with travel and such one needs to budget about 5K and hopefully come out with a few pennies left over.
Luckily I startd working with our little paint horse who is pretty darn cute and quite correct.
Any horse I have is sold too quickly for the project but this guy is in the family for good.
Maybe I can get him up to a nice solid 2nd level for some L qualifications over the next few years.
Sep. 22, 2011, 10:31 AM
Many licensed USEF dressage judges are also sad that the USEA dressage judge requirements are not more rigorous.
Originally Posted by purplnurpl
Sep. 22, 2011, 12:54 PM
Not sure when you went through the program, but the year I went through, we started with over 20 people in my group - most were very competent trainers. A few dropped out before completing the course - and others joined us part way through, so we actually had about 25 in the program. There were a small minority of us who were adult ammies who wanted the education. Only 4 of the group passed with distinction and a couple passed but not with distinction. One scored sufficiently on the oral exam, but needed to retake the written exam to pass with distinction. That isn't a very high %, and from what I heard from other groups, it is pretty typical - maybe 2 to 4 from each group score high enough to move on to the "r" program.
Originally Posted by Beentheredonethat
While I agree, a judge should have show/riding experience, most of the current S and higher judges did not reach their judging level under the current standards, and several will admit they couldn't make the grade under current requirements.
I show in California - if a person is pulling solid 65% or higher at 4th level, they are on a fancy horse. Maybe this varies by region, but we don't see a lot of it here. A rider might eke out a 65% at a smaller show, but finding 4 of those shows with different judges, and continuing to receive those scores - pretty uncommon. And most of those who are getting those scores are bigger name trainers who have NO desire to judge - it doesn't pay enough to be worth their time! And that is just to get into the "r" program and judge through 2nd level - in many cases getting no pay, just volunteering to get the judging time in.
I do believe it sets the standard for money - there is no requirement (and no way to enforce such a requirement) that the rider TRAIN the horse themself. And I can tell you there are plenty of candidates in the "r" program who got there on schoolmasters. Your "L Candidate" could easily move on to the "r" program if you continued to loan them the schoolmaster - assuming they passed the L with distinction.
The L program is not "cheap" - it is about the same cost as the "r" - and then you have to pay again if you want to go through testing, so it is actually more expensive now. It is expensive to become a judge - one reason I don't begrudge them their daily rates (which are actually quite low when you figure the amount they pay to become a judge, continue their training, AND all the unpaid travel time they incur just to get to shows).
I agree with Friesians4 - without the fancy horse, in many regions you can't pull the scores. 60% was a more realistic bar.
Purple - your budget of $5k is probably about right - partly depends on how far you have to travel to get to the program. If you can find one locally, you'll save a lot in travel/hotel costs. Also remember, you'll need a scribe for part of the program, and for all of the testing - so add in travel costs for that person as well. If you can talk your GMO into hosting the L, you'll be ahead of the game (less travel cost). Of course, none of that counts your time off work - travel time, testing time, etc.
It is a good education - and instills a whole new respect for judges!
Sep. 22, 2011, 04:01 PM
I will say that all of this info scares me a little because:
I wonder how many new generation riders are taking on this responsibility....
All of the judges I have seen are older or older mid aged. I wonder how many younger riders finish "r".
Sep. 22, 2011, 04:41 PM
The "L" program is certainly not a huge money maker for USDF. USDF is very symapthetic to the fact that the bulk of it's members are AA and the majority of them are middle class and have been hit hard by the economy. USDF tries very hard to make it's membership and it's programs reasonable and affordable. The programs they run, however, are very costly to put on.
That said, yes, the "L" Program is expensive and it is a huge commitment in terms of finances, time, energy, hard work and the like. It is certainly worth it for those who would like to become judges, and for anyone who would like to expand their knowledge, for it helps one's understanding of the rules, the requirements at each level and for each movement, how judges arrive at their score and so on.
Part of the reason the requirements may seem tough is that they have a purpose, it is important that they are met, and mostly because those running the program are intent on bringing along very good jugdges. Our judge training/education program in this country is one of the best, and from my understanding many countries have modeled their programs after ours, including European countries. I think that because the program is so good, it is safe to say that we have some of the best judges in the world coming through the ranks of our program.
Side note: keep in mind that for part one of the "L" there is generally no limit to the number of participants. However, part two only admits ten. That is party why you see people "dropping out."
So yes, the "L" and "r" programs are tough to get into, tough to pass and expensive and timely. But that is not without reason, and that is not to say that the programs are in any way elitist. I just went through the program, at 23, and I have yet to see if I have passed, but I plan on moving forward to my "r" when I pass with distinction. I am not confident that I am ready to be a judge, hardly even confident that I am ready to be a trainer, but it takes at least twenty years to become an FEI judge, and there is an age limit on that (55). So I had better start now. I truly think that other riders my age should go through the program as well, for not only does it put one on the path of becoming a judge (which we might want to do when we are older and no longer capable or interested in riding everything), but it also helps one become a better rider, trainer and competitor. For the same reasons I would encourage anyone else to go through the program, at the very least if not as a participant than as an auditor.
To the OP, don't let the requirements frighten you away. I would suggest auditing a few sessions, and if you find it interesting enough then work on meeting the requirements, even if on a borrowed or leased horse. I say go for it, but be prepared to work your tush off
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