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  1. #1
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    Default Update on Hunter judging perameters at WEF.

    So I read that the rule book was suggesting that judges allow the horses to be horses, in an effort to discourage the use of drugs to accomplish the norm of today, the drug induced stupor. I came down and I showed and the horses standing around me all looked zonked. A gun could have gone off and they would not have moved. I realized last year that I could not stomach what was required to render my horse "properly prepared" in the eyes of the trainer who was helping me. Let alone the pressure to have a fake tail. ugh.

    I had the disappointing experience of keeping my horse on the grounds one night and coming to care for him early in the morning. The conversations overheard about, "how much' and "when" were all around me and I just got disgusted. I kind of gave up at that point. When will our organization put some teeth into the drugging situation??? It has to come FROM THE TOP.....that would take the heat off the trainers if the organization would require that people learn to ride a real, un drugged horse before they venture into the AA showring. Is it going to happen?
    "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt


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  2. #2
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    Nov. 30, 2006
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    What would you have done about my horse? I believe many would assume he is drugged by his laid back disposition. If the criteria for determining how drugged a horse is lies in what could 'go off' around him, I would be in trouble. the Civil War could have been waged beside mine and he wouldn't have stirred.

    So what to do about horses that are naturally suited to the job of being a hunter? Should i up his feed so nobody will think i drugged him?


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  3. #3
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    Jul. 10, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustbreeches View Post
    [George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis


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  4. #4
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    Sep. 2, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumshoe View Post
    What would you have done about my horse? I believe many would assume he is drugged by his laid back disposition. If the criteria for determining how drugged a horse is lies in what could 'go off' around him, I would be in trouble. the Civil War could have been waged beside mine and he wouldn't have stirred.

    So what to do about horses that are naturally suited to the job of being a hunter? Should i up his feed so nobody will think i drugged him?
    That is what I was thinking too. My horse was as bomb proof as they come and wasting energy being worried about something was just not his MO. If there was time to catch a nap while I waited to go in the ring he was all for it.

    I guess per the OP I clearly must be drugging him.... sigh.

    I realize people drug. I just hate the automatic assumption that everyone does it.



  5. #5
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    Jun. 9, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumshoe View Post
    What would you have done about my horse? I believe many would assume he is drugged by his laid back disposition. If the criteria for determining how drugged a horse is lies in what could 'go off' around him, I would be in trouble. the Civil War could have been waged beside mine and he wouldn't have stirred.

    So what to do about horses that are naturally suited to the job of being a hunter? Should i up his feed so nobody will think i drugged him?
    I'm sure you do have a beyond quiet horse. There is a complete difference between the zombie horse and the quiet horse. You're also not addressing the other parts of her post which were conversations about drugs, etc. Heck, I witnessed it over the summer when I learned that a friend of mine was zapping a few of her sales horses that didn't have the off-the-farm miles but needed to get around like they do at home. I absolutely didn't agree with it and I said something to her and the response was, "Well, I've got to get them moved to make room for another client." You can sub out her comment and sub in, "This kid's parent want to see them win." or "This client can't ride their way out of a paperbag, but has deep pockets." or whatever. It's far from right, but it's definitely the state of our sport and what those of us who do show clean have to contend with.

    Is every horse at the ring drugged? Absolutely not. But do we have a problem? Absolutely.


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  6. #6
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    Jan. 27, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy17 View Post
    I'm sure you do have a beyond quiet horse. There is a complete difference between the zombie horse and the quiet horse. You're also not addressing the other parts of her post which were conversations about drugs, etc.

    <snip>

    Is every horse at the ring drugged? Absolutely not. But do we have a problem? Absolutely.
    My horse isn't bombproof, but he bores easily. He will looked drugged after about 20 minutes of standing around. (don't shoot the gun off though, his TB self will not tolerate that). He also perks up in the ring significantly.

    But really, the problem is that those in the know assume that the quiet horse is drugged. When that is the default assumption...bad things are happening. The oblivious think they all the horses are just that quiet.
    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


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  7. #7
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    Oct. 12, 2004
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    You obviously weren't in the ring with me!!! Mine wouldn't even stand still for the line up in the hack. But I know what you mean!



  8. #8
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    " So what to do about horses that are naturally suited to the job of being a hunter?"

    Consider yourself very fortunate.
    "Over the Hill?? What Hill, Where?? I don't remember any hill!!!" Favorite Tee Shirt


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  9. #9
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    Jun. 20, 2012
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    I don't believe the problem here is horses that are naturally quiet; the problem here is the beautiful brilliant horses that lose because they shake their head after a jump or go faster than a crawl. For said examples, look at Brunello and Quatrain who dominate the derby field where this sort of playfulness is more commonplace.
    .אני יכול לעשות הכל על ידי אלוהים


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  10. #10
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    Nov. 14, 2012
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    A good hunter should be bomb proof. Ideally they should be able to carry their rider through a field and jump effortlessly while being sure footed and level headed. The rule is supposed to discourage judges from marking a horse down who shows a little personality through a tail swish or head shaking and to encourage course designers to build courses that encourage a long, flow-y stride carried by impulsion. Many drug testing is done on the winners/champions of classes/divisions to discourage drugging. In Ocala at least a friend of mine was Champ of a division and by the time she got her horse from the arena where they announced the results, a tester was waiting for her at her tent stalls.

    Not saying drugging doesn't happen, but if we're having a thread about judging parameters (which course design plays a part of) I think there are conscious efforts being made to reward a hunter with scope, flashy movement, as well as personality.


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  11. #11
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    Feb. 3, 2013
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    It's not so much that you're lucky to have a horse naturally suited for the hunters, a lot of horses can go around calmly with work and patience put into them, but most trainer's use the shortcut of drugging.


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy17 View Post
    "This client can't ride their way out of a paperbag, but has deep pockets."
    What drug can you give to a horse that compensates for a rider who can't "ride his way out of a paper bag"?

    Also, the judges aren't seeing the horses' behaviors outside of the show ring, and even if they were, they aren't judging that. Their job is to evaluate each horse's performance within the confines of the show ring, and place them accordingly.

    It is clear that there is a problem, but judging the severity of that problem based on how any given horse acts at the ingate before it enters the show ring is not productive.

    I won't even address the comment about overhearing bits and pieces of conversations back at the barns, because I have a hard time believing that these conversations relate to medications that aren't allowed under the current rules. Very few people get to the top levels of anything by being stupid. I don't doubt that many are dishonest, but they aren't dumb.


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ynl063w View Post
    What drug can you give to a horse that compensates for a rider who can't "ride his way out of a paper bag"?

    Also, the judges aren't seeing the horses' behaviors outside of the show ring, and even if they were, they aren't judging that. Their job is to evaluate each horse's performance within the confines of the show ring, and place them accordingly.

    It is clear that there is a problem, but judging the severity of that problem based on how any given horse acts at the ingate before it enters the show ring is not productive.

    I won't even address the comment about overhearing bits and pieces of conversations back at the barns, because I have a hard time believing that these conversations relate to medications that aren't allowed under the current rules. Very few people get to the top levels of anything by being stupid. I don't doubt that many are dishonest, but they aren't dumb.
    Agreed. ( I green thumbed you, but also wanted to publicly agree.)
    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"



  14. #14
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    I think the best example I've seen of this lately was Bacardi in the WCHR Spectacular class a few weeks ago. He was jumping out of his skin and showing his exuberance on the landing side of the fence. Nothing major, just a head shake. The announcer kept saying he was "underprepared" and the judges scores reflected it. It was probably one of my favorite rounds of the night but only scored ~70.
    **Friend of bar.ka**

    Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
    My equine soulmate


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dani0303 View Post
    I think the best example I've seen of this lately was Bacardi in the WCHR Spectacular class a few weeks ago. He was jumping out of his skin and showing his exuberance on the landing side of the fence. Nothing major, just a head shake. The announcer kept saying he was "underprepared" and the judges scores reflected it. It was probably one of my favorite rounds of the night but only scored ~70.
    But you are assuming that the score of ~70 was due to the exuberance, when in fact the judges might have seen other parts of the round that led them to score the horse that way. Unless you spoke with the judges, you can't make an assumption like that fairly. I watched the class, and while I don't recall Bacardi's trip specifically, I do remember thinking he was a nice horse. I don't recall, however, feeling as though he was robbed in any way. At the end of the class, I really felt that the judges did right by the horses and riders that were put in front of them.



  16. #16
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    There is a problem...It's not the naturally quiet, bombproof horses. I rode with a BNT (and showed one of his horses) at some big shows last year and as I'm used to doing everything myself I was around the barn far more than anyone expected. I saw things that made me go . Then I really opened my eyes. Drugging is happening, a lot of drugging. I subsequently left that program and am doing haul-in lessons with someone whose program I respect. I agree with the OP - those conversations she's overhearing aren't figments of her imagination, but the real world happenings at major venues.


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  17. #17
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    You're right, I'm sure the judges saw things that I didn't. I do think, however, that some zombie-like horses placed higher than *I* thought they should. I am not a judge and only a local-level professional. I think I have a pretty good eye but I'm not there.
    **Friend of bar.ka**

    Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
    My equine soulmate



  18. #18
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    It's disgusting to me that we've gotten to the point where, when a horse shows some enthusiasm, it's knocked for being 'unprepared'. There's not even a pretense any more that horses are not being drugged.
    The last show I attended, during the line up for the conformation class, 5 of the 6 geldings were dropped, two had their heads to their knees and eyes half closed. Either those are so tired they shouldn't be showing, or they've been 'well prepared'.


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  19. #19
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    But when all the horses are "prepared," then what exuberance are the judges to reward? Until the horses show that exuberance, the judges will have to judge what is in front of them, regardless of whether exuberance is allowed.



  20. #20
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    I think the problem trying to change drugging by changing judging standards is uneffective at best.

    saying to allow the horse to be a horse?

    Well, let's say my naturally dopey hunter has a lovely round, but another horse has the same round with a toss of the head and a flick of the tail for a lead change....which horse should win? The well trained and quiet one who didn't play in his changes, or the one that showed "personality"... just in case my guy was drugged?

    Gosh, we would then have to start teaching horses to be that little bit naughty on command to prove they aren't drugged!

    Drug testing needs to deal with the drugging, not judging.

    It reminds me of the western pleasure dilemma. Judges rewarded peanut rollers so barbaric means were used to get that way of going...but at the same time breeders were breeding for it. So now we have horses that naturaly want that low head, but rules have changed to eliminate that low head...so even though many horses do that naturally now through breeding, judges have to punish it and reward the level topline regardless of how the rest of the horse looks. Kind of silly really.
    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


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