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Should rule be changed for poll position?

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  • Should rule be changed for poll position?

    If you take a look at 99% of the horses in the ring (especially at the higher levels) have their polls too low, based on the rules. Officially, the poll is to be the highest point.

    What do you think should be done? Rewrite the rules to match the horses that are winning in the ring who are either broken at the third or otherwise are ridden with their poll not in the "correct" position? Or should they all just be penalized -2 per movement every time the poll stays too low?

    (This is NOT a hyperflexion, rollkur, LDR, etc., discussion. This is simply about judging a head position that does not fit the rules.)

    I'm afraid that if we keep allowing this stuff, our rules will no longer match what is in the ring. Like some breed hunter classes that have the rules that fit something that would look more like an open hunter show, but the horses all look like WP horses in english tack. Shouldn't there be penalties? And penalties for judges who allow it?
    "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

  • #2
    velvet wrote: Shouldn't there be penalties?

    There are penalties. Competitors aren't getting 100% scores.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Velvet View Post
      This is simply about judging a head position ...
      I think that's your answer. Head position is just one of about a million things being judged. Are lots of horses poll low or "broken" at 3rd vertebrae? Sure. Do some of them have other attributes that could still warrant them a 6, 7, or 8 (uphill balance, harmonious, active hind leg, relaxed jaw, yadda yadda)? I'm guessing yes.
      From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think correct poll position is needed for proper carriage and collection. It's too bad that the few at the top set the example for the rest of us. But now days you see alot of shortcuts leading to riding that isn't beautiful anymore. I don't think that low poll looks like one's really riding back to front.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          It's not true that people are being penalized, not when they're getting scores in the 80s. That's not ignoring the problem, not hitting them in the score--where it counts.

          Thus the reason I started this topic.
          "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

          Comment


          • #6
            well.... i think the biggest problem is education - and of course TPTB that want to make dressage "popular" ..... riding a horse from behind into a giving hand so that it can work correctly poll high is hard - and not many people here can teach it.

            so i guess if TPTB want to have a sport that is believable and if they continue to want to make $$$$ then they will need to change the directives of the sport significantly.

            then i think you will see a dividing of the sport into two different things... just like eventing. i kinda look forward to that day!

            and i agree with PFB - 100%

            oh and when what wins today gets such larger scores than even 10 or 15 years ago?? you know it is all about selling tickets and making stars of th e top riders/horses. (ie money!)

            Comment


            • #7
              What's needed is a new official, actually many officials - I'd say at least 5 for each long side and 3 for the short sides - all equipped with stop watches who could time the duration of less than optimum poll positions. Totals could be included in the collective mark section. Ooh, ooh, I know what -an instrument that could be attached to the crown piece and especially calibrated for each horse which would keep a running tally of the angle of the poll in relation to the ground. We could get Rayers from the eventing forum to work on it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Can someone show me the RULE that says what is the exact poll position?
                Liz Steacie
                Porcupine Hill Dressage
                Maitland, Ontario

                http://www.porcupinehill.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by princessfluffybritches View Post
                  I think correct poll position is needed for proper carriage and collection. It's too bad that the few at the top set the example for the rest of us. But now days you see alot of shortcuts leading to riding that isn't beautiful anymore. I don't think that low poll looks like one's really riding back to front.
                  Fluffy, Many people obsess over the poll position without giving any thought to the horse’s shoulders. For a horse to move correctly, his shoulders have to be up so that he can swing his hindlegs under. A well-ridden, well-schooled horse can have his shoulders up with his poll low and be swinging nicely through his back. Conversely, a horse can have his poll as the highest point, yet be dropped in the shoulders with a hollow back and hindlegs that are not stepping underneath correctly. This hyper focusing on the poll position is a disservice to the horse. The whole body has to be kept in mind and particularly the position of the horse’s shoulders.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Liz Steacie View Post
                    Can someone show me the RULE that says what is the exact poll position?


                    Moreover....the poll as the 'highest part of the neck' worked much better when dressage horses were being bred largely from carriage horse lines......which was when the 'rule' was made!!!

                    edited to add - so because of the conformation of modern dressage horses the 'rule' is obsolete....but how would you word a new rule? = can of worms!!!
                    Last edited by Fixerupper; Sep. 21, 2010, 09:02 AM.
                    * <-- RR Certified Gold Star {) <-- RR Golden Croissant Award
                    Training Tip of the Day: If you can’t beat your best competitor, buy his horse.
                    NO! What was the question?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Liz Steacie View Post
                      Can someone show me the RULE that says what is the exact poll position?
                      FEI rule 401, .5
                      Same applied to Canada Hippique, Article E 1.2.6
                      ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                      Originally posted by LauraKY
                      I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                      HORSING mobile training app

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        1.3 FEI ARTICLE 401 OBJECT AND GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF DRESSAGE

                        EC 1.2.6: In all the work, even at the halt, the horse must be "on the bit". A horse is said to be "on the bit" when the neck is more or less raised and arched according to the stage of training and the extension or collection of the pace, accepting the bridle with a light and soft contact and submissiveness throughout. The head should remain in a steady position, as a rule slightly in front of the vertical, with a supple poll as the highest point of the neck, and no resistance should be offered to the rider.

                        This is not a "rule", it is, as the title says, a general principle. And, even if it was a "rule" that could be enforced, the only "must" in here is "on the bit", which is defined in the following sentences, using a whole lot of "should"s not "must"s.

                        Rules would have to be much more clear cut and definitive and include the penalties for not following the rules.

                        If a lateral walk does not disqualify one, neither should a lowered poll.

                        If you want to take on the general principles as rules, maybe we could start with "accepting the bridle with a light and soft contact", as I would far rather see a horse that is slightly low in the poll to one that has it's mouth twisted open and is against the hand. Too much of this, in my opinion.

                        The principles are meant, I believe, to guide one in one's training (and presumably, one's judging, although I don't see a lot of that!), rather than offer a rigid and inflexible set of rules that must be followed. The principles are guidelines, not rules.

                        Maybe there does need to be some more rules, with specific point deductions for infractions, but the way this is written, I for one would not call it a rule, and, based on my observations, neither do the judges. If you started to make rules out of the general principles, there would be MUCH lower scores!

                        I do believe one should read and re-read these general principles, whether you are a judge, a rider, a trainer or an interested observer, to keep uppermost in your mind these guidelines. Because they represent the "ideal". And that is what we are after :-), right?

                        But rules? No, I wouldn't call this a rule. Neither does the FEI or Equine Canada. The next chapter is where we get into rules.

                        This is an example of a rule:

                        3.3 VOICE
                        The use of the voice in any way whatsoever or clicking the tongue once or repeatedly is a serious fault and must be penalized by the deduction of at least two marks from the movement in which it occurs. The use of the voice will incur deduction of marks each time it is used but does not constitute elimination, nor should it be scored as an error of test or error of course. For example, a judge awarding eight (8) to a movement must deduct two (2) or more points from the given mark (e.g. 8 becomes 6, comment: voice).

                        If you believe that a lowered poll should form the basis for a rule, then you can write the rule (in a manner similar to the above) and submit it for consideration. It is a straightforward process, and you never know - lots of other people may also believe that it should be a rule, not just a guideline/principle.

                        Regards
                        Liz Steacie
                        Porcupine Hill Dressage
                        Maitland, Ontario

                        http://www.porcupinehill.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Fixerupper View Post

                          Moreover....the poll as the 'highest part of the neck' worked much better when dressage horses were being bred largely from carriage horse lines......which was when the 'rule' was made!!!
                          Good Point!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by alicen View Post
                            Good Point!
                            It worked fine for Lipizzans well before the carriage horses who became today's WBs. It still works.
                            http://TouchstoneAcres.com
                            Touchstone Acres Lipizzans, Standing N. Samira VI (Gray), N. XXIX-18(Black), more in 2014

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              the entire document is called "Rules for Dressage Competition"

                              to say that article 401 is not "part of the rules" is well..... interesting.

                              it gives you the entire overview of how the horse should be going - with enough flexibility to cover all levels of training.

                              i think you are splitting hairs.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                btw: a horse can be poll high anytime the poll is the highest point... which can happen anytime the neck is above the withers.

                                and the reasons, as everyone knows - is because when the horse is working correctly he will be poll high with nose slightly in front of the vertical etc etc. it is the result of correct riding and why it matters.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by mbm View Post
                                  the entire document is called "Rules for Dressage Competition"

                                  to say that article 401 is not "part of the rules" is well..... interesting.

                                  it gives you the entire overview of how the horse should be going - with enough flexibility to cover all levels of training.

                                  i think you are splitting hairs.
                                  With all due respect, “Rules for Dressage Competition” is the name of the entire document, but Liz is referring to this particular section which is titled:

                                  1.3 FEI ARTICLE 401 OBJECT AND GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF DRESSAGE

                                  I would emphasize the "Object and General Principles" and do not think Liz is splitting hairs. If people take this to heart, there will be a lot less angst. Of course, we all want to ride our horses in a way that is best for them and adheres to agreed upon training practices, but I think there are aspects of riding that should not have hard and fast rules. I'm totally okay with the rule about using one's voice and others like it. However, insisting that a horse's poll is always the highest point is bound to lead to problems both in the training and competing as people desperately (especially the less skilled/less educated) endeavor to do this.

                                  I'm sure you are familiar with repetitive stress injuries. Keeping a horse in one posture all the time will lead to this type of injury. Horses are athletes in the same way as humans and need to stretch and contract their muscles in different ways throughout the training session to strengthen, elasticize, gymnasticize, and avoid injury.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by TouchstoneAcres View Post
                                    It worked fine for Lipizzans well before the carriage horses who became today's WBs. It still works.
                                    The Lipizzan mares are used as carriage horses. Technically Lipizzans are carriage horses.
                                    Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.
                                    -Auntie Mame

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      agree with Velvet

                                      My understanding and observation at lower level shows/rides is that the poll is to be the highest point and a score of '5' or below is given for any movement where the poll is too low - I've seen it on friend's tests (for one movement usually, not the whole test). Perhaps of interest, several times I have seen it called out at 2nd level in the halt/reinback.

                                      So I am agreeing a low poll should be marked down, although it is often associated with behind the vertical (BTV) nose - which I have seen both criticized and praised by different judges. So I would REALLY like to have a RULE that would define it out more clearly.

                                      Otherwise, why bother with the guidance? (or perhaps that is the point of this topic).
                                      Forward...go forward

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Alpha Mare,

                                        I think it might be a matter of degrees when it comes to scoring horses for being behind the vertical.

                                        If the horse performs large segments of the test behind the vertical then, yes, it should be heavily penalized. There are obviously fundamental problems with the horse's basic training or the rider's style of riding...or both.

                                        But, some judges IMO go overboard. If the horse momentarily goes BTV here and there, it's appropriate to comment, but I don't think a score of 5 or lower is fair if the work is otherwise extremely good. A well-trained, experienced judge will know whether there is something inherently wrong in the horse's training, bad riding, or just a momentary bobble. To create a rule in which a horse must automatically be given a score of 5 or lower for any BTV moments completely ignores other aspects of the ride that may be stellar and deserving of good scores. And, this is why I think Liz is on the right track in pointing out the section "object and general principle." By all means, the judge should be clear on the object and general principles but have the good training to score the horse appropriately.

                                        Comment

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