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"A United States Dressage Federation (USDF) "L" Judge"

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  • "A United States Dressage Federation (USDF) "L" Judge"

    I hang out with a fair number of trail riders these days. Super-nice people, and very enthusiastic about dressage, but not so much into the correctness and refinement. For example, I spent a long afternoon that "bend" needs to be through the body, not just in the neck, showing the differences on their horses who "refused to turn", and trying to explain why it mattered. (Frankly, it nearly made my own head explode ... it's true that if you want to be sure you really understand something, try to explain it to someone else!)

    One of them sent me a flyer for a dressage symposium or clinic or something that featured someone with the above credential.

    It specifies USDF, sure, but I believe that judges work very hard for their licenses and there's a big difference between an L graduate (no reference to distinction) and a USEF licensed judge.

    What say you all?
    65
    Lighten up ... who really cares?
    20.00%
    13
    Yes, it matters. This is a misrepresentation of professional qualifications.
    80.00%
    52

    The poll is expired.

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  • #2
    Very misleading. A graduate of the "L" program is not a USEF licensed official, and USDF does not license judges.

    Comment


    • #3
      If you're a graduate of law school but you haven't yet passed the bar ... you can't call yourself a lawyer.
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      • #4
        It's not necessarily a misunderstanding by the L graduate. It may very well be just a misunderstanding by the person who prepared the show bill of clinic flyer. People like your friends, and many casual dressage riders do not understand the distinction between a L graduate and a judge. Our GMO recently had a seminar featuring an L grad and when it sent around the original marketing flyer, it said "L judge." The person who made the flyer didn't understand the difference. The L grad did not see it beforehand, and the issue was corrected later when the error was raised. So, unless the L grad goes around calling herself a licensed judge, I don't think anyone should jump to conclusions that she is misrepresenting herself.
        He heard the low voice of mercy, not the loud acclaim of glory.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Raison d'etre View Post
          So, unless the L grad goes around calling herself a licensed judge, I don't think anyone should jump to conclusions that she is misrepresenting herself.
          Agreed. So I looked around. The phrase is exactly how it appears on her own website.

          I know it happens, often without any malintent. I dearly wish I had the communication skills to correct without insult.
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          • #6
            I don't care at all if someone else refers to a person as an "L judge." But it's surprising for the "L" herself to refer to herself as a judge, since the USDF is sooooooooo strict about this.

            Comment


            • #7
              The L program is exactly the same as the old small r program. The program is very thorough and trains judges, whatever the USDF's feelings about semantics. If you judge a show you're the judge, even if you're a volunteer and have no training at all. Saying you're an L judge in no way implies you're a licensed USEF judge.

              I personally think the USDF decided to cash in on judge training. Now you have to pay for two programs to be licensed, L and small r.

              That said, it's a great program and I think the best offered by USDF.

              Comment


              • #8
                Let's not mince words too much here. The L Program is training people to become judges. Even if it's only for schooling shows. In no other sport is a person trained to be a judge at a specific level and then are not allowed to call themselves a judge. The "L" indicates the level or ability.

                Why in the world do they remove the term? I think that if they didn't do that, then more people who currently do a lot of schooling show judging would run out and complete the program. As it is, it's only slightly less useless than the instructor program (meaning for picking judges for your schooling show and picking a coach).

                They really ought to give them a Learner Judges license and indicate that they are only legal for schooling shows. (As if a USEF recognized show wouldn't know the difference and wouldn't check credentials. ) And no more "with distinction" garbage/verbiage. Just raise the bar already and then qualify the ones who pass as "Learner" judges or SS (Schooling Show" judges).
                "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Velvet View Post
                  In no other sport is a person trained to be a judge at a specific level and then are not allowed to call themselves a judge.
                  That is just plain NOT TRUE.

                  In eventing, you are trained to be a judge (I admit it may not be quite as rigorous as the USDF L program, but it is still pretty serious training). You apprentice. You pass the exam. But until you are approved by the Licensed Officials Committee (which can end up being seveal years after you pass the exam) you are just an "applicant". NOT A JUDGE.

                  You might well end up judging at schooling events before being granted your USEF license. But you are not entitled to call yourelf a "judge".

                  I expect other disciplines are similar.
                  Janet

                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2017.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    USDF is quite specific about the language you should/should not be using.

                    Only the USEF licenses officials here in the US, soooo, NO they should not be calling themselves an "L" or an "L" judge.

                    They are L Graduates if they pass. Or an L Graduate with Distinction.

                    from the USDF website:

                    If I graduate from the "L" Program will I be a judge?

                    No, you will be a graduate from the USDF "L" Program, also known as an "L graduate". The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), as the national governing body of equestrian sports, licenses all judges. USDF only administers the "L" Program, which, if completed with the required scores, will allow you to apply to USEF for the 'r' Judges Training Program to become a licensed judge. Those who pass the "L" program final exam are known as "L Graduates", not as L Judges.
                    The L graduates know this. Any L graduate who calls themselves a licensed judge knows better.
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                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Janet View Post
                      That is just plain NOT TRUE.

                      In eventing, you are trained to be a judge (I admit it may not be quite as rigorous as the USDF L program, but it is still pretty serious training). You apprentice. You pass the exam. But until you are approved by the Licensed Officials Committee (which can end up being seveal years after you pass the exam) you are just an "applicant". NOT A JUDGE.

                      You might well end up judging at schooling events before being granted your USEF license. But you are not entitled to call yourelf a "judge".

                      I expect other disciplines are similar.
                      For which phase are you speaking?

                      You can be an apprentice judge, but that's still saying what your JOB is. It should be a title for the JOB. Since in dressage we already have a letter designation for the level a judge can be hired to judge (see, that's a job description as well as title), then I still see no reason why "L" cannot be used to designate a learner.

                      For those quoting the USDF, we already all know that they are not to call themselves judges. The point currently under discussion is whether or not it should be altered to allow them to be called a judge of some sort.
                      "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Velvet View Post
                        For which phase are you speaking?
                        An Eventing Judge (which is what I am talking about) judges both dressage and show jumping, and is the only kind of judge that can be President of the Ground Jury. (The jump judges judge cross country, but the PoGJ- who is an Eventing Judge - oversees it and has the final word.)
                        Janet

                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2017.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You can be an apprentice judge, but that's still saying what your JOB is
                          I never said "apprentice" I said "applicant". One can be both at the same time, but they are different.

                          Yes, as an applicant, I have been "the judge" (not an "apprentice judge") at unrecognized competitions (show jumping phase in my case). But that doesn't entitle me to call myself "a judge".
                          Janet

                          chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2017.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Velvet View Post
                            Let's not mince words too much here.
                            But then what would be left?

                            They really ought to give them a Learner Judges license and indicate that they are only legal for schooling shows.
                            That's an option, but it seems to imply that there's such a thing as "legal for schooling shows" ... which is pretty much "whatever the management wants to do".

                            I think the L program is pretty darn good education. I also think that it's a money-making program for the USDF and that the rigorous distinction about the title "judge" is probably a concession to the USEF in some way, to retain the integrity of their official licensing system.

                            And maybe that's all okay.
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                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I was at a performance with one of my young students. This was a freestyle performance and not a show. There were no judges, just a fun day that we were asked to participate in. After my student finished her performance in front of a huge crowd for the first time a lady approached her and said her horse was lame. My young student was so upset and ended up crying instead of being proud of herself. This person said she was a Region 8 L judge. I tried to explain to her that the horse has uneven trot steps during the extended trot and she was very insistent that she was a usdf judge so she knows better. She was very rude and really upset a nice young girl who just had a great ride. Just to be absolutely sure we had the vet check the horse and there was nothing wrong with him. Its a training issue, the horse gets a little uneven in the extended trot. He is young and a baroque breed, he is not good at extended trot... just yet. This USDF L judge was out of line. The farm owner, trainer, and other spectators who witnessed this could not believe how rude and out of line this person was.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Velvet View Post
                                Let's not mince words too much here. The L Program is training people to become judges.
                                Not necessarily. Many people who go through the first part of the program do not/have no interest in attending the final. Some are there to just gain a different viewpoint and wanted University credit.

                                Language, and the context which it is used in, is massively important within the sport. Not just for the tests, but the legalities of what judges are in the sport and where/how they can participate.

                                USDF does not have the ability or grounds to sanction judges, USEF does. L is USDF's way of recommending to the public that here are individuals that have an education, and the "distinction" is USDF's way of recommending to USEF that the individuals go on to the 'r' and beyond.
                                Kelly
                                It is rare to see a rider who is truly passionate about the horse and his training, taking a profound interest in dressage with self-abnegation, and making this extraordinarily subtle work one of the dominant motivations of his life.\"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Two things:

                                  About there being a huge difference between an "L" graduate and an "r" judge--not really. My husband just graduated from the L program (with distinction--very proud of him!). It's a very tough, comprehensive course, a LOT of work/practice/scribing/sitting with judges/studying for over a year--it's dominated our year--and even with all that work most do not pass with distinction. The faculty underlined that passing with distinction is a big deal because an L graduate with distinction "should be ready to pass the 'r' exam the very next day." All of the same material is taught, and the USEF 'r' program consists of only one refresher session and the exam. The main difference is that there are very tough competition requirements to enter the 'r' program (multiple scores of 65+ at Fourth, for which you need access to a very nice horse).

                                  That being said, my husband would not dream of calling himself an L judge. It's drilled into the L graduates not to do that—no L graduate could make that mistake unaware. I would have a poor opinion of an L graduate who used that term. It's deliberate false advertisement.
                                  Last edited by littlemanor; May. 6, 2011, 09:20 AM.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by tempichange View Post
                                    Not necessarily. Many people who go through the first part of the program do not/have no interest in attending the final. Some are there to just gain a different viewpoint and wanted University credit.

                                    Language, and the context which it is used in, is massively important within the sport. Not just for the tests, but the legalities of what judges are in the sport and where/how they can participate.

                                    USDF does not have the ability or grounds to sanction judges, USEF does. L is USDF's way of recommending to the public that here are individuals that have an education, and the "distinction" is USDF's way of recommending to USEF that the individuals go on to the 'r' and beyond.
                                    Agreed. There are many people who do not finish the program. We are talking about those who do--and that is the people this program is geared toward. It's open to everyone, but it is geared toward training judges.

                                    The language they have CHOSEN to use (be it legal or just pandering to the USEF) does not fit the job. The people who graduate are sold to the dressage community as people who are qualified to judge schooling shows. They are encouraged to use them stating that they are better than people who have not gone through the program and yet are used as schooling show judges. The person sitting at C is the judge for the day, no matter if they are rated with the USEF, trained by the USDF, or are randomly picked off the street. You consider them a judge. Altering the language for what is most likely political reasons (don't want to ruffle the feathers of those who sweated a bit more and kissed a bit more a** to get the "r" rating ) does not make the job any different, nor does it change the title in the eyes of the competitor. So why not just stop messing around and call a spade a spade (or a judge a judge, in this instance)?

                                    I really think that's my issue. I'm tired of all this pussy-footing around. It's similar to the associate instructor. Oh my, people who've been through the program couldn't stand having people around with any rating who had not gone through the program. Um, well, they weren't really stealing your clients and if they said they were an associate instructor with the USDF, they weren't saying they were certified through second or fourth level. Sheesh. People get so worked up about this stuff.

                                    If you clearly put information in front of the title, it seems to work for the international judges and separating them from national level judges, why is it such a big whoop for the learner judges (which is what they are)?

                                    I'm tired of making up new words for the same job. And to go back to the lawyer example, let me take you to people who are doctors. Yes, you can graduate and be one, but what about being an intern or a resident? People still call them doctors. There are also those who specialize, such as surgeons, but they are still "doctors" and are called "doctor." If you've passed a certain level of training and have been tested, then you should be given a similar title that reflects that knowledge/education.

                                    And, BTW, USDF CAN sanction schooling show judges, if they so choose. It is well within their rights. They are not putting forth people as judges for USEF recognized shows. They are only training people for schooling shows. Since the program also feeds the USEF program (you need that training) then I actually think that rather than the USEF feeling it would be stepping on their toes, they would sanction the change in title and give the people who have graduated from the program a bit more credit. JMO
                                    "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      And, BTW, USDF CAN sanction schooling show judges, if they so choose.
                                      HOW?
                                      Escpecially of the show is put on by a barn, not a GMO?
                                      Janet

                                      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2017.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I come in peace

                                        I would think that having an L graduate as a judge at a schooling show sponsored by a barn would be even more of a use of their education than judging at a GMO sponsored show.

                                        One would hope that the GMO would use a proper arena, and proper letters and provide decent footing. Many barns need the education provided by an L graduate to upgrade their show to acceptable standards. Ground poles and traffic cones do not an arena make.

                                        I suspect that the reason the USDF makes a point of informing current graduates that they are NOT judges, is because of the sort of individuals that prompted the OP.

                                        As far as the Instructor Certification program goes, the certificate an Associate Instructor gets says that they are recognized as an AI. The form used is a Certified Instructor form, with Certified Instructor imprinted on it. I think someone there woke up one morning and realized that not only could they collect for the taking of the course, they could continue to collect annual dues, etc. this way.

                                        Does it make a difference? A good instructor who has a good toolbox, a patient mind, a love of teaching and a lot of saddle miles training and being taught, can be a good instructor no matter what their certification. There are certified instructors out there who talk the talk, but do not walk the walk.
                                        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

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