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Sally O'Conner comments...

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  • Sally O'Conner comments...

    I took my youngster to her first big show last weekend, and while we didn't do as well as expected (She was pretty nervous first time in that environment, and was NOT on the aids AT ALL!), Ms. O'Conner did comment "lovely horse, loads of potential!" I was very pleased with that, but am wondering, should I be? Or does she say that to everyone whose horse basically runs through the whole test, just to make them feel better?

  • #2
    To be frankly honest, no, I would not put much stock in that comment. A lot of judges put comments like that to soften the blow of a bad test and/or bad comments to follow.

    If you scored a 70%+ and that was the only comment at the end, absolutely take it to heart. But if it was a comment on a bad/disappointing test and followed by lots of things to work on, it was just the judge being polite and encouraging.

    I scored at a show recently where one of the judge started her comment on almost every single test with the same compliment. I don't read the comments (none of my business) but sometimes you can't help but see a word and the notice a pattern! I can't even remember what it was, but it was every. single. test. Probably something like "lovely pair!"

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    • #3
      Sure, be pleased with it. Why not? Who cares if it was heartfelt or a consolation, if it makes you feel good then go with it!
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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      • #4
        Always try to be satisfied with the nice comments in the collectives, even when you may have had difficulties in the test.

        As for getting a 70% before taking any stock in the positive comments .

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        • #5
          IME, most judges are fair - some are a bit harsher than others, but a decent judge will score as fairly and accurately as he/she can and will also provide both constructive criticism and perhaps a positive comment. The judge really doesn't have any reason to stroke anyone's ego. Enjoy the positive comments and learn from the experience, too!
          Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

          A Voice Halted

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          • #6
            Sally O'connor does NOT "just say things". If she bothered to say it, she meant it. Believe me, she is not a "coddler" of rider's feelings. This is why I so enjoy listening to her!

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            • #7
              Take it how you desire!

              I won a test last year. The only comment on the entire test was NICE HORSE in huge letters. Where do you suppose that left me?!? After a good laugh, DH and I decided it was a compliment to my ability to find a nice prospect and we left it there. Better than, your horse rots, huh!

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              • #8
                Sure be pleased! That's shorthand for "Look forward to seeing here again when she's more mature and you are bringing out the best in her."

                I haven't seen a comment about potential when it didn't exist. That's where I'd focus! Along with that silly contact thing
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                • #9
                  I was at a recognized show (event) a few weeks ago with a bunch of friends. We all rode our tests with the same judge though at different levels. The comments were identical and verbatum. A stamp would have been just as effective.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
                    I was at a recognized show (event) a few weeks ago with a bunch of friends. We all rode our tests with the same judge though at different levels. The comments were identical and verbatum. A stamp would have been just as effective.
                    This information needs to get to the USEF!! PLEASE complete a judge evaluation form. They should be available at the shows and you can also find it here: http://www.usef.org/documents/competitions/LicOffEvaluation.pdf.

                    I know that compliments are forwarded to judges (without a name attached) because from time to time judges have told me that they've received them. I believe complaints are recorded. They may also be forwarded and nobody wants to admit it
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                    • #11
                      I was a volunteer at our regional show a few weeks ago. I ran the tests from the judges to the scorer (okay, I *walked* the test sheets from the judges to the scorer).

                      I had gone in to collect a test from the judge's table and since the current rider was almost done with her ride, I decided to wait for that test to be written up and signed.

                      The horse was young and bug eyed at everything. He spooked at the corners and just could not totally settle. He would have moments of "very nice" and then lose his mind.

                      The rider halts and gives her final salute and then rides forward to the edge of the arena and tells the judge that she was sorry for such a horrible test. She mentions that this was her boy's first indoor show and apologizes again. The judge was so supportive, and said that the babies have to start somewhere and that this youngster had a bright future, he just needed more experience.

                      The rider was grinning from ear to ear as she rode out. I was impressed by the judge taking the time to respond to the rider and for being so positive. It meant everything to the rider. And it was true...that was a really nice young horse.
                      Sheilah

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AllWeatherGal View Post
                        I know that compliments are forwarded to judges (without a name attached) because from time to time judges have told me that they've received them. I believe complaints are recorded. They may also be forwarded and nobody wants to admit it
                        I have been led to believe (don't know if it true or not) that if a judge receives two or more negative comments on basically the same thing, the judge will be contacted and informed of the gist of it, though they will not see the actual comments.

                        When it is time to renew a judge's license, I think the LOC reads everything in the judge's file.
                        Janet

                        chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

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                        • #13
                          To the OP: I'd be happy with that comment. Experienced horse people can see through the "young horse crap". I have a 5 yo mare that on one day can blow you away with her talent, and the next day decide that she's not participating. I clinic regularly with an I judge, and in my first lessons with her, my mare was doing the giraffe impression the entire time. The judge still assured me that I had a really nice horse on my hands. And she's darn right!
                          "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by FlightCheck View Post
                            Sally O'connor does NOT "just say things". If she bothered to say it, she meant it. Believe me, she is not a "coddler" of rider's feelings. This is why I so enjoy listening to her!
                            Yup. I audited a Sally O'Connor clinic several years ago. She does NOT mince words, but rather says exactly what she thinks, in no uncertain terms. I would take her compliment as high praise.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
                              I was at a recognized show (event) a few weeks ago with a bunch of friends. We all rode our tests with the same judge though at different levels. The comments were identical and verbatum. A stamp would have been just as effective.
                              I have seen that on several occasions. I've volunteered in positions where I could see the test sheets.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Druid Acres View Post
                                Yup. I audited a Sally O'Connor clinic several years ago. She does NOT mince words, but rather says exactly what she thinks, in no uncertain terms. I would take her compliment as high praise.
                                absolutely take it as a compliment
                                every year i get the headset at rolex for dressage and while she isnt cruel about it at all she definately doesnt sugar coat anything. i also agree with the other poster when saying an experienced horse person can see through a bad test when it may just not have been yours and your horses day. she doesnt seem like the type of person that says something just to make you feel good.
                                must mean you and your horse really are a lovely pair!!!

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                                • #17
                                  I'd be thrilled with that comment!

                                  It's kind of interesting, because I just rode in a clinic with a judge who was very straight-forward about her thoughts on my horse this past weekend. They weren't as "sweet" as I'm used to hearing, so I looked back at the sheet from a show I rode in that she judged, just out of curiosity. Her scoring and comments were right in line with what I heard from her in the clinic (and were absolutely the lowest scores we've ever received, lol). So, I do think that many judges put good thought into their comments, not just a cookie cutter response. This one happened to be brutally honest, which I do appreciate, and I'm thinking that her advice on how to improve will give us some good results, actually!

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                                  • #18
                                    Well YEARS ago I rode a young horse in a Sally O'Connor clinic. This was a gangly 4 yr old who literally had difficulty even STAYING in a canter lead. I was a young rider, 14 yrs old I think and was DEVASTATED when Sally said the mare would "never amount to much"! Of course, that made me work THAT MUCH HARDER and the little mare went onto event thru training with me. I was "self made" at that time just a few clinics here and there in dressage but no real lessons and NO idea of how to event! I sold her when she was a 9 yr old (had owned her since she was a yearling) and she went on to be Pony Club National Champion at 2nd level, and then MANY MANY years later (1989) I found out she was still going strong as a "schoolmaster" in SC for an older lady. Should would have been around 17 yrs old at that point. So no, Sally isnt going to stroke even a "little girls" ego! But she was DEAD WRONG on that horse!
                                    www.shawneeacres.net

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
                                      I was at a recognized show (event) a few weeks ago with a bunch of friends. We all rode our tests with the same judge though at different levels. The comments were identical and verbatum. A stamp would have been just as effective.
                                      This is what I was hoping is not the case with Ms. O'Conner. I think this type of thing should DEFINITELY be reported. I mean as an "expert judge" you can't come up with two to four words to comment specifically upon what you just spent the last 5 minutes watching??
                                      The scores and feedback that went with them were definitely right on, although a little tough but it was our first time at a rated show and I was just proud we made it through! My mare did her best to hold it together, but it was not her best by far! If she had given us a 70%, then I would be expecting 85-90% after we get a bunch of shows under our belt

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by MeghanDACVA View Post
                                        I was at a recognized show (event) a few weeks ago with a bunch of friends. We all rode our tests with the same judge though at different levels. The comments were identical and verbatum. A stamp would have been just as effective.
                                        I was told by a judge that they are instructed to always put some sort of positive comment at the end of the test no matter how bad the ride.

                                        I now take those comments in stride and while the may be sincere, it appears they are some sort of requirement. (please correct me if I'm wrong) That being said, a judge should at least try to be unique with the comments.

                                        My first dressage test ever was ridden after my horse spooked and bolted after seeing mirrors for the first time before we entered the ring for our test. Needless to say, there wasn't much good that came of the test, although I do remember the comment which was "A lovely pair with lots of potential". At the time it meant a lot to me!
                                        Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!
                                        http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e350/Jen4USC/fave.jpg
                                        http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e3...SC/running.jpg

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