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Disrespectful judging - what to do?

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  • Disrespectful judging - what to do?

    I scribed for a judge at a large recognized show this weekend whose behavior I thought was disrespectful of riders. Now, I've scribed for more than a dozen judges over the years, and have always thought they've been honest, fair, and out for the best interest of both horses and riders. That is until this weekend. It seemed like she just wanted to get through it.

    She definitely appeared distracted, and she missed parts of movements. For example, while she was taking a bite of breakfast a horse cantered a step while entering at A and then again when departing after the first salute at X (it was a TL test, so it was all supposed to be trot). She gave the horse an 8 on that movement. She scored Jr/Youth riders higher - she actually said "Oh it's a kid, then a 7". One of her popular comments was "rider on wrong seatbone," without saying how it affected the horse's movement. You can be riding backwards as long as the horse is going right. A more appropriate comment I think would have been "haunches thrown rt due to rider on incorrect seatbone" or just "haunches rt" and explain at the end. Usually I can figure out after a couple of rides what the judge will score after giving me comments, but this judge was so inconsistent. The same comment would give totally different scores. The same mistake/success would give totally different scores.

    I don't want to get anyone in trouble. Maybe she was just having a bad day. I did send an email to the show organizer voicing my concerns. Should I have? Should I do anything else?

  • #2
    You did the right thing. If the judge was simply having a bad day, she needs to know someone noticed. Maybe next time she'll mind her P's and Q's.

    In addition, you might contact USEF. Any judge can make a mistake or miss an occasional movement, but the "Oh, it's a kid, then a 7" strikes me as so wrong. This was a recognized show -- "kids" at recognized shows should expect fair and unbiased judging, not squishy scoring because they're cute.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by xQHDQ View Post
      For example, while she was taking a bite of breakfast a horse cantered a step while entering at A and then again when departing after the first salute at X (it was a TL test, so it was all supposed to be trot). She gave the horse an 8 on that movement.
      This doesn't necessarily bother me; maybe the score would have been a 9 if not for those slight mistakes. The rest of what you wrote would have made me uncomfortable, too,
      Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.

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      • #4
        I had a judge miss the entire second half of my test at a recognized horse trial (she said I didn't do the 2nd canter but video shows her staring at her lap while I did it) and it irks the heck out of me. She was generous enough to let me re-ride the movement but only after about 5 minutes of discussion, in which my 5-y.o. had become very fidgety and impatient. She bucked through the transition on the re-ride. Thanks for the 3!

        You did the right thing.


        I also went to a schooling show with an "l" judge. She had her dog sitting on the table next to her. It didn't bug my horse but I thought that was a little disrespectful too.
        The rebel in the grey shirt

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        • #5
          from the USDF Annual Meeting (Dec 2010);

          "Competitors, scribes, TD's, and show management were reminded that if there is a judge complaint during a show (no comments for 6/s, too few comments, rude comments, use of cell phone etc) that they should fill out a Judge report form, available in the show office or online, send photocopies of the test and send it to the USEF, c/o the LOC. If there are more than 3 reports from the same show, the judge will be contacted by the LOC."
          ... _. ._ .._. .._

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          • #6
            Originally posted by xQHDQ View Post
            ... One of her popular comments was "rider on wrong seatbone," without saying how it affected the horse's movement. You can be riding backwards as long as the horse is going right. A more appropriate comment I think would have been "haunches thrown rt due to rider on incorrect seatbone" or just "haunches rt" and explain at the end. Usually I can figure out after a couple of rides what the judge will score after giving me comments, but this judge was so inconsistent. The same comment would give totally different scores. The same mistake/success would give totally different scores.
            Given that sitting on the wrong seatbone is one of my personal weaknesses, I totally get the comment. Not knowing your background and qualifications, your comment regarding a "more appropriate comment" could be interpreted as disrespectful.

            I'm pretty sure that the judges are there to judge and not instruct. While it's nice for a judge to give helpful comments, it isn't required and should not be expected.

            If you feel the judge's behavior was inappropriate, you should complain through the official channels as noted by others. If you are engaged with the show committee, bring it to their attention. Nothing makes a bigger impression than NOT hiring that judge a second time.

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            • #7
              while i agree that poor judging should be noted (as well as good judging) it kinda freaks me out that scribes, show moms, and others are the ones that judge the judges.

              do these folks have the required education to know what is correct judging?

              perhaps there should be videos of rides and copies of tests done randomly and then an appropriately educated committee to look them over.

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              • #8
                I think a scribe is in a very good position to know whether or not a judge is doing his/her job. I'm not saying tht the scribe should agree with everything the judge says or the scores given -- that's above a scribe's paygrade, after all. The scribe is there to write things down, nothing more.

                A scribe certainly knows that giving a cute kid a higher score than deserved is questionable, and inconsistency sends the wrong message to all competitors.

                I've seen judges and competitors take the common pleasantries of "hello" or "have a nice ride" (often exchanged as the competitor rides past the booth) waaaay past what propriety would dictate.

                That behavior calls into question the judge's ability to judge without bias.

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                • #9
                  I doubt one needs to be a judge to be able to see that eating or talking on a cell phone or the like, while judging, is disrespectful, that not watching the ride while judging is disrespectful and incompetent, and that having a dog as a shadow judge is... distracting and humourous, but not against any rule that I know.

                  That said, I wonder why the organizing committee or show steward did not give the judge a break to have her breakfast. A cup of coffee or a drink at the judging booth is fine, but a breakfast sandwich should be consumed before one climbs the steps to the judge's booth.

                  And it is the lot of good scribes, that many of us are as good or better at catching the movements as judges are, but until we've gone and done the weekends of teaching and practice that judges have, we ought not to comment on those skills.

                  I think the OP was right to notify the organizer and probably could have filled out a report on some of the behavior. However, after the fact it is difficult to remember which test these things occurred on and even harder at this point to get the necessary photocopies of the test. File that info away for next time.
                  "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF

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                  • #10
                    I had a judge like this once. She missed several whole movements of the test and then told me to reride them after I was done and walking on a long rein. Her comments were very rude as well. Im not looking forward to be judged by her again.

                    Its one thing for a rider to complain, but I think it means more for a scribe to complain. A rider could just be upset over their score and submit a complaint.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by xQHDQ View Post
                      I did send an email to the show organizer voicing my concerns. Should I have? Should I do anything else?
                      What you should have done was complete a USEF evaluation form. They are required to be available at every show and are also available online. http://www.usef.org/documents/compet...Evaluation.pdf

                      The seatbone thing doesn't bother me. I don't find it a helpful comment, but it's not inappropriate. Every judge misses a movement once in a while, that's life. Scoring the junior riders higher is inappropriate.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mbm View Post
                        while i agree that poor judging should be noted (as well as good judging) it kinda freaks me out that scribes, show moms, and others are the ones that judge the judges.
                        Not like the eminently qualified internet railbirds! THEY should be evaluating the judges.

                        ANYONE can and should fill out evaluation forms, both positive and negative. Riders, trainers, other officials ... everyone is encouraged to complete them.

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks for the suggestion of filling out the USEF form. I think I'm going to wait to see what show management says first. Maybe they've had other complaints about her, or maybe she was just having a bad day and the scribes for the other days thought she was awesome.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Don't wait too long. Evaluation forms have to be sent in within 10 days after the show.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I once took my arab to a schooling show for dressage-with all the other horses being warmbloods...needless to say, the judge ignored my entire first ride. So, I figured-the next ride she'll have to look at me! So I took off the nice solid colored saddle pad-and put on my HOT PINK WITH SYLVESTER FACES WITH HIM DOING 'RASPBERRIES' on my horse. Then picked a flower-hot pink-and put it in the lapel! I believe she couldn't take her eyes off of me! They have a responsibility to watch and judge every rider-not dismiss them because of what breed they're on. If that's the case, then I should've been there for free.
                              Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses
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                              • #16
                                My trainer was at a show last year and the judge missed one of the movements and asked her about it at the end. It was actually really good so trainer said it was better than the other way (it was) and the judge gave her an 8!
                                No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
                                For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by dghunter View Post
                                  My trainer was at a show last year and the judge missed one of the movements and asked her about it at the end. It was actually really good so trainer said it was better than the other way (it was) and the judge gave her an 8!

                                  At a schooling show this wouldn't bother me at all...especially if the judge knows your trainer. It happens....the schooling show isn't about the placings...it is about schooling.


                                  Judges are not perfect. Also I've scribed a lot...no way in hell can I judge the judge. I'm often too busy writing to actually see what is going on in the ring--other than minor glimps.

                                  As to the youth comment...the judge could have been on the fence....about the move being a 6 or 7....and then decided on a 7. Again...that really isn't so bad and doesn't bug me --it is not as if a judge puts down really nasty comments. (like you-or your horse-- are too fat to ride...or your horse should be pulling a cart)
                                  ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by MassageLady View Post
                                    I once took my arab to a schooling show for dressage-with all the other horses being warmbloods...needless to say, the judge ignored my entire first ride.
                                    You mean you didn't get any scores or comments? Or you didn't like the scores and comments?
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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                                      At a schooling show this wouldn't bother me at all...especially if the judge knows your trainer. It happens....the schooling show isn't about the placings...it is about schooling.
                                      It was a recognized show It is where we show a lot but the judges are different. I'm not sure if she knew my trainer or not!
                                      No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
                                      For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
                                      www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by MassageLady View Post
                                        I once took my arab to a schooling show for dressage-with all the other horses being warmbloods...needless to say, the judge ignored my entire first ride.
                                        Originally posted by mp View Post
                                        You mean you didn't get any scores or comments? Or you didn't like the scores and comments?
                                        Thank you. And at least around here, you'd be hard pressed to find a show, schooling or recognized, that was all warmbloods. (Oh, and one Arab.)
                                        Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.

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