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Too honest?

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  • Too honest?

    This past weekend I went to a dressage schooling show to cheer on some barn mates.

    One horse/rider combination did 1st level, test 1 (I did not see this particular test) and judge commented that due to conformational faults extended gaits would be/are extremely difficult for this horse . . . not really a first level horse.

    I'm not sure what to make of that - too honest? One person's opinion? Would you take it to heart and adjust your goals?
    http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

    "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

  • #2
    Is it possible the judge's comments were misinterpreted? This strikes me as a bit odd for a couple of reasons. First, there are no extended gaits in First Level, only lengthenings. Even a horse without spectacular movement can be lengthened and compressed such as to show *some* sort of difference in the movements required at First. It's possible the judge was implying the horse may have a difficult time extending if the rider's goals include moving up to Third and beyond.

    There is absolutely no reason why a competently ridden horse could not do well at First Level. If the judge truly said something to that effect (which again, is a bit odd IMO), I would take it with a grain of salt.
    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

    A Voice Halted

    Comment


    • #3
      Schooling show?

      Was the judge an "L" Program Graduate or a rated judge?

      Yes, there are horses with conformation that limits the ability to do extensions. Doesn't mean they cannot be done at all.

      I would be interested in seeing the complete "quote" rather than paraphrasing. Maybe at this time the horse is not a first level horse due to adherence to the directives for the test. First level is not just about lengthenings.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by GreyStreet View Post
        Is it possible the judge's comments were misinterpreted? This strikes me as a bit odd for a couple of reasons. First, there are no extended gaits in First Level, only lengthenings. Even a horse without spectacular movement can be lengthened and compressed such as to show *some* sort of difference in the movements required at First. It's possible the judge was implying the horse may have a difficult time extending if the rider's goals include moving up to Third and beyond.

        There is absolutely no reason why a competently ridden horse could not do well at First Level. If the judge truly said something to that effect (which again, is a bit odd IMO), I would take it with a grain of salt.
        Maybe I got it wrong! Comments were relayed to me by another party - maybe the term used was lengthening, not extending. Either way, it appeared the judge didn't think this horse had much of a future as a dressage horse.
        http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

        "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by mjhco View Post
          Schooling show?

          Was the judge an "L" Program Graduate or a rated judge?

          Yes, there are horses with conformation that limits the ability to do extensions. Doesn't mean they cannot be done at all.

          I would be interested in seeing the complete "quote" rather than paraphrasing. Maybe at this time the horse is not a first level horse due to adherence to the directives for the test. First level is not just about lengthenings.
          Yes, a schooling show. USEF "r" judge.

          I'll have to see if I can get clarification on the comments.
          http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

          "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

          Comment


          • #6
            You have to remember , it is only one person's opinion. Why is your friend riding/competeing in dressage. Is she trying to increase her horses rideability? Then dressage is for every horse, not matter the conformation. Is she riding dressage with competition goals in mind? Then the horses conformation may limit her goals.

            Comment


            • #7
              The judge could be giving what he/she considered was a helpful prediction: Letting the rider/owner know not to plan on taking this horse all the way up the levels.

              I'd take what I heard from the judge with a grain of salt, but put it in the mental notebook in case I heard another pro or two say similar. Then I'd pay attention and change the plan for the horse before I had done too much damage.
              The armchair saddler
              Politically Pro-Cat

              Comment


              • #8
                It is one person's opinion, and might have been reinterpreted by the hearer who passed it along to you.

                One of my favorite parts of shows is if 9 of 10 judges say, "your circles are ovals" you can be pretty sure that your circles are ovals. If one judge says it & the rest don't, maybe you had an off day in front of that judge. Or maybe his/her glasses need adjusted.

                In other words - there isn't enough information in your friend's description to interpret what comment was made, much less why.

                I did start dressage on a gelding built downhill & my trainer made a similar comment, to manage my expectations. But since the gelding loved to jump big & clean & only did dressage to humor me, I found him a place where he could jump for a living.

                So maybe the judge might be trying to help manage your friend's expectations.
                Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.

                Comment


                • #9
                  One horse/rider combination did 1st level, test 1 (I did not see this particular test) and judge commented that due to conformational faults extended gaits would be/are extremely difficult for this horse . . . not really a first level horse.

                  I'm not sure what to make of that - too honest? One person's opinion? Would you take it to heart and adjust your goals?
                  __________________
                  I had a judge tell me the same thing when I first started showing dressage..and she was so right! I just wish I had a trainer who would have told me this! My horse went on to be a very happy hunter!
                  Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. –Sebastian Junger

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KBEquine View Post
                    One of my favorite parts of shows is if 9 of 10 judges say, "your circles are ovals" you can be pretty sure that your circles are ovals. If one judge says it & the rest don't, maybe you had an off day in front of that judge. Or maybe his/her glasses need adjusted.
                    This is so right...Its interesting: in spite of the subjective nature of judging in dressage and what's a 4 or a 5 or an 8, I can say that over a season of 6 shows and at least twice as many tests, my horse and I have gotten very consistent remarks and darn consistent scores. Our strong points were always judged as our strong points. Weak ones also (unless I got lucky and nailed a walk pirouette now and then). Variations on any given day, but overall consistency!

                    But to OP's point, I wouldn't take one judge's opinion. But I would go back and examine the lengthenings, how I ride them, how they are set up and how they could be made better.
                    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      I did confirm that the judge's comments were on extensions.

                      From what I understand the judge was pretty tough on everyone and positive comments were few and far between. Not what I would hope for at a schooling show.

                      Owner, who wasn't riding, was pretty disappointed in the comments - but, I doubt that will change her plans - she has pretty high hopes for this horse.
                      http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

                      "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by mvp View Post
                        The judge could be giving what he/she considered was a helpful prediction: Letting the rider/owner know not to plan on taking this horse all the way up the levels.

                        I'd take what I heard from the judge with a grain of salt, but put it in the mental notebook in case I heard another pro or two say similar. Then I'd pay attention and change the plan for the horse before I had done too much damage.
                        Could be - and I'd do the same.
                        http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

                        "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          1. There are NO extensions in First level. Just lengthenings

                          2. If I had a quarter for each time judges or someone who wanted to be helpful tell me that my horse couldn't move up because of his lengthenings I could have paid for all the years of lessons to get him to Grand Prix. Nope. He still can only get a 7 on extensions. But we get 8's on our passage, piaffe, tempis, and pirouettes.

                          3. Some folks just haven't ridden/trained enough horses to understand that attitude and a great canter can take you a lot farther than a great trot.

                          4. I did have a caring, knowledgeable I judge tell me in a lesson to not worry about my horses limitations in the extended gaits. And to maximize the gaits /transitions that we could score well on. And here we are at Grand Prix.

                          Have your friend set her and her goals to be all they can be. And just see where that takes them. No harm. No foul.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by mjhco View Post
                            1. There are NO extensions in First level. Just lengthenings.
                            Understood, but that is the terminology that the judge used.

                            Originally posted by mjhco View Post
                            Have your friend set her and her goals to be all they can be. And just see where that takes them. No harm. No foul.
                            I'm sure she will . . .
                            http://fromdressagehorsetocowpony.blogspot.com/

                            "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I still believe just about any horse should be able to compete decently at First Level.

                              If lengthenings are not your friend's strong point, then she should focus on the things the horse CAN do well. Can the horse collect a bit more prior to the lengthening, to show a *real* difference? Perhaps the horse has trouble with the lengthening but can compress like nobody's business. Can the horse perform the lateral movements well? Does she ride a forward, relaxed, accurate test?

                              My horse is not a knock your socks off mover, but we have won quite a few First Level tests in good company because we are typically forward, steady and I practice riding an accurate test. Weaknesses, IMO, really start to show up in Second when you start pushing past the comfort zone a bit - now it's not just about lengthenings but collection, developing the mediums so that you can ride the extensions at Third, etc.
                              Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

                              A Voice Halted

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I think whether comments like that are appropriate really depends on the tone and specifics. I mean, if the judge does it helpfully in a "this may hold your horse back in the future" sense, then I really don't see a problem with it. I've gotten a few comments like that over the years (only one was off-base IMO, the others were accurate assessments of each horse's limitations) and they don't bother me.

                                Except one that I still remember and that actually put me off dressage for a long time. I was like 10 and obviously a hunter rider (based on tack and attire) trying out a dressage schooling show. My pony was not a spectacular mover or anything but she was a serviceable little thing and a great child's pony because she could do everything--we jumped up to 3'9", showed up to first level dressage, rode trails, evented, fox hunted, did gymkhana...you get the idea.

                                Anyway, this judge made a comment about my pony being a poor choice for a dressage horse (which was not news to us), but it was worded really nastily and basically came across to me as saying that my pony was not worth anything. To a 10 year old who loved her pony, that was devastating. I thought (and still think) that the judge was extremely out of line with those comments. My parents and trainer actually filed a complaint over it and she was not invited back to judge at that series of shows (not just based on our complaints; as I understand it there were quite a few others as well). Although the thing I still laugh at is that we rode T1 and T2--and we got like a 68% and a 73% so obviously she wasn't that bad of a pony! In fact I think we even placed in both classes so it's especially WTF.

                                edit: It wasn't just me being over-sensitive as a kid, either. I came across those tests in my old PC folder I still have just a couple of years ago, and was kind of shocked at how mean the comments really were. Totally inappropriate for really any judge, but way out of line in that venue.

                                So I guess to me it just really depends on the situation. I do think it's a tricky thing to comment on, since a limitation in one particular area doesn't always mean the horse won't move up the levels. Also, the judge has no idea if you even want to move up--plenty of riders are happy to top out at 1st or 2nd level, and/or are just dabbling in dressage. Personally, if I was judging a dressage show I would not say anything like that (probably, I've never judged a dressage show but I have judged other shows) but I don't think it's really out of line.
                                exploring the relationship between horse and human

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                  The judge could be giving what he/she considered was a helpful prediction: Letting the rider/owner know not to plan on taking this horse all the way up the levels.

                                  I'd take what I heard from the judge with a grain of salt, but put it in the mental notebook in case I heard another pro or two say similar. Then I'd pay attention and change the plan for the horse before I had done too much damage.
                                  This. The judge was giving her opinion on what she saw that day.
                                  I would like to know what overall score the ride got and what each movement achieved. That would put the comment into perspective - good score = horse can do 1st but not higher; bad score = maybe horse not ready for 1st and should go back to TL (could also mean bad riding or mistakes or whatever).

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Not too honest, too opinionated. It's the problem when we forget that even the experts sometimes have their own biases. You can take a horse as far as you and the horse can go. When you run into those people think of a horse like Tulloch Ard - a $500 Clyde/TB cross that won the Garryowen in 2011 and competes at PSG.

                                    http://www.bordermail.com.au/news/lo...r/1639679.aspx

                                    http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/art...21_horses.html

                                    Paula
                                    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Tiger Horse View Post
                                      I did confirm that the judge's comments were on extensions.

                                      From what I understand the judge was pretty tough on everyone and positive comments were few and far between. Not what I would hope for at a schooling show.

                                      Owner, who wasn't riding, was pretty disappointed in the comments - but, I doubt that will change her plans - she has pretty high hopes for this horse.
                                      Giving the judge the benefit of the doubt, s/he could have misspoken or the scribe misheard and miswrote. Speculating further, I might look at this judge's history: how long an "r" and how did s/he score other shows? Over the years I've seen the tendency for r's, especially new r's to be a bit tougher than more senior judges.

                                      After I got over my agaustedness at the reference to extensions in a 1st level test, I'd skim the comments to see if there was anything useful to take away and file the test for future. I would probably wait to show for this judge again until s/he had earned an S.

                                      I've heard from many experienced FEI riders and judges that you buy a canter. Not only is the trot is the most improvable gait, but upper level movements are mostly canter-based.

                                      Now, that's the honest truth ... according to what I know
                                      *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Is it possible that the comment was something to the effect of 'horse is too downhill to achieve proper extension in lengthening'? That could be interpreted two (or more!) ways, either that the horse is BUILT too downhill and will never be ABLE to really show a good lengthening, or the more likely intention that the horse was RIDDEN too downhill and could reasonably achieve a proper lengthening if it were corrected.

                                        Either way, it just sounds like a poor choice of words. I'm wondering if it was a comment on a movement, or in the collective marks at the end? It seems unlikely to make a comment about potential for another level on a First 1 test, let alone a level that isn't even the next one up!

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