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Which judges do you *like*? Competitors and/or competition managers...

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  • #41
    Speaking from years of showing Dressage Prospects in-hand only;

    I absolutely love showing before Hilda Gurney. What a classy lady, and she is KIND, and obviously loves baby horses .

    Carter Bass - very fair, very strict, good horsewoman with an eye for class.

    Peter Hansen - sharp eye, and appreciates a fine horse. Fair and doesn't give extravagant scores - you get a 76 from him, you earned it.

    Willy Arts - one of the first people we ever showed before, he was a hoot!

    I can only think of one who was truly awful - a Holsteiner breeder herself, she managed to alienate an entire showground full of competitors with her nasty attitude toward EVERYBODY. Several people filed complaints on that one.

    All in all, I think that MOST judges give their best most days - I always appreciate hearing their views and advice.
    Last edited by AdAblurr02; Dec. 4, 2009, 11:35 PM. Reason: can't type worth beans
    Homesick Angels Farm
    breeders of champion Irish Draught Sporthorses
    standing Manu Forti's Touch Down RID


    • #42
      Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
      I'm going to 2nd Debbie Riehl-Rodriquez and add Marie Johnson to the list.

      We had Debbie at a show last year, and she was both fun and well-liked by competitors and the other show staff. 2 thumbs up.

      I scribed for Marie Johnson in July and thought she was very positive and tried hard to give helpful feedback while using the full scoring scale. I remember thinking, "The riders will be very happy with both their scores and comments."

      I would definitely ride under her any time and wouldn't hesitate to have her at one of my shows.

      I too scribed for Marie-she had great comments and was right on for many things- always tried to find positive things about each ride, and spent the day with extra time and explanation in order to educate me!


      • #43
        anyone have any input on Jack Burton?

        Having a hard time hiring judges close by for a recognized show. He's on the other coast, is available, seems to have a lot of shows in his portfolio...but...he's 90. Anyone?? Thanks in advance, please PM if necesary.


        • #44
          Has anyone found that judges that once had rave reviews, you bring them back a couple years later and they are completely the opposite? It is like they read a book, or had a revelation or something and their judgment is WAY off in another tangent. Had this experience with Marlene Schneider. It was very disappointing.

          As a person who scribes a lot and then gets to hear the comments that do NOT get recorded, I really liked:
          Fran Dearing- spent an extra 10 minutes painstakingly writing remarks on a test in hopes she may be able to somehow help the poor horse who was subjected to some really bad riding. As a judge, you can only say so much but she felt strongly. Like she said, "I know this rider will probably not listen but I have to try..."

          Barbara Ebner- Very fair and on the mark
          Kem Barbosa- same as above
          "The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli"


          • #45
            Originally posted by rcrwill View Post
            Having a hard time hiring judges close by for a recognized show. He's on the other coast, is available, seems to have a lot of shows in his portfolio...but...he's 90. Anyone?? Thanks in advance, please PM if necesary.
            I scribed for Maj. Burton maybe 7 years ago, and I really enjoyed it. He's got the most amazing history, and it was a pleasure to bask in his expertise for a day.
            If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


            • #46
              Originally posted by NJRider View Post
              Has anyone found that judges that once had rave reviews, you bring them back a couple years later and they are completely the opposite? It is like they read a book, or had a revelation or something and their judgment is WAY off in another tangent.
              Absolutely. I believe some judges are told they must score lower and become tougher if they want to move up the ranks (ie from R to S or from r to R). I believe the revelation is that judges are suppose to be tougher in response to the internet chatter that judges aren't "doing their job".


              • #47
                Originally posted by rcrwill View Post
                Having a hard time hiring judges close by for a recognized show. He's on the other coast, is available, seems to have a lot of shows in his portfolio...but...he's 90. Anyone?? Thanks in advance, please PM if necesary.
                Personally one of my favorites.. He seems to always root for the underdog.. The person who he can see is really trying their heart out. Kind old "gentleman"...


                • #48
                  NJRider, I had a similar experience with Marlene Schneider at our championships. Several people did. There was over a 10 point difference between the judge at C and the judge at E in my test.

                  Granted, I deserved to get popped for my bonehead mental slips at a couple of spots in the test. One of them could have gotten me whistled off course, it was that bad.

                  I chalk it up to the different angles of view and one judge inclining to be very generous, the other inclining to be tough. It happens.

                  She was consistent in her judging, just lower scoring. I would not avoid her in the future. I thought she was fair.


                  • #49
                    Another vote for Linda Zang!


                    • Original Poster

                      It's been a while, so any new judges you like/dislike?


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by quietann View Post
                        I wish more judges would be like a few mentioned here and give the rider 15 to 30 seconds of immediate feedback. It's one of the things I like about schooling shows; most judges will do that. Getting the score sheet and comments later is not the same.
                        Unfortunately, it is technically agains the rules.
                        A member of the Jury may not discuss a ride with a competitor
                        before the bell or after the final salute.

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


                        • #52
                          This was my first year really showing in recognized shows and I really appreciated some of the judges who took the time to give me clear, understandable, honest, and encouraging comments.

                          Some judges that really stood out to me were:

                          Mike Osinski
                          Christel Carlson
                          Lorraine Macdonald (CAN)
                          Debbie Riehl-Rodriguez
                          Dolly Hannon
                          My blog:



                          • #53
                            Originally posted by Sandy M View Post
                            Elizabeth Searle (but she's now retired). My favorite!! So sorry she's retired, but I believe she's in her 80s, so perfectly understandable.

                            Jeff Moore

                            Sue Curry

                            Paula Lacey

                            Hilda G.

                            Axel Steiner

                            I could do a list of NOT favorites, but let's no go there! LOL
                            Liz Searle was absolutely wonderful. She died within the last year within a few days of Peter Lert. What a loss.

                            Though he died many years back, I love Victor Hugo-Vidal. He judged hunters, too, and had a nice perspective.


                            • #54
                              There are many fantastic L judges in my area who offer very constructive and helpful feedback. Amongst them are:

                              Peggy Hipple
                              Patti Thompson
                              Debbi Alimonte

                              What I like is that they are tough, but they provide comments that make you want to be a better rider.

                              I've ridden for some judges who give low scores and no feedback to help you improve. Those are the WORST judges. Many of us like to show in dressage specifically for the feedback but when we don't get it the show experience feels like a waste. Interestingly, some of the mean judges have really crappy centerline scores compared to the ones that are tough, but fair.


                              • #55
                                I have scribed for just about every judge listed.....Hilda Gurney is a riot! Lots of information, lots of helpful hints. Sue Curry was spot on every time. I could say something about each judge probably. Each is always a hell of an education!

                                As a rider....I would ride for any of the judges mentioned. I like Gretchen Verbonic for her candor. I like Ms. Gurney for her helpfulness with young horses and/or riders. I like all the judges for different reasons.
                                Bethe Mounce
                                Head Trainer, AmeriCan Romance Equestrian
                                Brentwood CA


                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by Spectrum View Post
                                  As a show organizer, I'm thrilled to get this kind of feedback from people.

                                  I can't say how distressing it is to book a judge, have competitors with negative experiences, and then after the fact hear from people, "Why did you book them? Everyone knows he/she is just a VICIOUS judge!!".
                                  while I understand why you have started this thread - i think it is helping support the idea of judge shopping and only hiring those judges that one "likes"...

                                  i am not so sure this is a good thing for dressage..... ?

                                  crap! sorry this thread is ages old....... <rolls eyes>


                                  • #57
                                    @MBM: I have to respectfully disagree with you and here's why.

                                    There are judges who are TOUGH but FAIR. Then there are judges who are TOUGH and MEAN. The latter are the kind who give low scores with no constructive feedback to help you improve. What's the point of riding a test and not receiving comments as to why your scores were low? That makes the show feel like a waste of money.

                                    If I were a show organizer I would look first and foremost for someone who has a reputation for providing constructive feedback. It doesn't have to do with how they score, high or low, it's about making it a learning experience for the rider and their horse. I totally would "judge shop" for exactly that reason if I were running a show.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Originally posted by mbm View Post
                                      while I understand why you have started this thread - i think it is helping support the idea of judge shopping and only hiring those judges that one "likes"...

                                      i am not so sure this is a good thing for dressage..... ?

                                      crap! sorry this thread is ages old....... <rolls eyes>
                                      This is definitely going to come out wrong, but..... Of COURSE show organizers are only going to hire judges they like! Keep in mind, however, that what a show manager "likes" and what a competitor "likes" are not always the same thing.

                                      What I like is a judge who uses the full scale, who gives helpful/constructive remarks. What I like to see are competitors who deserve good scores to get them, and competitors who deserve bad scores to get appropriate feedback (which may mean low scores, but should ALSO mean helpful feedback).

                                      It does nobody any good for a judge to eviscerate a rider and then make nasty comments on the test. Trust me- I've listened to enough comments from every type of rider in the book as they pick up their tests and read the comments. Horrible comments are met with lack of acceptance. Tactful comments are generally met with the response, "Well, I guess I can't really argue with that." Riders want to look at their tests and see they were rewarded for what they did well and if that is the case, they almost always accept the appropriately-scored "2" or even "0" with a wince and a comment that they'll have to go home and work on it.

                                      However 99.9% of the time if someone gets a test where they are just killed on movement after movement with no "here's how to improve your score" feedback, they ignore the entire test and make a note never to ride in front of that judge again. And if they run into too many judges like that on your show circuit, they will look for alternative locations to show. It's a reality that show managers have to face.

                                      I personally find my own personal balance by keeping track of who I feel is consistently fair, who BOTH rewards good AND penalizes bad (ie. uses full scoring scale) and I keep 1/2 an eyeball on the ring outside the show office to see if the scores "feel" appropriate to me. I combine that with observing the overall scores for the entire show and listen closely to rider feedback.

                                      No matter what judge you hire, there is the possibility of catching them on a bad day/weekend, and you're ALWAYS going to have a couple of riders with justifiably bad scores who may or may not be satisfied. But if you see people getting scores 10-15% different from the two judges at your show, you start to watch some more rides to figure out which judge is the one throwing the wrench into the works. Is one scoring too high? Is one scoring too low? Because having huge differences like that just isn't good for anybody. Ideally, you'd have all your judges scoring people pretty consistently.

                                      I had a some cringe moments at a show last year where we had co-judging and the two judges were routinely scoring people 10 and 15% different on the same rides all day. How do you explain that to a competitor? You really can't. My explanation was, "Well, judges see different things from different angles." But if that was the case, you'd think some movements would score higher, some would score lower (as was pointed out by the trainer). I didn't have an effective response, and when the rider and trainer requested judge evaluation forms, I pointed out where they were displayed and had to shrug it off.

                                      Anyhow, that is why I don't feel this thread is "bad for dressage." I don't think merciless scoring is good for anyone, nor do I think people should be inappropriately rewarded, either.


                                      • #59
                                        @Spectrum: very well said. Thank you.


                                        • #60
                                          What @spectrum said

                                          My experience this year as a competitor at my first show with multiple judges was that on the test where the judges scored me differently by about 10% (can't remember the actual point difference but the judges didn't seem to agree on much based on individual scores and comments) and one of the judges consistently gave me unhelpful comments I was certainly less than thrilled. It is harder to implement comments when two judges give you two very different and mutually exclusive opinions. That is frustrating and confusing especially as someone newer to dressage.

                                          As a rider I have no problem showing in a front of a judge who gives "harsh" scores but is consistent, uses the full range of scores, and gives good comments. But I will admit I will think twice about judges now that I know will not give me comments that are useful to my improvement. Telling me I did something badly is one thing; telling me I did something badly but why or how to fix it (at least to an extent. I know judges can't write a novel) is entirely another.
                                          My blog: