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(Cross post from Eventing): What gets you a 4 on a movement?

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  • (Cross post from Eventing): What gets you a 4 on a movement?

    (I'm cross-posting from the Eventing forum in hopes that more dressage peeps will see it )

    My friend was complaining about her dressage score at Entry (sort of like BN for us Canucks) (ETA: I'm really not sure what this translates into in a pure dressage test - perhaps Training?). She said that her dressage instructor (who didn't see the test) said that the judge was incorrect in giving a 4 for any movement or pattern that was completed. I thought "huh?? That's what a 0 is for; 4 = insufficient". My friend insists that a 4 means a break in gait or a major disobedience; that if the movement was completed as directed (e.g. a 20m canter circle on the left) that the minimum score can be no less than 5.

    Well, that doesn't sound right to me, but I'm not a judge. So, using a 20m canter circle on the left as an example, what would earn you a 4 on the movement?

    I don't mind if you call me a snowflake, 'cause baby, I know a blizzard is coming.

  • #2
    I was really excited about this title. What has gotten me a 4 on a movement? Oh so many, many things.

    What has gotten my pony a 4 (once 8, then crossed out as the last stride became a pony-says-no fit) on a canter circle left in TL 3 was the aforementioned pony-says-no fit. There was one, maybe 2 strides left in the circle and I put a touch more inside leg to bend her around... bad choice, my friends, bad choice. What once was a lovely balanced canter turned into a pony bronc fest. Comment: "Lovely circle. Pity about the rodeo."

    For some reason, the submission scores were rather low.


    • Original Poster

      haha, love it!! Gotta love pony mares. I too have received a crossed out score... it didn't go higher...

      While my friend was grousing I was scratching my head -- I have received PLENTY of 4's when I have "more or less" completed the movement... depends on your definition...

      I am guessing the reason that my friend was cheesed off is that she feels that she DIDN'T have a major meltdown, break to a trot, wrong lead etc., so she thinks it's unfair to get less than a 5 if none of those things happened.
      Last edited by fargaloo; Jul. 19, 2012, 01:46 PM.
      I don't mind if you call me a snowflake, 'cause baby, I know a blizzard is coming.


      • #4
        I got a 4 on walk to trot transition.

        What happened? well, judge's comment was "stopped to poop" with a frowny face.

        It still makes me laugh.


        • #5
          Umm I still dread my stretchy trot circle - big ole 4 for "insufficient stretching" or "downward but not forward enough," and all slew of other things. What can I say? Pony loves to keep his head up so he can look at the judge: maybe he thinks he will get an 8 by batting his eyelashes? Arch.


          • #6
            Score/Performance Level

            10 = Excellent
            9 = Very good
            8 = Good
            7 = Fairly good
            6 = Satisfactory
            5 = Marginal
            4 = Insufficient
            3 = Fairly bad
            2 = Bad
            1 = Very bad
            0 = Not performed

            It means your execution of the movement was between marginal and fairly bad. More an expression of quality than quantity.
            ... _. ._ .._. .._


            • #7
              Why a 4? If the horse was on the forehand, and/or incorrect bend, and/or head up in the air, and/or curled up behind the bit, and/or poor contact, and/or 4-beat canter, and/or uneven tempo, and/or way too fast or way too slow, and/or the circle size was incorrect or not circular enough, etc. etc. There are many things that can cause the judge to give a 4. The rider needs to read the objectives of the test, what the requirements are for the level and assess the ride based on them. The trainer, instead of blaming the judge, should be offering constructive help to the rider. But then if the trainer is blaming the judge, maybe the trainer doesn't really understand the reasons for a 4 and needs some more education.


              • Original Poster

                Thanks, everyone for your comments -- very helpful.

                As an aside -- I am disappointed in my friend over her attitude, and am surprised that her instructor is supporting her. We all know that judges are human and can make mistakes, but my friend is railing about how this judge is "incompetent" (and by the way, I happen to have ridden in front of this judge many times and have found her extremely fair and insightful; she also has an excellent reputation in the local community). My friend is ticked at me because I am refusing to join in the pile-on. Apparently her instructor has been backing her up with stories of "dressage is so political!! Judges are so biased!!", so my friend is now mad as a wet hen. Over an Entry level dressage test.
                I don't mind if you call me a snowflake, 'cause baby, I know a blizzard is coming.


                • #9
                  At a recent show, I did 4-1 and there is medium down the diagonal with some collected trot steps in the middle. It is a coefficient, and on my test sheet you see an 8, and then it got crossed out to a 4. Well, the horse I rode spooked and jumped up on all fours (it was in an indoor and some one came running by during out test). It was at the end of the movement, we were actually turning the corner. We recovered and got a 7 on our next half pass, but I guess a spook constitutes a 4. But big spooks are hard on scoring sometimes because then you can get nailed in your obedience score too. I saw someone once do the PSG canter zig-zag and do half of it in trot, and they got a 3.


                  • #10
                    I think the moral of the story is that there are lots of ways to earn a 4, and very very few ways to earn a 10.


                    • #11
                      Well too bad for your friend, she might miss a good opportunity to learn from her hum...(not) mistakes!

                      Have you seen her test? Was it recorded?
                      Judges can make mistakes and if she can proves her point, she could have her test re-evaluted! But really...at Entry level...
                      ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                      Originally posted by LauraKY
                      I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                      HORSING mobile training app


                      • #12
                        Is this 'instructor' a dressage person? Has this instructor been through any dressage judge training sessions?

                        Just trying to get a perspective of level of involvement / competence.

                        There are some 'instructors' that I know of that are not so experienced in this discipline that others.


                        • #13
                          A more interesting discussion would be how we have gotten 1s!

                          My 4s have all involved aerials or unplanned transitions to other gaits. But my horse is a balanced nice mover.

                          I would think in intro if you have a horse who is inverted, on the forehand and lacks impulsion you may be starting at a 5. Then make the circle the wrong size or oblong, and you could easily get a 4 which doesn't result from a misbehavior of some sort.
                          Originally posted by Silverbridge
                          If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.


                          • #14
                            Crossing hind legs in a walk piro.
                            not enough bend in a SI.
                            Not enough stretch in a stretchy circle.
                            trot steps in a simple change.
                            too many walk steps in a simple change.
                            adding a flying change into the counter canter loop.

                            what movement was it?


                            • #15
                              The attitude is something I've seen before...many times. I think I finally have some of it figured out. If you only ride in your own backyard as a dressage rider and you're in a place where the quality of dressage is not that high, then you think something that is not really that good should always have a minimum of 5. If you are in a place where the standards are higher, then people understand immediately why they got a 4--they have a better trained eye and understanding.

                              This can happen in eventing, too, because there are often rides that are not very good, but people watching are so used to poor to somewhat good tests that they thinks somewhat good is AWESOME and they're wondering why people aren't getting 8s across the board.

                              And judges can add to this by rewarding rides that are not so great because, by comparison and after a LONG day in the sun, they are ready to throw some higher scores out. (Most really aren't that stingy.)

                              I think your friend and her instructor are suffering from this syndrome. I see it in certain parts of the country, especially those with less consistant access to top coaches. People come up through the levels and don't get to see truly soft, balanced and wonderful examples of a horse doing each level.

                              Just a thought. (And many of those places like the Santa Claus judges and refuse to get tough judges unless they can't find anyone else available. )
                              "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"


                              • Original Poster

                                lorilu -- I wish it was as exciting as a pirouette... no, it was a 20m canter circle

                                mjhco -- interestingly enough, the instructor is (or was) a recognizable name locally; I am pretty sure she has competed at a high level (I think GP) but no idea if she has any judging experience. (Being an eventer, I am not really up on the dressage scene.) From my limited interaction with her, I suspect she has a bit of a chip on her shoulder with regards to competition.

                                alibi_18 -- I actually watched her test. I figured it would be a low 60's and it was a 59.5%. (Aren't I smart.)

                                thanks for all your feedback. I love the idea that there are many ways to earn a 4 and very few to earn a 10 - well said cnm161!
                                I don't mind if you call me a snowflake, 'cause baby, I know a blizzard is coming.


                                • #17
                                  Once I got a whole bunch of 4's on a first outing with a very nervous horse who cantered through half of an Intro test

                                  I'd have to go through old tests to figure out if I've ever gotten one for something less obvious, but it certainly seems possible.
                                  "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                                  -Edward Hoagland


                                  • #18
                                    What were the comments associated with the 4's?

                                    With the other scores?


                                    • #19
                                      Just wait till she gets to sticking that g*&^%$#n turn on the haunches. But yeah, judges are human, and sometimes make mistakes. Those can go both ways. I have a friend who has a videotaped test in which she received a 7 for a halt at A that she never performed.

                                      Scores should always be looked at over several shows as trends.
                                      "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht


                                      • #20
                                        In general a 4 is something like wrong gait, wrong lead, stopping, shying, major problems. Generally most judges give a 5 if it's just not good.

                                        For example, in a 20 m circle, little bend, not good quality gaits, not on bit kind of things are usually 5. What gets a 4 is something like on the wrong lead, head bent in wrong direction, flipping head up repeatedly, or maybe making a square or a 38 m circle.

                                        In general, what is acceptable is supposed to be more and more stringent the higher you go in the levels.

                                        In general, the first time you see a problem, it might be a 5, but if it's the same or worse on the other side, it's a 4.

                                        As long as the judge is consistent in judging everyone the same way, it's OK.

                                        That said, recent show shows the problems we have. Judge judging the owner of the facility who does no piaffe, passage, transitions, or pirouettes at I-2. Lovely changes. Could be very generous and give 8's for changes, but the best given for the rest should have been 4's, and into 3's as it got worse. The score was 70%. That means those non p/p and por. had to get 6's. Sad.