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A Couple of Tips for the Amateur Competitor

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  • A Couple of Tips for the Amateur Competitor

    I jotted down a few ideas yesterday while scribing for a day of Training through Third level. I was paying particular attention because I'm considering the wisdom of showing myself and was looking for trends to avoid. Also, I was sitting with an "O" judge who was completely focused on the rides with methodology and comments that were so unambiguous, I didn't have any reason to wonder "what the heck?"

    In no particular order ...

    Leaving the Arena:
    When you've finished your test, thank the judge if you want to, and then MARCH out of the area. Don't amble, don't mosey, don't check out everything around you, you don't have to worry about upsetting the rhythm, so move with purpose through the in-gate, not just past A.

    What Does that Mean?:
    I have learned that "impulsion," "ground cover," "stretch," "balance," or similar comments, means there's "not enough" or "needs more." If something is well-done, there's usually a qualifier like "good" or "fairly good". (On the other hand, "balanced" accompanying a 7 or 8 means the scribe missed the "d".)

    When Coats are Waived:
    Remove your neckware. Make sure your shoulders are covered. Also, make sure that what you reveal will not distract eyes from the beauty of your horse's movements. Sometimes four or five minutes of putting on your coat is worth the discomfort.

    Shorten Your Stirrup Leathers:
    Too many lower-level adult amateurs are riding with impossibly long stirrups. Dressage doesn't mean "straight legs." A too-long length does not make a big leg look more slender. The correct stirrup length enables correct balance and therefore better body control and a greater opportunity to correctly influence the horse.


  • #2
    Thank you for taking the time to write this. I really appreciate it.

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


    • #3
      Yep, agree.
      Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


      • #4
        I was there and had no idea you were scribing in the booth!

        Thanks for the information...I compete in Jacksonville this coming weekend
        Green Cove Springs, FL


        • #5
          If you were at the Clarcona, I want to thank you for scribing! I was competing, such a lovely show and show grounds. I had a resistant horse on Sat and earned every 59 I got!! Sunday morning was better - 66% at First level - but some resistance returned for the later ride at 2-1. I can say the judges were more than fair, the comments spot on - and they missed NOTHING!! Ah well, more shows to come.....


          • Original Poster

            You are all most welcome I hope all the comments from ring two were legible. I noticed that I was leaving out letters (the h and the y got combined in rhythm a few times) and worried I'd be seeing posts like "what the HECK was the scribe drinking?"

            Clarcona is lovely, if a little windy at times, and the show management works very hard to ensure good experiences for competitors. If you have comments about anything, they love compliments and criticisms.

            The judge for whom I scribed really was wonderful. We seemed to have a fair number of quite young horses and between classes he even went into the arena to pick up errant leaves he thought might be disruptive!

            Hope Jacksonville is lots of fun (most of my barn will be there, I think!) and everyone's show seasons are successful!


            • #7
              Originally posted by AllWeatherGal View Post

              Leaving the Arena:
              When you've finished your test, thank the judge if you want to, and then MARCH out of the area. Don't amble, don't mosey, don't check out everything around you, you don't have to worry about upsetting the rhythm, so move with purpose through the in-gate, not just past A.
              OMG, this one! I judged a schooling show once and there was a lovely rider on a lovely Western trained paint doing Training Level. The horse was going at the speed of a western pleasure horse all around the arena - it probably took her 15 min to do the test. At the end she saluted and then walked in that tiny western walk all the way up to me to thank me and make a loop out of the arena. I swear that was another 5 minutes. I tried to cut that stroll short by waving at her so she wouldn't walk all the way up to me but no, she was coming all the way up to me. I second your suggestion to MOVE WITH PURPOSE OUT OF THE ARENA. you're done now!


              • Original Poster

                A couple months into the show season for everyone not in the south (where it's stinkin hot and thunderstorming every afternoon ...).

                New observations or thoughts?

                I should add: Read the Rulebook for Yourself!
                Consult CoTH for conversation, opinion, and entertaining discussion. When you need a rock solid "legal" answer, call the responsible organization or ask the TD at the show (if it's at a particular venue).


                • #9
                  OK, first of all, I have to say I HATE rhythm! Something about that word - I also get the hs and ys all mixed up when I'm in a hurry

                  Back in the good ol' days, riders often rode toward the judge to thank them, and judges often threw out a quick comment to the riders, so we do sometimes see people still do that. I get where it comes from - for a while, I felt really rude just leaving without going up to the judge

                  Totally agree on the legs - there are so many riders I see with no bend in their knee - NONE? How do you do anything with your leg when it is that straight? A well known biomechanics clinician and S judge made it really clear "how can you expect the horse to bend its hind legs if you aren't bending yours?". That is one of those gems that has stayed in my brain for years.

                  My biggest piece of advice, and one I struggle to remember when things go wrong... Each movement is separately scored - so if things go wrong, fix it and move on - you CAN go from a 3 to an 8, don't let one or two bad movements get to you. FIX IT and MOVE ON. That is how the pros win even with yeehaws in the test.

                  And don't forget to pat your horse when you finish the ride - (s)he deserves acknowledgement and most judges do appreciate that recognition to the horse.

                  Oh, and it is OK TO SMILE


                  • #10
                    I'm slow this morning, what does "the scribe missed the"d" mean?
                    "You gave your life to become the person you are right now. Was it worth it?" Richard Bach


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Calhoun View Post
                      I'm slow this morning, what does "the scribe missed the"d" mean?
                      Without the D, it reads like a suggestion: you need to balance. 'Balanced" accompanying a 7 or 8 means you nailed it.
                      A helmet saved my life.

                      2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!