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Test reader

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  • Test reader

    I'm curious about the use of readers. I haven't done a great desk of showing in dressage, a handful of bronze level, the rest schooling shows. On all these occasions I was the only one, that I noticed, that didn't use a reader.
    When I was showing I was working for a coach and she read for all her students at shows, most of them teenagers. My first reaction was that I would make them memorize and do it themselves, these same kids rode hunter/jumper and had to memorize courses.
    i didn't realize that it was so common to have a reader, I would have thought it would be more encouraged for riders to memorize the tests.
    Is it common elsewhere? At what levels is it allowed/not allowed?

  • #2
    All USDF and USEF tests can be called (intro-4th) except at a Championship. FEI tests cannot be called.


    • #3
      Some people have performance anxiety and having a reader as back up, or as a familiar voice can help lessen their anxiety.

      And some people are just too lazy to memorize their tests.

      I prefer to not use a reader as I find it shifts my focus in a way I do not like.
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


      • #4
        And a lot of people memorize their tests, but have a lot of them (with multiple horses) on a given day and use the reader as a backup. Or, when not riding multiple tests, just have a reader there as backup--just because they can.

        It's not a big deal. I do, however, make my students memorize their tests and try to perform them sans reader at schooling shows so they know they can do it. At a recognized show, they usually just want a back up. I don't care. The tests are usually easy, but then again, if you ride too many of them sometimes the blend a bit and on a very hot day, when your fried, panting and riding an exhausted horse and trying to make it look brilliant, you don't mind a reader on the side as back up. Whether or not you actually listen to them is up to you. There are a LOT of crappy readers out there.

        I had one ride when I asked a friend to read for me, as a back up, and she was way to far behind for anyone to prepare for a movement. I had the test memorized and nearly broke out laughing at one point when she was super late and I'd already performed the movement and was moving on to the next.
        "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"


        • #5
          You can have readers through Fourth level. I'll be honest - I much prefer having a reader even through fourth level tests. I pretty much know my tests anyway, but it really helps me if I have to really focus on an issue (i.e. I can feel the horse is about to do an "unauthorized" flying change, or is starting to spook at something and I'm trying to keep the lid on the horse) and then momentarily forget where I am in the test. If anything, I feel comfy knowing that I have a "backup" in case I forget something, and hearing the voice of a friend if I'm feeling nervous.
          Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


          • #6
            I just got an entry for a trainer riding seven horses in a mix of tests next Saturday. I think I'd want a reader. I'm sure he won't use one, but I sure would


            • #7
              As someone new to dressage with exactly *one* test completed yesterday, I did not use a reader because I wanted to focus on remembering my test and not let my mind wander or freak out. But I cannot at this point imagine riding more than one and having to remember it. Seven horses??? That's a lot of circles!
              LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...


              • #8
                I generally prefer to do without a reader - I find it distracting. I do seem to have a facility for memorization, tho,but I can understand others having issues in that regard. I read for our resident trainer, because at one time she was showing a 1st level horse, a 2nd level horse, then starting her own greenie at TL. That's harder than me learning TL/T3 and 1st/T1 for a show.


                • #9
                  I'm old, my brain freezes. I love having a good reader.

                  However, do be careful who reads for you. My trainer is Canadian, I am not. We had a problem with P's and B's in the one test she read for me last year. It wasn't pretty. I was pretty damned sure I knew the test, but it was the first time I'd ridden it in a show situation and confusion reigned supreme. Thank goodness it was a schooling show...

                  I am in quite high demand as a reader as I have a very precise British accent that apparently could cut through glass


                  • #10
                    I used to pride myself on not having a reader, and encouraged my students to go without as well; however, as others have said, when I was riding multiple horses in different levels it was just too risky to go without, especially since I was riding for clients and an error due to memory lapse would have been seriously unprofessional. I still memorise all my tests, but a good reader in the background is just a sensible safety net IMO.
                    Proud COTH lurker since 2001.


                    • #11
                      Danier --

                      Are you, by any chance, in Canada? It is much more common in Canada to have tests read than it is in the U.S., and it is also legal there to have each movement read twice -- which in Ontario is a lot of French flying back and forth across side-by-side rings.


                      • #12
                        I'm quite sure I used a reader in a test judged by Margaret Freeman--6 degrees of separation

                        I found a reader tobe more of a curse than a blessing. I found myself waiting for my reader to shout what was next, and in worrying about that, I didn't "ride" Make sure your reader has experience in reading a test, especially at the higher levels where stuff comes up more quickly. A good reader is not only easily heard, but will read the movements at the correct time, not when you are 2 strides before the next movement


                        • #13
                          You can't make generalizations about this. Some people memorize their tests and still like to have a reader in case of brain freeze. I guess some people don't memorize the tests and use a reader to tell then what to do. (I don't understand this, but that's because it wouldn't work at all for me.) Some people don't like using a reader. Some readers are terrific, and some are dismally awful (see Velvet's and lovey1121's posts).

                          I've scribed at dozens and dozens of shows and my experience, contrary to Margaret's, is that the majority of people use readers. I've never heard a judge say anything negative about it. Once, however, a judge did say to me, "She should have used a reader," after the rider was eliminated for going off course three times.
                          Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


                          • #14
                            Note: At least in the United States, reader MUST read test as written in English. (I scribed for a judge who stopped a test because the reader was speaking French.)


                            • #15
                              I scribe for eventing dressage - I would say I usually only see a couple fo called tests per devision.

                              I see much more of it at schooling/bronze level shows though.


                              • Original Poster

                                I never thought of riding multiple horses in multiple tests, using a reader definitely makes sense, I'd have trouble remembering which horse I was riding let alone which test.
                                When practicing I always found the reader very distracting so I didn't use one for shows.
                                I am in Canada, was showing in Ontario. On the tests the wording for readers is printed right on them, readers are only allowed to read exactly what's written.


                                • #17
                                  It's the same in the states. The reader only reads the movements of the test as written on the test.

                                  For those saying there are fewer callers/readers in the US than Canada I wonder how they are drawing that conclusion. Most dressage shows I've attended around the US have all had readers constantly calling from every ring all day long.
                                  "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"


                                  • #18
                                    At the lower levels I like to use a reader although I do memorize the tests. I can't tell you the number of green beans I've ridden where:

                                    The horse spooked/got distracted/something else happened. I got mare under control then went totally blank - forgetting where I was in the pattern.

                                    Sometimes I remembered in time, other times I missed a turn/movement, etc.. as I lacked the time to recover - so received an "off course" from the judge.

                                    And did I mention that while recovering I am not riding my best since I'm thinking of the pattern - not how the horse is moving?

                                    That's why I like a reader - so if I go blank I recover faster.
                                    Now in Kentucky


                                    • #19
                                      My trainer calls my tests: I appreciate her timing and booming baritone

                                      I did have a funny experience showing w/o her at a schooling show. It's funny now, I should say. Riding Training 2, maybe? And it's gaited dressage (EXACT same test, just flat walk rather than trot)...after my salute I turned left at C, rode that test like I was Charlotte on her big horse...and about halfway through I realized I'm on the WRONG long side. I just made some **** up to make it balance the first half of the test and finished. After my salute, I rode up to the judge & scribe...the judge (Leslie O Neal-Olsen, whom I adore) said "What test did you just ride??? It was wrong but you just kept going and it was so pretty!!" I told her what happened and we got a huge laugh out of it. She offered to let me ride it again but I said oh hell to the no, it's Miller Time

                                      Last time I show w/o a reader


                                      • #20
                                        I am relatively new to dressage, and I enjoy having a reader when I show. I do have my little First Level tests pretty well memorized, but having that back up, as others have noted, allows me to focus more on my ride and less about worrying where to go next.

                                        I can certainly understand why some people would consider it distracting and would therefore elect not to use a reader, but from the judge's perspective, I cannot imagine anyone dinging a rider for the use of a reader. (As far as I am aware, there are no marks given for "ability to memorize a pattern.")
                                        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.