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The Joy of Judging - by Anne Gribbons

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  • The Joy of Judging - by Anne Gribbons

    Just finished reading her article in the COTH, dated Jan. 23, 2009, and couldn't agree with her more.....

    With all the recent controversy regarding dressage judging, Anne managed to put things in proper perspective. I was nodding my head in agreement when I read "and if having exactly the same score for every single ride is all that important, why, then, do judges get encouraged to "judge their conviction" and "use the whole scale" in every seminar and forum they attend?"

    She also says "if judging is all about five people saying the same thing, why have five, and not one judge instead?"

    Anne agrees that more education is always good and exams are welcome but not if they're designed to remove you from your status if you fail, as was indicated in the presentation in October. She likens that to taking away a doctor's license or disbarring a lawyer for the same reason.

    A final comment from Anne.... "and by the way, someone pointed out to me the fact that it takes a minimum of 20 years of practicing and exams to become and FEI I-rated judge but only 12 years to become a doctor. But, of course, that's only brain surgery."

    Thank you Anne for being the voice of reason, again!
    Last edited by siegi b.; Feb. 1, 2009, 03:41 PM.
    Siegi Belz
    www.stalleuropa.com
    2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
    Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.

  • #2
    I did agree with some of what Anne Gribbons said, particularly the bit about all judges conforming to give the same scores. That is not the way to improve the quality of judging. To me, it’s more important that a judge be internally consistent. By which I mean, if judge A consistently scores individual movements a point lower that judge B for the entire field of entries, in this situation it shouldn’t reflect poorly on judge A because when the scores are totaled the results will be equivalent between both judges. Whoever thought up the current judge’s evaluation scenario simply missed the point. And, it’s good that Ms. Gibbons had the opportunity to publicly express her displeasure and inform the public.

    On the other hand, I wish she had not made some of the other remarks, as I felt they made the piece come off somewhat as “sour grapes.”
    Last edited by Derid; Jan. 29, 2009, 12:50 PM. Reason: spelling error

    Comment


    • #3
      the fact that it takes a minimum of 20 years of practicing and exams to become and FEI I-rated judge but only 12 years to become a doctor. But, of course, that's only brain surgery.
      How true.

      It also seems that some think that dressage judges just must be born with an absolute dressage knowledge, remember the Rule Book by heart if their phone rings at 3AM, and shouldn't make any errors/mistakes in the process of learning to become a judge... which takes 20+ years Yeah, good luck with that!!!

      The “L” exam (first step of US dressage judging education) is so difficult that even some "L" faculty members openly admit that they can’t pass it. Usually, only 1/3 of a class passes with “distinction” that is needed to apply for the next judging level (that is 3 people per class and there are very few "L" programs are offered per year in whole US). As our instructor told us: “look on the right and look on the left of you, 2 of you will not pass the final exam with distinction”. It is very difficult and chances are against you from the get go.

      Yet, according to feedback of some of the riders it’s still not hard enough!!! The passing score for oral is 75% that equals a 75% in a dressage test. How many can score 75% on their dressage tests???? The passing score for written is 80%. There are 200 questions in the written exam, so participant can get 40 of those questions wrong and still pass with distinction. Yet as I said earlier only 1/3 of a class passes with “distinction”!!! During my study in “L” program I was questioning 1 (one) of those questions – and got ripped a new one here on COTH. I didn’t even graduate, took an exam, or judged back then, I was just studying and learning, yet I was held to some idealistic standard of a absolutely perfect judge who know everything from the get go, a robot that didn’t question anything that she was taught. I think that was about 2 years ago – I forgot about it already, but there are absolute strangers who still remember that and judge me on that 1 (ONE) question out of 200!!!

      Yes, I think when faculty is allowing mistakes on 40 questions on final and some of general public is not allowing even ONE mistake = Anne Gribbons comparison to brain surgery is very valid.

      It's absolutely amazing how unrealistic some of the views about judges are out there. My advice would be to scribe for at least 3 days straight with a judge or to volunteer for a show management for a 3 days straight. That will give a realistic glimpse on judges and shows. Judges are real people with feelings, with faults, with their own pains and their own lives. None of them are perfect and none will ever be.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by siegi b. View Post
        A final pearl from Anne.... "and by the way, someone pointed out to me the fact that it takes a minimum of 20 years of practicing and exams to become and FEI I-rated judge but only 12 years to become a doctor. But, of course, that's only brain surgery."

        Thank you Anne for being the voice of reason, again!
        I haven't yet read the article, but to compare learning to judge horses to earning an M.D. is as silly as comparing dressage scores to college grades. Sorry, Anne, becoming a "I" dressage judge is not even on the same planet in terms of difficulty and dedication as becoming a brain surgeon. And the consequences of bad judging is not even in the same universe as the consequences of malpractice or medical mistakes. Statements like this suggest (to me) that some may need a bit of a reality check...
        Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

        Comment


        • #5
          During my study in “L” program I was questioning 1 (one) of those questions – and got ripped a new one here on COTH. I didn’t even graduate, took an exam, or judged back then, I was just studying and learning, yet I was held to some idealistic standard of a absolutely perfect judge who know everything from the get go, a robot that didn’t question anything that she was taught. I think that was about 2 years ago – I forgot about it already, but there are absolute strangers who still remember that and judge me on that 1 (ONE) question out of 200!!!
          Actually, you were not 'questioning' anything. You were expressing a firmly held and rigidly dogmatic and incorrect view of something that displayed a fair amount of arrogance because you said you "WILL" judge outside the rules but won't write it down so no one can complain. If it had been just a question, it would not have been remembered. Where, exactly, is the "question" in this:

          No, that's not wrong and rider will not have any facts to take that to TD for her/his protest.
          I will not comment on such a small modifier, so the rider will not even be aware that it was one of my many, many deciding factors. Thus, the rider will not have anything to complain about to TD.

          So when somebody is posting on the "wrong" diagonal, according to my "personal judging methology", I will count that as a modifier with weight of 0.2 out of 100. I will not comment on such a small modifier, so the rider will not even be aware that it was one of my many, many deciding factors. Thus, the rider will not have anything to complain about to TD.

          You might be very adamant that none of those should be accounted in to the score and all judges have to have exactly the same outlook on all of them, BUT in real world this is a utopian disillusion. Weather judges will tell you or NOT tell you, they ALL have "personal judging methology" that they use. Most common example will be QIETLY down scoring a non common dressage breeds and denying that. Try to see past the words."


          [edit]
          Last edited by Moderator 1; Feb. 5, 2009, 05:48 PM. Reason: unable to substantiate

          Comment


          • #6
            Egontoast, perhaps you need to take the advice in your own byline and stop insulting other posters. That's mostly what you do from what I've seen, and I've been reading these bulletin boards for a while.

            As far as Anne Gribbons' article, I cannot believe that the FEI thinks that a judge who deviates from another judge should be thrown out. Then again, I can believe it.

            A judge who scores a fellow countryman ridiculously high -- yes, by all means, get rid of that judge. A judge who disagrees with another judge? Oy.

            Comment


            • #7
              I read it , and Anne had some valid comments.

              Judges are paid for their opinions.

              What we hope for is that their opinions are not only educated but unbiased.
              Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

              Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

              Comment


              • #8
                Wow, J-Lu, you totally missed the point. Let me spell it out for you. Being a doctor is incredibly difficult and important. Being a judge shouldn't be more difficult. It's NOT brain surgery so why should it take twice as long and be held to some insane standard.

                I don't think it's sour grapes. It's reality. I think the obsessive personalities in dressage need to take a breather and get a reality check. Um, and maybe some need remedial reading lessons.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm not a subscriber so can't comment on the AG article except to say she often makes good sense.

                  I can reply to other comments though (it's a discussion board) so I replied to Dressage Art's misrepresentation of her posting history (SHE brought it up) and I can reply to the personal attack from brandy new or , more likely, alter type poster tetrarch who said

                  Egontoast, perhaps you need to take the advice in your own byline and stop insulting other posters. That's mostly what you do from what I've seen, and I've been reading these bulletin boards for a while.

                  Not true. Here, I'll help you. Click on my username and from the drop down menu select 'find posts'. They are all there. Let it go, Hon.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have done some scribing, and I have never yet met a judge (and plenty have passed through our portals) who did not want to encourage good riding, who did not want each rider and horse combination to do well.

                    That is what is so great about having the same test under multiple judges at a show - while they are only snapshots in time, by comparing comments you are going to see your strengths and weaknesses. And some judges feel some aspects should carry more weight than others, and that's fine. Plus, you can only judge what you see.

                    I value the comments I have received on tests.And the more advanced I became, and the better my understanding, I would go back and look at earlier tests and think, "THIS is what they were trying to tell me!"

                    Judges also don't have the cosmic wisdom to know that your left side is weaker because that's the tendon you trashed, or your horse had an injury to the left stifle. They have to judge what they see, in those few minutes, from entrance at A to exit.

                    Mayb it's because I am not riding at a higher level, but I have valued the opinion of every judge under whom I have ever ridden. Maybe, at the time, I didn't see it or get it. But I did later. So all the comments have been invaluable.

                    And some of them have been a true source of pride, and some of them just made me laugh - it must be hard to keep a sense of humor judging test after test under not so nice weather conditions.
                    www.specialhorses.org
                    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by egontoast View Post
                      Not true. Here, I'll help you. Click on my username and from the drop down menu select 'find posts'. They are all there. Let it go, Hon.
                      The only part that is true is that the posts are all there, including all of the nasty ones.

                      ANYWAY, I'm of the opinion that if dressage gets tossed out of the Olympics, that's fine. With this kind of malarky going on (all judges must agree), it might as well.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Elegante E View Post
                        Wow, J-Lu, you totally missed the point. Let me spell it out for you. Being a doctor is incredibly difficult and important. Being a judge shouldn't be more difficult. It's NOT brain surgery so why should it take twice as long and be held to some insane standard.

                        I don't think it's sour grapes. It's reality. I think the obsessive personalities in dressage need to take a breather and get a reality check. Um, and maybe some need remedial reading lessons.
                        Again, can you please spell out how the two are even related to warrant a comparison? "Pearl of wisdom"? THAT's my point.
                        Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If judging is supposed to be judging against A STANDARD, then YES, ideally all judges should come up with the same score. At least they should if they all sat at the exact same spot at the same time. (cozy!)

                          But since they are at different points in the arena, there may be some variation due to the perspective they have.

                          Maybe as part of their license renewal, there should be some sort of "video judging test" where all judges watch the same test from the same viewpoint, to make sure they are all judging against the standard. There could be cameras at all the judging points taping one ride, and judges would then watch the one ride several times, scoring the same ride once at each judging point. It would be interesting to see how the scores would change (or not) when seeing the same test from a different angle each time.

                          Again, if they were judging to A STANDARD, all the judges scores should be the same at each angle. By that I mean all scores at the C angle should be the same, all scores at the B angle should be the same, etc., but the B scores would not necessarily be the same as the C scores. (For instance a horse piaffing at X, facing C - the C angle can't see if the horse's hind legs are out behind him, but the B angle could see that.)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, what kind of a standard are they using now? Do you really think the winner's horse always shows the best self-carriage, relaxation, use of their body?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think the feeling is that judges have gotten away from judging against a standard.

                              Instead, there are things like "the halo effect" and accusations of national preferences or judges just scoring on their own scale.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by siegi b. View Post
                                Just finished reading her article in the COTH, dated Jan. 23, 2009, and couldn't agree with her more.....

                                With all the recent controversy regarding dressage judging, Anne managed to put things in proper perspective. I was nodding my head in agreement when I read "and if having exactly the same score for every single ride is all that important, why, then, do judges get encouraged to "judge their conviction" and "use the whole scale" in every seminar and forum they attend?"

                                She also says "if judging is all about five people saying the same thing, why have five, and not one judge instead?"

                                Anne agrees that more education is always good and exams are welcome but not if they're designed to remove you from your status if you fail, as was indicated in the presentation in October. She likens that to taking away a doctor's license or disbarring a lawyer for the same reason.

                                A final pearl from Anne.... "and by the way, someone pointed out to me the fact that it takes a minimum of 20 years of practicing and exams to become and FEI I-rated judge but only 12 years to become a doctor. But, of course, that's only brain surgery."

                                Thank you Anne for being the voice of reason, again!

                                I think Anne makes very good points. Comparing judging to brain surgery is not relevant. It would only be relevant if she compared Riding to the act of executing brain surgery- or for a better example comparing active execution of a task to judging the quality of a task- does logically not make sense to me.

                                In history - the judges were always the 'old' ones- the ones that had executed all their lives and had the experience to see right from wrong. They were the ones that 'knew'.
                                The US collectively suffers to a certain degree from the fact that strong judges come from 100's of years of executing the trade- be that brain surgery or training horses.
                                There is a bit of a 'newness' to dressage in this country still- compared to Europe- and thus the judges that are put at the highest level are tasked with a lot of expectation and a lot of trust and are faulted quickly - if those expectations do not turn out the way the public expects it.
                                If you turn your ear to Europe- you will find that the highest judges are carefully surrounded by folks that have done this for 100's of year (their ancestors, their brothers, sisters,uncles etc) and they are nurtured in an environment where breeding, showing, selling, competing, training glide together without a seam harmoniously and build a perfect backdrop to deep knowledge and understanding.
                                I think the US is doing great- making quantum leaps in the right direction - the process is painful- the outcome ultimately - and hopefully will be excellent. I pray and hope that compassion and true realization of the high level of knowledge required will make the US a true horse country- where great horses are produced, trained and competed. Along the way the ability to judge fairly and truly knowingly - will - with no doubt improve. We do have to make our own ancestors...that requires time!!
                                "the man mite be the head but the woman is the neck and the neck can turn the head any way she wants..." -smart greek woman

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by yaya View Post
                                  I think the feeling is that judges have gotten away from judging against a standard.

                                  Instead, there are things like "the halo effect" and accusations of national preferences or judges just scoring on their own scale.
                                  Do you think making all judges agree with solve the problem though? Why not just eliminate the judges who are not judging against a standard?

                                  I'm afraid that this solution that's being proposed will not work at all.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My trainer and I were discussing this yesterday - would it be better to have a panel of judges (I don't know how feasible this is, economically) and use the average, like in ice skating?

                                    I agree with yaya, you see different things from different vantage points (especially lateral work) - and you can only see so many things at once. This way you would get a more complete picture.
                                    www.specialhorses.org
                                    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      What I proposed was simply a way to test whether the judges were judging to a standard or not. It could be done at license renewal time, or periodically (yearly, every couple of years, whatever).

                                      What they do with judges who didn't fit with the standard (either too high or too low) would have to be determined. At least it would show which judges are "off the mark".

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by yaya View Post
                                        What I proposed was simply a way to test whether the judges were judging to a standard or not. It could be done at license renewal time, or periodically (yearly, every couple of years, whatever).

                                        What they do with judges who didn't fit with the standard (either too high or too low) would have to be determined. At least it would show which judges are "off the mark".
                                        One good judge and four bad judges. Who is or are "off the mark "

                                        And which standards are you talking about

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