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Why do Dressage riders never complain about judging?

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  • Why do Dressage riders never complain about judging?

    I was looking on the HJ forum and reading the "Rant about judging rants" and it is apparently super common that HJ riders complain about their placing, but you don't hear too many Dressage (or Event) riders complaining about their score in dressage. Is it that Dressage is judged more fairly or is it that Dressage riders are just more laid back? I am not trying to dis HJ's in anyway... please no one take offense to this.. Just an observation.
    *Paige*
    ~*It's not about the ribbons, but about the ride behind it"
    R.I.P. Teddy O'Connor

  • #2
    Objective judging.

    You do a dressage test, you're given a number with a comment. There's not a lot you can complain about. Now, there have been times where I've said "Gosh, I really thought my horse's explosive buck departure would have resulted in something less than a five..." or "I really thought my halt should have been a 7." but the fact is, the judges eyes were on me the whole time and there is usually a reason next to why they thought that. And typically, if I go back and look at the video, I see what they saw.


    Plus, we're not in the habit of thinking our horse didn't win because of clothes/helmet/color/who you know/money/money/money.
    Big Idea Eventing

    Comment


    • #3
      Okay - I haven't been on a lot lately, but seems to me there is a post every week or so complaining about judging on this forum.

      Of course there are complaints - good, bad or indifferent - a judge gives an Opinion (educated allegedly) on a performance.

      And, as one poster has as a tag line: 2 horse people; 3 opinions (paraphrased to best of my recall).

      I just had this discussion with close friend who shows dressage on Arab circuit - we were watching video her boyfriend shot at last show - he was approximately at "A" (behind ring, of course and a little off to side). Had to point out that what he saw was not same as what judge saw - because the perspective is different (for instance - the horse appeared straight from behind in halt - but judge said it was slightly off c-line.... as BF was not in line with judge - hard to see that on video from angle.

      That is just one example of perspective and how it can affect opinion (we don't need to review her whole ride here).

      AND it is amazing how people will not realize that their horse is falling in on the circle, or has a slight head tilt, etc - while riding - usually b/c so focused on remembering test (ok - that may just be me!).

      But yes - there are always complaints about judging.

      These are horsepeople, afterall.
      Originally posted by SmartAlex

      Give it up. Many of us CoTHers are trapped at a computer all day with no way out, and we hunt in packs. So far it as all been in good fun. You should be thankful for that.

      Comment


      • #4
        Well, I think dressage riders do complain about judging, but not the same way that hunters do. I grew up riding mostly saddle seat, and there are always a lot of people in the ring at the same time, so the judge can't constantly keep his eye on you (even if there are 3). Your ribbon is your placing. There are no points and percentages to let you know why you placed how you did. In hunter classes, it's similar because there are not comments and points explaining your ribbon, just your ribbon. It's easy to say, wtf? Why didn't I place above that fugly plug that looks like a plow horse, or I should clearly have placed above that terrible rider on her 6-figure WB because she's just a rich spoiled...

        I used to constantly gripe about saddle seat judging because it's VERY easy for the judges to use horses based on politics. The judges don't have to have the same kind of training to be judges, so they're all trainers and most try to do a little "I'll scratch your back..." In dressage, where you have to document why you gave the score you did, it gets a bit more challenging (though it's certainly possible to be biased due to politics and does happen).

        But there are threads on here once a week about bad dressage judging... It just usually seems to be about how poorly the judges are judging really big names at really big shows = ) (Anky, Isabell, Edward, Steffen, etc...) Also, wasn't there just an update on that thread about the Barteaus?

        Sour grapes are common to every discipline, but I think the COTH dressage board may have a slightly older average poster age than the hunter board (just from the posts I've read, this seems to be the case). I think there are a lot of younger riders on the hunter board, and younger riders can be prone to griping and not knowing how to be diplomatic just yet (happened to the best of us as younger riders.)

        Comment


        • #5
          I am approaching this from an outsider looking in because I haven't done any dressage shows but have friends who do. That, and I've shown other disciplines.

          You know what I think it is? The FEEDBACK.

          In most other judged competitions, there's no feedback.

          If you're showing WP and you feel like you had a good ride but you don't place, you may not have any idea what you did vs what the winner did.

          If you're showing in an Eq class, you may never know what the difference was between you and the other guy.

          In dressage though, it *seems* to be less about comparing you to the other guy and more about getting feedback on your test. You may not agree with the score or even some of the comments, but you at least KNOW what the judge was seeing.

          I think that in life (in general) people do better when they have constructive criticism or know the reason for whatever outcome they're experiencing.

          My two cents...and like I said, I haven't competed in dressage. But I know that personally, I like the idea of getting that feedback and competing more against myself.
          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

          Might be a reason, never an excuse...

          Comment


          • #6
            Oh we do complain about juding but it is just that in comparision dressage judging tends to be more objective. In dressage, you have a set of guideline to follow and every single movement is judged based on that guideline.

            I also show hunter pleasures where a group of horses can be in the same ring. First of all, the placing in a group class has a lot to do with when you make your mistakes and whether the judge see the mistake when you make it. So a horse can have a complete blow up and still win.

            Furthermore, it is not uncommon that the judges play favors (give well known horses higher placing or give horses under well know trainers higher placing). I have been to shows (even A rated shows) that it was obvious the judges decided the placing "before" the horses went into the ring. Some admit in private that they read reports before the show to decide who "should" win.

            Comment


            • #7
              The process, in dressage, is less open to abuse.
              ... _. ._ .._. .._

              Comment


              • #8
                There are two systems in place in Dressage - the scoring and the placing. While the two are somewhat related, they don't always mean the same thing to me as a rider. I was WAY happier with my 68.9% that placed 4th than I was the 62.8% that placed 1st.

                And I always know why I scored the way I did - I'm way harder on myself than any judge is...

                Comment


                • #9
                  eventer rant!

                  I think event riders are simply less complaining in nature however /I do have a complaint about my score at my last event in 1994; As the woman who helped me at events said, why, if it was, and it was , the best test you've done this season why did you get the worst score? It was a question of "pay back" by a DQ judge who, who my little tb mare had beaten, at a dressage show on her hulking WB stud; she had been surrounded by her students/ clients, etc. and apparently was rather indignant that she, in her perfect dressage habit and tack, had been beaten by someone riding in a jumping saddle(!!) and wearing a XC helmet! all I can say now, is that, the ride she judged was not the ride I felt or saw on the video.there were two other judges at the event that day, both retired military and graduates of the cavalry school at fort Riley but, unfortunately, I got her
                  breeder of Mercury!

                  remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    excellent point!

                    In dressage, you have a set of guideline to follow and every single movement is judged based on that guideline.

                    I also show hunter pleasures where a group of horses can be in the same ring. First of all, the placing in a group class has a lot to do with when you make your mistakes and whether the judge see the mistake when you make it. So a horse can have a complete blow up and still win.

                    Furthermore, it is not uncommon that the judges play favors (give well known horses higher placing or give horses under well know trainers higher placing). I have been to shows (even A rated shows) that it was obvious the judges decided the placing "before" the horses went into the ring. Some admit in private that they read reports before the show to decide who "should" win.
                    breeder of Mercury!

                    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      scoring, not placing

                      A dressage judge does not know the placings until all tests have been scored so, the judging is not ranking rides but, scoring, movement by movement
                      breeder of Mercury!

                      remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well I don't believe for ONE minute that dressage folks don't complain about the judging! Yes, the feedback helps lessen the blow of getting a 4 or a 5 on a movement, but there are also riders who "chase scores" and will go (or not go) to a show depending on how "generous" or "reasonable" the judge is - especially when trying to get the percentages needed to qualify for championships. There are several times where I thought the judge was biased, unfair, blind, etc. but I CHOOSE to show and thus, I choose to subject myself to the judging. If I really didn't like it, then I wouldn't show at all. Maybe dressage folks understand that mantra better than others?

                        What really pisses me off, however, is when you show for two days in front of the same judges and no matter what you do - their first impression sticks throughout the entire show. For example, the last show I went to I competed at 3rd level for the first time. I was making my half turn on the haunches too large and received 4's. Okay, so I grabbed my trainer and we schooled them for 20 minutes diagnosing the problem and fixing it. My turn on the haunches were 60% better the next day since I remembered to turn the shoulder first instead of allowing the inside hip to lead the turn. I STILL got a 4's! Did the judge not see how much better they were? Or did the judge remember me from the day before and thought "Oh, her turns are shit, give her a 4." Who knows, but it is much more frustrating when you know there is improvement and the scores don't change.
                        Most friendships in the horse world are just an opinion away from doom.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think I've seen more than a few dressage judging complaints on here (against certain breeds or training methods rings a bell) . . . but

                          Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
                          You know what I think it is? The FEEDBACK.
                          Agree completely. The fact that everyone gets a posted score helps a lot (it isn't like in hunters where 6 people get ribbons and 20 people have no idea if they were 7th or last), and the comments let you know where you need to improve.

                          As for eventers (of which I am one), I think a lot of it is that it isn't over yet at the time you get your dressage score (you could still win!), and that more eventers than dressage riders take out horses knowing they'll be toward the bottom so the poor scores are not a surprise.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            For me, it's because in dressage, my only competition is the test-I'm looking at my score and weighing it againtst my goals and expectations going in. I rarely see the other rides in my tests, so I'm not thinking, "well THAT rider fell in on her circle way more than I did," or "OMG, did you SEE her canter depart? How could she have placed over me after THAT?"

                            IMO, dressags is me and the test standard-and because you get your card back, you know why you scored the way you did. Ususally, if I'm honest, I know what it's going to say before I get it back. It's about my score on my rides, not about the color ribbon-I'd rather have a ride I'm satisfied with for ME and my goals and not place than win simply because everyone else made more mistakes than I did in that particulat test.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think a lot of people have made good points here. Since there are numbers and comments, you have a pretty good idea why you placed the way you did, even if you don't necessarily agree with it.

                              Generally the few times I've complained about a judge it was because the comments were not constructive or helpful, not because I was peeved at the score or my place relative to the other riders. Once I got the comment "could have been better" on a movement I thought that part was sort of implied by any score less than a 10, and didn't really need to be stated. No other comment was given for that movement. Although I agree 100% that it could have been better, it would have been nice to know in what way it was most lacking.
                              "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

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                For my friends and me, when we complain about judging, it's usually about one or two scores on a test--something got a 4 that should have been a 5, etc. However, in my experience, that is limited to just a couple of movements so the overall score is only affected by a small amount. It's rare that we think the judging of a whole test is off...I don't know if I can even think of a time when that has happened. Some judges are harsher than others, but they tend to be just as harsh with everyone, so you might get a low score but still place well.
                                Jennifer Walker
                                Proud owner of Capt Han Solo+, Arabian stallion http://www.capthansolo.com
                                Author, freelance writer http://www.authorjennwalker.com

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  'cause Sjef does all the complaining for us.
                                  "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    You mean there is a group of riders out there who complain so much about judging that dressage riders look satisfied by comparison?

                                    YIKES!
                                    "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by InsideLeg2OutsideRein View Post
                                      'cause Sjef does all the complaining for us.
                                      I like that.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Rescue_Rider9 View Post
                                        I was looking on the HJ forum and reading the "Rant about judging rants" and it is apparently super common that HJ riders complain about their placing, but you don't hear too many Dressage (or Event) riders complaining about their score in dressage. Is it that Dressage is judged more fairly or is it that Dressage riders are just more laid back? I am not trying to dis HJ's in anyway... please no one take offense to this.. Just an observation.
                                        perhaps its due to -- having constructive advice as terms of improve which most judges do but the perception of the rider treats it as contructive as a positive

                                        rather than a negative and blames the judge cuase you didnt get anywhere

                                        all boils down to the three p's
                                        lack of preparation makes piss poor performance

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