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Open show beef, or why I like dressage...

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  • Open show beef, or why I like dressage...

    This may seem like a strange post but it's been on my mind and I'd like to get the COTH point of view. I recently went to our local "Open Show" at the Fair. I brought a pony that likes to jump but doesn't have a lot of experience showing over fences. The show is your typical English/Western pleasure, equitation group classes deal but has a couple jump classes for us to do. I don't put a lot of weight on such a show but go for green horse show experience. Anyway, here's my beef:
    Why do they use a "dressage" term, when that's not at all what they want?
    ie Turn on Haunches. I know TOH, I get consistent 8's on TOH, this pony has great TOH. When asked for TOH, I'm excited and execute a great one and watch as everyone else pivots around a hind leg. That's what the judge wanted, and I'd be fine with that but don't call it a TOH, call it a Pivot on Hind leg. My other term beefs: Extended trot! I've never seen ET performed by a horse with his head between it's knees. I understand what they want, call it a lengthening (or technically a working trot for most those horses); and Flying Change: it's a lead swap, the hunter people use that term, I think it's appropriate for what it is.

    I like dressage because there is a standard, and although that standard is subject to a judges interpretation, I get it. I can tell a good ride from a not-so-good ride. What these judges are looking for, I have no clue. I think they're digging the super quiet, slow and low stock horses, and then my friend wins a pleasure class with her Friesian! What? Anyway, open show judges out there? What are you looking for?

  • #2
    I can't help you with the dressage part, but may have an answer on the English Pleasure! I helped recently at a show that had some hack classes on the last day, and asked the judge about the different types of hacks/pleasure horses...

    Here's how it was explained to me:

    English Pleasure: Safe, easy comfortable. Doesn't really matter how it goes as long as it looks like it could do it politely with your grandmother on it's back. Should not require being ridding on the contact.

    Road Hack: The horse you ride when you want to "get somewhere". Ridden on the contact, but not round like a dressage horse. Polite, but still more forward and requires more "riding". Should stand politely, preferably on a loose rein.

    Show Hack: Flashy and snorty
    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."

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    • #3
      Modern competition dressage as we know it did not invent and patent all these terms, you know. I grew up doing open and 4-H shows in the 80s and a turn on the haunches was an old fashioned hind quarters steady, front end pivots around turn. Folks in other places have been calling extended trot for what would be a dressage lengthening for donkey's years as well, and I grew up calling any change of lead which did not include a trot or walk step a flying change. When you go to someone else's discipline, what you call X they may call Y and vice versa.
      Eileen
      http://themaresnest.us

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      • #4
        In the western world, a TOH is a pivot. Years ago when the western horses started changing tack and going in the english classes, it carried over. What cracks me up is when they call for a 'reverse directions' and everyone stops and pivots. ???? A pleasure horse is open to the judges interpretation, some like to see a more forward mover, going somewhat round, others like to see more of a HUS frame. If a horse pins in a pleasure class though, he is usually very consistant and appears quite easy-regardless of the type or frame. The fresian probably would not have (nor should have) pinned in HUS, but I can see it in a pleasure class. As for the extended trot-well, look at the trot they start with! They're not looking for a lenghtening-and probably wouldn't notice the rhythm, etc, they just want to see faster. It's been years since I've shown open, but the extended trot was loose reined, riders up in a modified 1/2 seat, basically chasing the horses to go faster.

        You went to get your young one out, and you did. Be glad no one ran into you in the warm up and call it a day!
        Don't toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks for the responses! Kahjul, your explanation of what the judge wants is pretty much the answer I got from everyone else I asked that day-depends on the judge. It must be frustrating to those who go to these shows regularly, how do they know what to work on? And I'm definitely not beefing about our results in the show, we had fun and it was an interesting experience. I think in general I have a problem with someone saying they're doing a "TOH" or an "extended trot", and it's not anything like the standard of an ideal that we work for every single day. I'm fine with doing things a different way, I know it's not the same, I just don't like using the exact same terms. Maybe I'll start a local movement of renaming these things and see if it catches on...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ibex View Post

            Road Hack: The horse you ride when you want to "get somewhere". Ridden on the contact, but not round like a dressage horse. Polite, but still more forward and requires more "riding". Should stand politely, preferably on a loose rein.
            Oh man, maresy would clean right up in a Road Hack class! Actually, one of my goals for our time in less intense training is to wean her off the flash, so I can actually take her to open shows.

            (Favorite "road hack style" photos, pardon my equitation or lack thereof, but this is her *leaping* into a canter: Go pony, go!!! ... Or this: Stepping out.
            You have to have experiences to gain experience.

            1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 2Below View Post
              I think in general I have a problem with someone saying they're doing a "TOH" or an "extended trot", and it's not anything like the standard of an ideal that we work for every single day. I'm fine with doing things a different way, I know it's not the same, I just don't like using the exact same terms. Maybe I'll start a local movement of renaming these things and see if it catches on...
              But . . . but . . . they've been using those terms for just as long!!! Language is a fluid thing, you know.
              Eileen
              http://themaresnest.us

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              • #8
                When you're at MacDonalds, do you also get mad when they don't bring you a Drunken Rib Eye Steak from the Sweetwater Cafe?

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                • #9
                  I think its a "when in Rome..." thing. I have shown western pleasure, hunter pleasure, english pleasure (by that I mean Saddleseat; at most open shows English=saddleseat) 4-H, hunters, jumpers, and now dressage. I understand the dressage terminology, but then when I go to an Open show and show in a western or hunter pleasure class I ask my horse to pivot when they say turn on the haunches. That manouver, has, to the best of my knowledge, always been called that in the western/open show world, though some will call it a pivot, and the term makes just as much sense with respect to language as it does for the dressage movement of the same name (if not more when you think about it...).

                  Just like in the dressage world you have to learn not to show up at a show in a grey, pinstripe, 3 button, double vented coat, a colored shirt, green-beige breeches, and a colored saddle pad, or put a fly bonnet on your horse, and then show up 10 minutes late for your test and expect to ride you also have to learn the cultural mores of the horse show in which you are competing. By the same token I don't show up for my jumper class in a black single vent 4 button coat and white full seats, my horse does wear open fronts, and a fly bonnet (not just for fashion but for good reason), and I know I will be sitting around on my rear half the day waiting for my class to start while some BNT is probably going to hold the class up by at least 20 minutes because they have a student in another ring that can't take a single jump alone. And at an open show, you dress differently, the class schedule works differently, and the clases and movements are just as carefully defined as tehy are in dressage. So, though I understand the source of your frustration, I would try to think of showing in a different discipline or area like visiting another country- they have a different language, customs, and eat different food , so you may experience culture shock, but if you do your best to fit in and be friendly, you will make lots of friends and probably break down some stereotypes while you're at it...my .02 fwiw.
                  My blog:

                  RAWR

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                  • #10
                    It is kind of like going to a foreign country and then being mad that they do not speak English to you.

                    Just because you know the term to mean one thing does not mean they are wrong for knowing the term to mean something totally different.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I do not read the original poster as being angry...more like trying to understand. I love taking my youngsters to shows like the ones described because they learn to deal with lots of things they'd never see at a dressage show. Although, yes, I am miffed when I don't even place in the equitation class....lol!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by kahjul View Post
                        A pleasure horse is open to the judges interpretation
                        I agree. If the judge is carded for Arabians, English Pleasure would NOT the kind of mount you'd want granny on. For an AQHA judge, it will be completely different. I've shown at open shows under both, and I've won under both (hunter pleasure, just to throw in another term). So they tend to be fair, but what they're looking for just always isn't the same.

                        You went to get your young one out, and you did. Be glad no one ran into you in the warm up and call it a day!


                        Or that you didn't run one of the stock horses over.
                        __________________________
                        "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                        the best day in ten years,
                        you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Baroquecoco View Post
                          I do not read the original poster as being angry...more like trying to understand. I love taking my youngsters to shows like the ones described because they learn to deal with lots of things they'd never see at a dressage show. Although, yes, I am miffed when I don't even place in the equitation class....lol!
                          ditto. And considering that these terms have been used for such a long time, and well before Western Pleasure (if my reading of the masters is correct), then the WP people adopted the dressage terms. In my book - it's fine to ask for something - just be clear in your terms.
                          www.specialhorses.org
                          a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho" View Post
                            In my book - it's fine to ask for something - just be clear in your terms.
                            I think they were clear. Everyone else at the show, except the OP, did the same thing. So it was clear.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I agree that dressage does not own these terms, and that you're getting irritated over nothing. Just because you don't know what they want because of lack of exposure doesn't mean they're wrong.

                              And, because I'm cranky today, hunters do lead changes. The whole swap vs. change thing is just stupid. They're the same exact movement, and 90% of people in ALL disciplines call it a lead change.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I didn't feel the OP seemed particularly upset, frustrated, yes, and I can understand her frustration. That being said though, I think she may have learned why it can be useful to either go and watch a show like one you plan on entering or watch a similar class before you go in the ring so you can find out what the "culture" is and how execution may differ from what you may be accustomed to. I think she still met her goal for the day (getting her young horse out) and hopefully still had some fun.

                                As has been mentioned, Dressage doesn't own these terms; unfortunately the English language is abused enough in other ways that trying to get much better terms for similar, but different movements across disciplines would be a herculean task. Most riding disciplines have been around for quite a while and the terms used are well imbedded in the respective vernacular of each; it is not worth fighting over who had the term first at this point imo.
                                My blog:

                                RAWR

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                                • #17
                                  english is just a stupid language.

                                  point- first of all you have to wait for the end of the sentence to figure out what the intent is (come on spanish totaly wins for that one)

                                  secondly (and more importantly)- the one and only lanuage I'm aware of that has several words that are identical and have two completely OPPOSITE meanings.

                                  Cleave- to cling to
                                  Cleave- to seperate

                                  its a lose lose situation we have here.

                                  sorry OP =/ glad it wasn't a waste of a trip though!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Back to our originally scheduled programming ....

                                    When you cross over the "great divide" into the Dark Side ie. other disciplines (not dressage), it is important to remember that they will use our most holy terms for their nefarious purposes.

                                    It once totally uncorked me but I am over it now. I have had therapy.

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                                    • #19
                                      My open show pet peeve around here is when they offer "Dressage Suitability" and kimberwickes or what-have-you are perfectly ok.
                                      Donerail Farm
                                      www.donerailfarm.com
                                      http://donerailfarm.wordpress.com/

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Jocko View Post
                                        Back to our originally scheduled programming ....

                                        When you cross over the "great divide" into the Dark Side ie. other disciplines (not dressage), it is important to remember that they will use our most holy terms for their nefarious purposes.

                                        It once totally uncorked me but I am over it now. I have had therapy.
                                        My problem is that it is hard enough for me to do the one discipline...if I need a new vocabulary for another I'm sunk.
                                        www.specialhorses.org
                                        a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

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