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Chauffering a Judge - What to Say

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  • Chauffering a Judge - What to Say

    I'm pretty new to dressage, coming over from hunterland. I like to be involved, and since I'm not showing either of my green horses, I try to volunteer as much as possible. I think its a great way to get to know the community, I like making myself useful, and its also a good way to learn.

    This weekend, I'm playing chauffer for the judge, including back and forth to the airport, which is about an hour drive.

    I'm very comfortable talking to strangers, especially about horses, but are there any subjects that are just NOT appropriate to discuss with a judge? Obviously I know that gossip about riders/trainers/other judges is an absolute no-no, and I don't know enough dressage people to know any gossip anyway. And I definitely know to stay away from the controversial popcorn and wine consuming train wrecks subjects I've read here on COTH to know what those are, but are there any other Taboos? I certainly don't want to spend an hour in the car torturing the poor woman with silence or talk about the weather, LOL!

    Gosh, though, wouldn't it be fun to ask her about Rollkur and Crank and Spank! Ah well, I have a sick sense of humor.

  • #2
    Considering judges are people, too, I would think any sort of pleasant conversation about myriad topics would be appropriate. Family? Vacation spots? Books?

    Enjoy the time with another regular human with a common interest.
    "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch


    • #3
      Originally posted by razalter View Post

      This weekend, I'm playing chauffer for the judge, including back and forth to the airport, which is about an hour drive.
      I had the great honor to keep a Welsh judge and his wife (both flown in from Wales)entertained and away from the show til his classes the next day once years ago

      I did a good enough job that the folks at the show thought his wife and I went back as friends for years we still stay in touch via email

      just be yourself...while you may not be able to talk about "dressage" you certainly could talk about horses or even the judges history with horses...most "real" horsemen have a good story or two

      you can always start with : "did you have a good flight??"

      Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
      I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


      • Original Poster

        Yeah... its pretty easy for me to talk to strangers, ex's family was very political. Just checking on if there are any 'unusual taboos' for dressage judges, as I've noticed some members of the community can be a little more 'uptight' than others. I'll be able to pick up my cues from her. I was raised in a Kennedy type family where we were expected to discuss politics, religion, and sports at the dinner table, LOL.

        Still.. the though of a discussion on Rollkur with a rated judge sure makes the debater in me salivate!

        I'm also not sure if they've made dinner plans or anything for her... I hate to think of the poor woman stuck in a hotel in the boonies all night with lousy food. Since I'm not showing, is it OK for me to take her out to dinner?


        • #5
          Originally posted by razalter View Post

          I'm also not sure if they've made dinner plans or anything for her... I hate to think of the poor woman stuck in a hotel in the boonies all night with lousy food. Since I'm not showing, is it OK for me to take her out to dinner?
          You could ask some open-ended questions: tell me about your favorite horse; how did you become interested in riding, and then judging; what do you think about some of the debates surrounding dressage today (once you determine she seems open to that sort of thing), etc.

          about dinner, just ask if she has plans and if not, let her know you would enjoy the opportunity to take her out. But with the caveat that you understand she may have reservations about going out with a local rider. And assure her that you aren't showing. Then leave it up to her.


          • #6
            How was your flight, trip drive? Hope you have a good visit here. Have you dinner plans, OK, McDonald's is just down the road, or would you rather a six pack and pizza?

            See! Now you know why I never get to host the judge.
            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.


            • #7
              so, how old ARE you, really? Have you had a colonoscopy lately? Is that spinach between your teeth? Is that a foreign accent I detect? Do they have electricity in your country? Would you like some Icelandic horse sausage? Have you always been this short/tall?


              • #8
                So, tell me your opinion about roll kur
                It is rare to see a rider who is truly passionate about the horse and his training, taking a profound interest in dressage with self-abnegation, and making this extraordinarily subtle work one of the dominant motivations of his life.\"


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tempichange View Post
                  So, tell me your opinion about roll kur
                  Well... SHE DID! And thats all I have to say about that.
                  Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                  Witherun Farm


                  • #10
                    Just be yourself and don't try to do too much. The best way to have a person be comfortable is to give them the reins. Let them talk if they want, not talk if they want - some folks are more bubbly than others, though most judges seem to be quite outgoing, especially after years of dealing with riding clubs, show mgt, etc. Take something going on or that they say, and ask them about it, let the cues come from them. The main thing to put a judge at ease is to not criticize them. When chauffering someone around for work, I try to be just be relaxed and natural. If the person really is famous, showing respect and admiration doesn't hurt, if it's a genuine feeling.

                    I dimly recall long ago, a friend of mine once apologized to someone famous for being nervous and gawking with admiration at the person. The person replied, 'No, go ahead, I love that'. They both laughed and it put her at ease.


                    • #11
                      Agree with just be yourself. Be friendly - "How was your flight? Would you like to stop anywhere for food/a drink/etc?"

                      Most horse people love talking about their own horses, so ask her about them. You could always tell her about the area, if it's somewhere she hasn't been before, or hasn't visited in a while.

                      "Do you like xxx food? There's this great little place at xxx now," or "Do you like ballet/opera/plays, because xxx is showing this week at xxx."

                      Sounds like a fun thing to do!
                      Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!


                      • #12
                        Every now and then you run into a true horseperson who does not want to talk about horses, since that's all they talk about. Be sensitive to that and ask about other interests, which the judge will surely have.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by spotted mustang View Post
                          so, how old ARE you, really? Have you had a colonoscopy lately? Is that spinach between your teeth? Is that a foreign accent I detect? Do they have electricity in your country? Would you like some Icelandic horse sausage? Have you always been this short/tall?
                          I have to go get the sponge and clean the coffee off my computer!

                          I talk to strangers for a living and do you KNOW how many times I've wanted to have a conversation like the one quoted above? Priceless!
                          Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.


                          • #14
                            Clearly, without knowing someone, one does not know what areas to avoid, but politics, religion, and 'how's your entailment going' are probably good guesses.


                            • #15
                              What's "entailment"?
                              Hoppe, Hoppe, Reiter...
                              Wenn er faellt dann schreit er...

                              Originally posted by mbm
                              forward is like love - you can never have enough


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by spotted mustang View Post
                                so, how old ARE you, really? Have you had a colonoscopy lately? Is that spinach between your teeth? Is that a foreign accent I detect? Do they have electricity in your country? Would you like some Icelandic horse sausage? Have you always been this short/tall?


                                • #17
                                  Judges are people, too, and you can probably discuss pretty much anything. I made the mistake, once, of telling a judge, when scribing, that I was a Reiki practitioner (no, I have no clue how the subject came up). Turns out he's a Reiki master, and he proceeded to jabber at length on the subject. At one stage, I had to tell him that the rider in the arena was saluting!

                                  My favourite judge is the one who turned to me, at the end of a particularly revolting test, and said "is there anything nice I can say, other than 'your horse has a pretty tail'?"

                                  Treat her like any stranger. Start with the weather


                                  • #18
                                    When I travel, I am always interested in the local area. The history, places of interest etc. The local horse scene (not specific to people) but in general. That kind of thing.

                                    On eating out, sometimes it is nice to have a quiet early night, before a show. So don't be offended if your invitation is declined, it's not standoffishness, just wanting to be the best for the competition. Also, we spend a lot of time "out" talking, representing the sport, etc. so sometimes, it is nice to have a break from questions!!

                                    I have been asked about Rollkur. When it happens I inwardly groan, and answer in a very PC manner.


                                    • #19
                                      I found out my GMO won't allow volunteers to give rides to judges. By offering a ride to one to the airport this past weekend!

                                      Seems there was a judge in some other state, who was riding in a car that was then in a severe accident, and as is the way of the USA, no insurance company wanted to cover the medical bills. Ultimately the GMO in question was sued, which is what happens when nobody wants to pay the medical bills from an accident, and often, the injuried party has no real say in who gets listed in the various lawsuits, that is up to the insurance companies lawyers. So now, my local GMO only uses professionals (taxis/hotel shuttles) for transporting the judges.

                                      Obviously the details are quite sketchy on the story, but the long and short of it is, a GMO was sued after a judge was injured when a volunteer for the GMO was driving.


                                      • #20
                                        Ah well, all went well! She was a fun person to talk to!
                                        Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                                        Witherun Farm