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Trickle down effect? Search for high %'s at low levels...

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  • Trickle down effect? Search for high %'s at low levels...

    Over the past couple of years I've seen a trend locally where riders (both pro and AA) are showing their 6-7 yo's at training level, looking to achieve marks at 80%+. Many of these horses are schooling 2nd level, I know first hand of one that has started some 3rd level movements.

    I'm not referring to those experienced horses getting their green riders out (heck, I rode an ex-PSG horse at TL, but I was definitely a training level rider), or experienced riders with green horses, I mean cases where horse and rider are capable of more, but instead are going for that super high score.

    I always thought that Training level was to get your feet wet and move on to 1st. Is this a trickle down effect from the inflated marks we're seeing at FEI? Everyone feels that 80 is the new 65?
    "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."

  • #2
    I was feeling that way too...

    Until Ive looked at some better trained horses

    Ive seen a pony score better than the nicest warmbloods in the lower levels all because of a change in trainers.

    What I thought was good connection is so different today than when I was first showing.

    Ive seen a million horses of diff breeds go in, inverted, little connection, with a tense rider. I, like everyone else, dropped the standards blaming the lack of availabilty of nicer moving horses, or, judges asking for more than the average rider could give and so on.

    Until, I watched several of the same types of horse and rider get good instruction. The horses blossomed, became powerhouses, and the judges couldnt wait to give better scores.
    ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
    http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      A few of us were joking about this last summer, as we have a few local trainers who will back FEI horses that their clients bought down to third level in order to get some scores in the mid-70s. I believe this is for marketing purposes. There are fewer clients out there with the economy the way it is. Impressive show scores get a trainer noticed.

      I do have to say, even on a confirmed I-1 horse, getting 72 at third level is not an easy job. Same person backed a grand prix horse down to PSG in order to get high 60s. A few others do it as well.

      I also know someone who backed her third level horse down to training level to show it because she has a disability and thought it would be more forgiven at training level. She did get some mid-70s scores on the horse. Personally, I could not have shown my horse at training level when I was schooling 3rd...those flying changes caused alot of excitement for us! LOL! So I was impressed!

      I don't think it's any kind of trickle down. At least not here.

      One trend I do see, and I don't know if it's a real thing or just my perception: when you show in front of the more experienced judges, the FEI or S judges, the ones who tend to use the full range of scores, you can get a higher score than you'd expect and you can also get a lower score than you'd expect, depending on how it goes. This is in comparison to the judges that stick with 5-6-7. Those judges are the ones who tend to judge the bigger competition, and they will reward excellence--but if you blow it, they are not afraid to give a 1 either. I don't see this as score inflation or deflation; I see it as accurate judging.

      And in any case, each of us should only be concerned with what we are doing. You will get further if you focus on yourself and only compete against yourself.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        I'm not referring to how fancy the horse is. I'm referring to how well trained it is. These horse/rider combinations would be getting what would have been considered respectable marks up a level, but are instead hanging around TL.

        I was always taught that TL is for the green horse or rider, those working through confidence issues etc. Not those wanting to say their horse achieved 80%.
        "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."

        Comment


        • #5
          The second level horses are getting rewarded for their collection at TL.

          It used to be you actually were penalized for being TOO collected at TL. You'd get comments like 'strides need to be longer, neck needs to be longer' etc. A good hunter would do very well at TL back in the day, as that was the level of acceptance of the bit, frame, etc. that was being looked for in the directives.

          Now a medium to collected trot and a collected canter are winning, so that's what everyone goes for.

          I'm only speaking from my scribing experience, and from what I'm seeing come into the ring at the teensy little schooling CTs I'm asked to judge.

          I think it's partially fallout from the change in horses at lower levels--used to be anything went, as long as it went correctly, now there are so many more purpose bred horses who are born in a very different carriage...

          And partly trickle down from BTV at upper levels.

          <kevlar zipped>
          InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

          Comment


          • #6
            I have a feeling that it is more likely to be

            just a reflection of the improving standards in dressage.
            Used to be you got a 50% if you just stayed in the ring, now they actually expect you to show 3 gaits! Go figure! Oh and a sideways scoot no longer counts, darn it!

            But seriously what you are seeing is a reflection of the higher number of people involved in the sport and the higher standard of training that is beginning to show.

            JMHO

            MW
            Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
            Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
            New edition of book is out:
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            www.knabstruppers4usa.com

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by pintopiaffe View Post
              The second level horses are getting rewarded for their collection at TL.

              It used to be you actually were penalized for being TOO collected at TL. You'd get comments like 'strides need to be longer, neck needs to be longer' etc. A good hunter would do very well at TL back in the day, as that was the level of acceptance of the bit, frame, etc. that was being looked for in the directives.
              Agreed. This is exactly what we're seeing here. The expectation seems to be that TL horses look like GP horses, just doing the TL movements.

              A friend had comments on her very correct AA TL test, on a horse with minimal show experience but good training, that it was lacking "sparkle".
              "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."

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Melyni View Post
                just a reflection of the improving standards in dressage.
                Used to be you got a 50% if you just stayed in the ring, now they actually expect you to show 3 gaits! Go figure! Oh and a sideways scoot no longer counts, darn it!

                But seriously what you are seeing is a reflection of the higher number of people involved in the sport and the higher standard of training that is beginning to show.

                JMHO

                MW
                I agree with this, and Ive been a victim of it. HEY? My horses head was sorta down, why's my score so low? lol

                Then when a young rider division visited from Canada, ugh, I realized that my own riding was a bit um, how do we say lacking

                There wasnt a horse in the bunch that was "grand prix" material, BUT they all rode to contact and rode well.
                ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  Cowgirl, I know of what you speak... ;

                  Naja.

                  As Cowgirl stated, it is best to just worry about what YOU are doing and how YOU are progressing. You cannot control others so why bother trying.

                  I do know a trainer with a young horse who had NEVER been to a show. TALENTED young horse. And a really steady brain. Brought him out Training level just to get experience at a show and got 80% in his first two tests. Made people talk, it did. Made people say ugly things about 'sand bagging'.

                  The horse was moved up a level right away after they knew how the horse was going to react to the competition ring.

                  But those who know more than anyone else still got to speak a great deal of what they did not know.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have also seen riders seem to get stuck at TL because they can't sit their horse's trot to move past that level! So rather than beat themselves up or buy a new horse that they can sit, they just work to keep improving within that level. Different goals for different people!
                    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pintopiaffe View Post
                      The second level horses are getting rewarded for their collection at TL.

                      It used to be you actually were penalized for being TOO collected at TL. You'd get comments like 'strides need to be longer, neck needs to be longer' etc. A good hunter would do very well at TL back in the day, as that was the level of acceptance of the bit, frame, etc. that was being looked for in the directives.

                      Now a medium to collected trot and a collected canter are winning, so that's what everyone goes for.

                      I'm only speaking from my scribing experience, and from what I'm seeing come into the ring at the teensy little schooling CTs I'm asked to judge.

                      I think it's partially fallout from the change in horses at lower levels--used to be anything went, as long as it went correctly, now there are so many more purpose bred horses who are born in a very different carriage...

                      And partly trickle down from BTV at upper levels.

                      <kevlar zipped>
                      Yup. I find that a lot of people sand bag in order to just do well. Whatever floats their boat. *shrug*

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I scribe a lot, and see riders get penalized for too collected at training level. I've gotten penalized myself for it, when I was at a Regionals at Training and First level when schooling 2nd some years ago.

                        Training level- I don't know where I even placed- out of the ribbons. A pony won. I was Reserve at First Level.

                        I joke that I want to break 80% one day with my guy. He's got multiple 77%s (one was our very first class every, T1) at training, 77% at First, and low 70s at 2nd. But that's never a goal- I just want my bronze!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well the only thing I can agree with about that post is that a few times, at training level, I got comments that my horse was "not uphill enough". This is an incorrect assessment at training level where only a level balance is required. If the horse was on the 4hand, then they should have commented "on 4hand", not "needs to be more uphill". To me, that is plain just bad judging.

                          Fortunately, I can count my experiences with bad judging in the last three years of showing on one hand.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I don't know about judging standards or what's being rewarded or anything, but I think 7s and 8s are defined as "fairly good" and "good" and that doesn't seem like an excessive goal. I know scores in the 60s are something to be proud of, and better than what I could get, but I also wouldn't fault people for wanting to continue to improve beyond that before tackling new challenges.

                            I could totally see myself being at training level forever because I cannot get past the semantics issue. :-P

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Been there!

                              I think I know what you are talking about and how you feel. A few years back I had been showing a very green and skittish 5 yr old at Training Level. Mind you this is an Open class. In the same class is a BNT with an up and coming stallion, who at that time was schooling 3rd. I thought it was crazy, and just a cheap way to get this stallion noticed and a few high scores under his belt.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Not sure whether times have changed or I have. 5 years ago, I would have been happy with a 65%, on a young horse. Now I *need* the 70%. As far as sandbagging. Yes, I see it some.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by pintopiaffe View Post
                                  The second level horses are getting rewarded for their collection at TL.

                                  It used to be you actually were penalized for being TOO collected at TL. You'd get comments like 'strides need to be longer, neck needs to be longer' etc. A good hunter would do very well at TL back in the day, as that was the level of acceptance of the bit, frame, etc. that was being looked for in the directives.
                                  <kevlar zipped>
                                  I have noticed this same thing and it drives me mad! I have a young horse that I competed at Training level last summer. She had been under saddle for just under a year. I was shocked at some of the horses in her class! They were in 2nd level or 3rd level frames. It seems like they are doing the horse a dis-service. There is a reason why you gradually bring the neck up as the horse learns to sit more. The muscles are not doing to develop to the full potential. I miss the days that the frame level matched the level you were showing!
                                  Welcome to my dressage world http://www.juliefranzen.blogspot.com/

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Well, I can see both sides of the argument.

                                    I ride a couple of stallions and yes, I wait a little bit longer to show them at a certain level than I would do if I was riding a gelding or a mare.

                                    If you don't get 70%+ on a stallion, good luck trying to market it. People have really high expectations when it comes to scores.

                                    So, last year was my 1st year showing my WB stallion in dressage (he evented as a 4 YO, got a year off at 5 because I was preggo and started to show last year). And yes, his average score for the year was 70%+ with scores in the mid to high 70s by the end of the year.
                                    I'm not sandbagging as I feel that he is one of these horses who is taking forever to mature, but while he is schooling most of the 3rd level stuff right now, he is only going to start showing 2nd level this year.

                                    On the other hand, I would think it would be wrong for him to go back to training level to get scores in the 80s. moving him back one or two levels is not fair. But taking my time to make sure that he looks at his best, is just good marketing.

                                    As far as the frame and what is required, I can also see both sides. my stallion is naturally very uphill and even at a gallop in his pasture he is in a PSG frame, while I have been teaching him to contact and accepting the bit, he will never, never be in a very horizontal long frame (and yes he got 8s on his stretchy circles). But if you watched my test, you would say that he was not in a TL or FL frame more (2nd or 3rd). Well, my goal is to take him FEI and so I kept him where he felt good.

                                    And some judges penalized him for being too collected and uphill. That's fine with me and I didn't complain with the score. They were right.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      And not just with stallions or warmbloods

                                      If you ride any breed that is uphill and has a tend to go short in the neck but your good at riding contact, well, your going to look uphill.

                                      Some horses are tense at the shows, and rather than being inverted and flat, the rider CAN put them in a shorter frame asking the neck to still work. Thats just good riding is all.

                                      I dont blame the rider for not trying the longer contact if the horse is not as relaxed as they need it to be for full control...

                                      So, I dont blame the rider for that, AT ALL!
                                      ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                                      http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Gry2Yng View Post
                                        Not sure whether times have changed or I have. 5 years ago, I would have been happy with a 65%, on a young horse. Now I *need* the 70%. As far as sandbagging. Yes, I see it some.
                                        I agree with this.

                                        Six years ago, I was THRILLED with the 64% (equivalent) I received at a horse trial. It was my personal high score. I WON and placed very highly on scores that would absolutely disgust a lot of folks today - mid to high 40's (mid to low 50's, in dressage speak). To date, my greatest achievement is a 71.6%, so I have made some improvements

                                        This last weekend, my greenie received a 69% on one of her tests and while that was acceptable, I was not satisfied. I felt that our transitions could have been more prompt, she could have been MUCH steadier in the contact, and that I could have ridden her MUCH straighter than she was. Had we performed the test to *MY* satisfaction, it more than likely would have been a mid-70s score. But I'm not hunting for that high score, thats just the quality of ride I'd like to see in my horse before moving her up.

                                        It gets my goat a little bit that if I want to WIN (yes, I'm aware it is about the score, NOT the ribbon, but I still like to win once in a while!) I'll typically need a mid-70's or better score. A few years ago, I saw a test at an event score an 82%. I don't know if I'm capable of being THAT good!

                                        Comment

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