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Just Who Is General Burton??

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  • Just Who Is General Burton??

    At a small competition clinic that my barn held recently, a local trainer was literally schooling her student through the whole test. You know, saying way more than what was on the sheet. The judge let the girl ride the whole thing and then told the trainer that she couldn't coach during the test and praise for her student needed to be made outside of the ring, she was very loud in her "good girls" immediately after the final halt. Anyway, the trainer proceeded to yell back at the judge that "General Burton says..." I didn't catch exactly what General Burton has to say in the matter because I was pretty surprised by the trainer's attitude and lack of decorum.? She was very aggressive in her assertations.

    I have done a google search but haven't come up with anything on his training ideas or techniques. This trainer is a fervent follower and I always am interested in different ideas. So, just looking for some enlightenment.
    Proud owner of a very pretty but completely useless horse.

  • #2
    He was my barn manager's dressage instructor, too. She adores him and thinks he is brilliant. I own his book "How to Ride a Winning Dressage Test" and tend to agree with her. She has video of him riding her event horse around our indoor arena getting so much out of her horse. He's also an S level judge, I believe...

    It seems that a lot of riders/instructors around here were taught by military riders like General Burton. I've run into several of them, and boy, they don't make it easy on you. They got no breaks from THEIR instructors, so they tend to be extra tough. I had an "unofficial" lesson one day from a woman who was coached by them, and she kept me going without a break until I literally threw up on the horse and almost passed out from heat exhaustion.





    And a link to his book on Amazon:

    I think the book is great. The tests may be old, but the advice and instruction is timeless. He breaks every single movement down so it is easy to understand. I was able to find my copy online basically brand new and in perfect condition.
    Last edited by see u at x; Sep. 7, 2007, 08:15 PM.
    "I was not expecting the park rangers to lead the resistance, none of the dystopian novels I read prepared me for this but cool."


    • #3


      • #4
        I don't know the man - but I did spill my lasagna all over him once. We had a terrific chat over lunch at a 3-day at Morven Park years ago.

        I didn't get the impression he would approve of trainers coaching their students in competition and arguing and/or challenging judges. This isn't a hockey game, after all.
        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
        -Rudyard Kipling


        • #5
          Originally posted by J Swan View Post
          I don't know the man - but I did spill my lasagna all over him once. We had a terrific chat over lunch at a 3-day at Morven Park years ago.

          I didn't get the impression he would approve of trainers coaching their students in competition and arguing and/or challenging judges. This isn't a hockey game, after all.
          I tend to think you are right. From what my BM says, he's an incredibly nice and kind man. A firm, solid instructor, but a nice man who would never behave rudely like that towards a fellow judge.
          "I was not expecting the park rangers to lead the resistance, none of the dystopian novels I read prepared me for this but cool."


          • #6
            asking about General Burton

            Stay tuned for an intimate video about General Burton brought to you by the Dressage Foundation, produced by Mary Phelps. Its enlightening and fun to watch and learn about his amazing contributions to our equestrian world. I believe it will premiere at the USDF convention this winter.
            Karin Offield
            "Don't give up on anything that matters !"


            • #7
              Karin, will we be able to purchase a copy when it comes out? I'm thinking this would be a great gift for some people...
              "I was not expecting the park rangers to lead the resistance, none of the dystopian novels I read prepared me for this but cool."


              • #8
                I have had the honor of sitting with Major Gen Burton many times and he is unfailingly a gentleman and a superb horseman.

                He would never put up with someone behaving as the "trainer" did at the schooling show.

                He is keenly enthusiastic over nice horses and riders, gives back to the equestrian community extensively and always spot on in my tests with comments , scores and encouraging attitude.

                I highly doubt that any behaviors you witnessed by the person has anything to do with Major Gen Burton.
                -- * > hoopoe
                Procrastinate NOW
                Introverted Since 1957


                • #9

                  Just look at the beautiful following hand!


                  • #10
                    General Burton is old school.

                    No, he wouldn't approve of someone breaking the rules. But he'd tell them they were disqualified in a gentlemanly way.

                    They don't make them like that any more.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ToN Farm View Post

                      Just look at the beautiful following hand!
                      Thanks for that post! BTW. Burton is what we call an *Icon*. He is the best.

                      ~Equestrian Selections~
                      ~Equine Jewelry~
                      Used Saddles For Sale


                      • #12
                        He judged my dressage at my first pony club national rally (I think it was the one at Ledyard in 1970?).

                        anyway, my horse got his feet tangled up in the dressage chains and at one point or another got all four feet out of the arena.

                        he was very nice and told me my test had been quite nice until then.

                        oh well.
                        A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


                        • #13
                          a forner Olympian

                          a graduate of the Cavalry school at Ft. Riley also, one of our first Olympians; in the early days of the USET; He is also in one o fthe Halls of Fame, eventing , or USET
                          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


                          • #14
                            General Burton and Dr. Chopra will be the judges at the Windy Knoll Fall show the end of September.


                            • #15
                              General Burton is a legend, he is pushing 90 years old and still actively judging dressage shows.


                              • #16
                                I once saw Gen. Burton disqualify a kid from a championship class because he had watched the kid's trainer school her horse just before entering the ring. I was ring steward, and the trainer was riding the horse just outside of the ring near "A". With about 2 minutes to go before the bell, she slid off the horse and put the kid on. Kid goes in the ring, he lets her ride the test, then calls her over and tells her she is disqualified. Kid bursts into tears, trainer pitches a fit and argues with him, saying that since it was a kid, he should give her a break. He sticks to his guns and the disqualification held.

                                On another note, he is judging next weekend at the Southern Hospitality Breeders Classic II in Conyers, GA.


                                • #17
                                  Good for him for sticking to the rules. Otherwise, a few years down the road, it will be..."She's just an ammy"...as she dons her rhinestone tiara to trot down the centerline after Herr Haagendaaz warms her 800 bazooblio dollar horse up for the South Beach CDI...

                                  But he's awesome. Very kind to the horses. He taught one of the first clinics I ever rode in. He also drags one heck of a centerline...by hand. I wish he did more judging around me, but mostly you see him at events around here.


                                  • #18
                                    I know General Burton and have been judged by him and attended UDSF conferences with him many times. I am aware of his skills and history as well as his current writing and activities. The judge/clinician in the OP's example (she said it was a clinic--I guess with test-riding included) seems to have been correct if the trainer was "coaching" throughout the test.

                                    Coaching DURING the test is clearly against the rules. ANYTHING done DURING THE TEST to assist the rider is not allowed. However, before the entry at A and AFTER FINAL SALUTE, the test is NOT judged. DR122 deals with Execution and Judging of Tests.

                                    DR122-7-h: A test begins with the entry at A and ends after the final salute, as soon as the horse moves forward...Except for leaving the arena as described above in 7g, and for non-permitted movements shown in a freestyle test, anything before the beginning or after the end of the test has no effect on the marks.

                                    DR122-10: 10. Unauthorized Assistance is forbidden under penalty of elimination. Any intervention by a third party with the object of facilitating the task of the competitor, including voice, signals, etc., is considered illegal assistance. A member of the Jury may not discuss a ride with a competitor before the bell or after the final salute.

                                    Now, in the example the OP gave, it sounds like the the trainer did things to facilitate the task of the competitor DURING THE TEST. Because DR122 ALL deals with Execution and Judging of Tests (and the TEST includes everything after she entered and A and BEFORE the final salute), then the person should have been disqualified. But praising her after she saluted by saying "good girl" is NOT forbidden and should not be penalized. It's not "before they leave the ring" but instead "before the test ends", which is at the final salute. If the sole reason the rider was eliminated was for the help BEFORE and AFTER the test, then the judge was wrong. It's only DURING the test that you can't receive assistance. In this case, though, it sounds like the trainer "coached" all through the test. One is only allowed to READ what's on the test sheet. And only once, except if it seems that the rider didn't hear you, and then you can read it one more time. Even emphasis on certain words, if done too obviously and too much, could be considered unauthorized assistance.

                                    I am particularly aware about this rule because I was once talked to by a judge (not General Burton but another, now-retired and I think deceased military retiree) (not allowed--discussing test by member of jury) to be admonished for saying something to my reader (about a B-52-sized horse fly on my horse's neck that I killed during the free walk) as I left the arena on a long rein. He said he could have eliminated me (not true) but that was incorrect because what I did was after the salute.

                                    Could it have been that the trainer, in mentioning General Burton's name, was talking about what she did after the salute, and saying something to the effect of "General Burton says it's fine to say 'Good job' AFTER the salute?"

                                    I can find nothing in the rules that says it's not allowed, by the way, for someone else to warm up a horse, except in some championship classes (which is what the above poster, not the OP, was referring to). In certain championship classes which have additional rules in addition to USEF rules, it IS ONLY allowed for the entered competitor to ride the horse on the show grounds except for a groom on a long rein). It's not considered necessarily good sportsmanship in other competitions, but if the trainer were properly credentialed by USEF, has signed a release as "Coach", and abides by other rules, I can't see where someone could be sanctioned for such behavior. But in championship classes with special rules, yes--and I am ALL FOR judges upholding the rules. Sounds like General Burton, of course, followed the rules because you said it was a championship class.

                                    Overall, I think coaching or assistance even after thest but while still in the ring is not the best idea in the world, and I know the above is nit-picky, but if it is a scared kid I think it's okay to encourage while circling ring and after salute. I would have, as a matter of courtesy, waited until the kid was out of the ring altogether.
                                    Last edited by rebecca yount; Sep. 8, 2007, 08:27 AM.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thank you everyone! I will look for the book that was mentioned.

                                      On a side note, this trainer also had another girl riding later in the day. Very nice girl on a very cute horse. Anyway, when she came into the arena the judge goes, "What the hell?!" She called the girl over and of course her trainer came also, they had a rope halter on under the bridle. They said they had been lunging the horse before the test. Why they didn't just take off the halter when they put on the bridle is a mystery never to be solved. The judge was going to disqualify them, the trainer started yelling again, the poor girl was getting really embarassed. In the end, since the halter wasn't interfering with the bridle the judge let it slide since it was a show/clinic. I think she felt sorry for the girl. I know I did. She rode a nice test too.
                                      Proud owner of a very pretty but completely useless horse.


                                      • #20
                                        I love threads like these Gen. Burton deserves to be known about and celebrated!!!!