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Judges need to use the WHOLE scale.

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  • Judges need to use the WHOLE scale.

    It's funny, I see people complaining about "Santa Claus" judges all the time, and they have a point. But what about those judges who are afraid to give out the really harsh scores and then also reach to the top for horses that fit the bill? I mean, we all know that W/T, Training and First Level are NOT rocket science. So why don't we see the gambit of scores that judges used to post at shows?

    Is it that people are all so good now that no one fits in the 40% range? All I see lately are 50 and 60% scores. I do see 70s posted, too, but not so much 80s and why don't we ever see a 90% score, especially at the lower levels?

    Just curious what your thoughts are on the topic.
    "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

  • #2
    Oh Hey! they do. I scribed for a judge who handed out a 41 at First Level.

    Second judge was kinder with a 47. Or maybe that ride was so much better.

    You miss a lot when your are attempting to write legibly, and quickly.
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      I've scribed a lot over the last few years, and I have to say I do see judges use the whole training scale.

      I think it's just that when you have an "average" horse, one or two 8's or 9's or 2's or 3's on a test are still likely to put you in the 60-70% range if the rest of your movements score 5's, 6's, and 7's.

      And unfortunately, when I do see horses that move for an 8 or a 9, many of them aren't ridden to showcase this, and they still end up with a 65% even with the 8 for the gait score. (If the rider gets a 6 for their riding, the test probably isn't going to score in the 70 or 80% range even if the horse is capable.)

      At least in our area, we don't seem to see that many truly horrible tests at rated shows that should score in the 40's. We see a reasonable number of training through 2nd level tests here that score in the 70's.

      And I have more than one test where my own scores have ranged from a 3 to a 9......

      Comment


      • #4
        I believe judges do use the entire scale, but individual riders may not see the full scale on their tests. I have archived somewhere some dreadful tests from the long-ago past with scores in the high 30's/low 40's. OTOH, my worst test from the last two years was a high 50, with average scores in the mid 60's, and the best ones in the low 70's.

        If I looked back on all my tests, I think the only score I haven't received was a "10".

        Comment


        • #5
          I have scored for a couple local schooling shows (one with a good and IMO knowledgeable "L" judge, and one with an "L" judge who felt that a medium walk needed "more collection").

          The first judge did give out some 4's, but those 4's should maybe have been 2's or 3's. As an example, my mare woke up on the retarded side of the stall that morning, and she cantered almost the entire M trot at the end of 2-2, with only a couple slightly lengthened trot steps at the very end. That got a 4, which I felt was generous. However, there was a range of individual marks, and a range of final scores, from the low 50's up to the low 70's.

          The other judge gave everybody 5, 6 and 7, all scores were in the upper 50's to mid 60's, and the comments on many of the tests were just downright weird. Many of them didn't fit the score next to the comment either, like the comment would be negative but the score would be a 7, or a good comment would be next to a 5. I also had more than a few tests that I had to send back because one or two scores were completely missing.

          So yeah, at least where I am, judges do seem to be generous, or afraid to give any marks outside of that 5 to 7 range. I do wish the first level ride where the horse cannot manage anything looking like a leg-yield would score as it appears, with a 1 for that leg yield that isn't. But then reward the riders who put in a solid ride for the level, and if the horse looks difficult to ride, don't blast the rider for having a bad seat, hands, and leg when the horse is obviously being difficult. We all have bad days, and it's not ALWAYS the rider sucking.

          Comment


          • #6
            I recently scribed for a judge who wanted, more than once, to be able to give a 1/2 score, i.e., 6.5, 7.5. I opined that the scale went from 0 to 10, which was plenty big but she wanted half points. And she rarely went outside the 5-7 range.

            Comment


            • #7
              I've been 6/7'd to death many times, which is unfortunate. My favorite is (for entrance) "forward, straight, square - 7". Uh, why only?

              I've had MANY (free walk) "uses entire body, great use of shoulder, good stretch - 9". So, what gets a 10? Is it not given just because it's a "10"?

              My old horse had one change that was late probably 50% of the time. I usually got a 4. Axel Steiner gave me a 1.

              I'd much rather have a test with 3s and 8s, then one that is straight 6s. It gives me a clear picture of what needs work.

              Conversely, I'm sure there are horses/rides that are "meh" the whole way and are a straight 6.
              From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.

              Comment


              • #8
                I usually find that within most classes I will use marks ranging from 1 to 9. I have given a some 0's and 10's as well but....and it's a big but...about 75% of the movements we see performed in the arena at all levels genuinely warrant a score of 5,6 or 7.

                It's not that we are frightened to use the others but you cannot give someone a 3 or 2 if they actually deserve a 5.

                Unless you can see every individual mark the judge has given as the overall % does not tell you what sort of marks they were using. A test of 6's and 7's will end up with the same sort of % as one that had a couple of 9's and a couple of 2's.

                Comment


                • #9
                  One of my students recently, in her collective marks, comments on her excellent seat and effective riding and got a score of... 6. Judge even commented to her after the ride what a great position she has. So why not a 7 or even an 8? How much better would she have to ride to get a better score there? . Frustrating to say the least.
                  "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                  ---
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Velvet View Post
                    Is it that people are all so good now that no one fits in the 40% range?
                    Or showing is so expensive, the people who might have earned the 40's have decided to stay home and practice or spend the money on lessons instead?

                    Or people have enough common sense not to enter a show where they're likely to score in the 40% range?

                    Or people have trainers with enough common sense to advise them not to show (or to enter a lower level) if their riding is only good enough to earn them something in the 40% range?

                    Well prepared riders at the appropriate level shouldn't be scoring in the 40's. They should be at home practicing. Maybe that's why you don't see many scores in the 40% range?

                    JMO.
                    "No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." George Burns

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Beasmom View Post
                      I believe judges do use the entire scale, but individual riders may not see the full scale on their tests.
                      My point wasn't that it's not used on individual rides, it's the the cumulative totals don't seem to end up really high or really low--which makes you wonder if they're playing it safe, or if the rides are all just rather average.
                      "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by pinecone View Post
                        Or showing is so expensive, people aren't going to waste their money showing if they think they might be doing poorly enough to score in the 40% range?

                        Or people have enough common sense not to enter a show where they're likely to score in the 40% range?

                        Or people have trainers with enough common sense to advise them not to show (or to enter a lower level) if their riding is only good enough to earn them something in the 40% range?

                        Well prepared riders at the appropriate level shouldn't be scoring in the 40's. They should be at home practicing. Maybe that's why you don't see many scores in the 40% range?

                        JMO.
                        I agree with you...some what. I've seen some rides that definitely seem like they should end up in the upper 40's, but no way in the 50s. (Horse has a meltdown, rider just is not prepared-unlike your reasons, etc.) I'm actually more curious as to why the W/T and Training Level don't see a whole lot more 70s and 80s for the test. I mean, I've seen some horses just do amazingly solid tests in the required frame. (They are not supposed to be collected in a first level frame, that would actually be scored against them if they went by the letter of the law for the level.) And yet these horses get in the 60s or low 70s. To me, that should be 80s and maybe someone should once in a while get a 90.

                        Maybe the judging system needs even more work. If we're making it impossible for any horse or rider to score that high, then maybe they need to rethink what they believe a 10 actually is. Maybe instead of starting from the middle and working up, they start with the idea of a 10 and work down.

                        I know the FEI is working on the scoring system. I also know a lot of work has gone into the USEF and USDF to work with judging, but I do have to wonder if after all the discussions on Santa Claus judges they'll start going backwards and become more conservative, and more judges will hold out in the 50-60% range no matter how great or deplorable the ride is.

                        Just really wondering...
                        "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Interesting pondering here... I've seen a few 9's with (verbal) comments from the judge being "I wouldn't have changed a thing". Shouldn't that be a 10 then? When is the last time we saw an 80 at training level? Seems that the super high scores are reserved for international competition only, which is warranted considering the level of horse and rider. But at the same time, what is expected in training level to warrant a score outside the 70's?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This topic was just brought up at our stables this morning - but in a roundabout way. One of our boarders is horse shopping and looking at an Appendix QH and they started talking about a specific breeder who had a fabulous Appendix who excelled in dressage. I guess a few years back there was a local show where everyone was, well, young and inexperienced, and because you want to encourage beginners the judge was giving 5s and 6s instead of the 2s and 3s the rides should have won. But everyone was pretty much on the same level so it was consistent.

                            Then this Appendix came in and blew everyone away. And because his movement and training was THAT MUCH BETTER the judge was forced to give out 9s and 10s. Ended up with like a 98 or something unheard of ... solely because the judge Santa Claused all the other scores!
                            If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
                            ~ Maya Angelou

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, another thought is that once you reach grand prix, there is nowhere else to go. The riders and horses are doing the same tests over and over, so they keep getting better and better.

                              On the other hand, once a rider receives a mark in the 70's at training level, I'm pretty sure they are looking to move up to first, rather than stay at training level and work towards an 80%. I know I'd rather head on up to first.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                                One of my students recently, in her collective marks, comments on her excellent seat and effective riding and got a score of... 6. Judge even commented to her after the ride what a great position she has. So why not a 7 or even an 8? How much better would she have to ride to get a better score there? . Frustrating to say the least.
                                Perhaps despite her great position, she lacks the ability to use herself within the position. So...Yes she would have to ride better, as well as looking good.
                                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.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  My bad, Velvet, I thought you meant per movement.

                                  I agree with you. I have seen some FABULOUS rides at Training level, now that I'm back with a youngster. These horses came out of the box uphill, are forward, obedient, and ridden to accurate tests. The highest score I've seen this year? 78% I've seen (and gotten) a fair smattering of low 70s. But by and large, the "average" score for even some really good tests is 68-69%.

                                  Of course, these youngsters aren't perfect--there's a tense moment here, an abrupt or unbalanced transition there, but overall some of these fabulous horses, when judged according to the directives, should be scoring 80s. I say this because if the international GP riders are getting high 70s/80s, then nice young horses should be attaining this same relative score.
                                  From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                                    Perhaps despite her great position, she lacks the ability to use herself within the position. So...Yes she would have to ride better, as well as looking good.
                                    The comments were that she was highly effective
                                    "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                    ---
                                    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Maybe it isn't the judges who are playing towards the middle

                                      Really,
                                      average horses with average riders can expect to get scores of 4s, 5s & & 6s for their efforts on a conservative ride, 5s being average.

                                      Talented horses with riders who push the envelope will have a wider variance of scores, maybe 2s to 9s.

                                      With a horse that is new to a particular level, a sprinkling of lower scores doesn't bother me if there are high ones too.

                                      I would interpret comments about being a correct and effective rider - yet receiving a score of 6 for position to mean that the judge felt the ride was too conservative, ie the rider and horse were capable of more than they demonstrated.
                                      Last edited by nhwr; Jun. 12, 2010, 08:58 PM.
                                      See those flying monkeys? They work for me.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Ditto what NHWR said. I don't have a problem with the current scoring and using the 4-8 numbers.

                                        I haven't gone through judges training, but I understand a bit of how they derive the score. There are various components of a movement, and that is why you don't often see a zero or a 1. For example, a rider shows no shoulder-in at the trot. I don't think you could get a zero or 1 for that, because the horse stayed in trot.

                                        When you get a one (and I've received them), there is no question to the bystanders that it is very bad. It's something that really stands out.

                                        I think you don't see scores in the 40's these days (like in the past) because riders and horses are better and know what is expected of them. When I first started riding dressage, I don't recall ever seeing a 70%. A score of 63% would win the class.

                                        In some ways, I like the half point, especially when a 6 is given. It would be nice to know if you barely squeaked by (6 minus) or if you almost got a 7 (6+). But then, what is the difference between a 6+ and a 7-.

                                        I really wish judges would be careful with the wording when it doesn't match the mark. I got "good try" on an extension, but a mark of 6. Above, other posters received discrepancies like this. It is very confusing to the competitor.

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