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Fence Judging Scenarios and Tips For Riders

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  • Fence Judging Scenarios and Tips For Riders

    I've just recently done some fence sitting, I'm usually working in other capacities. It was very helpful to renew my reflexes for various scenarios. So let's refresh other jj's and add the cases for rider tips.

    At one event I had to do an emergency hold. A horse got caught in a fence right after the one I was at and I could see what was happening - it was the 4th refusal so the pair had eaten up time so bingo there was the next rider. No time to get my phone screen open (and in the bright sunlight). Horse and rider were on me out of the blue. I did bring my own whistle that helped. So I told the TD, and the rider, that I added a minute to the hold time before I could get a timepiece going so rider could have that time for their reapproach. So first off after the event I went and bought my own stopwatch ($9 at WM) to carry with me forever and ever. So much easier to just hang around neck and reach down and click while stepping out. Not all events provide anything.... maybe only to designated holds but undesignateds often happen.

    At another I sat at the water where the combination was A/B for Prelim but # / # for T,N so I had some experienced riders that knew how to use the rules to get their horses feet wet - circling into the water between the #s. Then I had one rider present the exact same way 3X for 3 refusals at the log drop into the water. At some point there the rider should have backed up and used the available ramp down into the water to get the horse's feet wet before trying that last time. Just saying ….

    Then at BN the flags were set for an entry pass thru. One rider presented her horse to the water repeatedly but not at the flagged entry - which is not counted as refusals. Rider eventually retired. vs eliminated.

    I swear we could write a book entitled A View from the Fence Judge's Chair!
    The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton

  • #2
    Yes, write that book!!!!
    Another Adult Amature and her OTTB: https://eventingottb.wordpress.com

    Repurposed Racehorses
    https://repurposedracehorses.weebly.com/

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    • #3
      "Back in the day" jump judges were advised to wear a watch with a second hand (or digital) just in case of holding a rider on course.
      A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
      ? Albert Einstein

      ~AJ~

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd love to hear more tips. I come from a hunter/jumper background with a handful of XC schoolings under my belt and basic knowledge and numerous events watched livestream, but not nitty gritty knowledge of XC - especially not the "you don't know until you know" that you may have glazed over in the rule book, but all the real eventers know by heart.

        Anyways... I'll never forget the first time I jump judged. One girl went to the wrong fence and her horse refused it. I am glad that wasn't my jump to judge (I had the water combo which was quite fun) as I would have sworn that maneuver would be dinged... off course, refusal, something. I talked to the TD afterward and apparently that is totally within the rules because after refusing the wrong jump the pair went to the correct jump and went right over. No harm no foul, just a little extra time added.

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        • #5
          Count me in as someone who would love more tips! Every time I JJ, there's a new scenario and I learn I am way less prepared than I believe myself to be.
          AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by rockonxox View Post
            I'd love to hear more tips. I come from a hunter/jumper background with a handful of XC schoolings under my belt and basic knowledge and numerous events watched livestream, but not nitty gritty knowledge of XC - especially not the "you don't know until you know" that you may have glazed over in the rule book, but all the real eventers know by heart.

            Anyways... I'll never forget the first time I jump judged. One girl went to the wrong fence and her horse refused it. I am glad that wasn't my jump to judge (I had the water combo which was quite fun) as I would have sworn that maneuver would be dinged... off course, refusal, something. I talked to the TD afterward and apparently that is totally within the rules because after refusing the wrong jump the pair went to the correct jump and went right over. No harm no foul, just a little extra time added.
            Yes, the most important thing is the horse/rider must complete all obstacles in numerical order as flagged. Also, jumping a flagged obstacle from a different level (even bigger level) is legal. I have done this when a CIC* log was slightly impeding the approach to prelim water. It was easier to jump the one star fence than go around it. I confirmed this rule with the RD, who rather a nicely told me to go read my rulebook (I had, just wanted TO BE SURE I wouldn't get in trouble). Now I suppose if you are out of control at BN and take a flyer over the intermediate table you might get DR penalties (!) but original rules were designed to be accommodating if needed, and helpful in times when xc schooling was less available. At many events now, though, flags are removed after the level is completed and "larking" is illegal.

            If your green horse stops at a novice fence, you can legally jump the BN one next to it, and circle back to your appropriate novice jump. You'll waste time, but not a concern for this instance.
            A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
            ? Albert Einstein

            ~AJ~

            Comment


            • #7
              I have done lots of jump judging, but one time I was assigned to do XC ring steward (calling riders for their times, on deck, etc.) & tack check. I am a very experienced competitor, so I thought nothing of it.

              Turns out it's hard to do both at the same time! I was not told by the TD, who'd put me there, that one division had a different start box at a different location, so I missed the first rider's start time. Nobody had given me a radio, either.

              Then I got reamed out by the TD for the late start and for enlisting someone to help with calling out riders for their times. It left an awful taste in my mouth - and I'm a die-hard!

              It really gave me an insight into how hard the volunteers work, as well as how NOT to treat them!
              Blugal

              You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

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              • #8
                So if you want to get your horses feet wet at a water obstacle, you can enter and exit in the unflagged area, circle back and enter thru the flags? I have seen this but worry about doing it correctly.
                "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope

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                • #9
                  I know there are differences between Canada and the US, and I've *just* started learning about eventing here in Canada. I'm told that there's no issue jumping a lower level fence, but a level up is a DQ (I believe?).

                  Definitely enjoy the discussion, as I'm a total n00b!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CindyCRNA View Post
                    So if you want to get your horses feet wet at a water obstacle, you can enter and exit in the unflagged area, circle back and enter thru the flags? I have seen this but worry about doing it correctly.
                    Yes. I have done this at training level on a green, water shy horse. It was his first log drop into water (first training event) off an awkward approach; I went around the drop, trotted down the beach side, through the water, and circled back to the drop. He went in confidently. The jj initially had me marked as a run out, but I had video and showed it to the TD, who agreed that I had not approached the flags and was legally clear.

                    There *may* be a hazy area "in the spirit of the rule" regarding a novice/BN simple flagged crossing. Perhaps entering at the opposite side could get you eliminated, as going "the wrong way" thru an obstacle or presenting your horse at the obstacle incorrectly. A hardline TD could argue that. In my case, the water itself wasn't flagged; the jump in was, and that was the numbered obstacle for presentation, not simply the water hole. If there is a second water at the event, unused for lower levels, I have seen riders getting feet wet in that complex first before attempting their flagged water, and that was completely kosher.
                    A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
                    ? Albert Einstein

                    ~AJ~

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by CindyCRNA View Post
                      So if you want to get your horses feet wet at a water obstacle, you can enter and exit in the unflagged area, circle back and enter thru the flags? I have seen this but worry about doing it correctly.
                      Yes. It adds time - but you are there to educate the horse, better to have time faults than refusals and the letter E score, or worse - falls. Once you have issues on course far better to not continue the confusion and to end positively. I've seen riders and horses with multiple refusals and both of them 'out of their minds'- the rider can't even hear a jj call to them to step aside for an overtake.

                      The one rider at Training must have felt her horse's hesitation going to the log drop into water - she very quickly hauled her horse up, that horse's front feet both came up off the ground, and she sharply turned to the ramp at the water. I discussed it with the TD. There was enough room to do the maneuver so the judgment is in favor of the rider. The rider caught the horse before the horse showed any hesitation.
                      The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Blugal the event should have had an xc coordinator who should have been overseeing the job positions. I for one really stuff the fence packets with all kinds of educational handouts! And I send email attachments of the job descriptions with my pre-event contacts. I also mark the packets on their fronts with tips ie finish timer with a note for no willful delays and a description of how they can happen.

                        Regarding the warm-up position YOU SHOULD HAVE HAD A RADIO and a channel set for just you and the start box! And start box if experienced could have coached you through the first couple of sends. We did have to change up things when we had a start box set a bit further out one yr. That caught everyone off guard until they added more time to sending them out. P.S. rider check-ins is important! (rider tip) makes the warm-up job easier than hunting for you in a swarm of riders.
                        The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          These are the types of stories and scenarios that I would love to learn more about. Great topic for a clinic, to educate riders and the volunteers.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Rnichols View Post
                            Yes, write that book!!!!
                            Ahhh yes and a whole chapter on things we've heard said! Maybe 2 or 3 chapters....

                            Now here's my strangest story. I was going fence to fence to check in with each person working. If they had questions any issues? I get to a Novice table that is placed up next to a bush. The fence judge points to the birdhouse on a stake right there at the bush and the fence flag! She tells me the birds are in and out of it feeding their young. My brain goes really fast - do I call the TD, call the course designer - do I stuff that hole??? Before I can react here comes the next rider on course. It's an older gentleman friend, on a fair sized hunt horse, and he's having the ride of his life big grin on his face. As one of his friends told me he was thrilled to make it to xc, if he's not eliminated in dressage

                            That horse takes off perfectly over that fence. The bird flies out of that birdhouse and hits that horse in the face while it is arced over the fence. The horse goes straight down on top of that table, straddling it. The rider comes off, his air vest pops he Michelin man bounces off the table and lands on his feet and dazed and confused mutters 'what the hell happened?' And I have to tell him he's got his cocktail hour story - a 3 inch bird took him out.

                            And my sweetest story. I'm stopped at one of the waters speaking with the lady who has routinely sat that fence for yrs. She has some people added there that she has set up to learn. She beams at me and says so proudly says 'here listen to this'. Two grown brothers, one who brought his teenage Downs Syndrome son. The guys had it set up for the son to make the radio calls! It about made me cry to hear 'that voice' so seriously take that job and radio in 'rider # clear at fence #." That kid sat there all day he took it so seriously and those two grown men beamed.

                            I tend to overshare bc no one should sit there all day and go home without some sharing and interaction. And tons of appreciation
                            The cue card kid just held up an empty cue card. For a minute there I thought I had lost my sense of humor. --- Red Skelton

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Insight into a different world from mine. BE FJs are a pretty professional bunch of volunteers!

                              There is a thorough briefing for Fence Judges before each competition, to cover eventualities such as flags, refusing, napping, over taking, elimination, stopping runners, how to use a radio. We hear it so often the TD or Steward usually ask us, the audience, what they have missed out.

                              It is strongly preferred that each fence has two people on it and more if it is a complex one. Not always possible, particularly on weekday events, but it is fairly unusual to have a fence on ones own. Sometimes we report on two fences if they are in close proximity.

                              Every fence has a radio and we report into Control on each horse over our fence. Report a fall and support is immediately on its way. Medics and vets are stationed within 2 minutes of any fence on the course. Radios ensure that we can hear what is happening all around the course, which makes the day far more interesting when stuck out in the weeds. And we can also call in when the tea wagon has missed us out! We can always call for the TD if a rider does something weird.

                              We are issued with a fence judge pack which contains stop watch, whistle, score pads, pen and pencils, clip board, a copy of the BE rules specifically for FJ use, fall report forms and other useful things the coordinator puts in - such as sun block.

                              We time each horse past a marker (tree, rock, stick we bring with us etc etc) which is far enough away that we have time to safely stop a horse if asked to do so by control. Having radio coms mean we get warning. The held rider goes past that point again to restart their time. No arguments about how long they were held.

                              At the end of the day the equipment is returned to base which means we all have opportunity for refreshment and a gossip/debrief - which is very useful if one has had a busy day with a lot of action.

                              The average day will have about 250 competitors, running at two minute intervals. Longer intervals at higher levels but usually fewer horses too.
                              "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Willesdon all the events I've jump judged here are the same (I've jump judged at two different events out here multiple times). There is a pre-event meeting for all volunteers and rules, how to call in jumps (we also call in for every rider), usual happenings on course, and radio policies are covered as well as sandwiches issued because it will be a long day! There are nearly always 2 jump judges to the complexes (great way to meet people, during Pony Club events I've met some very enthusiastic parents with great stories) and single jumps like a log may have just one judge (usually still 2), but you and the next jump over can both see it so there are more than one set of eyes watching. Every fence gets a radio, a whistle, a clipboard, score pad & paper for notes and volunteers will drive by on golf carts to check on jump judges well beings with waters and such. In between levels you get to run to the johnny-on-the-spot, but then once the level is ready everyone starts the radio call "Jump judges call your numbers" to make sure everyone is situated before the first horse goes on course!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by CindyCRNA View Post
                                  So if you want to get your horses feet wet at a water obstacle, you can enter and exit in the unflagged area, circle back and enter thru the flags? I have seen this but worry about doing it correctly.
                                  Note that not all water complexes or courses are designed to allow for this. Even when they do have a clearly unflagged area, I always check with the jump judge while I'm walking the course whether they allow schooling the water because not all jump judges will know about that rule. Once I feel confident in the JJ, I will still yell "schooling the water!" as I approach just so that it is 100% clear what my intention is. I'd only want to involve the TD as a last resort, and if nothing is on video, it could be futile anyway.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by rockonxox View Post
                                    Willesdon all the events I've jump judged here are the same (I've jump judged at two different events out here multiple times).
                                    PHEW! Glad about that. Too much at risk to get it wrong.
                                    "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Re the bird story.

                                      last year DH and I ended up at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, somewhat by accident. It was Marathon day for the CDE. This competition is a very big deal -- all 4-in-hands, from many different countries.

                                      On the route through the water, there was one pass-through where there were... a pair of geese and their goslings. There were 2 volunteers who were tasked with shooing the goose family out of the way whenever a carriage was coming!

                                      (And then there was the time my mare had an explosive spook when a butterfly landed on her nose....)

                                      Anyway, I am enjoying this thread as I JJ at Groton House's unrecognized horse trials. Which is always a mix of terrifying, amusing, competent, and just plain cute (little kids on ponies -- who are usually also very competent.) You never know quite what will happen... Spring Horse Trials had a woman on a mare who was walking between the jumps, picking up a trot a few strides out, jumping, and going back to a walk. Needless to say, she was passed by many other competitors but she was having a great time. Last fall there was a competitor who was just having a hard time. Few or no refusals, but she was scared but didn't want to quit. Mid-course, the TD came out and gave her a pep talk for quite a while, and she continued on with a big smile on her face. And a horse that, for whatever reason, was utterly rank between the jumps (rearing, spinning, balking, and bolting) but managed to *jump* quite nicely in between the tantrums.
                                      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

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

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by CindyCRNA View Post
                                        So if you want to get your horses feet wet at a water obstacle, you can enter and exit in the unflagged area, circle back and enter thru the flags? I have seen this but worry about doing it correctly.
                                        Yup! Saw it at Catalpa last year by a smart rider
                                        pace, path, balance, impulsion and ??

                                        Don't panic! Ralph Leroy Hill

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