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Elimination Question--SJ

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  • Elimination Question--SJ

    Let me start by saying, this incident took place at a schooling event, however the event was run in accordance with "current USEA / USEF rules". I've consulted the USEA rulebook, and I can't find what I'm looking for, but if you can point me in the right place, I'd greatly appreciate it!

    Yesterday, after I had finished all three phases at one of my favorite local events, I noticed on the final score sheet that I had been eliminated in SJ. I found that really surprising, because as far as I knew, I had ridden a clear round, and the judge had not excused me from the arena during my ride, or in any way communicated this when my ride was over, while I waited by the SJ arena to start XC.

    I inquired with one of the volunteers about the scoring booth, who spoke with the SJ judge, who said that the reason she eliminated me, was because after I had finished riding (I don't know how long after) her scribe said to her that she believed that instead of jumping fence two on course, I had jumped another fence next to it. The judge then agreed with the scribe and I was eliminated.

    I have absolutely no recollection of jumping the incorrect fence, but I also accept that I could be wrong, and maybe I did go off course, and not realize what I did. If I did in fact go off course, I should of course be eliminated.

    What I find concerning though, is that I was eliminated not because the jump judge saw me go off course, and immediately (or almost immediately) eliminated me. Instead I went clear over 8 more jumps and finished the course, and it was only when her scribe said something after the ride was over, she recollected I had incorrectly jumped fence 2.

    I asked about the possibility of protesting this decision, and I was told by a volunteer that I could protest, but "it would change nothing" which I took to mean, don't protest. I also don't want to be a poor sport.

    I'm not looking to do anything about this now, but I'm curious if there are any rules about eliminations like this?

  • #2
    Sometimes, in the judge's booth, a judge will let you complete your round while this type of conversation is going on:
    "Did she jump the wrong fence?" "Let's confirm" "Let her keep jumping her round" while they try to get confirmation from another source - in gate, TD, etc. Show jumping is less than 2 minutes, and no one wants to pull up a rider in the middle of a round unless they are VERY SURE.

    You would certainly be allowed to Inquire (protest happens after Inquiry), and no judge that I know would take offense. At a recognized show, your jump penalties and time would be announced at the end of your round, and if you don't hear that, ask the in gate steward to confirm your score (this is quite helpful, mistakes DO happen!).

    Comment


    • #3
      Any video? Check with photographer? Hate when that happens.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hum, so the judge wasn't watching. Did anyone record your round? The time I went off course, I was pulled off before the next jump. I feel the correct thing would have been to address it before you left the ring.
        "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope

        Comment


        • #5
          That's unfortunate. One price of going to schooling shows is that they are sometimes just not as well run as the recognized shows and mistakes or miscommunications can happen. I was just at a schooling show where I watched a rider canter right out of the ring after completing SJ without going through the finish flags. Her friend who was videotaping loudly said, you have to go through the flags, and so she re-entered the rings and went through the flags. I didn't look at the rulebook but given she left the ring and had assistance I feel she should have been E'd, right? anyway, the SJ judges just laughed about it.

          I would let the organizer know. It's certainly too late to do anything about it now, but in the future they should let the XC starter know when people are eliminated in SJ, if not only for safety purposes (not that YOU were unsafe, but another E'd rider could have been).

          Comment


          • #6
            You have to go beyond the Eventing rules, to the General Rules. GR 602.6.b says that a "judge's decision, representing his/her preference or opinion" is not protestable.

            Furthermore, if you filed a protest, it would go to the President of the Ground Jury, who probably IS the show jumping judge.

            As someone else mentioned, you could/should have made an inquiry to the TD (not the volunteer, not the judge) first. But the TD would probably have given you the same answer- checked with the judge and the told you the judge's decision is not protestable.
            Janet

            chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

            Comment


            • #7
              In SJ I have seen both immediately whistle blowing for a technical elimination and judges who let you finish and then call you over to let you know you missed a fence or forgot the start flags or something like that. It is a little odd that you did not know until you finished XC but I would say that had to do with it being a schooling show and they bent the rules for you so you could jump XC without worrying about the E. Had you been told you, would have had to run around getting permission, and possibly have been distracted by it. I know I would have! And my concentration for XC would not have been as keen.

              As for who saw what, you heard from a volunteer that the judge said her scribe told her. I would actually want to hear directly from the judge what happened, for my own peace of mind.

              Fence judging last weekend I saw someone ride right past a fence, and someone else forget to go through the finish flags, pull up, and then remember and hustle back around to get through them. We were all thinking "FINISH FLAGS!!! but we couldn't tell her. Fortunately she figured it out and went through them but we all have moments where we miss things!

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thank you all for your input! It does kinda nag me that based on where the judge was sitting she would have had a very poor view of the jump that she/her scribe said I missed, but ultimately it's neither here nor there. It sounds like it's just as well that I didn't inquiry/protest the decision, as her decision was final.

                I was at the event by myself, so I'm not aware of anyone recording my round.

                I do think I'll nicely let the organizers know about my experience to see if a situation like this can be avoided in the future. It's never great to hear you're TE, but it was a bit of a nasty shock for me to discover the elimination after I thought I'd finished on my dressage score. I would have rather known right away, but that's just me.

                All in all, I still had three great rides on a super horse, on a beautiful day, at a gorgeous facility--and that's what really matters.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yes, definitely let the organizer as it was, at best, "sloppy" judging.
                  Janet

                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So, I can give you my experience as the scribe in SJ at most of our recognized events, and the SJ judge at many of our unrecognized events.
                    Unless you went and sat where the judge sat you don't know how visible the fence was. We often have to move our chairs a bit to get a sufficient view - a foot in the other direction and a fence is blocked.
                    In a recognized event you should have been whistled out mid course. For an unrecognized, it does depend on the show. I can see letting someone finish if they looked safe and competent, especially if it was a kid. I'd radio the out gate and use the PA to make sure the competitor came to talk to me, though, and knew she was TE before going xc. We adhere to the rule of one stop- you are out - for TEs going xc.
                    As for the scribe noticing and the judge not...I have spent many, many long hours in the SJ judges' stand. Sometimes it can get chaotic - scoring is calling you, xc is calling you, the in gate just told you number 136 is in the ring and the timer just told you the previous rider did the course in 1:37. Happens all the time.
                    i have worked with my judge for a long time and if she got momentarily distracted and I was watching closely, yes, she would accept what I saw. If you are having a good round the judge might look down at her radio for a second to change channels bc the TD is calling...and that's when something weird happens, like the rider misses a fence or jumps the wrong fence.
                    It does happen, despite best intentions.
                    The big man -- my lost prince

                    The little brother, now my main man

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The thing that would bug me the most is the scribe being the one to point it out. The scribe is not an assistant judge. I realize things get hectic in the booth, but when there is a rider on course, that is where the judge's attention should be. I fully accept that even when the judge's attention is focused 100% on the round, things gets missed sometimes, but I'm of the opinion that if the judge didn't see it, it didn't happen.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If nothing else, at a recognized event do make sure you keep up with the posted scores, as soon as they are posted after each phase. If you have someone who can help with that does make it easier.

                        Another point to make to the organizer is that you were ABLE to take the 'wrong' fence in SJ. SJ fences that aren't on course are supposed to be blocked by a rail across the face of the jump so that an error like yours can't happen.

                        It would be very easy for the SJ judge to miss informing a competitor with all sorts of details going on at once, as was explained above. The next rider is usually in the ring as times and scores are being recorded for the last rider, as said above the radio is busy, and everyone wants to keep the show moving. Definitely best to have the last rider come talk to the judge but it's easy for that to get scrambled. Sometimes that was requested, but the rider never got the word.
                        Last edited by OverandOnward; Jun. 19, 2017, 09:26 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Another point to make to the organizer is that you were ABLE to take the 'wrong' fence in SJ. SJ fences that aren't on course are supposed to be blocked by a rail across the face of the jump so that an error like yours can't happen.
                          The rules (EV150.5.a.4) say that it is Elimination to "jump or attempt to jump an obstacle which does not form part of the course... Obstacles not included in the course should be crossed but failure to do so by the arena party will not preclude the elimination of a competitor for jumping an obstacle not forming part of the course."
                          Janet

                          chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Janet View Post
                            You have to go beyond the Eventing rules, to the General Rules. GR 602.6.b says that a "judge's decision, representing his/her preference or opinion" is not protestable.
                            My understanding of that rule is that it's for subjective decisions by the judge--lameness, form over fences, and the like, and specifically not about things which can be argued as objective fact. ("Here's the video, they did/did not jump the fence", etc.)

                            I'm pretty sure I've read through a USEF appeal somewhere that addresses this; I'll see if I can dig it up. (...and possibly prove myself quite spectacularly wrong!) With the reading above, though, why qualify it with the "preference or opinion" language at all? Is there ever a time when a judge's decision can be appealed (outside the "against the rules" clause)?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Groom&Taxi View Post
                              The thing that would bug me the most is the scribe being the one to point it out. The scribe is not an assistant judge. I realize things get hectic in the booth, but when there is a rider on course, that is where the judge's attention should be. I fully accept that even when the judge's attention is focused 100% on the round, things gets missed sometimes, but I'm of the opinion that if the judge didn't see it, it didn't happen.
                              I can't agree with that. Should someone get away with a clear penalty or elimination just because a judge didn't see it clearly, and wasn't allowed to ask anyone else? No, that isn't the right result at all.

                              I have heard SJ judges consult over the radio for what others on the crew saw, in addition to the scribe - did the timer see it? the jump crew? the ring steward? Looking for a consensus when either the judge did not see it, didn't see it clearly, or it happened so fast that different angles would have more perspective.

                              The judge is a human being. I think maybe being in that seat for a day would make it more clear how impossible it is for one individual's set of eyes to be on exactly the right spot every instant of the day. Nor can the judge see every angle. If the judge wasn't allowed to check with other pairs of eyes, any number of scoring problems could result on the same day. At every horse trial. Is that the horse trial you want?

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                In case anyone is interested, the issue arose at fences #2/7 (see pic). The judge was sitting in a car with the scribe around fence #6.The judge/scribe stated that I had jumped fence #7 in the wrong direction instead of jumping fence #2. Looking at the course design I accept this mistake is entirely possible, but again, I have no memory of doing that.

                                asterix you're right, it is impossible to know what kind of view the judge/scribe actually had without sitting in the same seat as them. I am sympathetic to the long hours and endless distractions, but I also think it's a judge's primary job to watch the course, and if this judge wasn't ready, she shouldn't have blown the whistle. In fact, she had delayed my start due to hearing about a loose horse on the radio. As I understand it (and this is secondhand from the volunteer who spoke with her, so take it for what it's worth) neither the scribe nor the judge realized I had gone off course at fence #2 until after I had completed all 10 jumps and left the arena, at which point the scribe spoke up.

                                The judge's decision is final, and if I were to find myself in a similar situation again, I would know what to expect.
                                Attached Files

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post

                                  I can't agree with that. Should someone get away with a clear penalty or elimination just because a judge didn't see it clearly, and wasn't allowed to ask anyone else? No, that isn't the right result at all.

                                  I have heard SJ judges consult over the radio for what others on the crew saw, in addition to the scribe - did the timer see it? the jump crew? the ring steward? Looking for a consensus when either the judge did not see it, didn't see it clearly, or it happened so fast that different angles would have more perspective.

                                  The judge is a human being. I think maybe being in that seat for a day would make it more clear how impossible it is for one individual's set of eyes to be on exactly the right spot every instant of the day. Nor can the judge see every angle. If the judge wasn't allowed to check with other pairs of eyes, any number of scoring problems could result on the same day. At every horse trial. Is that the horse trial you want?
                                  Happy to agree to disagree. I have judged schooling shows, and unless the show has hired multiple judges, my opinion remains that it's the judge's responsibility to make the call - could see possibly asking for input from the scribe or another volunteer official in a rare situation where my focus had been lost for some reason, but it shouldn't need to happen very often. From OP's description of her particular situation and the accompanying picture of the course map, I can see how something jumping 7 instead of 2 (or vice versa) could easily happen and easily be missed by a judge in a car near 6. If I was in that situation as judge and knew I had watched the whole round and hadn't caught the error at the time, I would not eliminate the rider based on the scribe's input after the entire round was complete. Just don't think judging should be a team effort, and again, happy to agree to disagree.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Janet View Post
                                    You have to go beyond the Eventing rules, to the General Rules. GR 602.6.b says that a "judge's decision, representing his/her preference or opinion" is not protestable.

                                    Furthermore, if you filed a protest, it would go to the President of the Ground Jury, who probably IS the show jumping judge.

                                    As someone else mentioned, you could/should have made an inquiry to the TD (not the volunteer, not the judge) first. But the TD would probably have given you the same answer- checked with the judge and the told you the judge's decision is not protestable.
                                    Question! If someone had video-ed the round and the OP had jumped all the correct fences, does this still apply? Could you go to the TD with the video and make the inquiry? Then get the decision overturned with the "evidence"?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Small correction - OnwardandUpward, not everyone crosses the rails for sj if that particular fence is not to be jumped in a particular division. They may be crossed, or not, but that obstacle will not have a number on it.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        It happens but is unfortunate. There is one event in Ontario where the start/finish flags are placed in a funny spot (far from the final fence). Good coaches remind people to finish riding and cross the flags; those attending for the first time (i.e. myself a couple of years ago) learn a crummy and expensive lesson. Fair? Technically yes but frustrating. Right up there on the list of mistakes you make just once.

                                        A bit different but I have been at FEI events where a rider "jumped" the fence (cross country) but actually did not go between the flags. We happened to be taking pictures so were able to confirm via 'instant replay' on the camera. The jump judge missed it and the rider continued on to place.

                                        Comment

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