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Trainer verbal "cues" to clients in the ring.

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  • Trainer verbal "cues" to clients in the ring.

    I worked the backgate of a show recently, and encountered this with one trainer in particular. I found it disruptive (irritating??) when the trainer would "cough" at her clients if they were on the wrong diagonal or lead. Repeatedly. A lot. As in multiple times per class.

    Yes, these were kids. But some were in the short stirrup, and I'd expect a child who can canter around 2'3" to know their diagonals/leads fairly reliably and be accountable if they couldn't do this basic skill. Is this a "thing" or is it coaching beyond the point of a quick reminder and then so be it? Should it be one "mm hm" or "cough" and then let the kid be judged for it or should it happen over and over?

    Judges? What do you think about or consider when this happens? Only one trainer did it and there were 4 others at the back gate with clients in the classes, who didn't feel the need to coach out loud. Did their kids (and a couple of adults in the trot an X classes) miss a diagonal or lead? Yes, but the coaching happened outside the ring after the class, and the kids/adults improved in the next class.

    Anyway, just looking for thoughts as this has stuck with me for a few weeks. And it's Monday and I'm proctoring state tests.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

  • #2
    And you can't cough when one of your students gets the wrong answer.

    That trainer is certainly violating the intent of the show rules, though. I would have run my question past the show steward or whoever, if they were in any head space to think about it during the show. And if I ever was doing back gate again, I would ask in advance what to do. I think that fairness requires that the trainer in question be given a pack of Hall's Mentholyptus or equivalent, in other words told to stop the obvious coughing cues.


    • #3
      Can I expand on this and ask if there are any actual rules about this? I attended a local show a couple of years back where it wasn’t even under someone’s breath - the trainer was yelling out from the gate during the student’s round. I had blocked it out - never did look up the rules on it. The student placed, so I guess not?


      • #4
        I guess for me it would depend on the show. Kids first show in the walk/trot where it's a quiet little backyard schooling show? I might give a small reminder as they pass the gate...a quiet "eyes" or "diagonal". Maybe even beginning canter classes and crossrails if it's the first show. Or if something dangerous is about to happen, I will say something to avoid catastrophe. But beyond that, the kidneeds to be held accountable and figure it out. That is part of learning to show! Nothing pisses me off more than the trainer who screams at the kid the entire time through their 2'6" EQ round...its a local show but I mean really.


        • #5
          true, if it's a schooling show no one may care. I understood that it was not allowed at recognized shows.


          • #6
            Coaching from outside the ring is permitted. Doesn't need a disguise, the trainer can speak.
            You will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training.


            • #7
              I believe this thread could use the clarification that the coaching from outside the ring is permitted at rated hunter/jumper shows in the US and that tends to trickle down to schooling shows and local circuits of the same type. Different rules may exist in different disciplines e.g. dressage.

              I tend to be of the opinion that the show is the time to "show" what you know and not the time for training.

              As a judge, I doubt my placings would be influenced by the coaching unless the trainer was really obnoxious about it.

              I have been at schooling shows where the signaling honestly seemed to be the trainer's way of showing that they know the rider is not correct at that point in time i.e. not trying to correct the rider as much as validate their own superior level of knowledge for the other people standing around the gate. There may be some "I'm getting paid to coach so I better coach" happening too.
              Last edited by Groom&Taxi; May. 6, 2019, 02:34 PM.


              • #8
                Who can hear a cough outside the ring when they're riding?
                "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                • #9
                  Is short stirrup really 2'3'?
                  I am used to it being 18" maximum. Truly a beginner level class.


                  • Original Poster

                    Great responses- thank you. Schooling show, not rated, but sanctioned by our state HJ association and offering USHJA Outreach classes. I know coaching is allowed but this was just annoying-- just say "diagonal" and be done with it! Have a cue or a hand motion or something. I also feel that once you are past the trot a pole or X classes, you should be able to demonstrate correct diagonals/leads but maybe I'm a bit ambitious as to what one should do at that height.

                    Short stirrup can be up to 2'6"- I think there was a 2'3" division so not really SS?? I do wish the show manager had heard this trainer-- it really was intrusive. And loud! (it was an indoor ring)
                    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                    • #11
                      As a judge, I can tell you that when I hear a trainer give the cough or any other obvious signal, I immediately look around much harder to see who is on the wrong diagonal or lead. So they are actually drawing my attention to it, just in case I might have missed it otherwise.


                      • #12
                        The traditional method of rail bird coaching is to wait until your student passes by you on the rail to say something sotto voce. I honestly don't think waiting until the kid was in hearing distance to correct a lead or diagonal would influence placings all that much - the judge would have plenty of time to see the mistake before the correction was made.

                        Have I done it? Sure, with kids just starting to show and nervous adults. And it's mostly encouragement like "Keep that pace." or "Sit up and smile." Do I expect them to become more independent/resilient as they gain experience? Also sure.

                        And no, there isn't any rule against it.

                        Do I expect that at backyard show, some trainers really exploit that loophole? Yup, and I think the coughing is kind of obnoxious. I mean, no one is fooled, just like no one was fooled by the coach in another thread who yelled "apple" or "banana" for the same reasons.

                        If the show has a steward, you could mention it to the steward. I would not mention it to the judge directly because I strongly suspect the judge is already aware. You could also mention it to the show organizers, but if this trainer brings that many exhibitors to the show, they're probably going to be inclined to ignore it.
                        Last edited by McGurk; May. 6, 2019, 03:45 PM.
                        The plural of anecdote is not data.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                          That trainer is certainly violating the intent of the show rules, though. .
                          What rules are you saying this is violating the intent of?


                          • #14
                            At a schooling show instructors should just say what needs to be said so rider can hear it OR use a silent hand signal. As for expecting some one who can jump that height to know diagnols and leads...they probably do know them, but show nerves happen or you are so focused on getting horse over that scary jump you forget to check them. Again this is at a schooling show...the objective is for all to learn and stay anything more than that then riders should not need regular reminders from the rail, but who can resist a friendly quiet "don't forget to check yourself before you wreck yourself" as friend rides by...even if they are already correct...just as a little reminder.


                            • #15
                              trubandloki That was my thought. Theoretically you could scream your heart out while coaching. I'm thinking it wouldn't help you with the judge, but not because you violated a rule.

                              Insofar as h/j classes go, the only time you can't coach is when you are specifically told you can't coach like the final work off in some eq classes
                              Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                              • #16
                                I have seen riders at truly the highest levels had things shouted to them at ringside. Stress is real. Sometimes all the brains go out of the rider's head. Coaching ringside is not prohibited for USEF H/J classes. This doesn't bother me in the least.
                                "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                                • #17
                                  At the B rated shows my daughter shows in, it is the norm for her trainer to be at the rail. Just as a poster above said, as my daughter goes by, sometimes she will make a very quiet comment, "Shorten your reins a bit" or whatever -- usually nothing major but some detail to polish things. All the other trainers seem to do the same.


                                  • #18
                                    Coaching from outside doesn't bother me either. This isn't dressage. But if it was obnoxious enough for you to notice it then there's a chance the judge noticed it too. I don't think the judge should penalize for the coaching, but if I were judging, I might look harder to see who was doing something that needed audible cues, in case I'd missed it up to that point.

                                    Now I did know one pony who was a packer extraordinaire who for the wee ones might get a whistle from the coach outside of the ring during o/f classes to cue the pony (not the rider) to change his lead. I actually thought that was kind of genius and have used a whistle in teaching a change to a green horse. I mean, it's not that far off from kiss = canter, right? I can't whistle well enough to be doing that as a railbird though.


                                    • #19
                                      IPEsq I have visions of all the other trainers learning that whistle and getting all sorts of inopportune lead changes on course!
                                      Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        I don't mind the quiet cue from outside the ring. This was not quiet and the judge very definitely noticed (she actually asked me if that was a trainer or parent--she couldn't see the ingate well from her vantage point).

                                        I've judged a few non-rated shows and for sure when I hear this overt "cueing" I look to see who needs it constantly. It went beyond show nerves this time into "not really prepared to show" at times. I caught a few loose horses from tots taking tumbles from this trainer during this show, like when one saintly horse simply cantered after a trot pole and the little girl bounced once and off. Yikes!

                                        I love the beginner ring, truly I do. So much triumph over nerves and demonstrating growth. It's a fun ring. And ponies! Oh lord-- the cute factor just kills me.
                                        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!