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Trainer verbal "cues" to clients in the ring.

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  • #21
    I've judged some schooling shows and can't say I'm surprised by any of your observations. I will definitely take note of who the trainer is when I see something particularly...interesting.

    For low level schooling shows with no "steward" present, I've definitely given some hints and instructions as the judge. Such as, please stop telling your students to make multiple opening circles because after one I'm supposed to count those as refusals. No, kiddo cannot jump this cross rail course with a dressage whip. ...

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    • #22
      There are three situations during which loud coaching from the rail does not bother me.
      1) A class of 10-year-olds.
      2) Yelling the next jump to the adult amateur who almost threw up at the ingate and is about to go off course.
      3) To prevent a dangerous occurrence or intervene to prevent it escalating.

      Other than that it, over and over with different students, makes me think the trainer isn't effectively teaching.

      I'm a starter. I've had judges ask me to remind various folks on the rail "No outside assistance," usually because Little Katie is kicking away at Fuzzy but Fuzzy won't move, so trainer Mary is clucking like mad... and meanwhile Little Kayla is waterskiing on Fluffy because Fluffy heard Mary clucking and so Fluffy is running away.
      "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

      Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
      Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by Renn/aissance View Post
        I've had judges ask me to remind various folks on the rail "No outside assistance," usually because Little Katie is kicking away at Fuzzy but Fuzzy won't move, so trainer Mary is clucking like mad... and meanwhile Little Kayla is waterskiing on Fluffy because Fluffy heard Mary clucking and so Fluffy is running away.
        So funny!!

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        • #24
          Originally posted by trubandloki View Post
          Is short stirrup really 2'3'?
          I am used to it being 18" maximum. Truly a beginner level class.
          I was wondering the same. And the 18" frequently appears to apply to the high sides of the crossrails. The middle is more 12" and a smidge.

          ETA: Procrastinating, so I looked it up. WSHJA has pony SS that tops out at 18" and horse SS that can go to 2'3". Which seems crazy BUT for the fact that riders up to 17 are allowed in SS. Here in Virginia, you can't be over 12 for SS. And I swear that 12 is new for the 2019 season. Think it was 10 last year. WSHJA Low hunter goes up to like 3'9". What the heck is high hunter, then? Lol.

          ( I realize there technically isn't a high hunter. But you know what I mean. )
          Last edited by Wanderosa; May. 6, 2019, 08:47 PM.

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          • #25
            Originally posted by HLMom View Post

            So funny!!
            It's hilarious so long as Little Kayla doesn't actually get run away with- there's a specimen of short stirrup kid that thinks it's great fun to be cantering when you ought to be trotting and will laugh hysterically while the pony does whatever it wants. And then there's the part where Fluffy starts cantering, Kayla starts bouncing sideways in the tack because she's 7 years old and has no seat, and all of a sudden your short stirrup ring is showing the working gallop screaming.

            That's not a fun day at the pony ring and I think most judges try to avoid this.
            "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

            Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
            Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

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            • #26
              I never gave verbal cues, but when my daughter first started riding I would give her a thumbs up or thumbs down for diagonals or leads. She knew to look for me where I told her I would be. It wanted her to learn to feel and not to get in the habit of looking. She learned to feel really quick. These were beginner classes though. I knew a trainer who used to clap twice really loud when a student had the wrong diagonal. Talk about obvious.

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              • #27
                Originally posted by MHM View Post
                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.
                What she said. I HATE coaching from the in gate. I will call on the radio and have the gate person or announcer ask the offending trainers to quiet down
                "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
                carolprudm

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                • #28
                  I was standing in the interminable concessions line this weekend. Watched an 8yo SS riding her course. I could see her start to come unbalanced in the turn and was starting to pray to the horse show gods when she got popped out of the tack on the landing from the x rail. The pony she was riding can be cheeky. But to his credit, he screeched to a halt and stood like a statue next to his downed rider until trainer/ring steward/parents scooped her up.

                  The pre-short stirrup was terrifying. It's such a delicate balance with small riders and fancy ponies to begin with. Thank god no one is a loud railside coach.

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                  • #29
                    It's weird to me that you'd need a "signal" rather than just saying "lead" as the kid goes past. Legal in H/J, unlike in eventing and dressage. Pretty common, actually--I hear it at most shows, usually nowhere near loud enough for a judge to be able to overhear it. but something like a quiet "leg" or "eyes up!" as the kid goes past the gate. There's always one, though, yelling out every single fence and giving the kid a lesson during the hack Just like there's always one person who's always the one holding up the rings.
                    A Year In the Saddle

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by trubandloki View Post

                      What rules are you saying this is violating the intent of?
                      OK, I was clearly wrong about that. Extrapolating from dressage I guess!

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                      • #31
                        You guys must all have supersonic hearing to hear someone coughing or saying "change lead" etc. at the ingate, amid the chaos of a horse show, when you're in the judge's booth. I've judged some low level schooling shows and there's no way I can hear/pick out specifically what someone is doing 50+ feet away with all the chatter, announcing, trailering noises, etc. Short of someone literally yelling/screaming/whooping... I really am too focused and too far away to be listening to ringside commands.
                        ~Veronica
                        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                        http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Renn/aissance View Post

                          It's hilarious so long as Little Kayla doesn't actually get run away with- there's a specimen of short stirrup kid that thinks it's great fun to be cantering when you ought to be trotting and will laugh hysterically while the pony does whatever it wants. And then there's the part where Fluffy starts cantering, Kayla starts bouncing sideways in the tack because she's 7 years old and has no seat, and all of a sudden your short stirrup ring is showing the working gallop screaming.

                          That's not a fun day at the pony ring and I think most judges try to avoid this.
                          I learned a very valuable lesson on this subject many years ago.

                          I was judging at a show where the judges sat in the same booth between two rings, with each judge facing the relevant ring. For the short stirrup flat class going on in the other ring behind me, the ingate person called that judge on the radio multiple times to ask if he was going to split the class to canter. One of the trainers kept asking about it. The judge declined to take the hint.

                          Sure enough, it turned out that there was a naughty pony in the class. As soon as they picked up the canter, he set off a short stirrup rodeo that ended up with about half a dozen kids on the ground, and several loose ponies running around the ring. Since that day, whenever the ingate person asks me if I want to split them to canter, I take the suggestion very, very seriously!

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                          • #33
                            To clarify my earlier comments, I wasn't implying that the judge could *hear* the outside assistance, I was saying it's usually obvious to the judge which kids are *getting* outside assistance. If it's clear that the kid can't feel their lead or diagonal, and only changes it when they get a signal from the rail...I think the pinning sorts itself out.

                            The plural of anecdote is not data.

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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by MHM View Post

                              I learned a very valuable lesson on this subject many years ago.

                              I was judging at a show where the judges sat in the same booth between two rings, with each judge facing the relevant ring. For the short stirrup flat class going on in the other ring behind me, the ingate person called that judge on the radio multiple times to ask if he was going to split the class to canter. One of the trainers kept asking about it. The judge declined to take the hint.

                              Sure enough, it turned out that there was a naughty pony in the class. As soon as they picked up the canter, he set off a short stirrup rodeo that ended up with about half a dozen kids on the ground, and several loose ponies running around the ring. Since that day, whenever the ingate person asks me if I want to split them to canter, I take the suggestion very, very seriously!
                              I remember this happening when I was showing my Duckie pony at Fairfield in the short stirrup eons ago. And we WERE split to canter! In the first group, a kid fell off, and in the second group, a pony took off in a dead bolt and did several laps around the ring (that was my group and my saintly little 4 year old pony just stood there calmly while this happened). I happened to be right by the gate when this was going on and was getting teary-eyed, and Emerson Burr told me to stop crying and go ride my pony.

                              The fact that I still remember this whole event 20 years later tells you how traumatized I was . I support splitting to canter.

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                              • #35
                                Calvin, I think I know exactly which trainer you're talking about! I hate that stuff so much. I don't care about trainers giving a couple brief tips as you canter by the gate ("You need more down the line" or whatever) but if you can't trust the kid to figure it out themselves on the far side of the ring they probably shouldn't be jumping courses. There are a couple trainers in our area that are really bad about this, especially at the unrated shows.

                                Side note re: short stirrup—it's an unrated division so even at the rated shows the specs can vary. I've had many a conversation with trainers from another state who are upset about the height of the jumps at the show series I used to work at. Our state H/J association's rule book says short stirrup is 2'–2'3", open to anyone under 18 by USEF guidelines, and for Outreach shows there can be no oxers, in-and-outs, or combinations (which seems to bleed over to the USHJA-rated shows; don't think any of them do oxers in the short/long stirrup).

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  JenEM-- The indoor is separated from the outdoor rings by a bit of distance. It's pretty quiet in there and the coughing coach was very, very loud and obvious. Judge was maybe 30 feet from the ingate where coach was standing. We could ALL hear her! A few other trainers just gave the quiet commands from the ingate, no one but me could hear them, and then it was just once or twice for the whole show....not EVERY single class for multiple kids. Ah, well. We all start somewhere and hopefully at the next show in the series, these kids will be more independent.

                                  We split the groups for canter every time due to ring size and rodeo avoidance. The hand gallop is not a required gait in the trot a pole classes!! Watching those cute kiddos hit the ground is no fun for anyone and our EMT was sweating bullets after the first girl hit the ground and held the ring up for 15 minutes while she gathered her courage to stop crying and admit she wasn't hurt. She wasn't hurt mind you, just a bit overwrought. Too many littles bouncing off makes for a long show and a scary one, too!!
                                  Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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                                  • Original Poster

                                    #37
                                    541-- yeah...she's been around for years and is quite vocal. Great gal, mind you, but excels at back gate coaching! There's enough chaos with the littles without adding too many commands. So distracting.
                                    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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                                    • #38
                                      I announce at a few locals and at one venue, the indoor is long and narrow and the the announcer sits in the booth with the judge. For the flat/under saddles, the judge chose to stand in the arena rather than popping her head into the line of traffic for a better view. We had agreed upon signals for the gaits. As the judge called for the second canter, a rider directly behind her pickup up the wrong lead. This student' s trainer screamed at her from the far end of the ring to change her lead. His voice carried throughout the venue. Thus, the judge turned around and saw the offending rider perform a simple change on the very long side of the arena. The rider knew before the yelling that she was on the wrong lead but the trainer called it to the judge's attention.
                                      The judge then returned to the box and said in effect, "That trainer cost his kid the win." That horse was my winner and if I hadn't seen it, she'd have gotten the blue. Lesson: judges miss stuff all the time, don't call attention to your riders mistakes.
                                      F O.B
                                      Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
                                      Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

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                                      • #39
                                        I'm always torn on this one. Idealistically, the riders should be prepared well enough to go in the ring and execute. However, shows bring out nerves and no one rides as well as they do at home in a pressured environment. A schooling show is just that - a schooling show, and I don't really have a problem with a tactful, quiet comment. If it's a safety concern, I don't even mind a less tactful shout - at that point the person wasn't going to pin anyway!

                                        I do think practicing executing without trainer commentary in lessons isn't done frequently enough. It's beneficial to have mock horse show scenarios at home so riders can get accustomed to doing a flat or course without constant feedback and help.

                                        At an A show, I think it should be minimal and it's inappropriate to be anything less than discrete, unless it's a safety situation.

                                        That being said, I have personally witnessed a very BNT using large arm gestures at a kid in the ring during the hack at a finals which is strictly against the rules for the finals. Being that the trainer was a VBNT, no one said a thing.
                                        Jennifer Baas
                                        It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

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                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post

                                          I remember this happening when I was showing my Duckie pony at Fairfield in the short stirrup eons ago. And we WERE split to canter! In the first group, a kid fell off, and in the second group, a pony took off in a dead bolt and did several laps around the ring (that was my group and my saintly little 4 year old pony just stood there calmly while this happened). I happened to be right by the gate when this was going on and was getting teary-eyed, and Emerson Burr told me to stop crying and go ride my pony.

                                          The fact that I still remember this whole event 20 years later tells you how traumatized I was . I support splitting to canter.
                                          Omg. I can totally picture that reaction from Emerson Burr. Bless him.

                                          My approach these days is basically if the thought crosses my mind that maybe they should be split to canter, I just do it. There’s probably a reason it occurred to me, based on both class size and ability. It takes a few extra minutes, but it’s quicker than waiting for an ambulance or an outrider to catch the wild ponies. Plus it makes for a more pleasant experience for everyone involved.

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