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Tell Me How to Judge Hunters in a Schooling Show!

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  • Tell Me How to Judge Hunters in a Schooling Show!

    I'm soliciting a little cross-discipline help. So I am by all definitions an eventer. I have competed through the ULs and I teach, train, etc. I often judge small local schooling shows (jumpers and equitation) and teach eventing clinics. The show I am judging this weekend, however, has thrown in some hunter flat and o/f classes.

    Any pointers on how exactly to judge these? Its a very small local show, nothing fancy. Lots of green kids and horses. I know what I'm essentially looking for in a good horse/ rider, but I figured someone here would have ideas on how to pin 10 kids in a hunter class a little better than I do!

    Thanks in advance!
    Nomini Farm

    Madeira the Intermediate Pony!

  • #2
    If they are anything like the schooling shows around my neck of the woods you'll be lucky to get 10 horses in a class and of those maybe 2-3 will get around without a refusal or two. There within lies the rub. Do you pin the best of the worst or talent? Good question ...hope more contribute . I am anxious to hear opinions, thoughts about this. I say pin talent.

    Comment


    • #3
      Check out, http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2011/16-HU.pdf, HU-5 (HU 131-137) and http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2011/12-EQ.pdf, EQ-1 (EQ104) and EQ-2 (EQ108-114).

      If you can get your hands on Anna Jane White-Mullen's book, Judging Hunters and Hunter Seat Equitation, you will be good to go.
      www.brydellefarm.com ....developing riders, NOT passengers!
      Member of LNHorsemanshipT & Proud of It Clique
      "What gets me up every morning is realizing how much more there is still to learn." -GHM

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      • #4
        in Hunters, you are judging the horse. for o/f, score each fence, for form over the jump, a nice distance, correct strides between related distances, hitting the middle of the jump, straightness and evenness of pace to and away. performance at the beginning and end of the round and between fences also contributes to the score. good transitions should be rewarded. rubs and rails are penalized. you should decide ahead of time, perhaps consult the show management, if its a low level show with young kids, you might not penalize simple changes of lead, but a horse with flawless auto changes should be rewarded and disobedience related to changes should be penalized. a hunter should go around calmly and look very easy to ride, with a ground-covering canter with a good rhythm. for the flat class, you are again judging the horse. the quality of gaits, and responsiveness to the aids. its up to you to instruct the steward as to the commands, ie when to walk, trot and canter. green horses should canter with very few at a time, maybe 3, so they dont get excited. the other kids stand in the middle of the ring to wait their turn. good transitions should be rewarded as well as a pleasant demeanor (on the part of the horse) and obedience. at the lower level, a hunter will go in a very long frame, and lower level kids wont have mastered connection with their hands, but some connection and/or a horse that carries itself in a nice balance should be rewarded

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        • #5
          It usually comes down to which round scares you the least

          No, in all seriousness Brydelle Farm offers great advice. It's really not too hard, Anna Jane White Mullin's book is excellent.

          Originally posted by Brydelle Farm View Post
          Check out, http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2011/16-HU.pdf, HU-5 (HU 131-137) and http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2011/12-EQ.pdf, EQ-1 (EQ104) and EQ-2 (EQ108-114).

          If you can get your hands on Anna Jane White-Mullen's book, Judging Hunters and Hunter Seat Equitation, you will be good to go.

          Comment


          • #6
            As the indoor shows just wrapped up, you can likely find plenty of Youtube examples of what pins in a (higher level) hunter class. At a local show you are basically looking for the horse that comes closest to that ideal, as described above.

            On a practical level, though, your challenge will be deciding which faults are the least egregious... ie, is the horse who had the late change/cross canter in that one corner the winner over the other who had the "clean" round but hangs a leg over every oxer? What about the nice animal who packs the rider around like a seeing eye dog, but whose rider had steering issues or added in every line because they were hanging on by the reins?

            Judging local schooling shows is a tough job; I wish you luck!
            **********
            We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
            -PaulaEdwina

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            • #7
              Originally posted by hntrjmprpro45 View Post
              It usually comes down to which round scares you the least

              .
              I just had to say Amen to that!

              Comment


              • #8
                Brydelle's suggestion is great. Anna Jane White Mullin's book is excellent.

                We recently had a small schooling show for the lesson kids and gave our judge the advice to pin in reverse order of her heart rate.

                I judged a small local show last year and it was ridiculously difficult. At shows like this, I'd give a huge bonus to safety over type and style.
                ~ Citizens for a Kinder, Gentler COTH...our mantra: Be nice. ~

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by hntrjmprpro45 View Post
                  It usually comes down to which round scares you the least
                  This.

                  In judging schooling shows in the past, I have focused more on safety, suitability and obedience of mounts over talent. A lot of people are either riding school horses, or else greenies who don't know where their feet are.

                  Just remember, if you can't watch the round then it probably shouldn't get a ribbon. And 2-strides should not be jumped as a bounce.
                  "In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry and has widely been considered as a bad move." -Douglas Adams

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                  • #10
                    Step 1) Buy Anna White Mullin's book Judging Hunters and Hunt Seat Equitation.

                    Step 2) Read it cover to cover. Read it again. Agonize over the difference between a 9 mover and a 10 mover. Think about what bothers you more, a slight lean in the air or less tidy hind end.

                    Step 3) Agonize some more.

                    Step 4) Go to the show.

                    Step 5) Ignore 99% of what you just learned from the book.

                    Step 5a) Decide what's less bad -- scary or dangerous. Is trotting changes worse than missing distances? Is cross cantering through the corner worse that one-legging it out the line?

                    Step 6) Pin the rounds that don't make you wet your pants.


                    Seriously, though, at a schooling show you'll have to thing about a few major things. These include lead changes and quality horses vs accurate rides. You should talk to the organizers before the show and see how they feel about the classes. You can ask them -- do you want me to mark down for simple changes? Should I spread the ribbons around in the beginner classes? Are we allowing polos and martingales in the flat classes? Should I tie up sixth place?

                    When I judge a schooling show, my hardest decision is between horses that are CLEARLY the best animal out there but not ridden very accurately vs. horses that are, honestly, pretty terrible movers and jumpers but march around like a champ. Schooling shows are where accuracy should count for a lot, but in a hunter class, you also HAVE to consider the quality of the horse. That'll probably be your hardest task. (Unless the rounds really are so terrible that it's just a matter of ranking them in order of the number of refusals and major errors they make.)

                    Also, and I know this from experience, if you pick your favorites in the flat class and then use the second direction to rank their order, be careful at whom you're looking when you ask them to canter the second direction. I've have to re-trot more flat classes when my favorites pick up the wrong lead...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Another suggestion with your flat classes is to try to walk the line between working your class long enough to find your winners (and let everyone feel they had a goodly amount of time in the ring under your eye), and not so long that you lose your winner when it becomes exhausted and breaks the canter, or spooks in the corner and switches leads on their 89th lap of the ring.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        An easy method is to assign a score for each jump on the hunter course, out of 10. Don't be afraid to award full marks if you think it is lovely, and 1 or 0 if it is horrific. Circled "R" for a refusal. Circled "K" for a knockdown and a sideways Z for breaking pace (simple change). Then at the end of this shorthand critic of the round, award a grade based on what you have seen so far, or your overall impression of how you think the round will end up placing. A+, A, A-, etc, down to the lower grades. This will grade the overall appearance of the round in your opinion, including smoothness between the jumps, striding etc.

                        For a low level schooling show, with few entries, this system will produce a winner and placings that are adequate without using the system of squiggles used in higher level shows, where there will be less to choose between the well ridden rounds.
                        www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The only thing I can add to what's been said is to look at the prizelist. Technically, hunters is judged on performance (of the horse) and soundness, unless stated otherwise. Sometimes, a prize list will say "manners and suitability to count." IMHO, this is a good indication that the show intends for the safe, accurate trip to win. The only other thing that can be added is conformaton- but I highly doubt you'll run into that.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            And sometimes a really brutal assessment of the weighting of common faults is warranted (this is my list, YMMV):

                            refusals are bad, pray for the scary horse to have 1 more than the good horse!

                            knock downs are bad, knock downs with the front end are worse than with the hind end

                            Not getting the lead is inevitable, but in the not getting a lead department I think of it this way:
                            bucked kid off after request for lead change (worst)
                            drop change (breaking gait)
                            cross canter
                            counter canter
                            late lead change behind
                            got actual real lead change! (best)

                            within that group it gets kind of grey, because if the cross canter was scary unsafe and the drop change was safe and kind... well the breaking gait was bad, but not as bad as dangerous, then you can beat yourself up about how dangerous is dangerous, because you are never lucky enough to have it be the really hair raising kind of scary, just the kind where you go "note to self - don't buy this horse if he is for sale..."

                            Getting the numbers is good, adds are worse ... UNLESS getting the numbers meant a headlong frightening gallop down the lines. Again safe trumps dangerous. I wouldn't punish them for not getting the numbers, but if somebody makes the numbers and does a good job with one minor mistake (gappy getting out of the first line, for instance), chances are it's going to pin over the horse that added without that minor mistake.

                            But a lot of the local shows come down to an easy 1-2-3 place and then toss up the papers for 4-5-6 because again, the desired goals versus safe/scary rides can really play havoc with your ideals.

                            Oh yes, and be prepared for your winner to be that old campaigner, kind as he can be, looking sort of crippled behind.
                            Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              These are great!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                And to add to DMK's list, You will often see alot of really bad distances.

                                You'll see anything...

                                From small chips to spots so deep the horse jumps off of 3 legs.

                                From long spots to leaving strides out, reaching and diving.

                                From slightly crooked, to knocking over standards.

                                And usually the lower the division, the worse it gets. I once judged a beginner division where no one scored over 55. One horse was so bad I considered asking for a DNA check to verify that it wasn't secretly a cow.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Small Change View Post
                                  Another suggestion with your flat classes is to try to walk the line between working your class long enough to find your winners (and let everyone feel they had a goodly amount of time in the ring under your eye), and not so long that you lose your winner when it becomes exhausted and breaks the canter, or spooks in the corner and switches leads on their 89th lap of the ring.
                                  And for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT watch your "winner" when they ask for that last canter depart - you know where he is in the ring, look someplace else!! You are well within your rights to sort out places 2-6 during the second half of the class (and no sense jinxing him).
                                  Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by DMK View Post
                                    And for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT watch your "winner" when they ask for that last canter depart - you know where he is in the ring, look someplace else!! You are well within your rights to sort out places 2-6 during the second half of the class (and no sense jinxing him).
                                    Bwahaha, wish someone had trained the judge to do that at my greenie's last show! (Yes, he did, he had the class WON until he spotted cookies at railside during the 2nd canter depart!)

                                    Realistically, it actually DOES come down to which round scares you the least, for the most part.
                                    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

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                                    • #19
                                      I think schooling shows are the hardest to pin. I would agree with pinning safe and steady, but sometimes you don't even have that! Good luck!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        The ribbon winners have to be the ones who have most successfully delivered the goods in executing the course, with the nicest style in comparison to the others.

                                        The indoor shows aren't actually all finished with--the National Horse Show is going all week, and the rounds are archived, so you have ample opportunity to do some practice scoring.

                                        Inner Bay Equestrian
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