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Why is Hunter judging not transparent like Dressage judging?

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  • #41
    To further clarify with an example, I can go in a training level test with an 8 mover and ride a circle that is not the perfect circle shape. I will get a 7. My horse was on the bit, relaxed, moving freely but I didn't ride the correct shape so I get a point deducted.

    Now I go in and do the exact same circle on a 6 mover, I will get a 5 or a 6 because that horse is not starting with the same score. Maybe the best circle this horse can do will get a 7 so with a mistake, it gets a 6.

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    • #42
      I agree with inca. Dressage is subjective also and we do have marks for gaits, impulsion and submission as well as rider etc. I have shown in front of one judge one day for a test and score high 60s and then step up to another judge and have just as well ridden of a test and score low 60s. My horse could fool a l judge sometimes. He has a lot of knee and step but really he was a 7 for gaits. R judges would realize this and give me that 7 and then an l judge could be a little fooled and give him an 8 for gaits. That's what it is and really we all know that a fancier hunter steps in with a higher score just like dressage then a so so mover. It's all about the test. It's not that different really. If my 7 mover goes against a 9 mover I better be on and be perfect. That 9 mover will be able to have a few mistakes And beat me. ESP if he has a higher impulsion score because it's a coEff of 2 as well as free walk or Canter depart. So even with the 9 mover I may still win if my free walk or canter departs etc are better. IMO it's all the same its just hunter shows have never really wanted to use cards to give back. That's how it is. But to say that it couldn't or shouldn't be done I don't believe that. I have been to hunter shows and for the life of me not figure out why we didn't place better or why said horse did better. Well in dressage I know why because it's given to me. Yes, normally you know what you did wrong or what happened but it's nice to know what exactly to work on. Also don't forget all those riders that show who don't have their trainer there every time. I accept hunters for what it is and that fine but it's really not that different from dressage.
      Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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      • #43
        I like DMK's suggestion a lot. If scoring had a range, you would automatically know some of the reasons you fell within the range, and it wouldn't have to be a complete judging overhaul. There would be some visibility without changing the subjectivity* that makes hunters what it is.


        FWIW: I'll get okay with dressage type scoring just as soon as dressage shows start successfully judging the class and not the individual AND they successfully judge 200+ tests** in one ring in a day, then we can realistically talk.

        How does that sound? Dressage and hunters are not even close to similar and trying to apply one paradigm to the other is ridiculous. That doesn't mean hunter judging can't be more transparent but I usually find someone who wants more transparent judging actually wants less subjective judging.

        *Yes...I said it. I LIKE the subjectivity of hunters. I don't feel cheated if I am judged by someone's opinion of my horse/riding/round. It doesn't take anything away from either him or me. I say "BRING IT ON!"

        **My little schooling show that gets 30-ish horses sees about 100 rounds in a day. 200 is a low estimate for big shows, and probably accurate for only modestly or even meagerly attended shows.
        Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
        Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

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        • #44
          One key difference between scoring for hunters and scoring for dressage is the way that classes are run - I assume in dressage you have cards set up with all entry information and handed to judges/scribes in the relevant order, yes?

          The problem is the average hunter judge handles at least cards for 3 classes at once, and sometimes 5 (regularly handles 5 at any decent sized show) and due to this system (which works pretty good for most everyone involved even if it blows the dressage peeps' collective brains) you are always scrambling to write down the pertinent information for the horse that just walked into the ring. Also once the horse enters the ring, if there is a dotted line in effect, things can get busy, fast. Sure, there is a lot of hurry up and wait, but when a set is in rotation, it goes fast. And yet somehow they manage to work out a system of notations and key words that really are comprehensible and tell you what happened in your round, so the people who think these rounds are not "scored" do not really know how a hunter class works (but to be fair, they also might think they didn't buy the right outfit either).

          Sure it could be overcome, but there are more h/j shows, classes and entries that go over many more days by a huge margin, so getting volunteers would not be quite the same proposition (and I'm sure it isn't a fun job to round up volunteers in the dressage side!) so I think it's just never going to be scored "like dressage" no matter how much a wishin' and a hopin' you might have.

          But I agree, a little help would go a long way, just tailored to meet the needs of the sport we have today.

          I have to say the red/blue rounds go a long way to helping me figure out if the judge likes my horse, there have been times I laid down a trip I thought was surely a red round and got ... nothing. LOL my hopes for that day's placing gets adjusted accordingly. And then again I've went out there and been barely red round in my mind, only to get a blue trip. I figure all I need to do is not fall off the rest of the day and I'm golden. But mostly they call out the color (or lack thereof) that fit into my expectations of the trip I laid down. There are not many surprises in my red/blue trips. Well, surprises for ME anyway. Sometimes the horse and judge are quite surprised by my decisions. You saw WHAT?!?!?

          So yeah, standards/guidelines on scoring would be great, even better if just the score was posted after the show (if it is important enough for you to know why you placed as you did, you could still make an appointment like you can today).
          Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

          Comment


          • #45
            Originally posted by MoonLadyIsis View Post
            I know this may sound crazy, but usually, when I walk out of the ring on a hunter trip, I know what I did wrong. Whether it be a lead change that wasn't as smooth, or I got ahead of my horse and flattened her out. OR plain and simply, we were out classed. If I want to know where I went wrong, I have a friend video tape and show the video to my trainer (if he's not there), if he is there and video taping, then it really helps to have something to look at. That right there is more than enough feedback. In the end, we really are only competing against ourselves to make each round better. That can put you at the top one day, and at the bottom the next. ALSO, there are simply better horses than others. Even in dressage, a downhill, long backed, QH is not going to get the same scores as, say, Totilas, when he was doing the lower levels in his greener years.
            ^This.
            Originally posted by rustbreeches
            [George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis

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            • #46
              I don't think the 2 are AS dissimilar as you think. Yes, they are different but they aren't polar opposites. And dressage is also subjective so I don't mind the subjective aspect of judging.

              And scoring obviously has to be tailored for the class. BUT......
              It does bother me a little that I can pay $400 for a schooling show and have no idea why my horse (shown by my trainer) didn't get a ribbon even if she puts in a nice round. Did the judge decide not to even watch any of her rounds after her normally horrid warm-up round? Does the judge hate solid chestnut horses? Does the judge have a beef with my trainer? Were there 8 SPECTACULAR rounds in the class? Did the judge fall asleep and miss her round entirely? Would be nice to have some clue as to the reason.

              It would be nice to get a LITTLE feedback for all that money. If nothing else, it would help determine whether to spend money to show under that judge any more. There are a few dressage judges that I won't waste my money showing under.

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              • #47
                This is all academic anyway. There's no way that a judge could be expected to relay this much information to a scribe for 300 horses a day coming through one ring. Never.

                Comment


                • #48
                  Originally posted by inca View Post

                  And scoring obviously has to be tailored for the class. BUT......
                  It does bother me a little that I can pay $400 for a schooling show and have no idea why my horse (shown by my trainer) didn't get a ribbon even if she puts in a nice round. Did the judge decide not to even watch any of her rounds after her normally horrid warm-up round? Does the judge hate solid chestnut horses? Does the judge have a beef with my trainer? Were there 8 SPECTACULAR rounds in the class? Did the judge fall asleep and miss her round entirely? Would be nice to have some clue as to the reason.

                  It would be nice to get a LITTLE feedback for all that money. If nothing else, it would help determine whether to spend money to show under that judge any more. There are a few dressage judges that I won't waste my money showing under.
                  I get that feedback from my trainer. And it usually just confirms what I already know I did wrong on course. And my trainer is equally forthcoming about her own mistakes when riding a customer's horse.

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    Originally posted by inca View Post
                    I don't think the 2 are AS dissimilar as you think. Yes, they are different but they aren't polar opposites. And dressage is also subjective so I don't mind the subjective aspect of judging.

                    And scoring obviously has to be tailored for the class. BUT......
                    It does bother me a little that I can pay $400 for a schooling show and have no idea why my horse (shown by my trainer) didn't get a ribbon even if she puts in a nice round. Did the judge decide not to even watch any of her rounds after her normally horrid warm-up round? Does the judge hate solid chestnut horses? Does the judge have a beef with my trainer? Were there 8 SPECTACULAR rounds in the class? Did the judge fall asleep and miss her round entirely? Would be nice to have some clue as to the reason.

                    It would be nice to get a LITTLE feedback for all that money. If nothing else, it would help determine whether to spend money to show under that judge any more. There are a few dressage judges that I won't waste my money showing under.
                    But no small amount of people are saying they are not mystified - I'm rarely surprised by my placings if I watched even a few trips. Sure, I get a few surprises (in both directions) and I definitely had a few judges I wouldn't bother with (and that I love) when I was campaigning for points a few years ago (more than a few by now). In general if am watching a classic round where they are callign out scores, I'm not that far off the judge's score (and generally it's just scoreflation - we would place roughly the same, but my score would overall run lower/higher).

                    So if people with experience are generally not mystified, maybe what is missing is education for the less experienced?
                    Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by AmmyByNature View Post
                      So much is simply ranking horses...
                      THIS is the difference.

                      Judging hunters is about RANKING the horses in relation to each other.

                      Dressage isn't about ranking the horsess. Even while judging the test, the judge doesn't know, doesn't need to know, and probably doesn't care about how THIS test ranks in comparison with a test with a similar score 5 rides ago.

                      The hunter judge DOES CARE, and THAT process is not easy to capture in a convntional "score sheet"
                      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).

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                      • #51
                        With a scribe, the judge is saying what the judge would instead be writing down in order to score each round and place the class. It doesn't have to be a chapter for every fence.

                        Obviously scoring would not be exactly like dressage but there should be SOME WAY to get scores and a couple of comments to competitors. I think having to actually give a reason for a score would help a judge be more consistent. Because we are still doing local shows and not A shows, my mare has never gotten a score. So the times she has placed well, is it because everyone else in the class had a huge mistake and got a 50? The times she didn't ribbon, is it because she got a 75 and everyone who ribboned got an 85? It is obvious the times a distance or a change is missed but there have been times she has had a NICE trip with no ribbon.

                        I guess in time I will be completely used to it and not wonder why I am spending 4 times as much as I do for a dressage show with what AT TIMES seems like a crap shoot as far as results go - LOL.

                        Edited to add: There have been times when my trainer doesn't know why she didn't ribbon on my mare. But, again, we are still doing local shows. I would HOPE the judging is much more consistent at an A show. That might be why it seems a bit more on the random side to me at this point.

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          As far as ranking the horses: I was listening to second round classic scores being read out from the judge to the announcer -- over the walkie, so this is before they are announced overhead. The announcer said, "that 80.5 ties 234 and 543 for fourth." To which the judge said, "let's make that an 80.75, then. I liked that one better."

                          You'll suddenly see a lot of quarter points in the second rounds of classic as judges have to make their numbers fit the ordinals that they have in their heads. If #123 had a 160 and #124 had a 159 and you like #125 more than one and less than the other, you're just going to make your numbers come out so that #125 gets a 159.5.

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            Originally posted by DMK View Post
                            So if people with experience are generally not mystified, maybe what is missing is education for the less experienced?
                            I think that may be the point. People used to dressage scores are used to using the comments on the test sheet as "education for the less experinced".

                            When I am riding at a level I have been riding for years, I am rarely surprised much by either the scores or the comments - yep, yep, yep, oh really- I thought I DID have enough bend, yep, yep, that was generous, yep, yep, that was a bit harsh, yep, yep, etc.

                            But when I am riding at a NEW level, I milk the comments and scores for all they are worth.

                            It doesn't work that way for hunters. While you are still "uneducated", you need to have a different set of eyes (not you, not the judge) to tell you the specifics about what was good or bad about your round.
                            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


                            • #54
                              If you want a score, go in a classic. but don't expect scores from one judge to correlate with scores from another judge. One judge might score a whole class in the 70s. Another judge might score the same horses in a classic on the next day in the 80s.

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                I am certainly not an experienced hunter person but my trainer is showing my mare so she certainly knows what is good and bad. But, again, I think my perspective might be skewed since I am NOT dealing with A show judges. I am not throwing away money on A shows until my mare can reliably go in the ring and put in a decent trip. We are not there yet.

                                I guess it is a matter of what you are used to but after 20 years of showing dressage, I find the lack of transparency rather odd. But, then again, there are plenty of complaints about dressage judging over on that board too - LOL.

                                And I guess if I really think about it, there are only a few times that the over fences judging has been puzzling (no ribbon for a good trip or a good ribbon for a so-so trip.) I guess the head scratching ones are the ones that stand out in my mind.

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                                • #56
                                  They stand out in my mind as well, but I imagine over the years, some comments from dressage judges left you thinking WTF? as well. You just got more details to go with your WTF?
                                  Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    I don't think it needs to be scored like dressage that is not my intent here. When i showed hunters it would be nice to just have feedback at times. Don't get me wrong I had fun in hunters and may dabble a bit again one day but I do love the feedback I get in dressage because it just makes me work harder with a goal set in mind.
                                    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole

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                                    • #58
                                      Originally posted by DMK View Post
                                      They stand out in my mind as well, but I imagine over the years, some comments from dressage judges left you thinking WTF? as well. You just got more details to go with your WTF?

                                      Yes, that is true! At least I got a piece of paper to take home with me, whether I did great or if I sucked - LOL. I can then review that piece of paper and either laugh at my stupidity or remind myself that I can occasionally ride well. I have actually had fun looking back at old tests and remembering how things went that day.

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Maybe a scaled down version

                                        Considering the currently poor general public impression about how hunters are judged, I think it could only benefit the sport to have even a very scaled down version of the judges card available for the hunter rounds. It doesn't have to be as complicated as the dressge test scores. A simple 6 point system would work, and there's no reason they can't include turnout considerations like tidiness

                                        i.e.

                                        Jump Style: 1-100 (knees square/hanging fence 1, 2, 6, etc.)
                                        Movement: 1-100 (lead changes, straighness, fast, slow)
                                        Striding: 1-100 (added, subtracted, etc.)
                                        Spot: 1-100 (deep, long, chipped)
                                        Turnout: 1-100 (dirty, thin, braided?)
                                        Overall Impression: 1-100 with comments (Pleasant horse, needs energy, too quick, pinned ears, wringing tail, etc.)

                                        The hack would still have to be totally subjective, way too many horses in most of them, but I really do think it would be very good for the sport to at least attempt some element of objectivity.
                                        Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                                        Witherun Farm
                                        http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/

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                                        • #60
                                          Originally posted by inca View Post
                                          I don't think the 2 are AS dissimilar as you think. Yes, they are different but they aren't polar opposites. And dressage is also subjective so I don't mind the subjective aspect of judging.

                                          And scoring obviously has to be tailored for the class. BUT......
                                          It does bother me a little that I can pay $400 for a schooling show and have no idea why my horse (shown by my trainer) didn't get a ribbon even if she puts in a nice round. Did the judge decide not to even watch any of her rounds after her normally horrid warm-up round? Does the judge hate solid chestnut horses? Does the judge have a beef with my trainer? Were there 8 SPECTACULAR rounds in the class? Did the judge fall asleep and miss her round entirely? Would be nice to have some clue as to the reason.

                                          It would be nice to get a LITTLE feedback for all that money. If nothing else, it would help determine whether to spend money to show under that judge any more. There are a few dressage judges that I won't waste my money showing under.

                                          Riders are getting feedback for that particular day. It's called a ribbon. If you didn't get ribbons, well, you didn't do as well as the 5th, 6th, 10th placed person in the class.

                                          If you REALLY want to know why you placed where you did...watch all the rounds. Nine times out of ten, you would be able to see why...unless of course, the reason is that your horse is a 70 on his best day or that your trainer's best ever ride only elicits a 75 or whatever and you have no idea that that is their quality or skill level.

                                          BTW - not only would you be talking scribes...you'd be talking office people to add up the scores. The small dressage show at our barn (about 20-30 test in in a day) has to have two people in the office with no other distractions to do the scoring.
                                          Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                                          Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

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