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Boys in the show ring

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    #21
    Originally posted by Room for a Pony View Post
    You're so right...on the day he had his best canter depart ever, the judge seemed to be looking the other way. Still, we cheered that personal best like mad.
    This really jumped out at me.

    Whether the canter departure was his personal best or worst has no bearing on his placing in the class. His best ever might have been worse than all the others in the class, or his worst might be better than his competitors. The judge is only placing the entries in that class on that day, not giving out lifetime achievement awards for each rider.

    In any flat class, unless there are very few entries, it is impossible for the judge to watch every entry the entire time. Some things may get missed, but judges can only judge what they see. Some days that may work in your favor, and some days it may not. It generally evens out in the long run. Showmanship involves showing off your strong points and downplaying any weaknesses, but a young child just starting out in the show ring might not have a handle on that skill yet.

    And again, any judge at a USEF horse show had to go through a training and licensing process in order to become an official. Unrecognized shows are not required to use licensed officials, so the judging may be a little harder to follow.

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      #22
      If you show frequently and run across the same judges again and again, you generally can't help but see a pattern in their judging when it comes to guys. Boy riders are pretty scarce these days and maybe it's that some judges just aren't used to seeing them in the ring anymore. Broader-shoulder boys have a different riding silhouette than typical teen girls; some judges have trouble with that look, since it's outside the norm. Sometimes though, the pinnings are a result of the inescapable fact that some younger boys might not have the fine motor skill development and finesse yet that the girls do. Nice when judges can take all the factors into consideration. While you don't like it when you feel your kid's overlooked, it's frustrating when he pins and people say, oh it's just because of boy preference. Like everyone says, all you can do is tune out the noise and keep your kid focused on long-term good riding. Keep working and wait for the kid to grow past some awkward stages and develop the finer motor skills--then watch it come together. Like others have said, there do seem to be more guys in the higher levels of the sport. They were all once little guys who persevered (and had moms who managed to keep their senses of humor).

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        Original Poster

        #23
        Originally posted by Happyhooves View Post
        Broader-shoulder boys have a different riding silhouette than typical teen girls; some judges have trouble with that look, since it's outside the norm. Sometimes though, the pinnings are a result of the inescapable fact that some younger boys might not have the fine motor skill development and finesse yet that the girls do. Nice when judges can take all the factors into consideration.
        Absolutely! Our guy hasn't even begun puberty and he is extremely broad-shouldered for his size, plus his fine-motor skills are definitely needing further time to develop. I also liked that you referred to "finesse," it's a great way to explain.

        We're going to a judges clinic this weekend with a USEF 'R' judge. If there's an opportunity, I hope to figure out a politely-worded question about boys.

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          #24
          Originally posted by Room for a Pony View Post
          We're going to a judges clinic this weekend with a USEF 'R' judge. If there's an opportunity, I hope to figure out a politely-worded question about boys.
          I would not make that question about prejudice, but instead turn it into something more positive and general, like "How do I help my son succeed and stay excited about this sport when he has so few male peers?" The prejudice question will (a) put the judge on the defensive and (b) get you the answers you already got, while a more general "what can we do to succeed" question may get you some unexpected insight.

          Have fun!
          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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            #25
            If your lease or own situation changes to permit it, definitely get him in Pony Club. I'm pretty sure Pony Club has been the biggest factor in keeping my son riding at almost 14. He has so much fun with his club-mates (both boys and girls) and has tried a little bit of everything: eventing, show jumping, dressage, games, polocrosse and tetrathlon (riding, running, shooting and swimming). Most of the clubs in our region have 2 or 3 boys, so while they're still in the minority, they're not a rare sight. We also go on lots of trail rides together. I think mixing it up and keeping things fun is more important to most boys than it is to girls.

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              #26
              The OP said that her current situation didn't allow for the opportunity to do Pony Club, but Mango is right, it is great for boys. The emphasis is more on horsemanship and learning to ride and handle your horse effectively and independently. Instead of focusing on ribbons, the focus is more on team work (most competitions are team competitions) and personal improvement.

              I agree it can be a challenge to do a range of horse activities nowadays. It used to be that kids did everything--I remember showing, hunting, and doing pony club with pretty much the same group of kids. Now, people are more specialized. Show barns are different now, more and more people at a particular barn are in that trainer's program and only do activities (shows, clinics) selected by that trainer. Unless you have your own pony, your own truck and trailer, and a parent with enough horse expertise to manage an outing, a kid probably doesn't have a lot of options for pony club, hunting and trail riding.

              So, if your 10 year old is getting frustrated with horse show judging, it might be worth considering a break from showing so intensely and looking for a lease with more flexibility. Perhaps even at a different barn, even an eventing barn for example. It wouldn't have to be a permanent thing--just a temporary change of pace to try out some other things.
              www.plainfieldfarmky.com

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                #27
                Originally posted by Bristol Bay View Post
                They call it "penis points." Yes, it is the judges who award them.
                As the mother of a son who has had top success at a national level as a junior, I find this topic very interesting.

                If you look at the Longines World Rankings List, 9 of the top 10 riders are male. I do think the judges try to encourage our boy riders here in the US, however, they still need to ride well and they have to earn it!

                I think it's important to support our boys and to try to broaden the sport here in the US. Boys have a lot to offer and unfortunately in the US, it's not typically promoted as a male sport when the kids are young. Hopefully this will change, as most of our Olympians for the US are men.

                _________________________

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                  #28
                  Originally posted by arbor hill View Post
                  Boys have a lot to offer and unfortunately in the US, it's not typically promoted as a male sport when the kids are young. Hopefully this will change, as most of our Olympians for the US are men.
                  I beg to differ.

                  That may have been the case once upon a time, but for the last 30 years or so, the American teams have been split pretty evenly between men and women.

                  http://www.uset.org/olympicteams.pdf

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                    #29
                    Yes MHM, I stand corrected, you are right. I should have said most US Olympians 'were' men in the past. All the more reason to get those boys out there!

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                      #30
                      if he loves to show he should keep showing!! i show at the A/AA level and i usually see more guys than girls and once you get to the Olympic level the guys usually out number the girls and with the judges its the risk of the game in the hunters, in the jumpers your judge is a timer/clock. i show in the hunters and in the eq. and whenever i get mad about how the judge placed me my dad always tells me to go show jumpers and once he gets out of the age where the girls cant wear bows and braids (which i think the age is under the age of 12) and they all have to wear hairnets, the "cute factor" isnt really there any more then there will come a age where they will all outgrow their ponies and must move on to horses and then the "cute little kid factor" is all gone. he should totally keep showing is he loves it !!!!

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                        #31
                        I think there are occasional local shows for everyone where the judging is questionable. Even rated shows. The annoying thing is that you're paying for someone's opinion. And organizational skillz. I've been beaten by a rider on a similar looking horse to mine that was actually disqualified because she didn't finish the course (she returned the ribbons to show management).

                        Where are you located? Here in the DC/MD/VA area, I believe there are barns that don't require you to own a horse to take a polo lesson. Might be worth a road trip for the heck of it. And it's a BLAST.
                        ---
                        They're small hearts.

                        Comment


                          #32
                          Logic?

                          Originally posted by arbor hill View Post
                          Yes MHM, I stand corrected, you are right. I should have said most US Olympians 'were' men in the past. All the more reason to get those boys out there!
                          Not really getting the logic of this? The best teams should be promoted regardless of the rider's gender. I don't see why we should help boys/men get a leg up over girls and women. Men dominate practically every other sport and earn vast salaries in the professional leagues; they even historically banned women from competing in the Olympics and other international venues. I don't really see why they should be getting a leg up now that they have to compete against women on a supposedly level playing field.

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                            #33
                            Originally posted by Trixie View Post
                            Where are you located? Here in the DC/MD/VA area, I believe there are barns that don't require you to own a horse to take a polo lesson. Might be worth a road trip for the heck of it. And it's a BLAST.
                            I have a friend who has been playing polo on "school horses" (Or whatever they are called in the polo world) for years. She lives in Bethesda, works in DC and I believe she plays polo in the Poolesville area, at least I remember seeing signs with that name as we drove there. And she DOES have a blast although she finally bought a jumping horse about a year or two ago so I am not so sure if she is still playing polo. I am sure I can get some names/numbers from her if you need them.

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                              #34
                              I think the only parent who doesn't think there's a bias against their kid (whether it be sex, size, horse/pony quality, or anything else) is the parent of the child who wins the class.

                              I promise there's not a bias against your son in every class. Sure, there might be a few judges who think the girls are cuter, but there will also be judges who think your boy deserves some extra points for being a boy. Over time and ultimately the biases even themselves out. And rather than focusing on why they "lost," it's better to focus on where they can improve.

                              I had my daughter in the walk/trot and crossrail classes this year and last. I had to swallow those feelings that I call the "mommy effect" to remind myself that the class was not about "who rides the best for their age relative to the others" or "who really makes their obviously difficult-to-make-go-pony go the best" or even "who inexplicably and luckily got all of her diagonals today!!!" It's about the riding or the pony or whatever else the class title refers to. At the end of the day the judge has a tough job, and I bet it RARELY (if ever) comes down to arbitrary values like boy vs. girl.
                              __________________________________
                              Flying F Sport Horses
                              Horses in the NW

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                                #35
                                I noticed a number of young male participants in the George Morris clinic posted by the Chronicle over the New Year. Some very polished riders were there who are still learning and had the chance to learn from the best. George even commented something to the effect that he learns something new every time he gets on a horse. I personally loved the emphasis on flat work. While I know young people just want to ride, perhaps watching these clinic videos would provide some encouragement to your son.

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