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Questions I would ask the judges of the AHSA Medal Finals if I was...

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  • #21
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kerry:
    Sarah won the Medal finals becasue it was her last year as a junior. Jenny Jones deserved to win but has another year (at least) to do well. The same thing with Eva Gonda-it was her last time at the medal finals as well.

    Karen Healy was quoted as saying the judging was f#!*! travesty.

    Tiffany lost because she is trained by a no name, so to speak, in the equitation world.

    I hate that this happens, but let's not fool ourselves, it isn't the first and it certainly will not be the last time this sort of thing happens.

    One of the judges posts here all the time, I wonder why there isn't any feedback??

    [This message has been edited by Kerry (edited 10-24-2000).]

    because "this sort of thing happens" is a pathetic excuse as well as "because it was her last year" Are there no judges out there with the morals, integrity and backbone to do what they are supposedly being paid to do? Or, do they not know how to judge so they rely on reputation and heresay instead of skills that are actually displayed right there in the ring. Where or what is the pressure or driving force that causes judges to do everything BUT judge. Am I to believe that there is some sort of horseworld mafia that says who, where and when a rider will win? This sort of favoritism does nothing for the sport or the message being sent to our future professionals and leaders. PATHETIC. To admit it happens and then act so blase about those facts only supports the type of prostitution in which the judges seem to be engaging. There really is no prestige or pride to be had from winning within a league that is so embroiled in incestuous politics that riding skill is not even a consideration anymore.

    Karen Healy was right on with her comment, but I want to know who's going to take the steps to clean up this mess that has been allowed to become our sport?


    • #22
      Do you think Sarah really and truly believes she deserved to win?

      There is a short list of riders before the first horse sets foot in the ring. I heard more then one person say if you want to win the finals you darn well better ride with Missy Clark because one of her students was going to win the class no matter what. If you were there to see the finals you would know that that is exactly what happened.

      Retrophish is right-it is pathetic!


      • #23
        I didn't see the finals or whatnot, but if she truly didn't earn her win, it must be embarrasing....
        It is sad that judges look at the name of who's in the ring and not how the course was ridden. Unfortunately, the opinion of the judge is just that - an opinion.
        I like dressage, where you get a numeric score for each element, with comments and on a piece of paper for all to see. It makes it hard to "miss" big mistakes. Just a thought, esp. for big competitions like these.
        The witchy witch witch of south central NC.


        • #24
          What excellent points all of you make. As an adult rider coming back to the sport, I am increasingly disappointed by the judging issues in the equitation ring. No wonder so many kids would rather do the jumpers and are not enjoying doing the big eq. If you don't have the big name trainer (read: co-train w/ Missy Clark in your final year) and the $250,000 flat-jumping 17.0h warmblood push-button machine, you can't win the big finals.

          I thought the point of equitation was to produce effective, stylish riders with emphasis on the word effective. Yet it seems that the division can almost be purchased if you have the money and the results are too often a stiff, robot w/ little feel for their horse. I feel incredibly sorry for the super upcoming riders like Tiffany (BTW, Lisa Rex maybe a "nobody" in the equitation world but she has trained Tiffany for years and I'd say the product speaks for itself....Lisa also happens to be a tough but fabulous person) and Sarah Willeman who want to win for the prestige and work extremely hard (not to mention through injuries!!). If the judging at the top levels continues w/ blatant favortism, the prestige and honor will be gone.

          So what can we do......protest as spectators, boo the results, write into the Chronicle, avoid the eq. ring in protest, appeal to big name trainers to protest even when it harms their students??? Unfortunately, I think until some top names make statements (i.e., politely declining a call back when the round was disaterous / trainers lodging complaints) nothing will change.

          My last suggestion: what about the creation of an Equitation Challenge Division - (1) competitor will be entered under number only, no names (trainer & competitor) announced or available to the judge, (2) scores announced post each round immediately for crowd to hear, (3) 2nd round limited to four riders every time, switch horses w/ one person, random drawing and ride again, (4) points awarded 1st-4th only with direct multiple for number of entries in class (ie., 4 points for 1st x 45 entries = 180), (5) ten best classes to count for year end standing and may only attempt 15 classes in total all year so pick carefully and don't chase!!, (6) finals ride in reverse order of year end standing.

          I think it may help remove some judging bias towards trainer name, rider name; prove skills on unfamiliar mounts (like intercollegiate); reduce some of the dependance on having the "best" eq. horse so maybe some the less wealthy kids can rise to the top too, hey there would even be value in having a tough entry!!; limiting the number of tries would increase prestige of even qualifying and raise value of each individual class; give some value to the year-end standing and the accomplishment of the first place rider by letting them ride last in the order at finals. What are your thoughts folks or am I out to lunch??


          • #25
            I think its disgusting the way you openly discuss who deserves to win and who doesnt. You obviously werent the judges so it isnt your call. Sarah is a wonderful rider, and after coming back from her injury in august, i give her more credit than anyone else out there. Sarah deserves everything she gets. And she has nothing to be embarassed about, unlike those catty poeple who are wasting their time criticizing her win.


            • #26
              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pwynnnorman:
              BTW: "Since it was 'subject to elimination', it is apparently at the judges discretion. I personally think this renders it pretty much meaningless."
              There ae lots of things in CT that come under a similar category- they MAY be grounds for elimination "at the discretion of the ground jury". It doesn't make them meaningless.

              chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


              • #27
                Diva, although it's tough when names are mentioned, I read most of these posts as being about the judges not the riders. My guess is that most would agree that Sarah is a wonderful rider who has worked very hard and had to get ready with only a couple of weeks of riding after her injury this summer.

                Having said that, I have watched many finals classes and most of the time have seen judging that was extremely political and seemed to me more based on who the trainers were and what the riders had done before as opposed to their performance that day. I'm not sure how to discuss that subject without mentioning some names.


                • #28
                  I was at the Medal Finals and while I may disagree with many of the judges' decisions, I agree that Sarah Willeman should've won that class. To me, she plain, flat out rode the best on Sunday. I'm not taking into consideration "oh she had a broken foot, she deserves it from all her hard work" and the judge's shouldn't either. They were looking at that ride that day.

                  -Erin B-
                  \"I am fairly agile, I can bend and not break. Or I can break and take it with a smile. I am so resilient. I recover quickly. I\'ll convince you soon that I am fine.\" (\'Bend and Not Break\', DC)


                  • #29
                    gee, and people ask me why i quit doing the eq and hunters? uuummm...how about not being able to afford the big name trainers, the ultra-fabulous packers, the "right" tack and clothing, etc? yes, there are people that don't have the big bucks and the big name and still do well, but they are in the minority. i for one, got sick of being placed dead last behinds a dozen kids perched on packers on autopilot. they used to laugh and ridicule me! but they got theirs when i beat them all at HITS on my little roper-turned-hunter. from last to first, from one weekend to the next. amazing what a little fair judging will do. i don't mind losing, when it's fair, but when it's not, gggrrr.......


                    • #30
                      Good suggestions MAZ. Will have to think them over.

                      Still, I wonder why you have to limit the information the judges are exposed to instead of expecting them to remain subjective. Im trying to invision what horrors might befall me if I were a judge and DID NOT choose the popular winners, but instead, the best riders on that day for that class.


                      • #31
                        <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Diva:
                        I think its disgusting the way you openly discuss who deserves to win and who doesnt. You obviously werent the judges so it isnt your call.As has been pointed out in the earlier posts, just because a person is a judge does not guarantee that they behave like an impartial one. Of course it is the judges call, but the results are soiled for everyone when the judge engages in political choices that reflect prior knowledge of a riders history. They are suppose to be judging that class at that time, not thier entire riding career.

                        Sarah is a wonderful rider, and after coming back from her injury in august, i give her more credit than anyone else out there. Her injury shouldnt enter into this competition. Period. Undoubtably, she is a wonderful rider and it is certianly fine if you want to giver her credit, BUT, the finals arent a biography, they are a single class. Everyone has off days and that's a shame, but the judge shouldnt be sitting there making comparisons to past rides by the same rider. Sarah deserves everything she gets. And she has nothing to be embarassed about, You sound like you are well on your way to becoming a judge that agrees and subscribes to the methods mentioned earlier unlike those catty poeple who are wasting their time criticizing her win.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                        How sad for you to think that intelligent and thoughtful conversation regarding how things can be made better, more fair and more of a test of a riders ability as a waste of time. It is this blind faith in the popular that threatens to make not only our sport, but also our society stagnant. I dont believe that anyone is critisizing the riders, they are just as much victims of this system as anyone else, whether they win, place or show.


                        • #32
                          BTW LisaRex is not a no name trainer ,all th e judges know her they just aren't as threatened by her as by others .Unfortunately I have been "approached" upon occasion by disgruntled trainers sometimes they actually want to know why?But sometimes they want to threaten.It happens to judges a lot I guess some judges pay no attention but some are infuenced .I doubt that many judges are influenced .The top end of our business is a very tightly woven group that doesnt allow many new members in.I have confidence that Trainers like LIsa Rex will soon be considered "TOP" trainers it takes along time to be accepted .15 yrs ago Missy Clark wasnt who she is now.


                          • #33
                            I am very glad to see that people are actually aware and honest about what goes on not only in the eq ring, but in the hunters as well. It has always saddened me that our "sport" leaves out many extremely talented riders who do not have the funds to show at certain levels, train with certain trainers or own horses that cost more than a nice home. It is even sadder that the riders who are able to compete in the sport have to be judged based on who their trainer is, what type of saddle they are riding in and how many more years they have left in the division. We have all seen the hunter course where a rider with a chip at fence scores in the 80's while a rider with a less well known trainer or the wrong type of jacket but a beautiful ride scores in the low 70's. Unfortunately, I think all of us who have shown in these divisions know that it comes down to the judge's opinion and we have to live with it, unfair as it may be. The only thing to do is ride for your own satisfaction, or, move on to the jumpers!


                            • #34
                              In what way is a judge threatened? Threatened to be punched out or to be blackballed from venues? Seems to me that a judge has the same right and plenty of power to report such threats not only to the organization that hired him, but also to regular authorities such as the police.

                              How true about Missy Clark, but it must have taken at least one judge to go against the grain and recognize her talent in order to allow her to bring herself to the forefront.


                              • #35
                                Retrophish, how can you refer to this as an intelligent conversation?Could you imagine how Eva Gonda or Sarah Willeman would feel to read this post? For me it would certainly hamper my excitement about a medal finals win. Secondly, her injury didnt enter into the competition, i simply mentioned it because i think it was a great effort for her to overcome that, to go through reconstructive surgery, and to still ride well enough in the medal finals to put most of the other riders to shame, whether or not you like to admit it, politics or not. And as far as the politics aspect, and as far as kids buying these machines, im sick of hearing people complain about how only the rich have a chance. Ever hear of a working student?? There are plenty of those out there, take Tiffany for example, she doesnt even own a horse. Or how about Leigh Hughes? I was a working student and somehow managed to do respectably at finals,people should stop making excuses for not being up at the top end of the sport, i know its hard, but money or not, its about talent and dedication. Oh and Sarah, on the off chance that you read this, congratulations, dont take these people seriously.


                                • #36
                                  Actually, this is Jenny's last junior year. She is trained by Christina Schlusemeyer, who is just as famous and competitive with her riders as Missy Clark, but Missy just has more of them, and has trained just as many winners.
                                  \"Don\'t succumb to what is predictably yours\"-David Cale from \"Deep in a Dream of You\"

                                  \"How do you soar if you\'re nailed to the floor?\"-from Johnathan Larson\'s Tick Tick Boom


                                  • #37
                                    I realize there were a couple of other judges, but I think Linda Allen (who judged it) is very honest and concerned about the industry and would not stoop to favoritism.
                                    Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. - Gandhi


                                    • #38
                                      RETRO! i was left totally confused after the gittings finals! the winner didn't even make an attempt to trot the trot fence, he just cantered right up to it. now no one can say that this rider doesn't have awesome eq ut his 1st trip was um, well, it shouldn';t have even been in the ribbons. i thought the second place girl was awesome and maybe one of the best trips int he finals. i would be interested to find out who you think was good in that class, lol email me so not to hurt anyone's feelings (lol), but i definately thought that some of the ribbons were awarded to rides that were a ton less then perfect.

                                      Will someone explain to me how you can miss a key part in your test and win over others who at leaset tried to do it??


                                      • #39
                                        <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Flash44:
                                        Who were the top 4, Retro?

                                        And at the MHSA Adult Medals, I saw very few hand gallops as requested. Now me, I can go fast. Might demolish the jump and can't halt afterwards, but I will be galloping...

                                        lol i have to agree agian [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] i thought second place should have beaten first. didn't the winner miss a lead change or two and cross canter a couple of times? i know econd place galloped and did everything right. oh so very very confused...


                                        • #40
                                          the top four for MHSA were:
                                          (this is how they were called back, in reverse order)
                                          Matt Lowe
                                          Megan Shoellhammer
                                          Jackie Atwood Dupont
                                          Bailey Hale Dent

                                          i don't knwo i altogether did not understand the final placings...