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

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  • #41
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by J. Turner:
    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.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I agree with you. Unless you watched in detail every single moment of every single ride from the discriminating eyes of a highly trained judge, I think it is unreasonable to pass judgement on the judging. And even then, judging is always going to be somewhat subjective. That's the nature of it. But for people to just toss around statements insinuating that the judging of this particular event was biased seems very petty, unreasonable, and disrespectful.


    • #42
      I still would like someone to explain to me how those top 25 riders got to be there. As far as Sarah goes, she is a wonderful rider with an accurate eye, but she was far from brillant....definitely the sentimental favorite going in to the Final and has won just about everything else to date this year. I hope in the medal finals still to come , the judging is a lot less controversial, otherwise you might as well hand the blue ribbons to Sarah now and call it a day.


      • #43
        How nice it is to have new voices in this crowd. Last year, when I brought up exactly this subject--and got lambasted for critizing Emily Wiliiams' win (NOT to say she didn't ride well and/or "deserve" it, but rather to say why did they ALSO have to hire Clark, when her father was really the person who deserved the credit for developing).

        We aren't criticizing the riders, we aren't really criticizing the trainers either. We aren't even criticizing the judges--not directly. What we are really criticizing is the SYSTEM. Whether favoratism exists or not, whether threats from trainers occur or not, whether riders are strategically manoeuvered to win in specific years or out of sentimentality (yeah, yeah, as well as having some ability and often VERY expensive horses--granted Emily Williams', in spite of her mom's cancer, won on a comparative greenie and has since proven herself beyond the eq, which is the best proof of all).

        Anyway, regardless of whether ANY of these things are reality, it is the APPEARANCE of impropriety that should be of greatest concern. THAT is what the big names don't care about. How things appear to the public in general. They only care about how things appear to those who can afford to be their clients.

        And doesn't that sound just like the most recent batch of AHSA officials and decisiomakers?
        Sportponies Unlimited
        Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.


        • #44
          Next. What can we do about it?

          For you relative newbies, we HAVE done something about it, and we continue to do so.

          We've proposed a very specific rule change which would require the use of posted score sheets so that judges would have to be accountable for their decisions. We also want to see more standardization built into the judging process so that it isn't "up to the judges discretion" when it comes to such things as crossing the dotted line and also to things like a chip or not galloping the entire approach. We've proposed using scribes and establishing specific point penalties for specific common errors, while still allowing judges freedom to grant or withdrawn points through "overall impression" kinds of categories similar to what is used in dressage.

          There's a lot more to our proposals, but what it basically boils down to is what has become the mantra of our campaign:

          The Right to Know and the Right to Vote.

          If we, the members, have POWER to bring about change, by knowing who is doing what (from establishing policies as committee members to judging classes in the show ring), we might be able to drag the sport back from the super-elite domain of what has been called the "2%" and return it to the majority who pay its bills.

          Too many of the winners are "trained" by too few of the trainers. Too many winners are actually trained by lesser knowns, but then pay their dues by hiring the right name to insure that they get the attention they deserve. ARE those big names that much better than the rest? NO!!!

          IT ISN'T ROCKET SCIENCE, PEOPLE! It doesn't take a genius. It just takes money and connections. P-E-R-I-O-D.

          If you are as frustrated as we are about this, here's something you can do and it's FREE and EASY:

          Write or email to receive your FREE "AHSA Members Want the Right to Know and the Right to Vote" campaign button...and WEAR IT AT THE SHOWS. Go to www.hunterjumper.org and email your request or write to Snowbird Acres, 204 Schooley's Mtn. Rd., Long Valley, NJ 07853.

          If you want to do even more than wearing a button, you can donate funds to this effort by sending a check to the above account. We are placing at least one, possibly three, ads in one or more of the COTH special issues and other publications, repeating the Right to Know, Right to Vote theme. One of the ads will definitely appear in the Stallion Issue. To see the content of the ad, also go to the website www.hunterjumper.org.

          If you look at the last year of issues in Horse Show, if you look at the "mood" that its content represents, if you examine the websites that are out there, including AHSA's, NHJC's, NHJA's and now NHJO's (that's what we're calling ourselves: the National Hunter Jumper Organization--membership is 100% voluntary and there are no dues whatsoever), you'll see that CHANGES HAVE TAKEN PLACE thanks at least in part to the discussions and concerns that have been expressed in this and other forums.

          What we have to do now is keep the ball rolling. So USE this frustrating Big Eq result to fuel your fire and JOIN US!!! As they say, you CAN make a difference!

          [Oh, and while you're at it, there's this other little thing called a national election. Something about a president? Might help if you made sure you did a little thing called voting on that occasion as well. Apathy gets us nowhere.]
          Sportponies Unlimited
          Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.


          • #45
            Well some of the good questions that came up!
            How is a judge threatened?
            As a show manager I can tell you there is some sort of a black list. We know when we get phone calls wanting to know where a certain judge may be placed in one of our four rings. We are informed that no one will come to be judged by that person.

            They are threatened by the fact that they will not be re-hired by certain prestigious shows. Many very good judges are not used at these shows because they are independent. A judge's value to a show is the fact that they will attract entries and not discourage them.

            I find that while I have never had an inquiry regarding the footing, the jumps, the secretary or the food stand, I have had many calls indicating which judges will bring in entries and which have lost favor and are no longer acceptable.

            Some circuits have lists of approved judges they will hire, those are usually the one who will award ribbons to the "regulars". This is a fact of life and appears to be systemic. It is a fact that some judges who have actually challenged the system are never heard from again, they vanish off the prize lists.

            I had a conversation a few years ago with a judge at the end of the day, and mentioned that some exhibitors had complained. They felt that he had awarded ribbons to people with obvious errors, and he said whell you didn't tell me who was supposed to win.

            The point is the current system of subjective judging no longer works.

            Whether this because there is too much money at stake, or because the level of competition has changed, or for that matter any other reason that you choose. The simple fact is that the perception is so scarred that it just doesn't work.

            Now, if you all want this sport to grow and prosper the rules need to fairly enforced for everyone whether Suzie is in her own two horse trailer or with the most prestigious trainer.

            We did 15 years of the "Finals" between my two daughters. There is no argument when the best riders are judged, and we all know a good trip from a bad trip. The problem seems to be interpretation of "judge's opinion".

            Therefore, I reiterate Pwynn's statements above. If you don't like what's happening you can sit around and complain, you can vent your feelings here on the BB, but unless you are all willing to put a little risk out there in front of your name...unless you are willing to spend a little time...unless you are willing to put some effort into effecting changes..IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!

            I believe this is a pivot year for the AHSA and the NHJC and we should go to the convention and be heard.

            I believe that if you will bring "SUGGESTIONS" how the sport would be improved you can be heard, if you get the vote you can tell them how you feel by ballot.

            A small group of us are trying to take an affirmative position by recognizing problems and suggesting ways to correct them

            Equitation is the bedrock of this sport. You should know how to ride, not just look pretty and you should be judged objectively against the standard of perfection individually. Equitation should not be a popularity contest between trainers.

            How, can that be accomplished?

            This original group filed two proposals that directly affect all national finals. We proposed a rule change for the qualification of judges, and we proposed to extend "Junior" to the age of 21 to agree with the international standards.

            If you care, then attend the convention! Get the right to have your opinion count, help us to revise the By-Laws of the NHJC so that you can be represented on your sone committee. End the incestuous relationship between the exisitng trainers and show managers.

            Go to our website: http://www.hunterjumper.org
            email to us and wear the button that says you want the right to know and the right to vote.

            Put our ad in all of your newsletters, put an ad in all your newspapers for horse people. There are at least 40,000 people who are members of the AHSA and NHJC(which is now mandatory)and there is no excuse for why only 30 people should be able to have an opinion that counts.
            http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


            • #46
              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Rocky Pony Rider:
              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.
              Yep, there was that too, besides the gallop, canter, jump thing. Forgot about that. I agree that I have seen this rider put in great courses, but this class isnt suppose to be awarded on career highlights. I didnt see a spot one - ten that he belonged in.

              i thought the second place girl was awesome and maybe one of the best trips int he finals.

              Help me out here. Im confused as to who was riding Even Steven, and the place she got, and who Megan Shoellhammer was riding. I could have sworn that Betsy Parker got called back on that roan horse - dust buster??. I know that the Dupont girl was also called back. I saw all the first rounds and like I said before, was in the process of leaving after being flabbergasted by the callback. I was distracted during the testing.

              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.

              I thought the Dupont girl rode the winning course. There were so many good rounds that its hard to say since Im not familiar with everyone. Its easier to note the ones that had major problems and Im not going to do that. I thought the girl that rode Even Steven had a nice, precise round but it didnt flow as much as some of the rides on longer strided horses. I liked the first rider that went into the ring - Will Ryan. Megan S. also seemed to do well. I thought that Jennifer Terzi looked great until her horse spooked a little in the three stride. If the judge was going to look at Matt, then he should have looked at her too since errors werent consequential. Tracy McFarland had a nice round, just a tad bit weak. Certainly worthy of 4-10th. How would you have pinned it? I will give judges credit, it's always easier to pick first place and maybe second and third. It gets really hard to place from 4th-10th, especially if you arent familiar with any of the riders. Its easier to remember people that we have some association with. But then again, Im usually not sitting there and writing things down.

              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??[/B]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

              There is no explanation except maybe the class was already determined and the test was just a formality.


              • #47
                In response to the portion regarding being a working student, that is wonderful if you are in an area where there are available facilities and a need for working students. However, there are also many young people who live in areas where it is not possible to be a working student. I think these are the riders I was referring to who I feel are at a strong disadvantage when they try to compete against riders from the well known trainers. And does anyone disagree that a rider with beautiful equitation and a perfect course riding an arabian would be placed behind a course with some glitches ridden by a better known rider on a fancier horse? Unfortunately for the most part money does play into this sport.

                As far as the riding goes, even George Morris wrote an article, I believe last year, regarding the demise of classic equitation, as he was astonished at the long stirrups and lack of a good seat in today's young riders. Although I agree that there are some wonderful juniors out there who deserve a great deal of credit for their accomplishments, I maintain that there is quite a bit of favoritism going on in many shows today, all the way from the locals on up.


                • #48
                  pwynnnorman and snowbird,

                  This is just why I had to vent - was waiting for someone to pick up on it that actually has an idea for solutions. Thank you for showing how and where to make the difference. Count me in to campaigne and join the push to do what is right, bring free enterprise and the right to make a living back into the monopolistic hunter/jumper world.


                  • #49
                    I think it's a shame that all of this is going on. Is it fun to "buy" ribbons? Why even bother. What happened to pride in a job well done? I would be ashamed to know that I had a bad trip, but won b/c the judge knew my trainer well and was worried about not placing me. I can't believe that judges are blackballed! Goodness gracious. I'd rather not place and have a great trip than chip and win the blue.
                    Just another reason I'm glad hunters are out of my financial reach these days.
                    The witchy witch witch of south central NC.


                    • #50

                      I don't know this for a fact but I'm pretty sure that the girl riding Even Steven was Bailey H. Dent. I happen to know that she is leasing him from Matt Lowe right now and rode him to 2nd place in the VHSA Medal finals.


                      • #51
                        jackie atwood dupont i think was awesome and should have one (she was second ont he big bay horse)
                        Bailey Hale Dent rode Even Steven and it hink she had an "ify" fence in the first course
                        Megan S. has great equitation (she was on Montana Blue, the grayish and i guess somewhat blueish horse) but i don't think her course was as smoth as it could have been and then there was Matt on his horse.
                        it was just a very odd class...


                        • #52
                          Snowbird, I call and ask who is judging<G>!
                          We are coming to your show as I am OK with who you hired. In fact we will show most of the time anyway, but I like to know what I am in for, and my clients before we attend.
                          I would never say I believe any are political, I have not experienced that in our area. I also have to watch what I say, but I will say there are about 5 judges that are judging a show every weekend in Zone 2.
                          It GETS OLD. PLain and simple. And they only do these Zone 2 shows. It is frustrating to show under the same people all of the time, and when we go to the A shows where we get a judge who does mostly A shows we feel pleasantly refreshed.
                          Owner/Trainer of http://www.plumstedequestrianctr.com


                          • #53
                            Well Jane, there's the old two edged sword. Show management usually hirse the judges about whom there has been no negative reaction from the exhibitors.

                            I don't know any show managers anxious to hire someone that the exhibitors dislike. So, the other side of the coin is that there are too many familiar faces. The problem for show management is that entries are down so much they can't afford to pay expenses so they use local judges that won't charge mileage and traveling or motels.
                            http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


                            • #54
                              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Snowbird:
                              Well Jane, there's the old two edged sword. Show management usually hirse the judges about whom there has been no negative reaction from the exhibitors.

                              I don't know any show managers anxious to hire someone that the exhibitors dislike. So, the other side of the coin is that there are too many familiar faces. The problem for show management is that entries are down so much they can't afford to pay expenses so they use local judges that won't charge mileage and traveling or motels.


                              I had a question...is there still a horse named Corona there? I got him for IHSA regionals one year when we had out show there...he was so cool!! I was just wondering if you knew him..He was a cute chestnut with a little white on his face...just wondering!!!


                              • #55
                                Yes! Mam! He is a sweet horse with a big heart. He's been voted into the family, which simply means he's here until he can't be anymore.

                                We never let the good guys move on, we keep them and retire them here.
                                http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


                                • #56
                                  <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Snowbird:
                                  Yes! Mam! He is a sweet horse with a big heart. He's been voted into the family, which simply means he's here until he can't be anymore.

                                  We never let the good guys move on, we keep them and retire them here.


                                  Yup!!! He totally gave his heart out that day..he was so awesome!!! YAY...That was a good 5 years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday..I always remember the GOOD horses!!!! He's a great one!! He's lucky to live his life out with you!! He helped get me reserve champion in the open fences!! I watched the video we has taped the other day...of course to critisize myself and I remembered how comfortable he was!! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] He's a keeper....

                                  [This message has been edited by gwen (edited 10-25-2000).]


                                  • #57
                                    This is how it happens >..Pretend that you have just finished a day of judging you are walking too your car minding your own business.Trainer walks up to you and either asks to ask you about something or literally says why didn't you like or pin so and so .As judge you have a few options here,say "you'll have to get the steward first then I'll be glad to talk to you."or say sure what can I do for you?or say nope I don't talk to exhibitors ever.If the steward comes (the safest bet) any nasty threat type comments will be on record and formal charge can be brought.If you are naive (I was) and you speak to some one with no witnesses anything can happen like "well how could you pin that one over mine or you'll never judge in this area again!!!!"and on and on .If you are new to this(as a judge) you'll remember this incident if you are nervous you might let that kind of threat change or shade your pinning or it will make you less inclined to talk to anyone (it did me).I am not saying that this type of thing did in fact happen at the recent Medal Finals but it can happen and does .It takes a very long time for trainers and horses to be accepted amongst the elite top end of our business,that isn't going to change any time soon.


                                    • #58
                                      Matt and Bailey were great! They were the classiest riders there. I think that this thread is really unwarrented. True judges can do some bizarre things and we may not be happy. But there are two sides to good sportsmanship and taking it out on the riders who were given what was deemed fair on that day is just low and cheap.

                                      Judges don't just overlook a mistake or bobble they weigh it into the equation.

                                      [This message has been edited by NorthEast (edited 10-26-2000).]

                                      [This message has been edited by NorthEast (edited 10-26-2000).]

                                      [This message has been edited by Erin (edited 10-26-2000).]


                                      • #59
                                        NorthEast: **ouch**. That's gotta hurt no matter who you're slinging it at!


                                        • #60
                                          NorthEast, I don't think insults are very constructive. Keep the conversation civil, please.