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

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  • Pwynn,since I have not seen your horse I cannot comment on him but if he is so fabulous a jumper and only slightly high in his head carriage and only a So-So mover most professionals wouldn't hesitate to take him in the ring .Remember that at the really huge A shows a great mover and jumper are the
    real item what will get the shot if they have the trip.Be a realist ok if the class has 20 in it and it is filled with great riders who dont miss the jumps dont miss lead changes,then the QUALITY of the animals is the hair splitter.So therefore; the type of movement, type of head set will be what keeps a horse from winning the top ribbons or simply being an also ran, in otherwords a call back.
    In the equitation division the subtlety(sp?)of the rider is paramount .How they get the course done without appearing to do much is the real deal.It is very sophisticated to achieve this .It is not whether so and so got the four to the five but how it was done .Did the rider interfere with the horse as they did it? was it smooth ?The problem with the finals that this thread is discussing is that it is being reported that MAJOR errors were allowed to move on to the next cut .Since I had to stay home with my daughters that weekend I cannot comment on what is being reported,only offer an opinion,such as...did the judges miss a mistake?or did they feel it wasn't an important mistake????My only comment can be well fine but so much controversy????It seems so odd that there is so much since I know someofthe riders being comented on I can only say that they are all very good talented kids .It just seems that there is so much contoversy over this particular finals I find this odd.


    • Summing it up - hunters are like pretend. You go around pretending you are not giving your horses cues and pretending he is very easy to ride. And eq is a test for the judges to decide who is a good pretender.
      Man plans. God laughs.


      • I do understand you, Twister. I sent a filly to Ray Francis to show in-hand for the same reason that others send their kids to Missy Clark.

        But I don't think there are that many new names at the top, especially not names that aren't connected to the old names. And I do think that the pro I used wasn't atypical. I suspect there is a tendency to blow some things out of proportion, especially if you aren't out there all the time (and, while she was good, IMO, she wasn't THAT good--to be out there all the time, that is). But that "blowing things out of proportion" is yet another reason, in my mind, to codify the more consistent judging standards.

        For example, how about a drawing of the ideal hunter topline? Where would the poll be with respect to the withers? Now THAT would be an interesting study, wouldn't it? Give ten judges four line drawings of horses at the canter: one with the poll level with the withers, one with the poll level with the rider's chest, one in between the first two and the last lower that the withers. I really, really, really wonder which drawing would be preferred.

        I know some of you will inevitably say "it depends." But in other sports, such a suggested ideal is indeed documented and utilized as a guide. Why not just agree to an "ideal" frame and go from there with praise or criticism for deviations under whatever circumstances may arise?

        As to "degree of difficulty," I think it would possible to at least recognize the difference between equitating on a horse which cracks it back vs. one which doesn't use its back at all. Which is better: the subtle ride on the flat, easy jumper or the subtle ride on the round, energetic hunter? Why can't the judge take into account the type of jump the rider is equitating on? I think GM himself mentioned this somewhere.
        Sportponies Unlimited
        Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.


        • Saddle Pad

          Sorry it took so long to answer you.
          You can get the tapes through Action Video. Their website is www.horseshow.com and their telephone number is 1-800-292-4783. I only wish the did the Maclays and the USET too!


          • Original Poster

            <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by pwynnnorman:

            But I don't think there are that many new names at the top, especially not names that aren't connected to the old names. And I do think that the pro I used wasn't atypical. I suspect there is a tendency to blow some things out of proportion, especially if you aren't out there all the time (and, while she was good, IMO, she wasn't THAT good--to be out there all the time, that is). But that "blowing things out of proportion" is yet another reason, in my mind, to codify the more consistent judging standards.

            One of my dearest friends is a top hunter rider and you should see some of the junk he pilot's around! HE knows it's junk and most of the time the owner knows it's junk, but they are hoping to apply a little 'great rider' to 'junk hhorse' and get something acceptable. Riding is how my friend makes his living. If you pay, he rides.


            • I just read an article in Show Circuit,Summer 2000 issue,(pre Medal Class) that was an interview with the judges, and they discussed what they would be looking for in the AHSA National Medal Finals.
              Did anyone else who was there watching, read these articles?
              Were the articles similar to what the Judges pinned?
              Starman Babies


              • I do like the idea of juges only having the competitors' numbers and not names.


                • The problem with that Coreene is that judges, if they keep up with the circuit at all, will know who a rider is without hearing the name announced. I know that after I've been to a couple shows, I can name most of the riders in a division...imagine judges who do nothing but watch them ride. I'm sure they would recognize them, unless you made them wear masks and die their horse's coats. I think the only way to deal with favouritism in judging is more regimented testing and certification procedures.


                  • Love the phenomena, Twister. Oh, well, there's not much to be done about that, except (oh, gosh, gee--I'm so sorry for sounding like a broken record) establishing greater consistency and clarity in all ranks of judging through standardization and posted scores.

                    What about a WHAT IF scenario? WHAT would have happened IF the finals which started this thread has used standards that forced specific penalities upon riders for specific infractions? What if the judges had to note on a sheet an overall impression ranging from 0 to 10, with ten being perfect and 0 being equivalent to "fell off approaching Jump One)? What if crossing the dotted line weren't cause for elimination, but cause for an automatic deduction of, say, 15 points out of a possible 100? A near-perfect rider could still, conceivably, score in the 80s, but, boy, would the pressure be on them to make up for their mistake.

                    What if, what if, what if????

                    What if a rider chips the first fence, but the course has alternative routes which include differing degrees of difficulty which would enable him/her to make up for that chip? Right now, you blow it early and you may as well pull up and leave the ring. The judge definitely stops watching your round and everything else is for naught. A point-based system that enables riders to make up for mistakes by taking chances later on in the course would be SOOOOO much more interesting, both to ride and to watch, IMO!
                    Sportponies Unlimited
                    Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.


                    • pwynn, If I am interpreting your posts correctly, then it sounds like you won't be happy until the day that computers do all the judging for us. My reason for showing in front of judges is one of respect and curiosity-----I've seen most of them ride, train, teach, sell,--in short, I am curious about their OPINION of me and my horse.Yeah its a risk, but so what? If you want to know if you are getting pretty good at something, you don't trot down to the street corner and ask the people waiting for the bus to comment. You load up and go to a show and ask someone who has the knowledge that got him his judge's license. I'd much rather have Jimmy Lee rate my horse through the eyes of a horseman with a lifetime of experience, than force him to mark a card with a bunch of rote deductions on it.
                      And as far as your comment about leaving the ring after a mistake--ask the kids who rode in the Maclay finals several years ago, who heard the dreaded whistle if they had a major error, and HAD to leave the ring immediately. Humiliating. Much better to try to salvage something, and leave on a good note. It will earn you the respect of everyone for another day.


                      • Hope this doesn't show up twice, my computer is acting strange
                        pwynn, it sounds like you won't be happy until computers do all the judging. Me? I go to shows because I value the judge's OPINION. I don't just ask anybody how they think I am doing with my horse. I load him up and take him to perform in front of someone who,to me, has the necessary experience to validate my efforts. I have either seen him, ride, train, show, teach,sell or judge at other times, and I want to know what he thinks about me. I would much prefer having Jimmy Lee observe my round through the eyes of a lifetime of experience as a horseman, than force him to make little + or - signs on a card filled with rote deductions. I care what he THINKS, not whether he can do the math. We're not all going to walk away with a prize every time, but that shouldn't be the point.
                        As far as exiting the ring after a major error, ask the kids who rode in the Maclay finals in the mid-80's. They heard the dreaded whistle if they had a big mistake, and had to leave the ring immediately. Humiliating. Better to continue and salvage something, and earn everyon's respect for another day.


                        • We've gotten into this before, Sparky, and so I'll just repeat my standard response: I'm not advocating total standardization, just SOME, for the sake of clarity, consistency and education. I'm sorry I can't get that point across to you, but I appreciate your perspective, since I'm sure you aren't the only one who holds it and I'd like, someday, to figure out how to convince you that clarifying and standardizing and publicizing aspects of a subjective sport is a HEALTHY thing which many, many sports have come to recognize. (I wonder if I'll ever understand why h-eq folks are so different!)
                          Sportponies Unlimited
                          Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.


                          • Sparky,
                            The level of standardization that P... is advocating is NOT computerization, nor eve in as much specificity as dressage judging.

                            It is more like the judging in figure skating, where there is an overall agreement on WHAT things constitute faults, and on the RELATIVE importance of the different dimensions. But there is still plenty of room for subjectivity and personal opinion- WITHIN THAT FRAMEWORK.

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


                            • Someone was saying that they would like to have a list of what certain judges were looking for. The November Pedlar has such a listing for 5 different judges including Jimmy Lee, Joe Dotoli, Ronnie Beard and others. You can read the article online at www.pedlar.com.