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Numerical scoring in the hunter/eq.... automatic 55?

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  • Numerical scoring in the hunter/eq.... automatic 55?

    I have a bad habit of fidgeting with my left stirrup when I don't ride in my own saddle (that has HS stirrups) and I got nailed for it at our last NCAA show. Our coach talked to the judge and she said that if my foot comes out of the stirrup it's an automatic 55 - but my foot never came out of the stirrup... I just can't seem to get my foot where it feels "right" - and she said she kept waiting for it to come out and it never did. I've never heard this before??? But I've never really had anyone explain numerical scoring to me, ether. I just know I'm the queen of 79 - 81 first round scores and then selling myself out for a whopping 52 second round score like I did in the last junior hunter classic I entered before aging out! I've just learned to laugh at myself because I'm special like that

    However, this was my show where we were just focusing on me not being so serious and laughing things off (I tend to get in a wad for NCAA, but not IHSA for some odd reason) and as I was cantering to the last fence (biggest oxer on course and I drew a horse that's scope was questionable! ) telling myself this is a nice canter, keep this canter, pray he can jump this high and keep this easy canter.... took my leg off for a second and the horse broke for barely a trot step or two, right back into the canter and found a perfect distance to the jump....................... and the judge said she was more bothered by my foot?

  • #2
    55 is a very standard score for the break in gait, regardless of the circumstances. Scores in the 50-60 range are also common for a lost stirrup in the equitation.

    Maybe the judge glanced at her card and noticed her symbol for the stirrup before she saw the trot symbol? Or maybe she thought it was more constructive to mention the stirrup, since that's a habit you can fix? Hard to say, but the score sounds about right, either way.


    • Original Poster

      Yeah I just found it odd that she said she would have scored me comparably for the stirrup adjusting too. I honestly wasn't even expecting a score that high with a break in gait, which was obviously my fault because the horse was right there for me as long as my leg was on and like any tried and true schoolie, he wasn't about to do anything he wasn't asked for. But it was a great round aside from the approach to the last fence haha.


      • #4
        She may have felt that with all your messing around with the stirrup, that you really didn't have it. If it was enough to be distracting, that plus the break in gait would explain your score. Equitation is all about being smooth, and if you're fussing with your stirrup all the way around the course, that's not going to be very smooth.
        Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


        • #5
          I won't address the "55", because others have had some good input. But OP, I used to be a "fiddler" too. You just never seem to get your foot to feel "just right" in the stirrup. One thing that may help you is this technique: Pick a specific point in the arena (light pole, gate, etc). Resist the urge to fiddle with the stirrup until you get to that point. Allow yourself to adjust your foot position at only that point. Deal with it everywhere else in the ring. You'll find that you won't be so distracted all the time if you only allow yourself an adjustment at specified points.


          • #6
            Since this is equitation I can understand her commenting on your foot since it a pretty big fault if it is that distracting. In addition, she probably felt that messing with your stirrup caused the break in gate.
            Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
            Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.


            • #7
              With regards to your stirrup adjusting: make sure your stirrups are short enough to keep your heel under your hip then seperate and lift your toes in your boot....scrunched toes equals tension which is probably contributing to your uncomfortable placement in the stirrup.


              • #8
                I'm not sure about the automatic 55, but I have a story to share.

                About 2years ago I was in a really large and as a cimpeteive eq class as the 2'6" level can get. Over the first jump I lost my right sturrip because my greenie overly cracked his back, and then over the second jump my left sturrip leather broke. So now I had no sturrps. Around the corner I yanked out my left sturrip so it wasn't banging my horse. During all of this I was still cantering. I finished the rest of the course without sturrips and those were the best 6 jumps of my life. I ended up getting 6th out if 42. I'm not quite sure how that happend, but I guess my trip was memorable.


                • #9
                  I agree with MHM. It was probably the break in gait that earned you the 55 more than the stirrup. I had the same thing happen in IHSA. Perfect trip, better than everyone else's except that we fell out of the canter for a stride coming out of the corner to the last line. Ended up being pinned 6th behind the girl with the 911 long spot.

                  Losing your stirrup in IHSA/NCAA equitation is a major fault. If the judge remembered you fidgeting that much I'm sure it was really distracting to her. She may have thought "yup she's losing it" and marked her card. When she looked back up she just assumed you'd lost it and picked it back up by then.

                  My advice would be to take the HS stirrups OFF your saddle until you can go a whole course without fidgeting in other stirrups. Borrow peacocks and fillis stirrups from someone else at the barn. Better yet, don't even ride in your own saddle when you're schooling for NCAA. You've got to be able to sit in any saddle and feel confortable immediately. My IHSA coach used to make us practice in the school's saddles. We were only allowed to adjust our stirrups on the ground. Once you got on she made you ride with the choice you made on the ground. No adjusting. If your stirrups were uneven, too short, too long, TOO BAD. You had to deal and go ride the course. After a few times I could get my stirrups pretty much perfect before I got on and if I didn't I could make do with a less than perfect stirrup in the ring.


                  • #10
                    Just a question to chime in here not regarding the scoring...why can't you ride in your own saddles? It just doesn't seem like that would be a big deal. How do you deal with saddles that don't fit you?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rio Blanco View Post
                      .......... and the judge said she was more bothered by my foot?
                      In equitation, the foundation for your position starts with your base of support - your feet in the stirrups. That is a very fundamental position error which can be penalized heavily.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hype View Post
                        Just a question to chime in here not regarding the scoring...why can't you ride in your own saddles? It just doesn't seem like that would be a big deal. How do you deal with saddles that don't fit you?
                        The horse is tacked up well before your class with a saddle that fits HIM. After you draw your horse you have only a few minutes before your class to go find him, adjust your stirrups, and get on. There is no time to swap saddles for everyone. In addition, schools put saddles on their horses that fit the HORSES, not necessarily the rider.

                        Part of the challenge of IHSA is to ride well in tack that might be way too small or way too big for you. It's the luck of the draw and doing the best you can with what you have.
                        Originally posted by tidy rabbit
                        Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.


                        • #13
                          Wow, didn't know that. What kind of saddles do the schools usually have, are they good ones or bad? I would imagine that kids who are pretty normally built have a huge advantage in this type of competition. Hard to ride in a 2 flap when you really need a 4 flap or a 0 flap.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hype View Post
                            Wow, didn't know that. What kind of saddles do the schools usually have, are they good ones or bad? I would imagine that kids who are pretty normally built have a huge advantage in this type of competition. Hard to ride in a 2 flap when you really need a 4 flap or a 0 flap.
                            Honestly? A lot of us who do/did IHSA, especially in the lower levels, have never had enough money to own a saddle that fits us that specifically! The biggest tack-related issue I ever had at a hunt seat IHSA show (aside from an overly loose girth, which is always fun on a strange horse!) came from the hunter habit of piling six pads up under a saddle that's already too narrow for the horse, then placing that saddle WAY forward on the horse's shoulder. It is next to impossible to equitate when your saddle is tipped backwards significantly!

                            Now Western? That's a whole 'nother ball game. I used to carry my own saddle to certain schools because they didn't have any saddle whose stirrups would go up short enough for me!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hype View Post
                              Wow, didn't know that. What kind of saddles do the schools usually have, are they good ones or bad? I would imagine that kids who are pretty normally built have a huge advantage in this type of competition. Hard to ride in a 2 flap when you really need a 4 flap or a 0 flap.
                              When I was on an IHSA team, the saddles used by most of the schools were ok, but definitely not super nice. Mostly cheap, older Pessoas.
                              "A canter is the cure for every evil."


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by hype View Post
                                Wow, didn't know that. What kind of saddles do the schools usually have, are they good ones or bad? I would imagine that kids who are pretty normally built have a huge advantage in this type of competition. Hard to ride in a 2 flap when you really need a 4 flap or a 0 flap.
                                It varies by school. My school had a mix of Crosby Equilibriums, Pessoa AO's, and old Collegiate saddles that were owned by the school. For the IHSA shows we hosted we'd try to use student's personal saddles on the Open and Intermediate horses so they'd have Butets and Bevals. Sad but I'll admit the walk trot canter and walk trot guys usually got the less nice saddles. Most of ours were 17". I'm teeny so I never found a saddle that was too small for me but I did have to wrap stirrups and rode in HUGE saddles sometimes. I loved drawing ponies because they usually came equipped with shorter stirrups.

                                The worst was when I drew a monster of a warmblood over fences that just dropped his head and PULLED. The saddle on him was a Stuebben that had to be 18" and the bridle had flat reins... no lacing at all. Worst of all I swear someone armor-alled all of that tack the night before. I almost slid over the saddle trying to get on. I jumped around on the buckle because the reins just slid through my hands and held on for dear life around corners. It was scary. But that's the way it goes. You can't complain because the saddle is too big or puts you in the wrong position.


                                • #17
                                  At my school for IHSA we each put our own saddles on the horse we were assigned to hold.

                                  If something was really, really inappropriate or didn't fit they'd have us change, but mostly you just had to ride in what was there.

                                  Anything from ancient hard as a rock Crosby (mine!) to fancy Devoucoux/Butet/whatever to some unnatural Argentinian thing.

                                  For IDA we had a few school dressage saddles, a few personally owned dressage saddles, and a few Close Contacts for some poor unlucky soul.