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Spinoff: have you ever judged a show?

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  • Spinoff: have you ever judged a show?

    After reading vent after rant after bash of judging in the hunters, I wanna know:

    have you ever sat in the judges booth and made the call?

    The reason I ask is that I find it very frustrating as a trainer and judge that so many people are quick to bash the judge when they've never put their "decisions" out for other to criticize.

    Try judging a class start to finish. See how it goes. Did you miss something? Make a mistake? Confuse the 104 chestnut with the 140 chestnut? Were you so perfect in your placings?

    Please note: I am not carded; I am judging beginner rings and schooling shows. But DAMN did it make me appreciate the difficulty of the job once it was MY decision put out there. You also learn that all mistakes are not created equal, and that you have to go by your gut feeling.

    I encourage all my students to sit with in the booth while I judge so they, as competitors, can learn to appreciate the task of judging. They've learned that the judge (at least me) wants you to succeed....it's your silly mistakes that make me groan and place you lower. I can't see everything. I want to scream when you make the same mistake for.the.100th.time. Nothing is worse than a great horse with a great jump screwing it up over jump 8, or a medal class when the best rider just doesn't follow directions!

    One last "vent" from me: how many of you that bash the judging also complain that the HUS when "on FOREVER" and "I was SO tired, god, why did it take so long". If the judge takes his time=too slow/inadequate. If the judge goes quick=politics.

    Back to your regularly scheduled judge bashing......
    Hunters, Jumpers, & Welsh Ponies
    All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown

  • #2
    There have been a ridiculous amount of vents/rants lately. Should I start the "I've just lunged my horse to death. How can I make him look like he isn't dead tired and sweating for the show ring?"
    Eight Fences Farm. Mansfield, MA


    • #3
      I'm not carded either, but have judged my share of open/schooling shows.

      The highlight of my career was the anonymous hate mail I got after one show. I knew exactly who sent it - horse was dead lame and I wouldn't use it. Family was screaming death threats from the rail. The letter was errrm...charming, once I deciphered the horrible spelling, grammar and scrawl.

      Then there are the truly pleasurable days. Judged a fair in MD - two sisters were tied for champion, so they had to hack off - one was western, one hunt seat, and both were fabulous. That was a tough one!

      Sometimes I wonder - is it more difficult to pin a class of all really bad where you have to choose the best of the worst, or all really fabulous where you have to pick on the slightest details to sort out the ribbons.

      Originally Posted by JSwan
      I love feral children. They taste like chicken.


      • #4
        Originally posted by luvs2ridewbs View Post
        There have been a ridiculous amount of vents/rants lately.
        Spring fever.

        Originally Posted by JSwan
        I love feral children. They taste like chicken.


        • #5
          I love to practice judge I've only judged schooling shows, though, where ths question is not "is this one a touch better or a touch worse than the one that got the 83," but rather "this kid circled but that one is scaring the ever loving crap out of me over every single fence so which one is worse?"
          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.


          • #6
            I mentioned this on the other thread.

            I can hardly say I've judged, but I did just do an in-barn playday with 7 regular classes (and then some games...but those don't require a "judge" ). Even this super simple, no pressure task was a bit nerve wracking for me and gave me a deeper appreciation for what judges do. I only had a few riders and I got to separate them by big errors (it's a first "show" experience for most of the riders) and it was still tough.

            I can totally understand missing something. For example: In a class that was honestly picked mostly on correct diagonals and leads, I missed the canter transition for a numbe of people because I was watching one particularly fiesty pony to see if I needed to end the canter. The people I missed could've started on the wrong lead and fixed it, I never would've known.

            It really is more work than you think.
            Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
            Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


            • #7
              Picking the best of the best, as in really stellar rounds, is easy. Then it's a matter of opinion and all judges have styles they prefer. Picking the best of the worst is really hard, especially if they are all scary and horrible.

              But my favorite is academy shows or hunt shows, where management wants you to spread the ribbons around, but it can't look obvious and you have to appear to have a reason and be consistent.
              'Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.'
              - Pablo Picasso


              • #8
                Judging Hunter Shows

                WELL SAID ENGLISH IVY!!!! You pretty much said it all. I often Judge local shows and know that 3 cards open with 40 2'6" trips each takes a great deal of attention and care. We all are pulling for each horse and rider to be successful.
                I know there are times what I am able to see from the Judges stand can be very different than what you can see at the in gate. I am sure I have placed (or not placed) a horse because of something I was able to see and the trainer, rider, owner or parent may not understand why I did what I did.
                I also judge Beginner classes a little different than I do the working or pro. classes. What I reward on quality in the open classes, I reward safety in the classes for beginners. In the classes for riders getting started I may use a horse that added a stride in every line, as long as it was smooth that trip may get a top place. The trainers of beginner riders may not understand why I did not use their horse that did the numbers, but was quick, and jumped flat. In a beginner equitation class a rider that does a nice simple change may place above the rider that did a change, but the horse got fast or naughty.
                I 100% agree that everyone that shows should spend a little time looking at the view from the judges stand. We really want to get it right, for many of us, we judge the schooling shows to help with our Learner Judging. It can be much harder to place a class with 30 beginners, than one with 30 nice First Year Horses.
                We really want the horse that has jumped 3 nice lines to just finish the last one smoothly, nothing worse than a rider with
                "Last Jump Itis". I hope everyone has nice schooling shows to get to. Be sure to thank management as well.


                • #9
                  Haven't yet but its on my 5 year plan! I think I may do that when I start a family (like when you are too pregnant to ride but not so pregnant that you have to stay home on the couch). Although, with the hormones I may think every round was the best thing I've ever seen and may want to give everyone blue ribbons....


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sleepy View Post
                    Picking the best of the best, as in really stellar rounds, is easy.
                    I think it would be hard to pick from the stellar rounds as well. If 4 people put in amazing rounds and there's nto a ton to distinguish one from another? I'd feel like I was playing eeny-meeny-miney-mo and that bothers me.
                    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RugBug View Post
                      I think it would be hard to pick from the stellar rounds as well. If 4 people put in amazing rounds and there's nto a ton to distinguish one from another? I'd feel like I was playing eeny-meeny-miney-mo and that bothers me.
                      That's where you, as a judge, get to decide what your preferances are! Do you like WB type or TB type? A little flair or a little relaxed? Old-school nose poker or more of a frame?
                      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.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ExJumper View Post
                        That's where you, as a judge, get to decide what your preferances are! Do you like WB type or TB type? A little flair or a little relaxed? Old-school nose poker or more of a frame?
                        I know...but it still makes me feel wrong to pick my preference over the empirically better round. I'd always be wondering if I missed a little something that should've place Horse A over Horse B.

                        And really there are a lot of nice rounds that make me go "nice" and get a 75 or so. I guess that would just be experience. Watch enough round and you can see those little things that I miss.
                        Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                        Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                        • #13
                          Now, I am not a carded judge. But I used to sit and watch the rated classes nd judge them for practice. In a class of, say 20, I would find the top 8. My 8 were usually the ones called back. And it was generally in more or less the same order. #s 1 & 2 might be swapped or 3,4,5 scrambled. You get the picture. With really good trips, it becomes a matter of taste. Judge A may think the winner moved a shade better or was just prettier or flashier or rounder or ... Judge B might just flat out not like the style/looks of that same horse but it was good enough that he had to use it, so he pins it 3rd. In the end, it all evens out. It's not quite eeny, meeny, miney, mo, but it is a matter of taste sometimes.
                          'Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.'
                          - Pablo Picasso


                          • #14
                            That's where you, as a judge, get to decide what your preferances are! Do you like WB type or TB type? A little flair or a little relaxed? Old-school nose poker or more of a frame?

                            Sometimes it (at least in eq) it is something like placement of your reins. One time in a class with some pretty nice riders my daughter got second and the judge called her and her trainer to the judging box after the class. The judge explained to both my daughter and her trainer that my daughter would have won if she had her reins on the right side and not the left. You better believe my daughters reins are on the right side and have been for the last 8 years! I thought it was nice of the judge to take the time and let my daughter know why she got second.
                            The ultimate horse mom



                            • #15
                              I have judged a few Schooling hunter shows (I am not a carded judge with the USEF) - but have been showing and spectating at AA-rated shows for years.

                              It is difficult - I have a little system, I actually make a table of each jump and then a section for notes beside each number on a pad of paper. I make notes in each little box, like, stopped out, chipped-in, good, (or at least my little symbols for them), etc. And yes sometimes - I will be making a note about how the horse was twisted around turn to fence four and have to look up really quick to see what jump four looked like. And in the case of two or three good rounds, I sure as heck used the hack to determine the winner.

                              The hardest was judging a short-stirrup class - you want to give all the kids a ribbon for trying - but it came down to placing the best horse/rider combo.

                              I haven't shown hunters in YEARS and made the switch to straight jumpers, because I never seemed to have a horse that was suitable for the hunters. And, yeah, to get me back in the hunter ring I would want a pricey hunter that will pin or at least put in an amazing round (would probably want a Derby calibre hunter as I like the big jumps).
                              Coruscant Stables


                              • #16
                                have you ever judged?

                                Most Judges give a score for quality seperate from the trip score. When it gets very close it can come down to the "quality" score. That can be a judges own likes and dislikes.
                                Also, in the Under Saddle classes I will put more value in the canter, rather than the horse with a lovely trot. All things being even I will use the canter to place the top movers. I also do not want to see the rider using the walk, as a rest time, I also watch and score the walk. It is not just a pause between the trot and canter.


                                • #17
                                  Amen, English Ivy. Everyone should be forced to practice-judge a show before showing themselves.

                                  I think the thing a lot of people miss is that the judge can only judge what they see. All the time there is some sour grapes..."HOW on EARTH did they pin that horse that broke the canter over our poopsie???" Well...if the judge didn't see it break, they can't count it against them...
                                  Originally posted by barka.lounger
                                  u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.

                                  we see u in gp ring in no time.


                                  • #18
                                    Oh, yes.

                                    About 15 years ago I thought about getting a card and started doing some learner judging and judging at smaller schooling shows. It was damned difficult! I have a great deal of respect for the job.
                                    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                    • #19
                                      I've judged a few local shows and it is definitely harder than it looks. I will never again complain about the judging at a horse show. It is HARD to keep track of all 20 horses that are roughly the same color while holding open 3 cards.

                                      I got accused of judging according to "politics" once. That was odd, to say the least. I was from a different state and it was a schooling show - I had no idea who anybody was! I couldn't have judged politically if I had wanted to.
                                      "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
                                      -George Morris


                                      • #20
                                        I judge. I pin what I like. Opinions --> *#*-holes, everyone has one. I personally, if given a choice would rather judge 10 brilliant trips than 10 miserable ones, it's just easier and more pleasant. Guess which one I see more of,lol.
                                        Judge bashing threads don't bother me,people like to vent and it's easier than studying in flaws in your own trip.. and heck I mutter and complain on occasion as well. Feel free to sit down sometime in the same spot all day and watch 40 trips for the same class..really good self notes are handy but even so occasionally numbers get jumbled and bay horses look too similar etc..

                                        also after you see the same people over and over and over thru the years.. you get pretty familiar with their strengths and weaknesses..so sometimes you have to remind yourself not to "prejudge" that they are going to do "that thing" yet again..or give them a point bump because, finally, they didn't do it.

                                        In any case, have your vent then get your butt outside and practice... have a buddy video your rides from different spots,
                                        watch it, learn something and keep reminding yourself.. you are probably doing this because you love horses,love to ride, know when you have a good trip (for you) no matter what the ribbon says.. and really it's a 50 cent ribbon... isn't your show photo a better memory?
                                        "The Desire to Win is worthless without the Desire to Prepare"

                                        It's a "KILT". If I wore something underneath, it would be a "SKIRT".