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Spinoff: Best and worst judges you've ridden in front of

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  • Spinoff: Best and worst judges you've ridden in front of

    Yep, call it like it is. Just list names. You don't have to list details if you don't want to. Heck, the judge could have been having a VERY bad day or an awesome day.

    I just thought it would be interesting to see.

    In dressage, and solely based on my experiences and watching a horse show clear out due to the judging, I'm going with Tracey Lert as the worst judge. Her comments were just supercilious on my test. I know others hated her scoring. I didn't care. Everyone else left the show grounds so I was guaranteed a ribbon no matter what she thought of me. (Maybe she's improved, but this was what happened and she never came back to that area.)

    Best would have to have been Dr Max Gawyler. He wrote hysterical comments on my test when my horse had a meltdown and I was only a teenager and was ready to have a meltdown due to my horse. He was great! Dead on in the scores (yep, they were low), but wonderfully supportive in the comments he wrote and spoke when I finished my test.
    "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

  • #2
    When I lived in the West Coast, one of my favorite judges to ride under and a favorite to clinic under was John Charlebois. He is so funny and very honest. He also has great tips and methods, and is always there to tell you WHY he placed you low or high if you want to ask. LOVE HIM.

    At a couple local shows, I have ridden under some completed dimwhits it seems. Judges that don't know the difference between a jumper and a hunter it seems, but you pay to play.


    • #3
      Best: Hilda Gurney, Carter Bass, Laddie Andahazy.
      Piaffe Girl -- Dressage. Fashionably.


      • #4
        when I was a kid and riding in a lot of open shows we would get all kinds of judges, some great and some sucky. Once there was a judge who really favored paints, to the extent of placing a paint 2nd in a English Pleasure class when the horse was on the wrong lead the entire time in one direction. After that we just had a relaxing day, cause what was I gonna do, spray paint my POA?
        for more Joy then you can handle


        • #5
          Originally posted by dangerbunny View Post
          when I was a kid and riding in a lot of open shows we would get all kinds of judges, some great and some sucky. Once there was a judge who really favored paints, to the extent of placing a paint 2nd in a English Pleasure class when the horse was on the wrong lead the entire time in one direction. After that we just had a relaxing day, cause what was I gonna do, spray paint my POA?
          Same here, though I was an adult in open WTC huntseat classes. I always felt doomed when I'd see a judge wearing a cowboy hat instead of a baseball cap . Because when you get Western judges doing huntseat, *for some reason* the paints and head-hanging, four-beating QHs would place highly.

          Best compliment my TB and I ever got after one of these classes was when a stranger told me, "you were robbed."


          • #6
            Definitely seems like the local shows that do western in the morning and english in the afternoon or vice versa tend to be very hit or miss. When my daughter was little and just starting walk trot, ground poles classes it got to the point where we would start rooting for the pink ribbon because pink was our favorite color if we pulled in and the judge was wearing a cowboy hat. I didn't want her getting discouraged but I also didn't want her to learn to peanut roll with an english saddle like those judges tend to pin.
            McDowell Racing Stables

            Home Away From Home


            • #7
              My favorite judge to show under and to work with (I'm a starter) is Linda Andrisani. When I get a good score from her, I know to be very, very proud. I also really enjoy showing under Wayne Eubank. I've never shown under Karin Immerman, but having worked with her a few times and watched many classes she's judged, I'd like to.
              Last edited by Renn/aissance; Apr. 11, 2013, 10:39 PM.
              "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

              Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
              Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


              • #8
                Anyone in New England remember Ester Bird? She was tough!


                • #9
                  My favorite judges:

                  Arabian shows- Lori Conway. She took the time at the end of each class to go over her placings and why she placed the class that way during the lineup. In a one horse class, she had no issues with helping a rider school their horse. There was one class where multiple horses were very interested in going to the lineup, so she had the class announced on the rail and skipped the lineup. She also took the time to review correct usage of the double bridle during a saddleseat eq class. Every single class she judged was judged well, and if you were willing to listen, you learned a LOT.

                  I also love Saunya Bolton (AQHA/APHA) and how she judged open shows. She used my Morgans as much as she used the Quarters/Paints, and I felt the placings were very fair. Someone asked her about it, and she responded with, "Why on earth should I penalize a horse for conforming to their breed standard?" I have the greatest respect for her, both as a judge and trainer. When I ran into a bit of a situation at a show, she took over an hour of her time to help me through it, and teach me how to correctly handle the situation. She didn't have to do that, and even though it was over ten years ago now, I still have the deepest gratitude for it.
                  Proud member of the Snort and Blow Clique


                  • #10
                    I honestly can't remember the name of the judge (it was a local schooling show) and have no idea of she was favoring certain riders or just seriously missing mistakes, but when she placed a rider who went off course above a rider from the barn I'm from instead of excusing them/DQing them, I was .... well, astonished. Felt absolutely horrible for the rider I knew too. She had a lovely round!


                    • #11
                      I don't normally believe there's tons of politics or breed bias going on at open shows - my Arabian and I have won hunter pleasure and hunt seat eq. classes in front of western/stock-horse judges at open shows.

                      BUT I was at one open show with a very nice WP Arabian gelding. This horse had regional wins, a top ten at youth nationals, etc. He was going well that day, and we placed really poorly in our first class. I came out of the ring and someone came up to me and told me we should have won, but she said the judge turned his back on us every time we came by. I watched in the next class, and she was right. He just wouldn't even watch us.

                      I used to remember his name, because I didn't want to show with him again. It has been years ago, though, and I had stopped showing for several years and forgot who he was.
                      Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                      Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com


                      • #12
                        Carey Evans, a class act all the way.

                        In open and Arabian breed shows, Billy Harris, memorable as a little person with a semi-hunched back, who liked his horses Big and Black. At one regional open show, it was scarcely worth going in the ring if your horse wasn't black and big. Mine was a 15-hand chestnut, so...

                        Another open show being judged by a quarter horse man - I was giving a young Arabian stallion mileage, and he was very good in Western Pleasure. We didn't even place in the first class. Someone told me to show some cleavage with more open buttons, and a loose reins. Two buttons down and throwing the reins away, we won the next two classes!
                        "I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder."


                        • #13
                          Best are Laddie Andahazy and Roger and Judy Young in the 60's.

                          Worst was back in the late 70's and wasn't a judge but a scribe to the judge and the suspicion of very nasty comments she made to the judge. The scribe was a known gossip in the nastiest sense. I will not mention her by name but to this day, I will not give her the time of day. I do like her daughter though who lives in the area.

                          I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


                          • #14
                            I don't remember his name, but the best judge I ever rode under was the one who, on his way to the stand said (of my very green, very difficult mare) "You look terrified up there". I said "Yep, I am." He said, "Well you're riding her very well, keep on keeping on."

                            He pinned her well, and I appreciated that little nod to my very difficult ride.


                            • #15
                              Ann Marie Gregoire. Brutal.
                              "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


                              • #16
                                The judges I've liked the most have been the ones who've had a good sense of humor when my mare has had a "Morgan moment" or a whole sequence of them. I tend to start laughing when she gets goofy like that.

                                Also the ones who say we're a good match, even if she's been goofy, because we really are.

                                The ones I don't like are the ones who are dismissive.
                                You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                                • #17
                                  Best: Bill Solyntjies (after watching horse do a line of tempis on the diagonal in a 2nd level test, wrote "Horse likes changes. Time to move up!")

                                  Best: Sandy Howard (when a gun was fired on the neighboring property just as I started a canter lengthening on my OTTB, didn't mark me down for circling to get him back, saying "I don't think a circle is an unreasonable reaction to gunfire behind your horse.")

                                  Worst: Anita Owens (everyone at the show scored approx 10% lower than usual. Comments included "Horse and rider completely unsuited for this level" and "Horse would do better with a different rider." Not a single 3rd level AA broke 60%)


                                  • #18
                                    Best: Diane Rochau, she's brutally honest and fair. You don't get cute points no matter how young you are. Though she was laughing hysterically at the DD on the mini horse and did applaud when the test was over. Great comments from her as well.
                                    Pam Grace, she's kind and generous. She'll also take the time to help you out when you need it. She keeps track of the riders she sees and the horses and is always pleased to see progress in both. Her comments are always dead on too.
                                    Worst: I'll have to look her back up but she was a jump judge and last minute trade in for a schooling dressage show. She must have been bored with all the flat classes because no one got great points and the comments were redundant.
                                    Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                                    Originally Posted by alicen:
                                    What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.


                                    • #19
                                      My best was Jim Zulea (sp). It ended up being a smaller show and he opened up his judges cards to everyone.....it was great! I've had more good ones than bad over the years, but one terrible one stands out.

                                      A few yrs ago, we were at a large Gold show here in Calgary. I have no idea what this guys name was but if I saw him, I'd probably turn around and leave! The defining moment for me (which made me realize just how he refused to look at my little mare).

                                      We were in the undersaddle (Dolly was awesome at undersaddle and placed ahead of a top hunter in Brandon) and there were 7 of us in the class. While trotting around I was behind a horse that while amazing over fences moves like a bull dog undersaddle and generally doesn't do them. Trainer on the rail is telling a student what the judge is looking for, looks at Dolly and says "THAT is an undersaddle horse that one is not"! Wouldn't you know it everyone but me placed!

                                      Left the ring and another trainer comes up and said "what the hell is this judge looking for?" Turns out he also judged the CET class that night and royally screwed up in that too! Somehow I got the impression they wouldn't have him back!
                                      Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by SBrentnall View Post
                                        Best: Bill Solyntjies (after watching horse do a line of tempis on the diagonal in a 2nd level test, wrote "Horse likes changes. Time to move up!")
                                        I scribed for him in January, and absolutely loved his perspective on how he looked at rides. Very useful, important to moving up rather than just what was "pretty."

                                        Best judge because he completely changed how I looked at riding with his unnecessary but generous comments to me post-show was Scott Peterson. I hope he judges here again sometime when I'm showing and do well so I can thank him (after the show, with TD approval) for being generous with his time and giving me riding-life-changing advice.

                                        I wouldn't name worst judges here if I did know their names just because it seems like it's asking to have that judge to be the judge at a very important time.
                                        Originally posted by Silverbridge
                                        If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.