Sunday, June 19, 2011

Yesterday's Show

I've been out & about most of today, the rain has finally cleared so I thought I'd better take advantage of it.

The show yesterday was.... interesting. It was put on by a breed association so I knew there would be a breed judge but even so, I wasn't really pleased with the judging. I guess that's what it's all about though, paying for someone else's opinion and sometimes opinions differ.

Brigit and I still did well considering she was being a huge BUTT. She was super hot & spooky during warm up and nearly pulled my arms off through ever class. We did the english pleasure sidesaddle (to many people's shock & question "Are you ALLOWED to do that?") and got 5th, which I think is about right seeing that Brigit was pulling as hard as she was. We switched to our astride saddle and got 2nd in english equitation, 2nd in show hack, 1st in the command class and a 4th in a fun class. I have no issues with my placings so perhaps I should shut up....

BUT.... I brought one of my students to the show with me and since last weekend's show, she's improved immensely. However, I think the cards were stacked against her riding a draft X at a breed show. She didn't place in ONE class, I was so disappointed for her. Several other english instructors that I know were at the show and none of us could figure out what he was placing & why; other than anything that went like a WP horse placed higher.

Now I know that the show was put on by a breed association but when you extend an invitation "other" breeds to come to your show, it should be judged to the description of the class, not the breed standard. Otherwise people like myself won't attend again. ie English classes should be forward moving and should look different than western class, in my humble opinion of course. A horse that carries itself in a gorgeous, more upright frame and doesn't put a foot wrong *should* place higher than something that is dragging it's face on the ground. (There was a girl riding a gorgeous horse with dressage background that didn't even place in english pleasure and really should have, gorgeous little horse!)

Now onto my HUGEST pet peeve. Equitation classes judged soley on a pattern. I like patterns, I do, I see their purpose and it can really separate the riders from the rest. If a rider has a perfect pattern and nails all of their transitions where they should be, and looks good doing it they should win, right? What if they happen to go on the wrong side of ONE cone? Oh right, they're disqualified. I think it's beyond ridiculous to disqualify (especially JUNIOR) riders based on what side of the cone they pass a cone. Eq patterns should be judged on a rider's position, correct aids, quality of circles, pace, correct diagonals & leads and quality transitions; THAT is what good eq is all about. This judge dq'd 2 junior riders (one of which imho should have gotten 2nd or 3rd based on equitation & quality of her pattern elements) for going on the wrong side of a cone and refused to give out 5th & 6th place ribbons in the class.

It shouldn't matter if you pass the cone on the right or left side if you get your transitions where they should be and complete all elements of said pattern.

I *get* that it is THE rule, but I think it's a dumb rule. Staying on the right or left side of a stupid pylon is not what equitation is all about. You want a riding pattern, then having a riding pattern class. Urgh.

Anyways.... I'll bite my tongue now.


  1. Yes, judging certainly can be ridiculous, and I also hate seeing horses going around with their heads down to their knees. Your description of the entries and placings sounds exactly like a couple of shows that Bruce and I photograph occasionally. Since I'm not competing I don't have a stake in the outcome yet I still find myself outraged at what I see. A mistake in the pattern means that, all things being equal, that particular rider places lower...but only if the riders are so closely matched in skill that there is no other way to rank them. When I've judged I've been less concerned about mistakes a rider makes than how she handles or rectifies that mistake.
    For some reason, I become more outraged when kids are involved rather than adults or professionals.
    No need for tongue biting; the ISBA encourages such tirades.

  2. I agree, I really don't care when it comes to me or other adults showing but when a judge is being like that when it comes to kids, it's just not ok in my books. It's a real lazy way to place people on their pattern vs. actually watching them RIDE. Ah well.