Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oops! Better late than never I hope!!

Oh my~! I have overlooked a question in the inbox. I must apologize for answering this late and I hope you won't hold it against me. I'm certainly not playing favorites with the email for sure!! LOL! The question.....
Hi, I have a question for you, not sure if you've already covered anything like this in your blog or not (I haven't read it since it started, I only started reading it recently), if you have feel free to ignore this and point me in that direction. I'm not an experienced shower by any means (I've been to one local schooling show, with a horse I'd only been riding for a couple months after I switched barns). So this question can probably be explained from my level of inexperience. At a show is it ok to talk to the judge? Ask them about your flaws, or what you did well, etc? After the class is over, of course. I know debate and horse showing are not comparable, but one thing I remember about going to debate tournaments (I was at tournaments almost every weekend as a high schooler... Never did very well, but that's beside the point) you could talk to the judge any time you wanted, whenever you happened to catch them, and ask them about the round they judged you in. You could even ask them if they thought you'd improved since they last judged you, and half the time they'd give you a critique at the end of the round without being asked for one. Now, being a shy person, it would probably never occur to me to walk up to the judge and ask their opinion. But at my one show (very small local schooling show, there were all of six entrants in my divisions, 2'3" hunters and 2'3" equitation, and the show placed 1-6) the judge actually walked up to ME and told me she just loved my horse and that if it hadn't been for the refusal I'd have placed very well in equitation over fences. That refusal brings up another question... When you have a refusal and you have to retake a fence, do you redo the whole line or just the one fence? In eventing it depended on whether the jumps were 1 and 2 or 1a and 1b. If they were 1a and 1b you redid both of them, if it was just 2, then you jumped two. My refusal was at the second fence of a bending line, and being unsure, I just redid the second one. Thanks!
1. How, when and should you, ask the judge a question. Well I did kind of answer that in the previous post but since you wouldn't know that (I apologize for overlooking again)..... yes, you should ask the judge a question if need be. Now something I really do not like when I show or when I judge, is for a show manager to ask me to do more than a short bit of critique in any class. If the judge carries on conversations in the ring, giving critique on every little thing, that is a clinic and not a show. I don't mind sharing some information but just quick notes that stand out to me. If you want to ask the judge something they have not made verbal note to you about, then approach your ring steward, show secretary, show manager, the gate person, anyone associated with the running of the show is probably fine. They should then ask the judge for a moment to speak to you or relay your question to the judge. The answer to your question may be on the judges' cards but sometimes they are illegible or the class was just too small or too large to take notes (barring individual performances such as over fences and patterns). My notes are mostly in short hand & not always translated in an obvious manner. I would recommend that you never approach the judge directly unless the judge addresses you first. This is because if you approach the judge, they may be in the middle of judging a class and not need the distraction. As a judge, you also want individual requests so that there is no misconception of bias by the other exhibitors. I also suggest you make your request in a timely manner. After seeing a few classes of bays and chestnuts, I may not remember your lovely Plain Jane with the banded mane and I may not have made written notes on my cards. I too, find that at hunter shows, everyone wearing a helmet and hunt coat, looks the same. When they approach after putting up their horse, shaking out their hair and changing into a pair of shorts & tshirt, I have no idea who they are even if they say they were wearing a taupe coat with a melon ratcatcher riding a dark bay gelding. It's not a fashion show, therefore I don't really notice the outfits. You can even cover yourself in swarovski crystals and own a solid silver saddle and unless it blinded me, I would not take note. I hope after all this rambling that answers the question of how, when and should you speak with the judge. On to another matter.... when to jump the whole line again or just the refusal fence as related to hunters and hunter equitation courses. If the element is an 'in and out' which is one to two strides in length, of course, you have to jump the element again as it is considered one element and would be designated as an 'a' & 'b' fence with the same number. In a combination, faults are considered seperately but in case of a refusal, you do have the right to rejump the obstacle previous to the obstacle refused. Of course, you run the risk of taking the previous obstacle again and getting a less than desirable jump which puts you into the second obstacle awkwardly (NOTE: If you take the previous fence and then the refusal fence, the previous fence will not be scored again). I personally would take a huge liberty circle and come back to approach the refused obstacle as straight on as possible. Case in point...let's say there's a five stride vertical to oxer. Your vertical comes off very nice but your horse puts the brakes on for the oxer. Although much prettier to take the vertical and float into and over the oxer, it is not a guarentee that it will be the best approach to the oxer. If you gather your horse and prepare yourself, circle towards the inside of the ring, going around inside fences if you have to and roll out as close to the inside of the vertical as possible. Leg yield into the line and use seat, leg and artificial aids (crops, bats, spurs, etc) to take the oxer. I hope that answers your question and if there is need for any clarification, please do not hesitate to ask. Don't be shy! The more you show, the more you know, the less shy you'll become all around!


  1. I apologize for the formatting of this last post. I don't know why but it is not accepting the breaks, paragraphs, etc. Maybe it will soon which will make you puzzled about this comment! LOL!

  2. Nope, makes sense! I don't know when/if I'll get a chance to show again, but definitely things to keep in mind.

  3. In reference to asking judges about your flaws during a run... I'm heavily involved in the Reining world and I have noticed ( and I do this to) that at the end of my run, a lot of Reiners ask the judge what to improve on. I find this very helpful because when I'm doing my run, I can't always tell where my horse is going wrong sometimes so the judge telling me where I can improve helps a lot and makes me aware of what to practise on for my next show.


I am just one judge with one judge's opinion. Almost all of the classes I judge are based on the rules of USEF & AQHA. Judging a horse show is very subjective to the interpretation of the rules. Please keep this in mind when commenting.