Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Narrator

One of the most important pieces of advice I'd like to give to parents and trainers who just cannot seem to keep themselves in check along the rail of a flat class....
Refrain from yelling change diagonals; change leads; sit a step; look up; smile; blah blah blah.....
The only thing yelling from the rail does, is point out to the judge (that's me), that your student or child is doing something wrong and I, the judge (that's me), should look to see what they are doing wrong.
This is my opinion and other judges may differ on opinion but for me (and many other judges), I will not count off for a wrong diagonal if it is changed within a stride or two. I will not count off for a wrong lead if it is immediately corrected unless I need a tie breaker for placings. I may write the back number down on wrong lead pick-ups in a canter/lope if they change directions and I want to see if they can 'cue' for the correct lead/the horse picks up the correct lead, but at a schooling show for sure, I may note it, but it doesn't mean I'll completely kick you out of the placings if you post on the wrong diagonal for a stride or two picking up the trot. It would have to be a dead heat with another rider in contention for placing for me to worry about a stride or two off the correct diagonal at the trot in an equitation class whether it's a medal or short stirrup division.
So my advice to trainers and/or parents yelling from the rail during a flat class.....

  • think twice about whether the rider needs your advice
  • remember this is a show (schooling or otherwise) and not a lesson
  • will your commands be heard by the rider or the judge? 
  • maybe this could be a good learning opportunity for the rider (short stirrup and the like division).
  • how much does my voice carry? 
  • will the world end if this rider does not win the blue? 
  • does the tri-color ribbon mean more than the lesson to be learned by the rider?
  • are you more obnoxious than an entry that makes the judge wait 10 minutes for your trainer to be done in the other ring? 
  • do wheaties get soggy in whole milk or skim milk? 
Yep, that last one will really tell you if your yelling, is just hurting your rider more than helping regardless of the type of show.... schooling show and/or rated show and/or breed show and/or any show. Schooling show just means it is a show that is not sanctioned by a higher governing body. It doesn't mean every (or any) class, is a 'lesson'. Yes, it's a learning tool but as the 'rail yeller', please ask yourself

  • does the judge need you narrating your riders mistakes?  
  •  are you helping that rider or just pointing out their mistakes to the judge? 
It's really not a big thing. It's a horse show; it's a ribbon; it's a title; it's series points; it's zone points; it's points towards an ROM or whatever; it's points towards a scholarship....it's what it is...a show. Let those students make mistakes and SHOW what they have learned. 
Safe rides and best of show to everyone!!!

1 comment:

  1. I could not agree more. I've seen this become the norm and it drives me nuts, plus points out to EVERYONE that something isn't right. Good post!


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.