Is This Fair? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 04-19-2010, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Is This Fair?

I went to a show yesterday and my horse was amazing, compared to how he used to act during dressage in events last year. This test is the 2010 Beginner Novice A test, and I was thoroughly disappointed with my score. I got a 43.0 on the test, and I don't understand why. The test given back to me had all 6's and 3 5's on every move. Is this what I really deserved, or do you think the judge was too harsh on it?
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post #2 of 27 Old 04-19-2010, 07:37 PM
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Well, I'm no Dressage Judge. I think Spyder would be more suitable for evaluating your dressage test and beable to give you more information than I could.

I do see you focused on a headset though, instead of allowing your horse to move forward and underhimself. I see short steps in his stride and a horse being compacted in, instead of being permitted to move forward and fluid.

Other than that, I see a nice ride.


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post #3 of 27 Old 04-19-2010, 07:45 PM
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Im no dressage judge, but your suppleling way to much,notice your horses head moving back and forth? your hands are doing that to him. instead of suppleing his head down, hold your hands still and push him into your hands with your legs, and supple a little bit when he falls onto his front end.i only watched the start because i am short on ime, but it didnt look that bad. cute horse :)

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post #4 of 27 Old 04-19-2010, 07:46 PM
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I see alot of nose wagging in the first half. And like MIEventer said, a horse that needs to move forward more, especially at the canter.

Other than that, it's a steady test.

He's a pretty boy :)

Mom to 3 bays: Beau, Daisy & Cavalina
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post #5 of 27 Old 04-19-2010, 08:00 PM
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One thing I have to mention right off the bat is I see his head swinging left-right-left-right continually. This usually comes from hands see-sawing the bit to get a headset, and it is a pain in the butt to correct. Unfortunately a horse with a beautiful blaze like your horse's is going to attract the judge's eye, and perhaps they noticed the wiggling right off the bat and marked weighing heavily on that. My eye is very distracted by that alone. As MIE pointed out, the horse is heavy on his forehand, and needs to rock back on its hindquarter (keep in mind that once the horse is working in a correct frame through his body his head will stay in the correct place.)
You look like you have a fantastic start though, and the right trainer will bring you along and teach you correct frame and get that lovely horse to really work through himself properly.

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post #6 of 27 Old 04-19-2010, 08:15 PM
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I just did the same test with basically the same results. 5's & 6's with just one 8 on the initial entry move. I got a 40.5. When I look at both or our videos, I see an average lack-luster performance. Your horse looked about the same as mine, doing all the moves, but no real wow factor. The free walk wasn't there which is a double score which hurts. Like my trainer told me, since it was all 5's & 6's, at least it was consistent and it all can be improved. I couldn't help noticing the horse in the next ring in your video. If you look at the working trot down the long side where you are side by side with the other horse, look at the extra freedom, stretch and impulsion of the other horse. I bet that horse got a 7 or 8 for that trot. Somewhat unrelated, I've noticed that it's very hard to break 40 in the northeast. I've seen a lot of tests in other parts of the country where horse's break gaits or completely miss transitions and still score a 35. It drives me nuts!

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #7 of 27 Old 04-19-2010, 08:20 PM
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You're off to a good start, but now you need to educate yourself about correct dressage training. You're riding the front of your horse rather than the back - in the canter especially, he is lacking in impulsion completely. Eventing dressage judges look at the impulsion a LOT, because it is so, so important throughout the other two phases. You need to forget about headset right now, and spend the time working on a slack rein, encouraging forward motion, and allowing your horse to figure out how to bring his hind end underneath himself. A round outline will come in time, but it's detrimental to force it with see-sawing hands.
I've found, if you approach them when they're not busy, that most judges are really nice about explaining where you can improve. Tests are a great learning opportunity!  907
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post #8 of 27 Old 04-19-2010, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by EventingIsLovee View Post
I went to a show yesterday and my horse was amazing, compared to how he used to act during dressage in events last year. This test is the 2010 Beginner Novice A test, and I was thoroughly disappointed with my score. I got a 43.0 on the test, and I don't understand why. The test given back to me had all 6's and 3 5's on every move. Is this what I really deserved, or do you think the judge was too harsh on it?
YouTube - GPC 2010 Dressage
The judge made a good call, in fact was a little generous.
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post #9 of 27 Old 04-19-2010, 09:53 PM
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Good on the judge. Over here it really irritates me that judges will hand out 70+% to riders who ride off the horses head, because they're 'junior' or 'unofficial'.

When a judge gives you low marks, don't go off and have a cry about it and say it's not fair the judge has no idea what they're talking about then go home and keep doing what you're doing and never get any better.
If they give you a low score, look through the test paper, read the comments that the judge has given you and see where you can improve. A test puts you under a lot of pressure so all your flaws will be likely to show. You'll get a good idea of what you need to work on from competition. Compete to train, don't train to compete.

I would be interested to hear what comments the judge gave you for this test. It is ok, your horse goes around with its head down and goes from A to B in a fairly straight line. It's alright. But it's not a test that is going to stand out and pick up the higher marks.

To get a better score next time, you really to concentrate on getting your horse working from the backend up into the bridle. Quit the silly head wiggling see-sawing action, that does nothing but distract the judge and probably make your horse dizzy!! Ride forwards into a steady hand, learn to use an outside rein and how to ride into it. If your instructor doesn't teach this, then find a new one if you want to better your chances of placing. Look in the dressage section of this forum. There are hundreds of topics in there with some great advice that will benefit you.

You say he's improved greatly since last season. Well it's good that he's not spitting the dummy in the arena if that's what you're referring to. But don't expect the judges to mark on the improvement in behaviour, they mark what is put in front of them. And in your case they saw a horse that was being ridden by its head. That is not going to mark well.

Also work on your position to help you gain marks. In canter your arms/elbows flap around all over the place. Concentrate on lifting your chest, allowing your elbows to rest at your sides and keep your lower arm steady to help encourage your horse to work into the bridle. At the moment he can't take a contact on the bit in canter because when he does he gets smacked in the mouth every stride.

Free walk is double marks as MyBoyPuck said above. In the free walk the ears should be level with, or ideally lower than the wither. A clear 4 beat march being encouraged by you moving your elbows in time with the movement of his head. You can encourage the lowering of the head in a free walk by opening your reins out a little while in a test to help you along a little. Make sure you keep a light contact, the free walk does not mean drop your reins.

Keep practicing you're off to a good start. Just don't get shirty with the judges because they didn't give you a blue ribbon when you thought you should get one. Step back and compare the video to the papers they gave back to you and you will see a connection. Try not to look at your test through rose coloured glasses, thinking you are the best and doing it all perfectly is not going to help you improve.
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post #10 of 27 Old 04-19-2010, 10:02 PM
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I agree with Kayty and Spyder. The judge may have even been a bit generous with that score. The horse's head was wagging the whole time (not helped by his markings, makes him more noticeable though they are beautiful) and the test itself was just ok.

When my mare did her first HT in 2008, we got a 39 on our test. Did I think we deserved a better score? Hell yes. But I didn't go complain about it because the horse had improved by miles since our last show.

Just focus on improving your horse, not what score you get. In an eventing world that is now handing out 16.5's at Chattahooche Hills, not all of us can be "up to par".

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