How are hunt seat classes judged? - Page 2
 
 

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How are hunt seat classes judged?

This is a discussion on How are hunt seat classes judged? within the Hunters and Hunter Seat Equitation forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Difference between american hunter classes and british
  • Schooling hunters are judged

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    02-18-2012, 09:56 PM
  #11
Banned
Maura, where is the codification of what is correct and what is not correct?

I've been through the USEF hunter rulebook and it is not there.

However you can go to the USEF dressage rulebook and find definitions for every movement you need to execute. And if more explanation is needed, see the FEI rulebook.
     
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    02-19-2012, 03:47 AM
  #12
Banned
Mildot,

I have competed in dressage and am familiar with the rulebook and the scoring rubrics. I have also attended "l" dressage judging clinics, and have listened to "R" judges teach prospective judges how to score movements, and there were often 2 full points difference in the score. (One person's 4 being another's 6.) So while dressage judging is codified, it is still subjective, way more subjective than say, a jumper or a western cow or speed event.

I am not saying that dressage and hunters and judged similiarly, they are not.

There are elements in both disciplines that are objective, and elements in both disciplines that are not.

I am emphatically refuting this statement -

Quote:
Anything "hunter" is judged completely subjectively. At least in dressage there is a standard for each movement and the judges are trained to that standard.

No such thing exists in hunterland.
There absolutely is a standard, and judges are absolutely trained to it. To say otherwise is simply ignorance, pure and simple, with a little discipline prejudice thrown in.

Every hunter judge understands and agrees what good form over a fence looks like, and what poor or unsafe form looks like. And there are *many* books on form over fences, not just the Anna Jane White-Mullen. All judges score getting 6 or 8 strides in a 7 stride line the same; though in a smaller show with less competition, the horse that adds a stride but does it safely and consistently may pin.

Subjectivity does come in when you're actually judging a class and you have to decide how to pin rounds scored close together but with different flaws - do you rate safe but uneven knees above or below drifting or slapping out? The better the competition, the less of that type of subjectivity is necessary. This is no different than lower level dressage judging, where you must decide how to score a horse that's obedient, and whose transitions happen at the letters but that never relaxes its back against the horse that moves correctly but breaks gait or has a disobedience.

If you attend a hunter classic or a derby, you'll note the format is to have 3 judges at different points in the arena and for them to post a numerical score immediately after the round. There are usually occassional discrepancies in scoring because of location - one judge sees an error the the others didn't, but there's usually no more than a 5 point variance out of 100 in the scoring, even less in top competition.

How do you think that is acheived, except by having a standard and having the judges trained to it? Do you think the judges all meet beforehand and collude and conspire on what the marks should be? Or that a horse can hang a leg, miss a distance or blow a change and still pin if the judges like him enough?
Cinder and With Grace like this.
     
    02-19-2012, 04:33 AM
  #13
Super Moderator
Quote:
Originally Posted by maura    
Remy, here you go -

And Hunters and Hunt Seat in general:

"Hunters over fences are judged on performance and soundness. Judges are looking for great jumping style, quality of both looks and movement, as well as willingness, manners, and suitability of horse and rider. The round over fences itself should be judged on evenness of pace, as well as consistency of distances. In over fences classes hunters are judged over fences that simulate fences found in the hunt field such as coops, walls, gates, etc. Some hunter classes over fences are what we call Handy Hunter classes. These classes emphasize tight turns, creative approaches, brilliance and pace. Hunters are also shown on the flat. These classes are called under saddle classes and are judged both directions at the walk, trot, canter, and sometimes the hand gallop. Movement, manners, and quality are judged at all gaits."
I still do not see how this can be classed as 'Hunters' All the tracks are not in the slightest bit like anything a horse would meet out (fox) hunting, nor following hounds would you expect to be moving so slowly!
A judge might be able to roughly assess a horses conformation when under the saddle but unless they actually stand in front and behind a horse when it is moving at walk and trot, then you cannot assess how well it actually moves (as in being straight in action or how close or wide it moves) Conformation should be assessed without a saddle on the horses back
In the UK showing is very very different. There are many classes of showing
For different types of horses.
A Working Hunter in the UK will be expected to walk trot and gallop in the arena all together. They will jump a course of natural fences individually, they will be stripped of the saddle and stood and run up in hand before the judge and then ridden by a judge. Points are awarded for conformation, jumping, performance and manners.

The thing that bugs me most about the US competitive riders is how they are taught the two point position and, especially the younger riders, all so far ahead of the movement and with their heels jammed down so far it is unnatural and causes stiffness. Anyone riding like this, following hounds would be falling off at the first fence and totally legless at the end of the day from trying to ram their heels down so far.
I have seen very few riders in these classes that would be safe following hounds on the horses they are riding.
Heck, it would be fun to see those horses fox hunting and just how balanced and even striding they were going into a fence!







     
    02-19-2012, 04:46 AM
  #14
Banned
Foxhunter,

Yes, American hunter showing is very different from UK hunter showing, and most contemporay American show hunters would not fare terribly well in the hunting field. The discipline has evolved a great deal from its original intent of judging horses suitable for a day out hunting and has become somthing else entirely.

Not much argument about braced heels or jumping ahead of the motion, either.

Though, back in the 80s, here in Central VA, many folks did hunt the same horse in fall and winter that they showed in the spring and summer. Not very common now, but it did and does happen. And skills taught for the hunter ring can still be very useful out in the hunt field.

However, please note that the title of this thread, and the OP's original question, was about how hunters are judged, not what people from other disciplines think of hunter showing in general.

If we had a separate forum where people could ask others to give their favorite discipline a good bashing, I suspect it would not be well frequented.
     
    04-20-2012, 01:35 PM
  #15
Green Broke
Maura, as usual, thanks for the very thorough and eye-opening information, I had been under some of the same assumptions about how Hunters are judged, coming from Eventing myself, and was getting very nervous for my first Hunter show next month! Now I feel much more prepared for what the judges will be looking for

And FoxHunter, to echo Maura, it is odd that it almost seems (to me anyway) that in the U.S., Eventing horses are more closely related to Fox Hunters these days! I will tell you that I'm going to give Hunters my all this summer, but I do enjoy a good Fox hunt in the fall and plan on still going on the hunt with my mare after show season is over!
     
    04-20-2012, 01:40 PM
  #16
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by maura    
mildot,

How do you think that is acheived, except by having a standard and having the judges trained to it? Do you think the judges all meet beforehand and collude and conspire on what the marks should be? Or that a horse can hang a leg, miss a distance or blow a change and still pin if the judges like him enough?
You know, I just thought of something that may (at least in part) be a contributing factor into why dressage is seen as a more "objective" sport than Hunters. In dressage, we're not all in the arena being judged at the same time - we go in, one at a time, and do our test. We're given a score and at the very end, if there is a tie in score, it's usually broken using the "collective marks" portion of the test which is a pretty subjective portion in my opinion...but the competitors still get a copy of their test and how they scored on each movement and in their collective marks.

In hunters everyone in the flat class goes in together, and if the judges need to break a tie, they do it there and then hand out the ribbons. The score cards are not handed out to the competitors (at least at the shows I've seen others attend anyway), so I think that leaves non-pinning competitors with the question "well why didn't I place?" and then because they may not understand, they just assume (and we all know what that make of "u" and "me" ) So that may PARTLY be why there is such a stigma that Hunter judges play favorites and are not objective in their scoring. And I would just say let's give out the score cards so everyone understands, but like you mentioned before, that's not really possible when they have so little time to score each competitor, especially in the flat classes.
     
    04-20-2012, 02:04 PM
  #17
Banned
You can ask to see the card at any show. Some judges will allow it, some won't. It's at the discretion of the show management and the judge.
Some will let you see them after the class, some only at the end of the day.

I encourage everyone to ask to see the cards. It's a big, big help to your riding and showing education. Particularly in an over fences class, where the trips are described in the judge's notation, and usually scored, the pinning becomes very clear.

Some judges are willing to explain their notation or speak to competitors, and if they are, I highly recommend that as well. Be respectful, and have a learning attitude, ie "What can I improve?" as opposed to "Why didn't I pin?" Rated shows require that you go through the show steward to either see the card or speak the judge, and that's a good practice at any show.

Some judges may be more comfortable speaking to the trainer or instructor rather the competitor.

But it's totally, completely worthwhile to figure out the best approach and get some feedback.

I only ever judged schooling and local shows, but I always allowed the cards to be viewed, and was willing to speak to polite and respectful competitors.
     
    04-30-2012, 01:20 PM
  #18
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhunter    
I still do not see how this can be classed as 'Hunters' All the tracks are not in the slightest bit like anything a horse would meet out (fox) hunting, nor following hounds would you expect to be moving so slowly!
A judge might be able to roughly assess a horses conformation when under the saddle but unless they actually stand in front and behind a horse when it is moving at walk and trot, then you cannot assess how well it actually moves (as in being straight in action or how close or wide it moves) Conformation should be assessed without a saddle on the horses back
In the UK showing is very very different. There are many classes of showing
For different types of horses.
A Working Hunter in the UK will be expected to walk trot and gallop in the arena all together. They will jump a course of natural fences individually, they will be stripped of the saddle and stood and run up in hand before the judge and then ridden by a judge. Points are awarded for conformation, jumping, performance and manners.

The thing that bugs me most about the US competitive riders is how they are taught the two point position and, especially the younger riders, all so far ahead of the movement and with their heels jammed down so far it is unnatural and causes stiffness. Anyone riding like this, following hounds would be falling off at the first fence and totally legless at the end of the day from trying to ram their heels down so far.
I have seen very few riders in these classes that would be safe following hounds on the horses they are riding.
Heck, it would be fun to see those horses fox hunting and just how balanced and even striding they were going into a fence!







I don't know about anyone else's experience, but in the PA 4-H program, after a class had finished with the jumping, the top 8 were called back into the ring, to be trotted in past the judge with saddle. Each horse entered individually. More often than not, you entered in at your pinning order, but there were times when the judge would change their final pinning based on what he/she saw during the trot out. I have had to do this several times, and not always for a 4-H show.
     
    04-30-2012, 02:23 PM
  #19
Banned
IB07,

Foxhunter comment's relate to the differences between British hunter showing and American hunter showing, as Foxhunter is British. They are very, very different.

There's no real equivelent in Britain to American equitation divisions, either - it's pretty much just stadium jumping.

As for jogging after over fences classes in US hunters, you are jogging for soundness. If a judge changes the order of pinning after the jog, it's because one of the horses called back appeared to be off. In a rated or recognized show, a horse off in the jog would be eliminated and everyone below them moves up a place. Perhaps in a 4-H show they just move to the bottom of the class rather be eliminated?

The only other class that fits the scenario you describe is a Conformation Hunter Over Fences. After the over fences portion, horses are called back in order of their placings to be judged on conformation. Confo usually accounts for 10 - 20% of the final score, and it should say so in the class description. Pinnings may change after the horses come back in to be judged for the confo or "strip" part of the class.

Not entirely sure of what the rules are for your 4-H division.
     
    04-30-2012, 02:45 PM
  #20
Foal
There are no specific rules about a trot out. It is stated that it is allowed. When I said that the pinnings change, you were right that if a horse is off, they are dropped from the placings. Rarely does that happen, but it does sometimes happen.
     

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