I personally think I rode better than I did in my usual lessons, and was kinda surprised when I didn't place that well.
WAIT! I'm not complaining about my placing, I know that for my first show, I shouldn't expect first, second or even fifth place ribbons.
But, does the judge deduct points if your horse whinnies or neighs during the class? My mare was separated from her boyfriend, and wouldn't stop calling out. She was still listening, and was actually more responsive and active during the show. Just wouldn't stop neighing the whole time! My friend told me that sometimes judges don't like talkative horses, and I thought maybe that had something to do with my place. (But my friend is a farm guy, and doesn't know a lot about horses!)