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What are hunter jumper judges look for?

This is a discussion on What are hunter jumper judges look for? within the Hunters and Hunter Seat Equitation forums, part of the English Riding category
  • What people look for in hunter jumper classes
  • What are jumper judges looking for

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    04-04-2011, 01:50 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Alwaysbehind    
The judges do not know who is a member and who paid the non-member fee for that show....

I know biases (and more likely poor judging) can happen, but I think people would be surprised if they ever saw a copy of the judge's cards.

I attended a judge's clinic once where during a mock flat class the judge pulled one of the riders aside and asked him to "accidently" drop a stirrup in one corner of the ring by the judge and very discreetly pick it back up. Having the best eq in the class everyone participating in the clinic was shocked that he didn't win it. The judge asked if anyone else noticed that the kid had dropped a stirrup. Because of where he was on the rail no one saw it. You don't REALLY know what the judge was thinking/saw unless you talk with them or read their cards.

Also, I know a judge who was judging a particularly bad class where the kid had some major fault. The judge was CRINGING to have the rider win the class but was unfortunately the best out of the group. The kid went around thinking that fault was completely ok when in reality it was just a tad better then the other major faults the rest of the group had.

IMO, regardless of level of the show you ride as if riding at the top. Follow the rules and find out what the judges want!
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    04-04-2011, 01:56 PM
Good post, Up.
    04-04-2011, 02:06 PM
To be technical, it doesn't matter which lead you're on *going to the fence*; it matters very much what lead you're on when you go around the turn.

I have never, ever heard of a recommendation to ask for a change three strides after a jump, though techincally, any change that occurs after the fence and before you change bend as you approach the rail is correct.

If you are judging an unrated local schooling or green class, particulary if the entries are light, the judge has to exercise some discretion in pinning. If NO ONE in the class gets 8 spots and correct leads from a steady relaxed pace jumping in good form, the judge has some decisions to make - pin a horse with simple changes who jumps in tidy good form or pin one that didn't make the striding but that landed on the correct leads?

Finally, if you really want to know what judges are looking for, I *highly* recommend going the the USEF website and downloading the rule book. It's free, you don't even have to be a member. That resource, and Anna-Jane White Mullen's book, should give you the definitive answers.

ETA: Thank you, upnover. I think judging clinics, where you review score cards and explain judges notation and scoring, are a wonderful learning resource. You're right, frequently the judges aren't looking at what the riders think they're looking at.
    04-18-2011, 01:00 PM
What is the judge looking for?
To place in the hunter ring, the competitor must:
1. Meet 8 jumps correctly (no falls, refusals, or knockdowns)
2. Have good form (knees up, round bascule and use himself properly)
3. Have good movement

This is in a perfect world. Then there are leads.

As upnover says... breaking stride is an automatic 50. It is considers a performance issue. If a horse is unwilling to go forward and therefore breaks it is scored a 50. So a switching of leads without breaking into a trot is required. Flying lead changes are preferred.
Wrong lead is better than breaking to a trot. Consider yourself lucky to have a horse that automatically changes.

A straight comfortable back is preferred over an over exagerated hollow back. If something is causing you pain and pinching a nerve ... don't do it. In a hunter class the horses form and style is being judged not your position.

For more help on this What the judge is looking for video there is one for hunters and one for position.

arched back, hunter jumper, judges, lead changes

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