I was so excited to scribe at the big horse show today. All of the big names were scheduled to be there: George Williams, Cesar Parra, Christopher Hickey, Betsy Steiner, Kathy Adams, Ashley Holzer, and many more. Some of them were even going to be riding in the ring I was scribing for.
First disappointment, most of the big names scratched, so I wouldn’t see them ride up close and personal. I did get some time to watch the warm ups, which is always educational.
Second, the judge I scribed for was horrible. I’ve been scribing for many many years and have NEVER worked with a bad judge until today. She was distracted – eating breakfast during a couple of the early rides. She scored obvious mistakes higher than they deserved. For example, in a training level test, the horse cantered a stride at entrance at A and then again after the first halt at X (it should all be trot) and the judge gave an 8 (from my experience it should have been a 5 at most). She admitted she scored kids higher than they would have gotten had they been adults, and seemed to score professionals harder than amateurs. It was the first time I had ever been confused by a judges’ scoring because it was so inconsistent – the same mistake/success earned significantly different scores.
Usually I learn a ton from scribing. I get see the tests from the judges’ perspective, learning not only what they are looking for but how to best set my horse up for each movement. I’ve always found judges to be fair, honest, and out for the best interest of every horse and rider. Today, although it was useful to watch people ride through the different tests, especially the two I plan to show, I didn’t gain anything from the judge’s comments.
I’ve written to the show management about my concerns and will wait to see if they recommend sending in an evaluation of her to USDF/USEF. I don’t want to cause trouble for anyone but I thought her judging was disrespectful of the riders.
I will continue to volunteer to scribe. I love it, and highly recommend it for any dressage rider who shows. It’s not as hard as you think. You just need to be able to write fast. It’s invaluable education (usually) that you can’t get in a lesson or from reading a book. Really, if you show, you should volunteer for any job. You’ll learn a lot from just about every job. If you’re a runner you can read the tests that you just watched, or as a ring steward you get to see a lot of rides. Even as a scorer, you can read the tests and see what the judges are looking for. And…you will get a much greater appreciation for all of the hard work that goes into putting on a show. And believe me, it’s really hard work.