Test sheet de-mystifying

ownedbyaconnie

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3 October 2018
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Thought I’d make a thread for people to post vague comments they’ve received and we can give our thoughts on how we interpret it.

Mine is “a well matched partnership”. Does this mean I’m a suitable size/shape/temperament? That if I was a horse I’d also be a dirty, fluffy, stubborn native?

(Yes that is a poo stain under my foot, I did try and wash it off but she’s an unrugged unclipped connemara with a penchant for making a poo mattress to sleep on)
FE1AD19E-4D5A-4180-8DFD-EE313E02554F.jpeg
 

MissTyc

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I think you look lovely together! If you presented a harmonious test, then I would interpret your comment as being a pleasant test to watch with good synchronicity between horse and rider.


Last weekend I got one that just said "not correct". Unfortunately because of Covid I didn't get the sheet on the day, so I have no idea what wasn't correct. The test? Me? Horse? All of the above?

I also recently got "horse not ready for this level" for a horse that I compete regularly at that level including at national BRC champs, frequently placed top 3 in big classes, several wins in the 75+ range, and also starting to be quite competitive one level up. I thought it was a bit of a sweeping generalisation based on whatever the judge saw on the day (made me feel I must have limped along on the forehand with one rein tangled around his knee and my helmet on backwards or something).
 

Bernster

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That does seem a bit harsh MT. I think it would be more helpful to just comment on what’s in front of you rather than speculate about stuff outside of the test.

Your post did tickle me OP. Greys are the worst but they do look smart underneath the poo pillows. I haven’t been out for ages but we used to get comments about our partnership and I def take that as a compliment!
 

ownedbyaconnie

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That seems a very harsh sweeping statement MT. Just goes to show how subjective dressage judging can be. My very first test where we were wobbling all over the place in intro and barely got a canter on one rein in the prelim got us higher marks than another day where I was so much straighter, relaxed and got a decent canter on both reins!

Thank you Bernster, there is the one day a year where her summer coat has come through, she’s had a decent bath, the fields aren’t yet that dusty mud and she sparkles. Then there’s the other 364 where she looks like a pit pony. But she is photogenic even under all that poo/dirt ❤️

We’ve had a lot of issues with teeth and a lack of schooling so this picture means the world to me and our first sheet that makes no mention of tension or avoiding contact. Just looking for more suppleness over back which is a fair comment.
 

smiggy

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A friend once got, just needs to improve general way of going !
pretty much covers all bases right there !
i particularly appreciate the “ needs to be more forward” variety of comment when my pony has backed off my leg and having pony club kicked round the test, I finally collapse in a red faced heap. No shit Sherlock 🤣🤣
 

Velcrobum

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Ok experienced writer and trainee dressage judge hat on. BD are very "strict" about what you can put on a sheet. Sadly it seems PC gone mad ,you are not allowed to teach ie some one who's hands are all over the place you are not allowed to say the obvious like keep hands steadier for better contact. Someone who is slumped forwards would be helped by "sit up straighter to help horse off forehand", you have to say on forehand or not from behind. Some of the older higher up judges are not afraid to put properly helpful "teaching" comments. You also are expected to start the comments with a positive comment which sometimes can be a challenge!!Sadly in this day and age where sheets regularly get posted on FB or other social media platforms judges get publicly torn apart and people are very quick to complain to BD. Tactfully ridden acknowledges the Judge has sympathy with someone sitting on a psycho/ unexploded bomb... better than saying tense today.
I have attended many judge training sessions and it is demoralising trying to produce a helpful sheet with a limited vocabulary.........
I have decided to keep training for my education as I have to pay for it but I am not going to take the exams but will continue to write.

OP Well matched partnership means just that - you look good together, you were not arguing with each other and it was a nice "picture" to see. It was a compliment!!
 

ownedbyaconnie

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Ok experienced writer and trainee dressage judge hat on. BD are very "strict" about what you can put on a sheet. Sadly it seems PC gone mad ,you are not allowed to teach ie some one who's hands are all over the place you are not allowed to say the obvious like keep hands steadier for better contact. Someone who is slumped forwards would be helped by "sit up straighter to help horse off forehand", you have to say on forehand or not from behind. Some of the older higher up judges are not afraid to put properly helpful "teaching" comments. You also are expected to start the comments with a positive comment which sometimes can be a challenge!!Sadly in this day and age where sheets regularly get posted on FB or other social media platforms judges get publicly torn apart and people are very quick to complain to BD. Tactfully ridden acknowledges the Judge has sympathy with someone sitting on a psycho/ unexploded bomb... better than saying tense today.
I have attended many judge training sessions and it is demoralising trying to produce a helpful sheet with a limited vocabulary.........
I have decided to keep training for my education as I have to pay for it but I am not going to take the exams but will continue to write.

OP Well matched partnership means just that - you look good together, you were not arguing with each other and it was a nice "picture" to see. It was a compliment!!
That’s a shame about the teaching comments and what you can/can’t say! This is precisely why I enjoy going to dressage, to see if a non biased outsider with no prior knowledge of Rosie’s head issues, schooling etc has a similar view as my instructor and me. I love constructive criticism as long as there is one glimmer of hope comment in there somewhere 😂. But I can see how some would be straight to fb to complain.
 

criso

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My last horse was a psycho and I regularly got "tactfully ridden" which I think was the judge saying I'm glad you survived!
I get that and quietly ridden alot. Horse isn't a psycho but is spooky and sensitive.
My most useful comment was about accuracy, the judge put something very direct in the comments about how many marks i had lost just by not being accurate - egg shaped circles etc. It hit home in a good way and it was something i could address and improve on instantly.
 

BronsonNutter

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My favourite was getting 'tense again' for a 3-loop serpentine that I never performed. I mean, if I had done it, I'm sure it would have been tense also (given that was literally the only word written on my test sheet, for every movement, that day).

Also enjoy a good 'well sat' but thankfully haven't had one of those in a long time!
 

HufflyPuffly

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The only comment I’ve not understood in relation to the mark, was an accurate comment of ‘exploded into canter’ but a mark of 7???

I generally understand otherwise 😂🤣.
 

shortstuff99

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The only comment I’ve not understood in relation to the mark, was an accurate comment of ‘exploded into canter’ but a mark of 7???

I generally understand otherwise 😂🤣.
In that same vein I once had 'nice square halt 5' but on a different test 'no medium 7' 🤣
 

Bob notacob

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Had a "test halted for safety reasons".OK , Bob chasing the photographer up onto a plinth was a bit uncalled for .As too was the attempted "pitch invasion" of the next arena. But I was safe ontop of the beast from hell ,as too was the judge ,up in a box. Surely no reason to end a test !!
 

spookypony

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Some of these are brilliant! I know that winter is coming when my 15hh mare gets referred to as a "pony" (she gets very fluffy and isn't clipped), and when she magically becomes a gelding (her posh name includes not one, but TWO feminine first names, so one would think it's obvious, even when fluffy...). I figure "sweet pony" means "mare bimbled along and judge couldn't think of anything else positive to say".
 

Bernster

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Another one disappointed that you can’t put teaching comments in. Shame but yes I understand that it may get taken the wrong way if eg a riders ins has them with their hands skyward etc.
 

tatty_v

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I once got “what a shame your pony was so inattentive to your aids today”, which was actually in my view a really nice comment (combined with a higher rider score!) Pony was in a filthy mood and was being really rude, so I appreciated that the judge could see I was trying to ride the test correctly even if he wasn’t!

We also often get a comedy comment regarding his name (Spook) and the usual lack of spooking, but they always make me smile 😊
 

eggs

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I've had my fair share of 'tactfully ridden' and 'well sat' together with 'lovely flying change - shame it is not required at Prelim'.
I recently took my 15 year old out for the first time to do some Novice tests (he is working Inter 1 at home but is definitely not a flash mover) and got 'lovely horse who will get better marks when he is more established at this level'
 

Dyllymoo

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I got one when my horse stopped dead trotting across the diagonal, span and reared and tried to bronc me off. I bought him back, walked him on and got a bit lost so restarted where we needed to. Judge put something about recovering well from "young horse moment"... my horse was 13!
 

silv

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OP Well matched partnership means just that - you look good together, you were not arguing with each other and it was a nice "picture" to see. It was a compliment!![/QUOTE]

I frequently judge unaffiliated first level tests and often use that phrase, it is a compliment, I also use "a promising combination" for people who are just starting out and doing all the right things, always nice to be encouraging. We are not there to give riding lessons, but it can be frustrating when you cannot comment on someone's terrible hands etc.
 

Cowpony

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I got a very scathing "Learn to ride proper circles!" in a regional final once :oops:. Mare was spooky and over-excited, focusing on anything but me at a busy new venue in very high winds, and I was doing my best to contain her....um......enthusiasm. Neither of the other judges (in cars) mentioned the shape of the circles (there was plenty of other stuff to comment on!) but the judge at E was in a high elevated box. I know they've got to judge what they see, but I did feel slightly miffed that if she'd been at ground level she probably wouldn't have been quite as picky because the circles wouldn't have looked so bad. I'm sure we would still have come last though! :D

I also get "willing horse" quite often, which I interpret as meaning "if only the rider's aids were clear enough for the poor horse to know what she actually wants".
 
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Cowpony

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In that same vein I once had 'nice square halt 5' but on a different test 'no medium 7' 🤣
Having written for judges in UA competitions, it's quite easy to get the wrong mark against the wrong comment. The judge normally tells you if they will give the mark first or the comment first for each movement, but inevitably they do it the other way round sometimes, or get so caught up in what's going on that they forget to give you a mark at all. Sometimes they give the comment but need to think a bit about the mark, but they still need to judge the next movement so they go back to the unmarked one when the test has finished. It can get very confusing!
 
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