"Basically the way a dressage test is laid out for scoring purposes each required movement gets ascore. In other words if you are to make a 20 meter circle in trot at C that is all placed in 1 box on the test score sheet and ONLY that movement receives a score - not the trot leading up to the 20 meter circle, not what happens afterward, ONLY the circle counts. Sort of like in jumpers - nothing matters except the fence itself."
This is not quite true. The way the dressage test is divided up, every stride, from "Enter at A" to the final "Halt at X" is included in at least one scored movement. At second level and above, sometimes there are two scored boxes for the same figure- one just for the transitions.
If "freshness" results in going above or behind the bit, or in any way not being "on the aids" it will affect the general impressions for submission. Dressage horses do not have to be calm, necessarily, but they DO have to be attentive.
chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).
Good points pwynn about how a hunter is judged -- manners and way of going may be affected by lots of things including ear plugs. And luckyduck, the way you describe your use of ear plugs, sounds pretty okay to me. I think easing young horses into scary situations may require extra help to give them a change to get used to things. Pwynn, luckyduck and others -- What can we do so hunters, especially young horses, are NOT condemned for actually behaving like living creatures?
I agree that at the top levels, a hunter cannot even lash his tail or raise his head or he will be penalized. Which may be why some people resort to cruel, less than ethical methods to get the perfect round. I go with ear plugs, and have to admit I have had great days without them, and horrible days with them, so I am not sure exactly how well they work on my horse. HOwever, I always thought they were allowed, and will discontinue to use them if the AHSA states they are not.
Also, it is difficult to compare a dressage test to a hunter round over fences. A dressage rider rides in a balanced seat, and really has the horse right up underneath them at all times, allowing them more precise control. And the horses are usually in the same frame throughout the test ( I know there are exceptions). Whereas a hunter is usually ridden from a lighter 2 point seat, longer frame, and is asked to launch themselves and the rider through the air 8+ times during the round, landing and cantering on as if nothing happened. It is kind of like comparing apples and oranges. And if you have 10 nice horses who put in very good rounds, you have to nit pick somewhere.
As the owner of a horse whose personality come through in the show ring, I wish that the judging criteria could be changed. I ,too , long for the days of outside courses & handy hunter classes.I just wonder if I would now pe penalized for putting 18 stridesin a line on the outside course instead of 20. And ,no, it would not be from extreme speed. my horse has an obscenely long stride- Luckyduck & Ben & Me could attest to that! I have t WHOA down ALL the lines, even going at a slow canter. Fortunately, Seinfeld also has a very elastic stride-compliments of 3 hard years of gymnastis & flatwork. I can say, though, that our rounds would be much more flowing if it were OK to do 7 instead of 8 strides. It would be beautiful- and safe. As far as earplugs go- I use them on some & not on others . I have 2 that thought boogers were going to sneak up on them & they could not hear them. Oh, well. Seinfeld may look funny at a crooked flower box, but could care less if a bomb went off under him. Most of the others are just the opposite. Nothing will change with the prepping of horses until the judging changes. So, don't hold your breath. BTW, I own a tack shop & we always ell out of all the types of earplugs, and calming supplements. Thank you , judges. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
An Ear Stuffer does nothing to make the horse perform in any way different, except that it dulls the noises that may interfere with his way of going. This is not "artificializing" anything about the horses natural style. Hunters and jumpers have to compete in very artificial settings, Downtown Washington ,Manhattan ,collesiums,and bleachers full of spectators who do not realize their noise or distracting behavior can effect a horse as he comes up to a triple combination only feet away from them. I have seen many horses that have there ears stuffed not even flinch as the wind blows down a jump next to the one they are about to jump or bat an eye as a dog runs across the ring in front of them, obviously these horses are suitable and well mannered, but loud "unseen" noises and echoes can effect a horses differently then "spooky" things they can actually see. Horses do get used to things and we all want well mannered horses that are a pleasure to ride without an abundance of artificial aids, but these little cotton stuffers should not cause such an uproar.
Like luckyduck, I have a horse that came from the track. A YEAR after her last race, she is still exhibiting some of the ill effects of 4 years at the track. I stuff her ears because she is very sensitive about horses coming up behind her. She thinks: horses coming up behind me = I am being caught up with = jockey is going to whip me! The first month I had her, I can't even tell you how many times she darn near shot out from underneath me!! Stuffing her ears has made such a big difference in her behavior and maybe some day she will be able to go without them, but for right now I see NO problem with stuffing her ears! If "earbunnies" will help her have a positive experience at a horse show then I plan to use them.
To the dressage people who think this is such a *gasp* horrible practice, have you ever been to an A3 horse show??? It is not unusual for four rings to be running side by side at the same time! Which means, a jumper 30 feet away could pull a rail in the combination while your hunter is supposed to be cantering softly down a line like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth!!! You have to warm up in tiny, crowded schooling areas, loud speakers are crackling, trailers coming and going etc. It is very chaotic and can be daunting for even the most seasoned horse. Stuffing a horses ears merely deadens the sound, trust me, they can still hear.
I guess at the end of the day, it all comes back to how the hunters are judged. If small displays of exuberance will continue to be penalized, then people will keep doing what they have to do to make their horses win. All I know is that a "true" hunter that is overly tired is a danger in the field. When I go foxhunting in Ireland, it is not unusual to change horses 2 or 3 times a day!! A common piece of advice heard out hunting is, "keep his head up, he is getting tired"! Or "keep a hold of his head until you can get a fresh horse". A horse cantering around with his head dragging on the ground is not something that I want to ride in the ring or in the field. Just my opinion........
The government is best which governs least.
-Henry David Thoreau
luckyduck, you have very legitimate points and concerns re: showing hot-off-the-track TBs. Which, basically, are the same as mine. I guess our differences lay in the fact that when I was training, I never was involved (by choice) in buying HOTT TBs. I understand that trainers are often stuck between a rock and a hard place - either financially needing to get newbies out and sold or to please owners. My methods would be exactly as yours - only I would try to recreate show atmosphere at home and then, when taking to a show, stick to "getting accustomed" to the grounds until the horse relaxed and was comfortable without such things as earbunnies... which creates additional costs.... which is why I never bought HOTT TBs that I needed to turn over quickly.....
I don't know what the answer is - and I'm very glad that I'm behind a camera now, instead of in the midst of all this!
How on earth can you recreate a show atmoshphere at home! I would love to see someone try to recreate Ocala at their barn an entire area of shops, car and trailer dealers, 8 rings several schooling rings a highway people all over the place giant water trucks about 5,000000 golf carts -Ridiculous!
re: wild children - WHERE are the parents of these little darlings? For years, I have thought that it would be better to let the dogs run loose and keep kids on leashes!
Seriously, this is a dangerous situation - and show management should be proactive and require parents to keep their children under control. Ask once and then call the police. It won't happen again!
well, moesha, I guess I should have phrased it "as close as possible". Someone else mentioned dogs, umbrellas, radios, hoses... walkie-talkies produce nasty noises.....just as much commotion as possible. Teach with a megaphone or microphone (think of how it'll save your voice!).....
Sorry guys should have been more careful with my "dressage test explanation" - All others accounts are correct - I oversimplified - EXCUUUUUUZ me [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] (kidding)
All of you who think your OTTB are soooo sensitive - HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO THE RACE TRACK????? Have you ever met a REPUTABLE track trainer?????? Have you ever been back to the barns at a track or watched the morining work-outs????? Racing just like ALL other horse disciplines has it's unscrupulous, unethical trainers however just like ALL other horse disciplines it also has people that take the time to train a horse correctly. Race horses must deal with an incredible amount of distractions, noise, crowds, loud speakers, crashing and banging etc........ I am always completely amazed how MANY (not all) will stand in the paddock to be saddled, go relatively calmly to the gate, run like hell, and then STAND in the winners circle to have a picture taken. Race horses that are well trained know their job, they work hard at it, under some very tough conditions. IMHO this means they have a great capacity to learn which can be successfully transfered to other sports.
I have had tons of experience with race horses good and bad and the fact is IF you are careful about the ones you choose and don't just buy 'em cause they are cheap and beautiful you can get a lot of very trainable, very quiet horses from the track. Not every track trainer uses cattle prods to put a horse in the gates, not every jockey whips a horse to make it run faster - if you are going to buy horses from the track IMHO you should be there to watch the horses work on a regular basis - you can learn a lot.
There are lots of "devices" that are legal in one division, but not another.
Dropped (or flash, or figure 8)nosebands, standing martingales, gags, twisted bits, double bridles, bimetallic bits, elavator bits, long (dressage) whips, ear plugs, bandages, etc.
Every one of these (though I have my doubts about the twisted bits)has a legitimate training use. None the less, they are illegal in one or more disciplines. Why? I think it has more to do with history and politics than anything rational.
(For example, the objectives of Dressage, and the dressage phase of a Horse Trial, are very similar, but there are SIGNIFICANT differences in the permitted equipment. Why on earth should a dressage whip be legal for a dressage class, but not for a dressage test at a horse trial?)
Anybody trying to find a RATIONAL reason for any of these things is propably just wasting their time.
chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).
Good post Janet. I just found out that tail bandages are illegal in the warm up area at a dressage show!!!!! BTW I also found out (reading my rule book for pleasure one night - god, I have to get a life [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]) that a running martingale is legal (with a snaffle only) in the warm up arena at a dressage show. I swear it's in the rule book!!!
I've always thought the rule about dressage whips not being allowed in championship classes is ridiculous! You can use your whip all year long to get all of the scores you need to go to championships and then can't use it in the arena?!?!? Why is that logical - I'm sure somewhere, somehow, someway, someone can make a case for it.
The parents are sitting in the bleachers right next to them or are nowhere to be found! I have heard of parents leaving the young kids with the older sibling who is also showing! Sad isn't it...Especially when a trainer finally gets sick of it and then yells at the kids. Of course, Kiddie goes crying to Mommy, and Mommy yells at trainer. Maybe if Mommy had been more responsible and hired a babysitter...
Its also pretty bad when groups of people will sit on the front row and rattle that plastic right as you jump down that line, not 5' away from the plastic! Maybe we should issue a book on horse show etiquette....
I am really glad that the different divisions having different rules has been brought up. This is why things become confused. One discipline may allow one thing and another forbids it. We have to be sure to look at the discipline and if the "practice" is allowed. There are too many people with GREAT ideas and knowledge that people should just relax and not become old ninnysarouses running around finding fault in everything and using shields of superiority to deflect difference that should be heard and understood in order to educate ourselves better. Ear stuffers are not used in any devious way. We see enough blatant deviousness that we should emphasize cruel and abusive and truly ilegal and cheating tactics, because we all know there is an abundance of that. We want to enhace our horses potential and competitiveness as much as possible, but if those enhancements are legal and are only an aide to hard work and training then it is fine.
Whenever I take a horse somewhere or do anything with it, i do everything in my power to make that experience a good one, and avoid anything that could scare my horse or make him nrevous. INCLUDING putting ear plugs in his ears for the 1st 2 years of showing. I board my horse and I don't have a trailer. So i am somewhat limited in being able to take my horses places to school him. And no matter how good a horse is at home, he may be totally different somewhere else. At first, you take your horse to a schooling show and walk him in hand. If he is good, lunge him. If he is still good, ride him. If he is such an angel, show him. AFter doing this for several months, you get a pretty good feel for how he reacts in strange places. What you do not want to do is push him so hard you have a battle with him at the show grounds. A piece of cotton does not do what tranquilizers do, and only dulls one sense, hearing. The horse still has eyes and a nose and can feel and react just like an unplugged horse. Getting a horse to be quiet and workmanlike in a strange place can take a really long time, even with a really good trainer and rider. If putting a little cotton in his ears brings down his anxiety level, your horse will be that much more relaxed and receptive to learning.
Devildog, This is ridiculous Penning competitios! What on earth are you talking about The horses from our barn are in the National, Zone, and State standings we do all of the A shows in our Zone and Florida in the winter so please do not tell me that the ones that wear ear stuffers need to go to schooling shows maybe you should go to a A show and see how it is done, obviously you have no clue and this is starting to get tiresome. Sorry if it seems that I don't want to hear your opinion but if you do not show hunters and jumpers maybe you should keep your opinions to the disciplines you do. Obviously people who have no clue about how to turn out A quality hunters and jumpers can type critical and useless comments and hide behind self righteous and smug statements. Instead of talking about pleasure classes and penning and dressage this discussion needed to focus on Ear plugs in the hunter jumper world.
GEEZ Moesha - lighten up!!! if you don't want to be involved in the discussion then get off the board.
I for one think it's very interesting to talk about what goes on "across discipline lines". Unfortunately I think it's the closed and single mindedness of people that is dangerous.
If you think earplugs are the right thing to do then do it - I haven't heard anything on this post that has told you otherwise.
BTW - many of us who ride dressage now started as eventers and hunters and have done the A shows etc... so don't assume we haven't been there or seen that. Maybe it is you that needs more exposure to the "real world"
Ok Moesha, you just proved to me what a stuck up witch you are. If you are so full of yourself that heaven forbid you should take your horse to a :gasp: schooling show to help them get used to the showing environment, than you are just a point chaser and I don't appreciate being called a "ninnysausrus" or anything like that. You have no idea who I am or my background or how many shows I ahve been to so don't for a second sit there and tell me I don't know what I am talking about. Don't call me self rightous and all that BS, I really could care less if the horses in your barn are in the state standings or back-yard nags. I think YOU are on the self righteous kick and need to back off. Talk about tiresome. Maybe if you took the time to TRAIN properly your horse wouldn't NEED earplugs. THAT was my point. I am not so stuck on myself that I can't go and do other things with my horse besides "A circuit shows". My horse is getting miles put on her without training devices. There are things in the dressage world I don't agree with. I don't agree with draw reins and german martengales. I think that your attitude about people in other disciplines and well, your attitude in general really sucks. Have a nice day.
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An awkward colt often becomes a beautiful horse .