Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Part 2: 4/3/2016 Schooling Show - Series Finale

Part 2: Schooling Show - Series Finale!

Sunday dawned very cold and very frozen. The snow stopped by midnight or so, but it was bad enough that the plows came out on a Saturday night. Luckily, that meant that by 6:45 am, everything was fairly clear.

The boys had a good night, so it was just feed them and get rolling to warm up! I did take Penn for a little hand walk around the show ring before they dragged the arena and started the show. Just a reminder of, "Here's the judge's table, it's not scary!"

Naptime after the tests! So tired after 3 separate rides in the last 24 hours. Vacation = earned!

Remember how the judge at the first show in this series didn't use half points? Guess what we had again? A judge that didn't use half points. I'd really like to know what these tests would have been with half points... I got all 6s and 7s (yay!), but from what I felt and watched, I'm sure there were a few 8s in there, or at least 6.5s and 7.5s. Either way, still super happy with the scores and the tests and with Penn!

Without further ado, on to the tests, score sheets, and a running commentary after:

And the score sheets:

65.652% - 4th out of 12

How did this entry get a 7? He was no where near square! I think this was one of his least square halts of the day... I realized part way through the medium walk that it was too slow. Oops. I think I agree with most of the judge's comments, but I might disagree on some of the 'on the forehand' comments. I will give it that he wasn't in an uphill balance, but I don't think he was downhill either. The poll got a little low at times though.

Test 2:

Score sheet:

68.077% - 1st out of 12
Sidenote: This test was the high score of the day! (Not an actual award though)

Right off the bat, at the end of the first trot circle, I forgot about making the shoulders meet the rail first. I never really got them back because the next comment was loss of haunches. The left lead canter was a bit sloppy- it's the weaker one. Coming down from the left canter was a mess- I can't quite tell what happened, but when I was riding it, I thought he pulled off a shoe. I took over a lot of the responsibility for holding Penn up for several strides into that trot. My stretch circle wasn't as good as it could have been because I was slightly distracted. I was looking at the ground for a shoe! All I can assume is he interfered and it hurt a lot. (I did have husband check his legs after the test.)

Can we talk about the right lead canter and why it didn't get better than a 7, even if it needed more bend? This is training level. This is an educated canter for the level. What do we have to do around here to get an 8?

The judge was on point with the final halt- he wasn't straight. I felt Penn getting tired in this test, so I did a little more to help him (and I remembered to pull my elbows down a bit too- when I get it right we get beautiful moments like that right lead). Again, I don't agree with on the forehand. He was light in my hand. Yes, he's not built uphill at this time (still praying for his front legs to get longer! haha), but I don't think he was on the forehand. Maybe once he's stronger and can engage better, those comments will go away. But again, training level isn't about engagement.

Test 3:

Score sheet:

67.273% - 1st out of 10

By this test, I was trying to conserve Penn's energy- he was getting pretty tired. Excellent entrance for this test. No idea what I was thinking when it comes to the first trot one loop- I realized mid loop that I was going to go waaay past centerline. Oops? For the left lead canter, I didn't get myself up and get my elbows pulled down, so Penn never got any lift and his poll dropped too low. I was working hard past the judge to get Penn lifted and collected so this diagonal wasn't a complete disaster- I don't think it worked out as well as it could have. He did transition to trot better than he had been in lesson the day before, but it's not ideal (Trainer's words of wisdom that I'll have to really help him out at that point were streaming through my head). Second trot loop was better, and I can agree that his canter was sluggish to start... which is an old bad habit of mine! Ok stretchy circle... it felt incredible, and very similar to the ones I did with DT that she thought should clean up. And he got a 6. He did go to the forehand a little, but he wasn't stumbling all over himself. I was very happy with the end halt- perfectly square!

Penn and all his ribbons! On the stall because I couldn't get them all on his face!

I know I'm getting extra obnoxious here, but the lack of half points irks me. Like last time when there were a whole slew of ties when no half points were awarded, I believe there were 8 or 9 ties at this show. I'm still super happy with the tests- Penn was great. And he was relaxed enough that I didn't feel the need to sit the trot for the entire test!

Anyway, I think the series had tougher than usual schooling show judges- these were not the most generous judges I've seen (the judge's average score at each show: 60.5, 60.8, 61.1, 60.2, 59.3, 60.4), and I think at schooling shows they should be a bit more generous than that. Barely anyone broke into the 60s at Intro Level at any show, which isn't very encouraging! I think some recognized judges have better averages in a year of recognized shows than these schooling shows. Though that brings about the question: is the quality of horse and rider competing better at recognized shows? I know a couple months ago several blogs had a lively debate about that. Or do judges at schooling shows just not know enough since they're usually L graduates or below? Interestingly, the judge at the 3rd show, who had the highest average, is an R judge and regularly judges Recognized Horse Trials. I'm sure we could have a whole post about that!

Since this was the finale show, they also awarded the series champion ribbons- all of a horse's rides for a particular test were summed and whoever had the highest sum at the end of the series won (as long as they had the minimum 3 scores). There was only one division- Open. No splits for Open/AA/Jr. Since everyone was lumped together, that made for big classes. The training tests had the biggest classes at each show, which meant there were many more horses competing and more that qualified for Championships than any other test (any combo of riders could ride, the scores were summed by horse only):

  • Training 1: 48 different horses competed, 7 qualified for Championships.
  • Training 2: 40 different horses competed, 5 qualified for Championships.
  • Training 3: 40 different horses competed, 3 qualified for Championships.

I'm sure you've realized by now that Penn won all of the Training Level Championships, yay!

Made an effort to get these ones on his face though!
I had to get in a picture with the champion ribbons.

As a final note, I've been keeping a detailed record of Penn's show history in Excel. I wish I had done that with Mikey. I want to see what Penn's average score is for each movement within tests and across all of the training level tests. It's kind of like Centerline Scores, but I'm able to include lifetime results (schooling and recognized). As it grows, I'll probably edit the file so it does a recognized breakout, schooling breakout, in addition to the lifetime results.

The general data I've collected from this show series alone is astounding (it helps that they post all the results online, and at a 90 ride max for each show, there isn't too much data to organize). I have enough to dedicate an entire post to schooling show statistics! We'll see if I go all Math Geek on you! By the last show, I had a lot of data on each horse in the series (I'd been tracking the training level results to gauge where Penn and I were at for the championship), and I was watching regression towards the mean at work for each horse (as long as I had 8-9 scores for the horse). But below is a brief view of Penn's stats from this series:

The shows with the 2 highest averages? We hauled in the night before.
The two shows with low averages really hurt our series average.

Perhaps I'll bore you all with a statistics post later this week. Maybe not. But stay tuned for Part 3 of our weekend, when Penn tried to break his face!


  1. Math geek!!!!! Please! I love stats.
    PS congrats on a job well done!!!

  2. Oooo that stats sheet is a good idea!

  3. Yah I vote for statistics too!

    Ugh we call these sorts of judges "six-seven judges" where they stay in a tiny little range and everyone ends up scoring the same for vastly different tests.

    My opinion on the judging, which everyone has heard numerous times, is that many L graduates (technically they are not considered judges) just aren't experienced enough. They don't have the amount of training that r/R/S judges have. L graduates can judge at schooling shows without even passing their tests- you just can't move on to the r program without passing.

    All you have to do to become an L graduate is some money and a few (3) scores at Second level. Versus an r judge needs five scores with four different judges at 65%+ at Fourth level or above. To be an L graduate, you don't even need your Bronze, versus there are people even with their Gold Medals (since you can get that with scores below 65) that are not able to become an r judge.

    But hey it's fun and good experience to do schooling shows. They definitely have their time and place. But I just don't trust the judging at most of them.

    1. Haha ok, I guess I'm doing stats now too!

      I looked into doing the L program because I wanted to better my own eye/riding/showing, and I thought it'd be fun. Until I saw the costs and that I'd lose my AA status if I went to take the tests... and I'm not paying all that money to take the classes and not take the tests!

      I'm wondering if things were always this way at training level when I showed it with Mikey? He was never as well put together as Penn, and I was always thrilled because he'd done something right! Poor Penn- I have higher expectations for him!

      Absolutely, I still see value in going to the schooling shows! I have 3 more on the schedule for this year. We need to practice 1-2 and 1-3!

    2. That's so weird that you'd lose your AA status, I feel like I know an L grad who is still an AA. Maybe I'm wrong though.

      I know what you mean- TC is being held to a higher standard than Rico ever was at Training. I'm in the opposite boat though because TC is not as nice a horse as Rico is. But Rico got away with being questionably on the bit for years! TC gets no such luxury.

    3. Maybe you can take it without losing AA status, I couldn't find a concrete answer. I know AA can silent audit the clinic, no problem (but you still have to pay, so I was thinking, that's dumb to pay to take the class and not be allowed to take the exam!). L Graduates can judge schooling shows, so maybe I got messed up in the purpose of the program- to prepare for the r and to judge schooling shows? I donno. Either way, it got all murky looking and I was like, ehhhh. To be honest, if I went to the trouble and couple thousand to get my L, I'd use it to judge locally!

      I am totally thrilled with how Penn performed- he was definitely up to snuff, and I think it just irks me to have inconsistent judging (why no half marks?), but I'm not willing to pay mounds of money to ride Training Level at a recognized show. That and I've NEVER gotten a 70%+ in a straight dressage test. I've gotten numerous below 30 scores at events, schooling and recognized, but I just don't count those. I want my 70% dammit.

  4. Interesting that T1 is your lowest %. Wonder why? Fewer points overall? Bad test for you two?

    I agree with Megan wholeheartedly on the judges thing. You'll find the more qualified a judge is (FEI 4* being my favorite), the higher their score % is for the lower-mid levels. I think it's because they see more, and see how the tests are supposed to look higher up. In other words, a judge used to judging Grand Prix isn't going to expect your 3rd level horse to have a GP flying change or half pass. A judge for whom 3rd is the highest level they see? Probably always going to think "this should be better" and score, on average, lower.

    1. I think T1 ended up being the lowest because it was our throwaway test for these shows. First time in the ring, so Penn does his looking at that time while I get my head in the game. I don't think that's a trend that will continue on though. Fewer points available doesn't help either.

      I like your analysis of the judges! Can't we make that FEI judge go to schooling shows? Haha!

  5. The improvement in those videos is amazing! Bummer the judging didn't agree. Yay ribbons anyway!

    1. He is so improved since the first show we did! Ooo, an improvement post, using gifs of each test! Well then, this blog is writing itself... haha. I really wanted a 70%, so I'm whining, especially since Penn was so ON that day.

  6. Congrads on the awesome satin! I really liked those tests - he looked super on your aids and really relaxed. What a big improvement over the course of this series!

    1. He was so relaxed and on for the show! I watched some videos from his first couple and he's come a long way!

  7. Omg those ribbons tho !! Congratulations !! And obvi I love the stats lol

    1. Penn's first, and hopefully not last, big ass ribbons! Haha I'm working on a stat post, I'm just having trouble organizing it in a useful manner.