A Judge's Pet Peeves - Performance

A beautifully turned out equitation rider and horse in competition.

A beautifully turned out equitation rider and horse in competition.

In my last blog post I talked about my Pet Peeves regarding appearance, which you can read here. 

In this post, I've collected some pet peeves I've observed when watching horses and riders perform. I’ve been a USEF R-rated judge since 1984, holding cards in Hunter, Jumper, Equitation as well as Hunter Breeding, so I've seen tens of thousands of rounds, It's all in the details. Sometimes the smallest things can make a bad impression on the judge.

If you want to make the best impression at your next horse show, here are some things you'll want to avoid!

1) Posting to the canter (means your legs don’t work or you’re copying a trend)

2) Twisting and pulling on inside rein over jump to attempt to land the lead (obnoxious to horse and judge)

3) Poor sportsmanship (NEVER TOLERATED!)

4) Excessive speed (dangerous)

5) Pace too slow (boring)

6) Tired, sore or sour horse (sad and inexcusable)

7) Temper (NEVER ON A HORSE!)

8) Horse behind the bit (major penalty--worse than above the bit)

9) Rider too heavy in the saddle, or who rides behind the motion (Ride light in the tack as your horse has a sensitive back!)

10) Looking for lead or diagonal (red flag you are a beginner)

11) Horse over-bent in turn or bent to outside (unbalances a horse)

12) Pulling on the inside rein for lead change (throws horse off balance, often resulting in cross canter)

13) No release or backwards release over the jumps (cardinal sin of jumping--hitting a horse in the mouth)

14) Jumping ahead (dangerous)

15) Getting left behind (hitting a horse in the back is the second cardinal sin of jumping)

16) Ducking over the jump (throws a horse off balance)

There are others for sure, but generally keep in mind the origin of the sport. Your turnout, appearance and performance reflect respect for yourself, the judge and most importantly your horse! Good luck and have fun!

This post is a synopsis of an article that appeared in Warmbloods Today magazine. 

Tricia BookerComment