Exhibitors and judges should both understand that most shows are designed to be competitive events rather than schooling sessions. The number of classes and importance of the shows generally make is very difficult to take the time to write notes and comment to exhibitors. Commenting to and giving advise to exhibitors during a show is in a sense coaching them, this is unfair to the exhibitors you do not visit with. No one else can hear what you are saying, thus you are encouraging suspicion. I really believe that visiting with the exhibitors is a poor policy and be aware that many rules book now prohibit talking to exhibitors except for asking for a back in the line up.
Notes are handy to refer to but take time. While you are writing or looking at your notes you are not looking at the class. It is good to have your own short hand or symbols developed to make notations quickly. In Judging I performance classes I prefer to stand in a corner of the arena, about 30 feet from the end and side. This allows me to observe a very large portion of the arena and what I can not see behind me I can usually hear if there is a big problem. I man also step over to the rail and watch the horses and riders approaching and going away if I desire to do so. I can also see the entire far wall and opposite end. Many horses lose their form on the turns and this is not good. Equitation and performance are generally worked in about the same manner, but workouts in equitation may be briefer and just take place in one direction of the arena as long as it is individual work.
I write down only the numbers of the riders I plan to use. Not using time, space and effort on the horses or riders who you cannot use. I will start a tentative list in somewhat order in the left hand side of my note book. As the class progresses I will move them to the center and ultimately to the right hand side when the final placing is about to be made.
An extra 15 seconds to double check your numbers is a very good idea. You will at times be hurried by your ring master, announcer or show committee, do not let this disturb you to the point that your performance suffers. Many times you may need to ask the show management to reduce the time between classes so that you will have more time for judging classes. Some shows may demand in your contracts that you judge so many classes with in a given time such as 4 in an hour is common. So find ways to work efficiently and urge those around you to do the same.
© Elizabeth Graves. All rights reserved.
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