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Why don't riders like to be judged?

>> Some vet judges (generally from the East or SE) have tended to judge
>more>> obstacles than I think they should (here in California most of
our >rides>> are tough enough to sort out the horses just on condition
alone),>but that>> is the *vet* judging the *horse*,  and a maximum of 15
points are at >stake.

I have worked as a pulse taker at a NATRC ride.  You're not going to
learn much from pulses when there's a 2 mile marker out there where they
hang around until they have exactly enough time to walk slowly the last
two miles in.  What you get is pretty much, "some horses are 44 and some
48".  That sort of difference can tell you more about which horses are
scared of the horse next to it in line  than condition.  

I know they have surprise checks too, but all those do is tell you how
fast the horses were going when they got *surprised*.  When I was riding
drag they all went flying up the first 1/2 of the mountain, then
screeched to a slow piddling walk for the last half.  I asked the rider
ahead what was wrong and she said, "There's always a surprise check at
the top of the mountain".  Using that system it seems that a horse who
paced logically and consistantly would be penalized because he held a
nice 4.65 or whatever pace the entire time. 

 I was shocked that the only thing that seemed to be checked was pulse. 
There were no trot outs, CRI's, or even hydration scores that I recall
(could be wrong).  I know I did a skin pinch on a horse that didn't look
very good to me and the rider turned to me, alarmed, and said, "What are
you doing?"  He actually had no idea that it was a hydration check. 
After that I tried hard to find one with thumps, thought that would be
impressive, but no luck.>eg<

I will say that what I heard was one of the problems at last year's
championship ride was that our endurance vet, who'd been hired to be a
treatment vet, was standing over watching the final judging, and after
watching some horses pass the final judging, he pointed out to their vet
that they were thumping.  They hadn't caught it.  When they tried to do
something about it the riders were upset because they'd already been
graded and wanted to protest, or something like that. 

 I'm not sure how tight their criteria is at the finish, because I've
always left as soon as I finished riding drag, but as far as *during*
competition, it seemed pretty lax.  Seems to me that during the
competition is the most critical.  Finding something wrong back at camp
is sort of "after the fact".

Maybe I just keep judging the stress level too much like an endurance
ride.  My buddy June did ONE CT on her good endurance horse.  She let him
hit his comfortable trot and got so far ahead of the time frame that she
finally stopped, tied him to a tree and went to sleep. :-)


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