Keeping this blog was harder than I expected! I’m staying very busy in the barn rather than on my computer so I’m well-overdue for an update!
I love judging! In September I judged the Tampa CFHJA fall show, which is run by Phil Devita. I sat with Melissa Bark and Jimmy Clapperton and learned so much. For one- judging is much more relaxed than I expected, and therefore, I felt much more confident about how I was keeping my cards organized and scoring the classes. I spent three days judging, and even had the privilege to judge a USHJA Hunter derby with both Melissa and Jimmy. Their feedback and encouragement was amazing. I learned more about how to sort the class results and to really watch each round as a performance, rather than to watch each round to score the mistakes. The alone is such an important concept. For certain classes, it is easy to get caught up in trying to find the winner by having a horse/rider that makes the least amount of faults, but to be able watch and score the hunters and equitation riders for brilliance that they show in the ring is what it is all about.
Another thing I learned, is that even though the horse show might a few entries one day, you should always plan on judging an entire day. The show started at 8am each day, and finished around 5, even when there was not a lot of trips scheduled to show. This is because of late adds, trainers and riders showing in other rings at the same time, drag breaks, and everything else we know that causes us to “hurry up and wait”. The evening of the derby, we had about 30minutes to wait for the other hunter rings to finish before the class of about 40 began. We scored two rounds of the derby and left well after dark. But I was not impatient — it is exciting to see people celebrating their victories at the end of a big class like a derby.
I had fun, I learned a lot from both the judges as well as the horse show management staff, and came away inspired to continue pursuing my card.