Saturday, October 30, 2010

More Cutting........and My Thoughts on Halter.....

I watched the finals of the cutting and with the information I'd received in the comments and on my Facebook Page, I had a better idea of what I was looking for in the performance of the horse and rider teams. That made it more fun to watch and this time I had a clue which rides would be considered good before actually hearing the scores.

I've heard from people that with a good cutter, the rider just sits there and holds on but I can see where cow sense on the part of the rider is important. I remember when I watched a team penning event years ago if the rider didn't understand how a cow was going to respond to different types of pressure he/she was pretty much lost. Too much, too little and it could blow up in your face. All the cows would be in the pen and the rider would be sitting there wondering what happened. It was easy to see in the cutting the riders who understood the cows best could get the most from them.

I didn't get to watch all of the cutting finals. I've had problems on many occasions with the schedule and my time zone. Sometimes I remember I'm two hours behind and sometimes not. Then with the Mustang arena schedule not being set in stone, I somehow got tuned in too late and only got to see the last few riders so from there I was on to the Pavilion Arena and halter.

The new point scoring system for halter has caused ripples throughout the industry. In Scottsdale they refused to employ the new system at all and so those halter classes were not sanctioned by AHA. Championships at local shows don't require judges anymore and to be honest I can't even tell you how Daffodil handled them. At US Nationals there were complaints that the excitement was gone from the halter arena.

The US National Arabian Horse Show Commission made some changes to how they presented the halter this year trying to answer that complaint about excitement, I guess. I'm not sure what they did really helped all that much. I know I didn't particularly care for it.

I'd seen in the schedule that there were semi finals for some of the halter classes. I assumed that meant the horses would be judged in the semi final classes and then they'd be judged in the final classes, after all, if it's a class, judging is involved, wouldn't you think?

Well, that's not how it happened. I'd missed the semi finals of the futurity colts and fillies but I did tune in to see the finals for both classes. The arena lights were dimmed and a spotlight shined on each horse as it entered the arena. The announcer said something about the "thirty seconds" the crowd would have to see each horse as the handlers presented the individuals. The announcer also seemed to have script for some of the horses presented that he read as the spotlight shone on them. I don't remember the total number of fillies shown but it wasn't the entire class nor was it down to the top ten.

Once all the fillies were in the arena, they lined them up on both sides and gave the audience a chance to look at all of them together. Then the horses were excused from the ring and the top ten horses were called back in to be presented their awards. After that was accomplished the reserve champion was named followed by the champion.

There was no judging of the horses in what was called a "final" in the schedule. How it could be a final when the judging was actually done in the semi final, I don't know. It was really a presentation of the horses so the awards could be given. I don't know if the exhibitors were aware it would be like this but I sure wasn't. I thought I was going to get to see horses stand up and be shown.

I understand the "powers that be" feel with this scoring system that once the scores have been done, the judges are done. I guess they, and many judges, are concerned if the same judge adjudicates the horse twice at the same show that the scores won't match and since it's about conformation they probably should so the judges might look bad. However, I think it's entirely possible and even very likely that the horse won't stand up the same way twice and that can and probably would affect the scoring. The placement of one leg can affect the look of conformation. That's why we all struggle to get square shots of our horses, isn't it.

Obviously I am in the minority on this and once the score is done, that's it for the show. The result is, if the scores are posted during the class, everyone knows who won before the ribbons are awarded. That certainly does diminish the excitement surrounding halter classes and since halter can get pretty long and boring in big classes, I guess the show commission was right to worry about that. Boring has never been a draw for crowds or exhibitors and there is fear the new scoring system is really killing halter. All I know is I didn't really enjoy those classes. I didn't get to get a good look at each filly and that's what I'd tuned in to see. It was very disappointing.

The announcer told the crowd the hits on the website for the evening session were over 1 million. I wonder how many of those people out there thought the halter classes were exciting to watch being run this way. I suspect there will be more changes. I certainly hope so, anyway. This sure didn't do it for me.

Rhet is eligible for both the Canadian and US National Futurities next year. I was thinking about giving that a try but now I'm wondering if I should just save myself the money and stay home. What do you think?


  1. I've always like watching cutting as I think it's interesting and exciting. Halter classes bore me and I don't know anything about the new scoring protocols. I wouldn't watch it anyway so the rules don't matter to me.

  2. Sounds like all the changes will make for someinteresting times .But I think that its still worth it to get your horse out and seen

  3. I don't know what to say about Rhet, you'll have to go with your gut on that one. The way you described the new judging of the halter classes seems a bit weird.

    I know that the horses are judged against the 'ideal' according to breed standards, but judging is also comparison. How does each horse stack up against the ideal AND in comparison to the group of horses they are being shown against?

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love new visitors.....and I believe I have stopped by here once before as I remember about the Arabian horses.
    They are beautiful horses indeed.
    We have 3 Canadians (yes that is a breed) and one quarter horse. I am in my second year of riding lessons and really enjoy it.

    We love going to horse shows. It is amazing what these horses can do.

    I also went in and read one of your other blogs about Halloween. That was some frightening information for sure. I certainly hope you are doing much better now.

  5. Arlene, I used to feel the same way about halter but once I got into breeding that all changed. Sometimes I wish it hadn't but I met one of my best friends because of halter so at least that part is good. I think my interest in it remains because of those friendships.

    fern, I think I agree with you at the local level but I'm not sure that getting my colt to nationals really did much for me but make me more broke and a lot more tired. LOL

    I am thinking I will show Rhet locally this coming year if the weather will cooperate enough to get him in some kind of shape. That in itself could be a trip considering the type of winter that's being predicted.

    BECG, Weird is a good word for how the did things. The rules of the new system are judging solely against the breed standard. Each horse gets a score in the different catagories (ie, type, quality, head & neck, legs, etc) and the high score determines the winner. The horses are no longer placed by the judges against the individuals in the ring.

    I think with the implementation of this rule they thought they were going to hold judges accountable for their decisions and eliminate some of the politics. How they're going to be accountable when the scores individual scores aren't even shared, don't ask me.

  6. according to peeps at the Show, several halter national championships were LOST due to penalties being assessed - against horses that would have won....

    that, for me, makes me happy about the scorecard.

    And I like them not standing up except in front of the judge.

    But this bullshat about calling it a "final" when there is no actual judging taking place???? WTF??? I'm with you on that.

  7. Great post. I love arabians! Keep up the good work.