We try so hard to get it right. You don’t even know how hard we try. And most of the time we do. But every now and then, even judges, make mistakes.
What kind, you ask? Here are the top ten.
1. We get a number wrong.
After class upon class, sometimes 379 morphs in our mind into 397. Or we pick up a number from another ring over the walky-talky or P.A.
2. We make up a stupid test.
Somehow it looked good on paper but when it came time for the kids in the medal to ride it, that turn was just a little too tight.
3. We miss the horse’s opening circle.
We were making sure our card was in order and didn’t see one coming in the gate. All we can do is assume nothing major went wrong.
4. We miss someone going off course.
When you’re holding four cards with four different courses, sometimes it’s hard to remember which course is which. Thank goodness the in-gate person has your back and points out that the girl on course jumped the second pre-green course instead of the first low.
5. We score a round on the wrong card.
See above re: holding four cards.
6. We nod off.
Just for a split second. On a hot day. After lunch. In the middle of a class of 80 going twice. Then we promptly snap to and caffeine up.
7. We miss something.
Inevitably when we look down at our card, the horse stumbles or steps off its lead.
8. We spill coffee or food on our cards.
No lunch break. No coffee break. Endless writing. You do the math.
9. We score too high or too low.
Try having a nano-second to throw a number before the next horse comes into the ring. The good news is that all that matters is that the other horses are scored in relation to that less-than-perfect score.
10. We care too much.
We’re rooting for the good round, the winning trip. We want to throw a high score and have a clear winner. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s the hardest on the judge when it doesn’t.
About the Author
Kim Ablon Whitney is a USEF ‘R’ judge and the author of the Show Circuit Series.