Thursday, May 31, 2012

Springamathng performance wrap-up

Wait, wait.  There's more.

After I'd selected the Western Performance Champion and Reserve, all the performance champions were instructed to return to the judging table for the Overall Championship presentation.
Because this show offered such nice (and valuable) prizes, the judging staff had been specifically reminded not to award any prize models until all the champions had been returned to the table.
I regret that I was unable to enforce that rule!  Oh well.  Things are pretty casual over in Performance-ville.   
And besides...  It really didn't matter anyway.  With the Other Performance and Western Performance titles already under his belt, Sheila's Chevelle was the obvious winner of the glossy trophy model. 
Teresa's iApp picked up the matte model on the strength of her English Performance Championship.   Congratulations to both winners!
One of the great pleasures of judging performance is getting the chance to ogle everyone's tack up close and in person.  I'm familiar with most of the tack in our area, but there were a few new-to-me pieces to admire at Springamathing.  One of those was this lovely huntseat saddle made by Jana Skybova and owned by Sheila Bishop.
This amazing bridle also belongs to Sheila and was made by Jacquee Gillespie
Although I'm not certain, I think this bridle was made by Rebecca Griffyndoon Ropes Australia.  It's paired with a Terry Newberry saddle.  No guesses as to the lucky owner.  This horse appeared only competed in one class and I didn't see who put her on the table. 
As I've mentioned before, the atmosphere at a typical Colorado live show is pretty laid back.    The competition may be fierce but the competitors rarely are.  There's a lot of teasing back and forth, and no one was surprised when this sign mysteriously appeared at the end of the Custom Halter table.
I mentioned aloud that the performance judge might also be open to bribery, and wouldn't you know there was a dollar bill included in one of the performance entries in the very next class?
Silly Sheila!  Your miniature money won't buy you ribbons...  Now finishwork?  That's a whole 'nother story!
Ok, now I am really, officially done with the 2012 Springamathing performance classes.  I'll share  photos from the other divisions eventually, but tomorrow is going to be something entirely different.

Springamathing Western Performance, part two

The Western Performance division at Springamathing got off to a promising start with the five horse Games class.  Unfortunately, the next several classes were either cancelled due to lack of entries (Cutting, Roping) or were one horse specials (Other Stockwork, Reining).
The next class to require thought was Western Trail.  This class had four entries, and I placed Sheila's ambitious mailbox entry first.
Pretty horse, pretty tack, pretty doll, pretty prop and perhaps most important--pretty darn good positioning! 
Initially, I didn't realize that the water obstacle behind Chevelle was part of his entry.  In fact, I put off judging the class for a good fifteen minutes while waiting for the missing entrant to show up!  A peek at the reference material showed me the error of my way.  Probably that speaks volumes about my awareness, but honestly, I'm not sure the water obstacle added much to the entry.
Second place went to Teresa's Some Kinda Flirt with her "carry" obstacle. 
Carra/Teresa's Arab was third.  I felt this model's body was a bit too parallel to the cones.  She's supposed to be weaving her way around them, not jogging down the right side.  However, I really liked the way she seemed to be studying that second cone.  With a little bit of refinement, this will be a nice entry.
Fabian's Zippo rounded out the class.  This model's body is moving in a straight line, so he's not well suited to a curving trot poles obstacle.  Again, all this entry needs is a few tweaks to make it competitive.
Pleasure was next, and Teresa's Flirt was the clear winner.  This is a nice modern type Western pleasure model.  She's moving a a good frame, has beautiful, trendy tack and a nice doll.  In this picture, the doll is not sitting very well.  In fact, had she looked like this when I was judging the class, I would have probably moved her down a slot.  Fortunately, I didn't have to do that.  Teresa noticed the poor positioning on her own and fixed it before the class closed.  I did take a picture of the improved version of this entry, but it was too blurry to use.  It goes like that sometimes! 
The next three entries in the Western Pleasure class were very close.  I think I've got them in the order of finish, but I could be mistaken.  Honestly, they were that close. 
Over the course of my hobby life, I've heard people espouse three distinctly different theories on how to judge a Western Pleasure class.  Some people think that if it's winning in the real world, it should win in the model show ring as well.  Viva the peanut rollers! and all that.  Others say no, the rule book says the horse should travel level so those peanut rollers are in violation.  We're going to follow the rules even if they're not followed anywhere else!  And then there's the people who say, I don't care about all that stuff.  I like the way this horse is moving so I'm going to place it my way.  End of story.
I see validity in all three positions, so judging Western Pleasure makes my head hurt.  I really don't like the Arab's head position at all.  In fact, it's fair to say that I dislike all performance models with their heads behind the vertical.  However, I realize that's how the real ones go so I think I place it second despite my personal feelings.  I could be misremembering--this really was a hard class for me.
Moving on!  There were five entries in the Other Western class but I only took pictures of the top three.  The winner was Flirt with her timely Western Dressage entry.  Generally, I think this model is better suited for Pleasure, but this was still a nice entry.
Second went to Chevelle... 
who was working his way through a Mounted Police Training course. 
Fabian's sidesaddle entry placed third.  This was basically a repeat of his Western Pleasure entry, and I have to admit that I find that mildly annoying.  However, it wasn't against the rules of this show, and it was definitely better than the other two entries on the table.  
The first and second place winners came back to the judging table for the division championship.  There were no real surprises here.  With four blues and two reds, Chevelle was a worthy winner.
Some Kinda Flirt was the Reserve Champion. 
Congrats to the winners and thanks again for letting me critique them here on my blog.  I hope this "Judging with Jennifer" series has been interesting and helpful to at least a couple new (or old!) performance showers.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Springamathing Western Performance, part one

I don't have a lot of time today so I'm only going to talk about one of the Western Performance classes at Springamathing--the Western Games class.

There were five entries in this event, but Sheila's Chevelle was the clear standout.  He was shown competing in the Boot Race.
His set-up included the appropriate props... 
and a nice documentation card. 
His doll was positioned in a realistic manner... 
and the every single piece of this entry--the horse, the tack, the doll--was absolutely beautiful.  If I was being really picky, I'd mention that most games riders would wear chaps in an event that involves mounting and dismounting.  However, even with that one quibble, this was an easy choice for the blue.
Second place went to the Arab owned by Carra and shown by Teresa.  She was shown in the Sit A Buck class.  This is a good choice for a quiet model.
Although the doll's equitation isn't the best, it's fine for this event.  After all, legs do creep up when you're holding a dollar bill in place! 
Third went to Teresa's other entry, Some Kinda Flirt.  This is an Egg and Spoon set-up,  and at first glance it looks really competitive.
However, I was bothered by the angle of that spoon.  Riders competing in this class usually hold the spoon much closer to their body and angled straight ahead or in towards their mid-line.  Sticking it out to the side like this is a good way to lose that egg!
Fourth place went to Sheila's second entry--an ISH competing in Sit A Buck.  The biggest problem with this entry was the placement of the dollar bill.  It's almost completely slipped out from under the rider's leg.  That's a pretty precarious position, especially considering this is a standing horse.  I'm not convinced that rider is going to be in the class much longer!
The fifth place winner was yet another Sit A Buck competitor.  The dollar bill placement on Fabian's Andalusian was not quite as secure as the Arab's but better than the ISH's.
However, there were other issues--namely, those reins.  Classes like Sit A Buck and Egg and Spoon are all about control.  To be successful, the rider must control her position and control the horse's gait.  These reins are quite long for this particular model and they're not laying particularly well.  Nothing about this side of the model speaks to quiet control.
Also, the bit was out of the mouth on both sides which sealed the placing. 
Make no mistake--performance showing is hard.  Fabian is a new shower, so he's learning as he goes.  I expect his entries will get better and better as he learns the ropes.  Along those lines, I'd really like to thank all the performance showers at this year's Springamathing show for allowing me to critique their entries on my blog.  You guys are the bestest!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Springamathing English Performance

The English Performance division at Springamathing picked up where the Other Performance division left off--with a one horse Cross Country class.
I looked at the handful of performance showers in the room and begged someone, anyone to put another horse on the table.  This is the result of that request.  
Not surprisingly, the Jumper class was virtually identical to the Cross Country class. 
In both cases, Teresa's iApp was the clear winner.
Beggars can't be choosers so I'm not going to pick on Sheila's ISH.  She earned her two NAN cards simply by showing up and that's fine with me.  As an aside, I love that this model's name is Stop N Stare because that's what she did in these two classes.  She stood there and stared at the jumps!
Sadly, she didn't get a chance to stare at a hunter jump, so iApp won that class uncontested.
Pleasure was next, and hallelujah!  There were four entries on the table. 
The top two entries were very close, but in the end I gave the blue ribbon to Karen Gerhardt's Roundabout resin, Dorney Park. 
This model was shown as a British heavyweight cob.  His tack was perfectly appropriate for that event, which is not surprising since it was made by British tackmaker, Lauren Islip.
His doll was dressed by Joan Yount, and I have to say, this doll was the main factor in his victory.   
I'm not sure if it's apparent from the photos, but no other entry captured the relationship between horse and rider as well as this one.  You really got a sense that they were working together as a team.
Second place went to iApp.  This is a nice stock type hunter horse with beautiful, well fitting tack and a nice doll.  I'd like to see the bight of the reins hanging down rather than standing up, and if I was being very picky I'd point out that most stock horse showers prefer to use a number pocket pad.  Even without those changes, however, this entry is fine.
Sheila's Cerridwen resin, Rhiannon was third.  This is a cute pony, with a casual schooling show type turnout.  She has the same rein issue as iApp but her doll isn't sitting as well.  Additionally, it's hard for standing horses to compete in a class where one of the main judging criteria is gait quality.  
Poor Stop N Stare!  She's such a pretty model, but once again she finished at the bottom of her class.  The ISH is a hard model to show in performance.  Its raised and turned head detracts from the appearance of focus and obedience.
Onto English Trail!  iApp was the winner here with a basic but nice pole entry. 
Dorney Park was right behind with this natural trail set-up... 
that included a wonderful diorama by Kim Haymond. 
Rhiannon was a close third.  Actually, there wasn't a lot separating the entries in this class.  Both the arena trail horses would have benefited from small changes to both the horse and rider positions.  The natural trail entry was very nice, although I don't know a lot of people who go out riding in their show clothes.  On another day, I might have placed these three differently. 
Other English was next.  Karen's Dorney Park won this one rather handily with a foxhunting entry.
iApp was second with a basic pole bending set-up.
 Third place went to Rhiannon. 
I love, love, love this set-up but it really doesn't work as a "performance" entry.  Next time this one needs to go in the scene class!
Dressage was another one horse class.
Between them, iApp and Dorney Park had claimed all the blue and half the red ribbons awarded in the English Performance division.   iApp got the nod in the championship showdown based upon her greater versatility.
Still, Dorney Park--and his wonderful gentleman rider--were a most worthy choice for reserve honors. 
Phew!  Long post.  I promise I'll break the Western division report into smaller chunks.