Monday, November 8, 2021

Judge off

"It's so unfair. The same people always win. There's so much bias."

If you've attended even a single model horse show, you've probably heard multiple versions of this complaint. And the truth of the matter is, there are some people who win a lot, not just at live shows but at photo shows, too.

The Scene/Specialty classes at the recent Field of Dolls Online Fall Show were double judged by myself and show holder, Anne Field. Both of us chose Hannah Clark's Annalee as the winner of the Arenas and Barn class.
Similarly, Danielle Feldman's Mind Your Biscuits won both sections of Epic Performance. Let me assure you, bias had nothing to do with it. Good judging is consistent and predictable. Outstanding entries such as these should always rise to the top. 
That said, there are times when two good judges might disagree. This is especially common in theme type classes, where the judging criteria is loosely defined. For example, my picks for the It's in the Blog class were highly slanted towards entries with ties to the Braymere blog.
Not surprisingly, Anne went a different way. Her top choice was Hannah Clark's Winnie, who was part of a live sale scene often represented on the Field of Dolls blog.
We also had very different choices for the PINK! class. Anne gave her blue ribbon to Jessica Carini's delightful and realistic Be My Valentine. 
I went with a more fanciful choice. This is Pinkilicious owned by Daphne Headley.
Trading Places was next. Our placings for this class had a lot of overlap, but interestingly, not in regards to the winners. Anne picked Helvetia Country Roads owned by Jill Webb.
I picked Hilariosity owned by Danielle Feldman.
Wrong On So Many Levels was another alike/but not exactly alike class. Anne awarded the blue ribbon to Danielle's Hilariosity, who I placed third.
My winner was Erion owned by Hannah Clark. Anne didn't use this one at all, but I suspect that's because she's never had to deal with a real horse who poops in its feeder. Thanks to Sprite and Pearl, this is a scenario I am much too familiar with. It's practically my definition of Wrong On So Many Levels.
Our choices for What Scale? were also divergent, but in this case, I blame the quality of the entries. With so many really good choices, this class could I have been pinned half a dozen equally valid ways. Anne's winner - and my choice for fifth - was Instant Karma owned by Jill Webb.
I went with Elaine Lindelef's Bercouli. Anne didn't use this one, but again, I'll forgive her. Unlike Elaine and I, she's not a California girl who grew up watching performances by the Foxfield Drill Team. Sometimes the key to winning is understanding - and exploiting! - the judge's background and preferences.
The last class of the Scene/Specialty division was Other (Model) Animals. Anne and I placed this one very similarly, each picking the same three entries for the top three ribbons. Anne's blue ribbon went to Danielle's Kermit...
and mine went to Elaine's Sweetheart.
Overall, I feel like we did a really good job of judging this division. Our placings were often - but not always - similar and absolutely, positively lacking in bias.

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