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Judging Methodology


UNDERSTANDING THE HORSE SCORE-JUDGING METHODOLOGY


The understanding the horse score document is in place so that judges, lungers, vaulters and coaches can have an understanding of what quality training and basics are. The AVA’s understanding the horse score was drawn with permission from the FEI guidelines for vaulting.

Judging Methodology
Collective Horse Score:
(For Use in AVA/USEF rule books)
QUALITY OF GAITS
Rhythm, Suppleness, Contact, Impulsion, Straightness, collection. Regularity of strides, (Canter and Trot) clear beat with moment of suspension. (Walk) good overstep and energy. Elasticity throughout the body, Swinging back with muscles free from tension. Light and steady, line of nose slightly in front of the vertical, Self-carriage with the poll the highest point. Forward energy generated from activity in the hind legs. Active strides. Correctly bent on the circle line, Forehand of the horse is in line with its hindquarters Posture, self-carriage, and lightness of the forehand, Uphill tendency.
SUBMISSION AND BEHAVIOR
Submissiveness, Behavior, regularity of gait. Regularity of balance on the circle. Attention and Confidence, Acceptance of the bridle, Harmony and lightness, No tongue problems. No sign of stress or anxiety. Faults in correct footfalls of the relevant gait, unclear steps, etc. Perfect balance on the circle, two distinct tracks, hind footfalls following on the line of the fore foot prints, no leaning in, or swinging out with the hindquarters.
LUNGER
Correct circle size and effective use of the aids, Appropriate use of the whip, Lunge line is straight demonstrating contact, seemingly Stationary lunger. Good posture of lunger. Appropriate dress of Lunger. Harmony between lunger and horse and effect on vaulter.
PRESENTATION AND SALUTE
Correct leading the horse, Salute: Horse demonstrating good behavior. Presentation and Equipment Vaulters in rhythm with music and in step with each other and with the horse.


In the judging methodology the description and marks listed below may overlap. It is always at the Judge’s discretion to determine which mark best fits for the collective horse score.

Quality of Gaits - The Marks
10
The horse’s gait is absolutely regular and the horse is moving with great freedom. The movement of the horse flows through the whole body:
(Canter and trot) in an uphill direction with light and mobile shoulders produced from active hindquarters.
(Walk) with excellent overstep and energy.
Rhythm: Absolutely regular strides in the correct footfalls of the relevant gait from beginning to end with a moment of suspension. (Canter and trot only) Suppleness: Excellent elasticity throughout the body in the entire movement.
Contact: Light and steady, line of the nose slightly in front of the vertical. Showing excellent natural self-carriage with the poll the highest point.
9
The horse’s gait is absolutely regular and the horse is moving with great freedom:
(Canter and trot) in an uphill direction with light and mobile shoulders produced from active hindquarters.
(Walk) with very good overstep and energy.
Rhythm: Absolutely regular strides in correct footfalls of the relevant gait from beginning to end with a moment of suspension. (Canter and Trot only)
Suppleness: Very good elasticity throughout the body in the entire movement.
Contact: Light and steady, line of the nose slightly in front of the vertical. Showing very good natural self-carriage with the poll as the highest point.
8
The horse’s gait is not only absolutely regular but the impression is that the horse is moving with great freedom:
(Canter and trot) in an uphill direction with light and mobile shoulders produced from active hindquarters.
(Walk) with good overstep and energy.
Rhythm: Regular strides in correct footfalls of relevant gait from beginning to end with a moment of suspension. (Canter and Trot)
Suppleness: Good elasticity throughout the body in the entire movement.
Contact: Light and steady, line of the nose slightly in front of the vertical. Showing good natural self-carriage with the poll as the highest point.
7
A horse that achieves a 7 when its gait is regular but has less freedom:
(Canter and trot) and lightness of the shoulders and less mobility and activity in the hindquarters.
(Walk) with fairly good overstep and energy
Rhythm: Regular strides in correct footfalls for the relevant gait with a moment of suspension,(canter and trot only) but some loss of consistent rhythm.
Suppleness: Fairly good elasticity, but a little tense.
Contact: Light contact, but head carriage is not always quiet. A bit tight in the neck for some moments.
6
This applies to a horse that is somewhat limited within its correct gait.
Keep in mind that if the loss of regularity is only momentary due to a loss of balance it should be considered more as a submission problem.
Rhythm: Regular strides in correct footfalls of relevant gait
(Canter and trot) but the moment of suspension could be more clearly defined. Losing the rhythm during the gait.
(Walk) some overstep, pure walk.
Suppleness: Satisfactory suppleness and elasticity of the strides but shows some tension.
Contact: A little heavy on the bit and/or tight in the neck. Head carriage is not quiet steady. Self-carriage is limited. The neck is tilted at times.
5
This applies to horses that demonstrate stiff earthbound pace that lacks freedom and elasticity. Usually because of those problems, the horse ends up:
(Canter) losing the clear three-beat canter and has no moment of suspension.
(Trot) barely tracking up and has no visible moment of suspension (hind toes drag)
(Walk) not tracking up or losing energy and march.
Rhythm: Not always regular, some strides not in clear footfalls of relevant gait. No moment of suspension (earthbound strides).
Suppleness: Not supple enough lacks elasticity. Moments of tension.
Contact: Very heavy on the bit, behind the vertical most of the time. Not steady on the bit, the self-carriage is very limited. The neck is tilted most of the time.
4
A horse with a stiff earthbound gait and lack of freedom and elasticity. The horse does not demonstrate clear correct footfalls in the relevant gait, gait most of the time
(Canter and trot) has no moment of suspension.
Rhythm: Insufficiently regular, no correct footfalls most of the time.
Suppleness: Lack of suppleness and elasticity, too stiff. Several moments of tension.
Contact: Much too heavy on the bit and/or behind the vertical all of the time. Very unsteady on the bit. Very tilted in the head and neck.
3
Showing strong resistance and/or breaking gait.
Rhythm: Not in the correct footfalls of the relevant gait, no clear rhythm for entire movement. Lateral strides.
Suppleness: There is no suppleness shown most of the time with a high degree of tension and resistance.
Contact: Not accepting the bit. Very strong on the lunge line and/or the lunge line is very loose (touching the ground).
2
Showing very strong resistance and/or shows many times breaking gait.
Rhythm: Uncoordinated strides.
Suppleness: Extremely tense and resistant.
Contact: Not on the bit. No communication through the lunge line.
1
Extremely disobedient. Only a few relevant gait strides in the entire movement. Completely out of the lunger’s control
0
No relevant gaits strides shown throughout the entire movement.


Submission and Behavior – the Marks The score for submission and behavior includes attention and confidence, harmony, lightness and ease of the movement, acceptance of the bridle and lightness of the forehand. The degree of the submission is also demonstrated by the way the horse accepts the bridle, with a light and soft contact and a supple poll, or with resistance to or evasion of the lunger’s aids. Putting out the tongue, keeping it above the bit or drawing if up altogether, as well as grinding with the teeth or agitation of the tail, are mostly signs of nervousness, tension or resistance on the part of the horse must be taken into account.


Submission and Behavior – the Marks
10
The horse gives the impression of carrying out the test of its own accord and stays in a true balance and self-carriage. There is a picture of harmony and lightness throughout the test. Submissiveness Absolute willingness to perform the test in harmony with the lunger. Regularity: Absolute regular footfalls of the relevant gait throughout the entire test. Circling: Absolute constant circle of not less than 16 m diameter.
9
Submissiveness Absolute willingness to perform the test in harmony with the lunger.
Regularity: Absolute regularity in correct footfalls of relevant gait throughout the entire test.
Circling: Absolute constant circle of not less than 16 m diameter.
8
Submissiveness There is no resistance at all.
Regularity: Absolute regularity in correct footfalls of relevant gait throughout the entire test.
Circling: Absolute constant circle of not less than 16 m diameter.
7
Basically the lunger is able to direct a mostly obedient horse through the test without visible tension. Most of the time the horse is in front of the lunger’s aids and stays in balance and self-carriage. There may have been a slight disturbance during in test.
Submissiveness: Without resistance.
Regularity: Regularity in correct footfalls of relevant gait throughout the entire test.
Circling: Most of the time constant circle of not less than 16 m diameter.
6
The horse goes through the test more or less obediently, but gives the impression of being rather flat, having some problems in the mouth, with the poll not staying as the highest point, some tilting or contraction of the neck.
Submissiveness: There is some resistance.
Regularity: Not always regular in correct footfalls of the relevant gait. Horse reacts to the exercises.
Circling: Most of the time the circle line is not less than 16 m in diameter.
5
The horse goes through the test more or less obediently, but gives the impression of being rather flat, having some problems in the mouth, with the poll not staying as the highest point, some tilting or contraction of the neck.
Submissiveness: There is some resistance.
Regularity: Not always regular in correct footfalls of the relevant gait. Horse reacts to the exercises.
Circling: Most of the time the circle line is not less than 16 m in diameter.
4
Submissiveness: Several moments of resistance like bucking, etc.
Regularity: Not regular in footfalls of relevant gait. Several unclear strides and/or break of gait strides. Circling: Most of the time, the diameter of the circle is 15 m in diameter or less.
3
Submissiveness: A lot of resistance, bad behavior and not fully under the lunger’s control (bucking, kicking, etc.).
Regularity: Not regular in footfalls of the relevant gait. Many unclear strides and/or break of gait strides.
Circling: Most of the time, the diameter of the circle is 15 m in diameter or less.
2
Submissiveness: Very disobedient. Out of the lungers control.
Regularity: More than one round in unclear gait and/or breaks gait consistently.
Circling: All of the time, the diameter of the circle is 15 m in diameter or less.
1
Submissiveness: Extremely disobedient. Completely out for the lunger’s control.
Regularity: Most of the entire time in wrong gait and/or consistently breaking gait.
Circling: All of the time, the diameter of the circle is 15 m in diameter or less.
0
No relevant gait strides shown.



Lunger– the Marks
10
Correct aids, nearly invisible
Appropriate use of the whip,
Lunge line is straight demonstrating contact (the lunge may sag a bit according to the weight of the lunge line),
Stationary lunger, appropriate dress
9
Correct aids,
Appropriate use of the whip,
Lunge line is not always straight demonstrating contact (the lunge may sag a bit according to the weight of the lunge line),
Stationary lunger, appropriate dress
8
Correct aids,
Appropriate use of the whip,
Lunge line is not always straight demonstrating contact (the lunge may sag a bit according to the weight of the lunge line),
Lunger moves in a very small circle (approx. 1 m diameter)
7
There is some lack of effectiveness in the aids,
Appropriate use of the whip,
Lunge line is not always straight demonstrating contact (the lunge may sag a bit according to the weight of the lunge line),
Lunger moves in a very small circle (approx. 1 m diameter)
6
Not always correct aids,
Appropriate use of the whip,
Lunge line is often loose and/or twisted,
Lunger moves in a very small circle (approx. 1 m diameter)
5
Not always correct aids,
Appropriate use of the whip, frequent use of the voice,
Lunge line is mainly loose,
Lunger moves in a circle more than 1 m in diameter,
Inappropriate dress of the lunger
Inappropriate equipment of the horse
4
Lunger disturbs the horse consistently,
Constant use of the whip,
Lunge line is always loose,
Lunger moves in a circle more than 3 m in diameter,
Taking time out in order to adjust the equipment
3
Very hard aids,
Excessive use of the whip,
Lunge line is always loose,
Lunger walks with the horse,
2
Result of several faults
1
Result of several faults
0
Result of several faults


Presentation and Salute – the Marks
10
Correct Entry
Correct Salute
Salute with the horse standing quietly on all four legs
Correct trotting round
Equipment correct
5
Not entering in a straight line
Vaulters not always in step during the entry
Horse constantly moving around during the salute
Horse disobedient (starts cantering after only a few trot strides, etc.)
Equipment untidy / loose straps etc
Salute not harmonized
3
Horse not under control of the lungers,
Horse moving around excessively during the salute
Horse disobedient, it takes very long to show the trot round
Equipment has to be adjusted
Entry with show effects
Salute with show effects. Vaulter is in the circle during the trot round