Sunday, November 21, 2010

Judge's Exam and Phase 2

Things have certainly been exciting since the last time that I logged on. No, Freddie Mac did not get taken to prison. That's his view in the new temporary stall situation at the barn. As you can see, Splash and the rest of the Blue Clover Eventing crew have all settled in well to the next phase of construction at the barn. The new indoor is fantastical!! and we have our 20 stall barn completely moved to our temporary location until the barn renovations are complete. Morris has some prime real estate, he is in the quiet corner so he has two giant windows. The afternoon un comes in just right and so we can take his rug off and it's like summer for him, baking in the sun in the corner. The only one sadden, I think, by our move was Gunsmoke. I will have to try and capture it on the camera-phone. But the all glass doors go up and down like garage doors, and when they go down the only way in and out is through a people door. Lacking thumbs, this is a giant obstacle for Gunsmoke to conquer! So he sits there outside of the glass walls looking in, ears up and out to the side, head slightly's awful! Eventually somebody notices and lets in the poor lercher. If this is the only thing that we can complain about, however, I'd say we are doing pretty well.....

I was doing pretty well last weekend after completing the final exam to get my 'r' event judge's license! The exam took place down at Poplar Place in Hamilton, GA during their last recognized competition for the season. It was my first time heading to Poplar, and I would certainly go back next time with the ponies! It was a beautiful venue, the dressage and show jumping arenas were top notch, great stabling, and some really good stuff out on cross country. It has been extremely difficult to find time in my schedule when I am not competing or coaching to work on apprentice-judging. It was extremely difficult to be at such a lovely venue like Poplar all weekend, with fantastic weather, and not be competing or coaching lol! I was so busy, however, I really hardly had any time to think about it! Friday morning I got to Poplar, checked in, and immediately headed out to the cross country course. I had to evaluate the Preliminary track, and then be able to compare it to the Training level route. Funny going to an event for the first time, I had no idea where anything was, what loops the courses usually took, etc. Because I'm getting evaluated on my evaluation, I wanted to make sure that I commented on anything and everything. From there I went up to show jumping and did the same thing over the Intermediate track. I was wildly trying to write all of this into coherent paragraphs when our official "Welcome" at 1:00 began and we were handed spreadsheets of timelines. Much to my surprise, we had not one but FOUR oral exams to complete that afternoon, and we had to be quick because our open book test started promptly at 6:15.
I thought, oh good open book how hard can it be. And then I realized the method to the madness, they wanted us to cite the rules we used to answer all the true/false and the multiple choice. For anybody looking at the USEF Rulebook, I challenge you to read 3 pages without nearly falling asleep. Now do it for 3 hours knowing that somewhere in those thousands of pages is the exact answer and reference number that you are looking for. By 9:00 the pages were blurring together and I was over it. Over it! I can honestly say that I learned so much just by taking the exam!
There was no rest for the weary, let me tell you. I wanted to study some more, memorize some more rules and all of the Prelim/Training/Novice test As for the next day. But my mind revolted. I went to bed. I needed my mind, the closed book test started promptly at 7am Saturday morning! I hate true false. Are they trying to trick you with the wording, or am I reading too much into the question? Can I please write a paragraph to explain why I think it is partly true or partly false?? No time to dwell on any wrong answers, however, because we had to be with our dressage examiner specialist by 8. We judged the dressage from 8 until 2. Saw all sorts of things and wished that it could have been 3 divisions of beautiful rides where I could have said 8 and 9 all day!! Not quite the case, I think I made some good calls and some good comments and we will see when it is all said and done if the examiners felt the same way! Went from judging dressage to judging show jumping where I was lucky that all of my rounds were clean and within the time. Then went to another oral exam where I got grilled on show jumping because all of the rounds I judged were clean and within the time :) And then, I was done. There were no good byes, no job well dones, no graded tests coming back to you. People just scattered! I spoiled myself with a Chai latte from Starbucks (one of the finer things in life) and I sat on my couch and didn't think for at least an hour. And it was wonderful! Many thanks to all of the people at Poplar, the USEA and the USEF for making this testing possible. I am looking forward to hearing back about how I fared at the exam, and maybe the next time you see me it will be from behind the judge's box at C!

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