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Old 12-18-2010, 11:58 AM  
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Command Class question

Apparently I am judging a command class tomorrow. Never been in one, although I understand the basics. Anyone able to describe a command class, and give good ideas on how to run it?

Karen
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:31 PM  
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You will need several spotters. The horses generally come in at a walk, and the judging does not begin until all the horses are in, to make it fair. The class is won by process of elimination. Judge gives a command. Whatever horses taking longer than 3 strides (I think?) to do the command are brought to the middle and thus eliminated. You need to keep track of what order they are brought in, depending on the number of placings. The winner becomes the one left on the rail, who is the quickest at doing whatever is asked. Gives those with less than stellar riding abilities, say or the slowest gaits (in a western pleasure class) to show how well trained and obedient their mounts are. I love watching these classes. Sometimes the run-offs can be crazy - where you have to start giving the commands closer and closer to finally find the winner! Coming to a total standstill for several seconds usually sorts things out fairly fast.

Let us know how it goes!

Last edited by singing tree : 12-18-2010 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:50 PM  
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Command class can be as tough as you want to make it. Usually start out easy then make the commands harder. The classes I have been in, have had a couple spotters as previously mentioned. The last one on the rail wins. Things I have been asked to do is -

walk/trot - extended gates - loose reins
canter - correct leads and also incorrect leads (counter canter)
Stop - stand on loose reins
sidepass towards the center of the arena/back to the rail
180 turn on the forehand/haunches
back
ground tie
remount on opp side (w/o the horse walking off)
flying lead changes


Good luck and make it fun
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:52 PM  
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One thing to add, they have to get the gait within 3 strides.
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Old 12-18-2010, 03:52 PM  
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When our club does it it's the last horse/rider to respond to the command that gets brought into the middle. If the command is to 'halt' and a horse halts but then walks a few steps they get eliminated (like I did this past summer) and an easy way to eliminate some is to say 'reverse'. They're supposed to reverse and stop, if they walk on they get eliminated because you didn't say 'reverse and walk on'. Another way to eliminate people if you have a tough bunch is to have them back up a number of strides, not steps. Most people don't know the difference. You could also ask for a counter canter.
It's kind of like Simon Says. It's fun but I've seen more people get mad in this class than in any other because someone should have been eliminated but the judge didn't see them.
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Old 12-18-2010, 04:26 PM  
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Fun to watch but wouldn't want to be the judge. People go crazy over this class.
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Old 12-18-2010, 05:24 PM  
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This was my favourite class in 4-H!! I wasn't great at it but it sure was fun Like others have said you need several spotters to help with judging. In our classes you could do english or western and have the gaits and commands that were done in each style. So something like jog they would just use the phrase 'jog or sitting trot' as one command to emcompass both disciplines. We had 3 strides to complete the command and the last one to screw up was the winner!

Commands that I remember
-Walk
-Trot
-Working trot
-extended trot (not sure the difference between those two)
-Canter/lope
-Hand gallop
-Halt (wait like 30 seconds or so before next command to see if they stayed halted)
-Reverse (can't continue forward in the new direction until the next command is given)
-Back up (another one to allow them to continue for a period of time to see if they can do it, one class we almost back an entire round around the arena!)
-counter canter
-halt, walk with horse in hand, trot with horse in hand
-remount on specified side
-flying lead change
-reverse and w/t/l on
-360 on forehand, hind end
-side pass off the rail and remain off the rail at specified gaits ( we only did this near the end when there weren't as many left in the class because the space becomes so much smaller off the rail)

I can't remember any others but its a start!
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Old 12-18-2010, 06:32 PM  
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Depending on the class size, it is appropriate to have spotters.
We have done that before. Makes it so much easier on the "judge".
Have fun!
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Old 12-18-2010, 06:35 PM  
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As someone who has a 16 hh horse and has short legs and a bad knee I would suggest not having anyone get off their horse and remount.
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Old 12-18-2010, 06:54 PM  
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There are 10 people in the class...not sure if I will have spotters. The three stride thing is good to know. I can see asking for a lengthenning may be trickier and more judgemental...so hopefully I can stick more with complicated transitions. Counter canter is a good idea too.

Now with the three stride rule, does that mean if I ask for a canter from a walk, they can do three strides at walk or trot before cantering?

Could I make it more complicated for the riders by asking for the transistions in a two point or something?

There is only 10 minutes allocated for the class, so I need ideas for quick elimation...mounting and dismounting is out (hard on riders and horses backs for the end of the day, but I like the rein back, counter canter and such!

Now I have to study up on Showmanship too...

Karen
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:31 PM  
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Just go from very simple to more complicated. Generally, this class sorts itself very quickly. Of course, I am looking at it from a 4H point of view - perhaps adults do better? I would just make a list so you can think of what you want them to do next. Lengthening the gaits would only be done if you have a couple of tough contenders left, so it would not be very dangerous.

With only that many riders you will have to make sure your spotters call out the offenders number to get the right order. And I would still have spotters, at least one for each end, and one facing the opposite direction from you.
That makes it the most fair for each riders.
Like some have said, this can easily be viewed as unfair, so the more help you have the better.
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Old 12-19-2010, 12:00 PM  
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We don't do the dismount and mount. We get out every time on the counter canter, he hates being on the wrong lead and Nicole hates making him do something that we've trained him not to do.
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Old 12-19-2010, 12:31 PM  
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I had never heard of a Command Class, sounds like fun!!
Reminds me of Horsemanship (or equitation) classes when there were contestants who were too close to call. The judges would use the "tricks" like just saying reverse and see who was paying attention, or having us come to a stop, back a few steps then move straight off into a canter. I loved it!!
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:31 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EquineAlberta View Post
Now with the three stride rule, does that mean if I ask for a canter from a walk, they can do three strides at walk or trot before cantering?
Our judges didn't care what you did in your three strides as long as by the 3rd you were doing the correct command.
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Old 12-19-2010, 06:02 PM  
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Equine, a quick eliminator is to have everyone line up at the end of the arena. When the first horse is called it walks to a marker then is asked to lope. Not too many horses will step into a nice lope as they are reluctant to leave the group. As each horse finished it's routine it rejoined the others. No lining up in the middle until all were called to do so. Doing a figure 8 where the horse starts in the middle, rides away then crosses and goes toward the group makes for some pretty lop-sided figure eights. Again because his mind is leaning to the group.
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Old 12-19-2010, 06:07 PM  
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I used to be really good at this class and loved it. An easy way to get lots of people "out" is to call for a hand gallop and let them gallop on a bit, then call "halt". Not too many horses will halt in 3 strides and stand rock still (my horse would in those days, lucky me). So if you are starting to run out of time, that will eliminate most of the riders.
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Old 12-19-2010, 06:15 PM  
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So I ended up judging the class just on last one to do the command was out, giving some leeway if everyone was pretty good. Halting after doing a canter to halt-rein back seemed to be the best one to get people "out". Horses didn't want to stand and either went sideways or backed up. Counter canter was also a good one.

Overall the class was pretty fun. Helped that there were only 9 in the class, with ribbons to 6th.

Thanks for the advice!

Karen
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