I love to scribe. It’s a complete toss-up as to whether scribing or jump judging is my favorite volunteer activity – though really, I can’t think of one I really dislike. Jump judging on a clear day might have the edge; nothing like hanging out with gorgeous horses and reading poetry all day.
Sunday, I scribed for one of the biggest recognized dressage shows in the state. I did Training through Third Level tests for an S judge from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm. It was a long day.
We saw an awful lot of really nice horses, and a few really nice riders. The judge was hilarious, and had a really keen eye. I was tired and stressed and not as engaged as I usually am, and it took me a long time to get into the rhythm of the day.
If you’ve scribed a few times, you know that there’s an adjustment period with each new judge: you spend a little while learning when and whether they like to be reminded for scores, what comments they make frequently so you can anticipate them, whether they like to be kept on track at all, etc. I just felt like it took me longer than it should have to start clicking with the judge, but by late morning we were rolling. I was subdued enough through the day that she actually referred to me as “quiet” and “sweet” which…is not usually how people describe me.
My favorite pairs were rarely the typical ones, with the big flashy gaits and the perfect tests. (We didn’t see many, if any, perfect tests.) They were the ones where there was clearly a lot of hard work and love behind the test. There was an older woman who was smiling in a way that told me she was terrified underneath, riding a huge 17hh horse, and I was nervous when I saw them circling the ring – and then they entered and the horse just took care of her. He loved her.
There was a little girl on a Welsh pony whose nose was stuck determinedly parallel to the ground the entire time but who trotted around with such determination that I couldn’t help but crack up. There was a young woman on a Morgan horse who looked like an incredibly complicated and tricky ride but who handled every moment with such tact. There was a young girl with a messy ponytail, skull cap, off-kilter helmet cover, and half-chaps riding a big leggy Thoroughbred who did.not.want. but my God the fierceness of that girl as she firmly and clearly got the job done. There was another young girl who was clearly green and learning but the bare bones of her basic teaching were so good, and so evident, and the horse she was on was educated and precise and just pleasant, and there were moments in the test that were like looking ten years into the future into the blooming of a truly lovely rider.
I had agreed to scribe way back in the early spring, and I was not looking forward to it with everything else that was going on, but I was so, so glad I went.