Monday, December 28, 2009

Dealing with Other Showers...

Sadly, sour grapes and bad sportsmanship are common at live shows. Inevitably, a shower will have what is sometimes referred to “having a plastic pony moment.” This phrase means the shower has forgotten that they are just plastic ponies and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If it stops being fun, stop showing.

However, not every shower gets upset for baseless reasons. As I’ve mentioned ad nauseum, we don’t have a national judging standard. Every judge can decide what he or she wants to judge on. They can pick whichever horse is the shiniest or reminds them of their favorite childhood pony. Because most shows don’t write a standard into their rules, the judge is well within their rights to judge based on anything. This can be frustrating for showers, who expect a judge to follow the most common standards (discussed here, here, and here.)

Some showers also depend on model horses to make a living. It’s a difficult line of work to begin with. It gets worse when you have to rely on success in the show ring to improve sales.

Having said that, most complaints you will here are just sour grapes. Showing is a competitive sports and it comes with the territory. And inevitably, every shower just has a bad day.

The best way to deal with frustrated showers is to avoid them or tune their complaints out. Give them space; don't confront them. If they are seated close to you, take the time to walk around the room and ogle all the pretty ponies. Remember, you're surrounded by crazies that share your hobby! I met many of my closest friends at model shows.

When the complaints are focused on the judge, try to remember that all judges mean well and are trying to do the best possible job, often without reimbursement for their time. Frustrated showers will often fixate on obscure (imaginary) patterns. “This judge is only picking bay horses” or “This judge is only picking their friends horses,” etc. Realistically, these theories are never true.

Take the time to talk to the judge. Explain that you are new to showing and eager to learn about judging. Ask the judges what they are looking for, and you will discover how baseless the theories you've been hearing really are.

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