Is it all just about numbers?

I recently read a quote about how obsessed with numbers we have become.

Our culture, obsessed with numbers, has given us the idea that what we can measure is more important than what we can’t measure……it means that we make quantity more important than quality.

Donella Meadows

I immediately thought about how this is true in my sport of dressage. We are scored with a number from 1-10 for each movement in the tests we ride in competition. At the end we get a score. If you are trying to qualify for a team to represent your country in the Olympics or World Equestrian Championships then that number could mean you make the team or do not make the team. At the World Equestrian Games in 2018 the scores were visible on the sides of the ring for each movement.

But what about an amateur rider such as myself who is not trying to make a team? Those numbers can reflect what I think is true or maybe not. If I get a low score on a movement I know I did not do well or made a mistake on then I will agree with the number. But if it’s low and I think I did not do the movement badly then what should I think?

Over the years I have learned to let the numbers in dressage go. It is the judges opinion and they were not riding my horse on that day so there is no point being upset for more than 45 seconds about the score.

The photo above and below are of jumbotron from the Dressage at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon NC 2018

What about you? How do numbers affect you?

42 Comments Add yours

  1. David says:

    In showjumping, and a lesser degree in hunter, it is keeping the fault number at zero …
    keeping the ride clean to advance to the jump-off. As a whole, while the scoring criteria are meant to be objective, the practical application of those criteria are plainly subjective. A lot depends what the judge is “seeing.” If he/she feels you’re not riding well enough for the class, it will be reflected in your score. If a judge is moody or having a bad day, it will be seen in the scores for everyone. Though a judge does not need to explain their scoring, they do need to be honest in saying how they arrived at a score is a subjective matter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      In dressage we get a score sheet with a score and usually also a comment from the judge for each movement of the test. At the end there are collective marks which are for the rider and the horse’s gaits and horses submission etc. At the FEI levels there is only the riders position that is in the collective scoring . In a CDI there are 5 judges so between them they see everything and see it from the end of the arena and also the sides. Sometimes this can result in very different scores.

      Like

  2. Tanooki says:

    Numbers in art form is so difficult since a lot of judges can have different perspectives. I think of course these players are fighting to get better score and seeking to reflect all the devoted time and effort, but I also think judges must have so much pressure knowing the number they give to the person can change the player’s future. Sometimes it’s possible that because of the low score, the player decide to play that but nobody, including judges or even audience don’t want that🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I agree.Thejudges are in a tough position if they are judging people who are hoping to make an Olympic Team. Making that team can bring sponsorship and other financial rewards that can really alter the athlete’s life. So it is tough if you are judging that and trying to be as fair as possible. Thank you for your insightful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Alli Farkas says:

    The following comment should have gone to your blog and somehow ended up on an art blog I follow…so here it is, for what it’s worth.
    Ever since the 4’s became 5’s and on up the line I haven’t had much respect for dressage scores. Also, since I trend in the classical rather than flashical direction in dressage I am particularly disappointed when I see horses with the poll not the highest point and the nose consistently behind the vertical, the front half of the horse flicking the legs and the back end trailing out, still getting high scores, sometimes apparently based mainly on the name of the rider. Oops—this turned into a rant—😕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I have had the same problem with WordPress. If I try to leave a comment that is more than six words I get flipped to a different blog site. Inhave complained to WordPrrss and I’ve been told to use a different browser. Since I am already using a browser they recommend it is annoying not have a better suggestion. Have you told them what happened to you? I think there are others experiencing it but if no one goes to”help” they won’t know they need to do something. I’m typing this on my phone and it’s ok . On my pc I would have been flipped to another site. And I agree with all you have said about dressage scores! 💯

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Tina Schell says:

    I’ve always felt that judging subjectively is often unfair but there’s no real way to correct it other than to judge only on technical merit. It’s a real conundrum in sports like dressage or ice skating for example. Not sure how to fix it though. On another subject, saw your comment on Slow Shutter Speed. WP has been VERY sketchy today. If you’re on Safari try using a different browser. I have safari and firefox and it’s much more stable on the latter. On safari, clearing your cache also helps.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thanks Tina. I use Chrome and until now it has worked well.

      Like

      1. Tina Schell says:

        Ah yes, WP recommended that as well

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Cache has been cleared too so we’ll see…..

          Like

  5. Diana says:

    This is a great post about numbers! I do agree with you as it would be frustrating if you thought you did good riding but the score didn’t reflect that and as I think about numbers I decided to not worry about stats here on WP. I occasionally look at them but don’t worry about them. I like how this makes you think how numbers affect our lives! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes I think it made me think. For me the quantity getting ahead of quality is the crux of the matter!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think I shared before that my daughter went to master classes rather than contests as she learned more there than numbers.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. anne leueen says:

        That is a good thing to do. Unless you want to qualify for a team and scores are required. I think Master classes are very valuable.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. She and her friend had already qualifies for Arabian Jr nationals. At that point it was to better their riding there

          Liked by 1 person

  6. sandyjwhite says:

    Measuring progress in an objective way has merit, but not to the point where it drains
    all the pleasure out of things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Precisely! That is crucial!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Naomi says:

    Yes the scores I get when I show my horse effect what I think on how you did. I certainly agree with that we have definitely become obsessed with numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      It is hard when we ride our best and get a score that is disappointing. I have been doing it for a lot of years now and that is why I learned to stop giving the score too much importance.

      Like

  8. Valerie Tate says:

    I write mystery novels. The rankings on Amazon can encourage or discourage but a good star-rating or review means more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Interesting. Thanks for sharing that.

      Like

  9. I think it’s easy for numbers & stats to supplant our real goals and measures of success. Once you create any sort of quantitative scoring system or standard, it’s likely to become the focus of our efforts, even if the numbers aren’t really capturing what we want, or whether we’re doing a good job.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      You’ve got it 💯! Thanks for this comment

      Like

  10. I hadn’t thought about it, but yes, most things are related to numbers 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pepper says:

    Well said! Yes, we are easily distracted by the numbers. Even in the world of blogging, it is tempting to focus on the number of “likes”. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I think we can be tempted to think we are “liked” when actually it is not that big a deal for someone to just click on “like” and then leave!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Paula Light says:

    I think about numbers a lot and find them (and math) interesting. But I don’t find our obsession with score and winning to be that much fun. We lose the pleasure of pure play when we fixate on the score. Little kids have so much fun playing because they aren’t worried about points… good lesson for us all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I agree 💯 Paula.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Horse showing is interesting. Even at my level which is fun shows and schooling type shows. I think of it as competing against myself. I can get a lower ribbon or no ribbon as compared to my competitors, but still feel I had a good round based on the private goals I set for myself. It is fun when you know you had a good round AND win first place, but at least for me, that doesn’t happen much. Nevertheless, I still enjoy the opportunity to put it all out there and show. You learn how to handle yourself with dignity when things don’t go your way and to appreciate the times when you and your horse do walk away with a nice prize. Horse shows are there own interesting little bubble all to themselves, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are so right. If you can go to a show, any level of show, and compete and assess your success by holding up your performance to whatever goals you had set for that show then that is a very sensible approach.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Rupali says:

    The only numbers I care about are my fitbit counts. Actually even the data is not important as such but it reminds me of my otherwise sedentary life style.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      We all need reminders. I like to have video of my riding as it reminds me of things I need to do to get better. Your fit bit sounds like a good one for you.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Pepper says:

      Read your comment as I sat at Starbucks enjoying my iced tea and danish. Yup, time to get out there for my hike! Thanks for the reminder. 😂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. anne leueen says:

        Bravo! Go for it!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Pepper says:

          I did, I did! I usually start my day with a hike but it was cold this morning. The comment was just what I needed to get up from my comfy spot. 😁

          Liked by 1 person

          1. anne leueen says:

            That’s great I’m glad it helped.

            Liked by 1 person

      2. Rupali says:

        Welcome back Irene ( Pepper). Not seen you for a while. Have you deleted you earlier blog?

        Nothing wrong in enjoying a treat 😊. I just had my Ferrero Rocher while reading your comment 😂.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Hello Rupali . I think you were leaving a comment for Pepper. I have had a lot of odd things lately with WordPress when I am trying to leave comments. I will suddenly find I have been whipped to a different blog site and not the one I thought I was on.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Rupali says:

            I am sorry and thanks for mentioning it. Last couple of days I am struggling hard to be on same post. I tried notification, reader and even the post on the site. Please delete the comment. Have anice day Anne.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. anne leueen says:

            No worries Pepper has seen you comment so that is good and Pepper left a reply for you. We need to let WordPress know this is happening so they will do something about it.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Pepper says:

          Yes, I deleted my previous blog toward the end of the last year. Stepped away from blogging for a little while. 😊

          Liked by 2 people

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