I do think my point got lost yesterday - in all likelihood the lost point was due to poor writing. It could also be that the reader's own biases colored their understanding of what I was trying to say. Either way, a dialog has certainly begun.
My point to yesterday's post was this: Centerline Scores is a wonderful tool. So is a hammer. It works great to pound things in and for nail removal, but it's a terrible screwdriver or level. To remove screws, you should use a phillips or flathead screw driver. A wrench is great for bolts, but it doesn't work very well for pounding in nails - I know as I have tried when a hammer couldn't be located.
In no way did I suggest that Centerline Scores should be the ONLY tool that a rider uses when picking a trainer or ascertaining whether another rider is being truthful. That would be like trying to build a house with JUST a hammer.
I think I've been pretty honest about my own trainer. She is NOT a dressage rider or trainer and she reminds me of that frequently. (funny story - she popped up on Speedy G one time in my dressage saddle and hated where it put her seat and legs!) I ride with her because she is an excellent trainer of the basics. She has warned me numerous times that I will need to find a real dressage trainer once she has helped me establish the basics.
I do know that she showed extensively when she was younger and that she coaches her other students at small, local h/j shows. In no way do I discount her previous years of experience. When I ask her questions about showing, I trust what she suggests because I know that she has experience in that area, and no, that experience doesn't show up on Centerline Scores.
When I finally do move on to a Dressage trainer, you can bet that I'll be looking her up just to see what kind of show experience he or she has had. Of course Centerline Scores doesn't date back to the dawn of time - they make that clear on their Frequently Asked Questions page : How far back do you have scores? Due to limitations on the available USDF show results, our data only goes back to the 1993 Competition Year and results prior to the 2003 Competition Year are very likely to be incomplete. However, from 2003 to present the data should be complete. This doesn't mean that the most current stuff is of no value.
I also think some people thought I was placing a lot of emphasis on the scores themselves. That wasn't my intention. I was more concerned with the quantity of scores. A person with A LOT of scores has shown a lot. More shows means more experience. It might be a lot of BAD experience, but it's till experience. When I ask for help, I would rather ask someone who I know has done it more than twice. I've done five USDF-rated shows. I am not a great one to ask about the particulars of a venue. I can share what my experience was, but you're better off asking someone who has done 20 or 30 USDF shows.
So, that's my point. Centerline Scores is a great tool for gathering data. Use it with common sense and combine it with your own prior experience. It shouldn't be the only tool you use, like the hammer, but it IS a useful tool. If you don't get much value from it, don't use it. Frankly, I never use a vise-grip wrench and don't feel as though I'm missing a thing!