Monday, 13 June 2011

Judging isn't that simple

The weekend is over and I feel exhausted! I'm not sure if I felt more stressed before I started the course, or now that I know exactly what's involved....

For anyone not familiar with dressage, a 'regional or territorial dressage judge' is the person sat on the edge of a dressage arena during a competition that has to give marks out of 10 to the riders that present their horses doing a series of different moves in a specified order. Each set of moves is called a 'reprise' and belongs to a certain level (there are a number of reprises in each level with an increasing amount of difficulty) and they range from elementary (beginners) to Grand Prix. There are also different levels of judges, territorial, national 'B' and national 'A'. Territorial is the basic level. The judge has to evaluate each move, basing it on a number of different factors, and give it a score depending on how it was executed.

Enter at 'A'
Before the course started I had to read the regulations, the general federation regulations and the dressage specific ones, and answer two questionnaires of nearly 300 questions. And if that wasn't enough, right at the beginning of the course we had an exam! It's a while since I had to do exams and I have to admit that I'm not sure if my nerves didn't get the better of me - I realised when I handed in the paper that I'd made a couple of pretty silly blunders! Questions that I really knew the answers to but I'm not sure that I wrote down the right thing. Oh well, I'll just have to wait and see when the results arrive.

It was a day and half of regulations, visual training and explanations. I know quite a bit about dressage (as that's what I do when I'm riding) but I still found it brain-numbing with the amount of information that we had to absorb. So I have no idea how other people got on that didn't really know much about dressage - I suppose they a learned a lot!

There is a second part to the course (in October, I think) that also has to be completed and another exam. So I have to continue studying the regulations and really learn them well. But apart from all that we have to do about 12 different practical tests as of now and within the next 12 months. The practical tests have to be done during an official competition - and I'll tell you more about that tomorrow!

Dressage arena
I have to say that I really enjoyed the course, even though it was hard work and it's going to be a while before I even know if I qualify to be a judge. But it certainly made me look at dressage in a different way and I think that it'll be useful for training as well.

Hasta pronto!


  1. Sounds like a great experience and lesson for you.

    Happy Monday!

  2. This all sounds so technical but really interesting, thanks for sharing! :)

    The Cat Hag

  3. love your blog.. wonderful flow in writing..glad to have visited :)

  4. I've posted this to all my followers - and look forward to doing the same for the next one! It's great for riders to see things from a judges perspective. It's my guess many think you're only there to criticise. Clearly there's a lot more to it than that!


  5. WOW! Thanks for the comments and glad that you found it interesting - it is to me but I never dreamed that it could be for others too! I hope that further posts on the subject come up to standard!! :-)