The five practicals are as administrative secretary (4 times), where I have to sit with a judge at an official competition and write down the scores and comments on the score sheet, and as technical secretary, which involves helping the Organising Committee to put together the final score sheets and publish the list of participants with their final scores and placings.
I'm trying to go to as many competitions as I can. I think that the best way to improve at something is to dedicate time to it and practice, practice, practice. I was lucky to be able to sit with the judges as admin secretary at the Championships and, although it was hard work and a lot of hours, I noticed that things were coming together for me.
I asked her what, in her opinion, made a good dressage judge. She told me that it is essential to know the theory; to understand the training scale; to base all judgements on my own criteria based on the previous two; to know, understand and have experience of the moves that I am judging (I'll have to get on with doing some decent flying changes and learn how to do pirouettes then!); have a good memory as it is important to remember the tests of each horse to be able to judge and score fairly; and to have a strong character as it is not unusual for others (riders, trainers, owners) to try and influence your opinion and therefore your judging.
So the compulsory practical tests before Phase 2 are already completed but this weekend it's the Spanish Championships for Juniors, so I've offered my services to sit with the judges again. It's going to be interesting to see different levels as all the riders are under 21 and to see how the judges operate. It's also going to be a long weekend - over 140 participants! But I'm already looking forward to it! I'll let you know how it all went next week.