(*dusting away cobwebs*)
That's much better - I couldn't see the screen for dust! I could easily be accused of abandoning my poor blog, but this is not the case. As you can see, it's whirring back into action. The reason for my absence? Well, would you believe me if I told you that it's taken me practically all week to get over the course that I went off to do the previous weekend? I don't remember having been so physically and mentally drained for, well, I can't remember the last time!
It was gruelling! We spent four days solid covering theory:
- The Training Scale: the basis for any judge, practically everything has something to do with the Training Scale!
- Gaits: what has to be looked for in each gait and how it refers to the Training Scale
- Movements: lateral movements, circles, etc and how they should be executed.
- Scoring: and how to do it, again based on the Training Scale.
- Equestrian Morpho-biomechanics: yep, morphology comes into it too! It doesn't really influence the judging part but it was interesting to find out how a horse is literally put together and how changes in the skeleton can affect a horses ability to be able to do certain dressage moves. This is especially true in high level dressage where a horse is expected to do a number of complicated moves with a high degree of collection. Some horses are just not built to do it!
- Dressage tests: for young horses, low level tests (initiation and promotion), high level tests, and freestyle tests. We looked at the levels of difficulty for each group and what was expected of horses and riders. And we also looked at how to score each test. Can you believe that I found it more difficult to score one of the lowest level tests than a Prix St Georges test? Sounds ridiculous but it's a lot more straight forward!
- Vocabulary: oh yes, there is a certain vocab that is used when scoring a dressage test - it's supposed to make it easier to make comments!
Each day was spent going through the theory and then, in the evening, we headed back to the hotel to study, usually until about 2am. I was up again at around 7.30am to continue studying on the way back to the course to be ready for the exam. We had written exams every day. We also had a practical exam on morphology and, of course, 2 practical exams where we actually had to judge some dressage tests. It's amazing how I managed to survive on very little sleep and not eating very well! I suppose that determination had a lot to do with it and I was determined to do the best I could on the course.
And, if that wasn't enough, the flight I had to get home on the Sunday evening was delayed 2 hours - so I didn't get home until 3am!! A real test of stamina! It was fortunate that I had Hubby waiting for me at the airport to whisk me off home.
So now all I have to do is wait to see if I passed all the exams. But it's not over even then, oh no! I still have another 9 practical tests to do as a 'judge in training'. I think that I did OK in most of them, but you never can tell! Fingers crossed!