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This is a discussion on Judging within the Dressage forums, part of the English Riding category
  • Dressage judging so unfair at olympics
  • What is a dressage judge looking for

 
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    05-06-2009, 06:55 PM
  #1
Foal
Judging

Ok, so for extension studies at school, i'm doing 'classical vs modern dressage' the different forms of training and which is there more 'beneficial' method, or which gets the horse working more 'correct' without any physical of pychological issues later on in life. I'm going to be asking you guys heaps for help on this, as I need to talk to different people.

The first topic of my investigation is "Judging and the FEI".

My research for this section will include me going to the FEI website and taking notes about what defines different movements etc. I need to talk/email a qualified judge/ex judge and ask them what they look for when judging a dressage test and ask them various questions about riding in rollkur. (havent really done much work on this section yet! Any of your ideas that I could ask would be great)

So for you guys, I've made this small questionaire which if you could please fill out, that'd be amazing. Also if you think of any other questions I could add please let me know and I will add them to this.

The point of this is to find out which training method is more substantional or beneficial for the horse. The judging side comes in where bias occurs. I also want to make it clear what judges look for, so that on the competition side of things it is easier to understand what I'm on about for non-horsey people.

Sorry if not much of this makes sense! Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated

For the purposes of ethics I have to have your permission to use the anwsers and information that you supply to me, and have you know that it will (most likely) be presented in some way in my research for this topic, and ask that you please answer these honestly and as thoroughly as possible. Thanks, Olivia

1. What disipline do you generally train/compete in? (Your strongest or most preferred sport is fine too if your not consistently 'schooling')

2. In your opinion, what points do qualified judges look for when judging a dressage test.

3. In different levels of dressage competition, IYO, do judges look for different skills or have different requirements of levels of performance (for example, in a preliminary test, where is says 'working trot', does a judge mark differently for the same level of perfromnace if it says 'working trot' in a novice test.) Could you please give some examples of these?

4. Have you found either from direct experience or from another persons experience, that bias is common? For example a judge may mark a grey or black horse higher than a bay, for the same level of performance, or a judge may mark down a person if they are not smiling as they enter the ring etc.

5. If you have competed dressage before, have you ever been confused with the mark you have recieved for a movement, either because you thought it was better than the mark given, or did not deserve the mark given?
(If you compete and have watched competitions please answer both)

Or

6. If you have NOT competed in dressage, but watched several competitors at one competition, been confused by the good % and placings of the competitors?

7. Your location
     
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    05-06-2009, 08:22 PM
  #2
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeddah31    
For the purposes of ethics I have to have your permission to use the anwsers and information that you supply to me, and have you know that it will (most likely) be presented in some way in my research for this topic, and ask that you please answer these honestly and as thoroughly as possible. Thanks, Olivia
1. What disipline do you generally train/compete in? (Your strongest or most preferred sport is fine too if your not consistently 'schooling')

Dressage.

2. In your opinion, what points do qualified judges look for when judging a dressage test.

A judge will look first at the overall quality of the movement asked for. Most judges will have an idea in their mind of the "perfect" horse doing the perfect movement and will judge what they are presented with against that "ideal". Good judging will judge from the best mark possible "a 10" and drop down to find what they feel is the correct mark. After looking at the quality they will also have to determine if the movement is done at the right point in the arena and if they are any "errors of course" while performing the required task. For example a canter circle where the incorrect lead is picked up and corrected or not corrected and include these faults into the final score they will give to the movement performed from the moment it was requested to the point the requested movement is finished.

3. In different levels of dressage competition, IYO, do judges look for different skills or have different requirements of levels of performance (for example, in a preliminary test, where is says 'working trot', does a judge mark differently for the same level of perfromnace if it says 'working trot' in a novice test.) Could you please give some examples of these?

Overall no but the quality should improve as the tests get harder. A working trot has basic requirements but with work the degree of collection gets better, the quality of movement gets better so in effect the mark can drop but not so much because the test is at a higher level but because the training should produce a more quality movement. An example is the score "5". This score translates into sufficient but it really means sufficient FOR THE LEVEL so the expectation from the horse/rider will rise relative to the difficulty of the test.

4. Have you found either from direct experience or from another persons experience, that bias is common? For example a judge may mark a grey or black horse higher than a bay, for the same level of performance, or a judge may mark down a person if they are not smiling as they enter the ring etc.

There is more breed prejudice than colour bias. I personally like the rider to smile at me but I have never marked them down for looking sour.

5. If you have competed dressage before, have you ever been confused with the mark you have recieved for a movement, either because you thought it was better than the mark given, or did not deserve the mark given?
(If you compete and have watched competitions please answer both)

I have never been confused but certainly have had marks I didn't deserve and missing marks that should have been there. In my lifetime I received 6 perfect "10s" which almost bowled me over... from different judges too). I more than accepted them for I have also been nailed for things I never should have ( error of course for wrong diagonal posting...and it was only 4 strides...there is no "wrong diagonal" in dressage). I have also felt I didn't get marks because I was riding a 15:2 Quarab.


Or

6. If you have NOT competed in dressage, but watched several competitors at one competition, been confused by the good % and placings of the competitors?

Oh yes. All the WBs that I had to compete against with my small 15:2 Quarab. Also the interestingly high marks given to certain lame horses that were owned or ridden by people you are not allowed to complain about.

7. Your location

Canada
     
    05-07-2009, 01:29 PM
  #3
Weanling
1. What disipline do you generally train/compete in? (Your strongest or most preferred sport is fine too if your not consistently 'schooling')
Dressage

2. In your opinion, what points do qualified judges look for when judging a dressage test.
In an ideal world, they should be looking at fluidity and the harmony within a test. How easily the horse is accepting the aids and how effortless the movement appears to be. Dressage is simply trainability, and a dressage test is an extension of that.

3. In different levels of dressage competition, IYO, do judges look for different skills or have different requirements of levels of performance (for example, in a preliminary test, where is says 'working trot', does a judge mark differently for the same level of perfromnace if it says 'working trot' in a novice test.) Could you please give some examples of these?
Yes, because it really depends on the level that the horse is able to maintain due to the level that he is trained at. A working trot on a training level horse is going to be different than a 4th level horse, simply because the 4th level horse should have more muscle control and more elasticity within the gait. It's the same thing as how a training level frame should be different from a 4th level frame. They are not the same and I have found that judges are pretty good at taking that into consideration-but that being said, the expectations are similar no matter what level the horse is at.

4. Have you found either from direct experience or from another persons experience, that bias is common? For example a judge may mark a grey or black horse higher than a bay, for the same level of performance, or a judge may mark down a person if they are not smiling as they enter the ring etc.
I've found that breeds that really stand out as not the typical english horse-such as paints or appaloosas tend to get marked lower. BUT, that being said, they also rarely have the quality of movement that comes so naturally to the warmbloods and thoroughbreds. So its hard to say if its a bias so much as the judge saying "well that didn't look that effortless or smooth"

5. If you have competed dressage before, have you ever been confused with the mark you have recieved for a movement, either because you thought it was better than the mark given, or did not deserve the mark given?
(If you compete and have watched competitions please answer both)
It doesn't bother me when I get 4's or when I get 7's or 8s, because there is usually a remark from the scribe which 95% of the time makes sense. What drives me nuts is when I get 6s. Because there is frequently no remark, and then I'll be like "well why did I get a 6? Why not a 7? What would make it an 8?" stuff like that.


7. Your location
Canada
     
    05-07-2009, 01:45 PM
  #4
Foal
1. I have been training and competeing in dressage for 11 years.

2. A judge is looking for a submissive, supple horse that is willing to work with the rider as a team. They also look that the horse is on the bit and using his back end to progress forward.

3. As you progress up the levels of dressage more skilled riding is asked of you. In the intro class you are expected to have a horse that is willing to move forward and work with the rider. You are only asked to walk and trot as this is were the horse should be primarily working to progress. When you hit the Training level classes it is asked that you have a horse that is fairly consitant at the walk, trot and canter. Each of the training level test add new task or move them around testing the horse and rider. The same pricipal applies as you continue to move up the levels.

4. I have seen bias judges but primarily in the open show world. I ride arabian horses in a very quarter horse populated area. I can have the best ride of my life and still not place over quarter horses. I have on the other hand NEVER seen this in dressage shows.

5. I have been training in dressage long enough to understand what I did wrong even before I get my test back. If you study dressage you will start to be able to see what the rider may have done wrong and if the horse starts to become submissive and working correct or not at all.

6. I am located in northeastern Wisconsin.
     
    05-08-2009, 04:39 AM
  #5
Yearling
1. Jumpers and Dressage

2. Refer to Spyders answer hehe. I agree with everything you have written there as that is what my old dressage judge would tell me.

3. A working trot is a working trot and should be judged to the ideal. But in general a horse should be improving on things like collection and impulsion, transitions etc as they move up the levels. I have done prelim and novice tests on the same day with different judges with the same score in each. I wasn't over or under scored because of the level which is fair.

4. Yes I have seen it. I have a pinto gelding and generally find that judges are fair and don't take the colour into account, some even come forward after my test and compliment me on him in person, but I have received on one test sheet back that I felt was judged unfairly, may have been that I was an adult on a pony too, not sure what the judges problem was.

5. Yes, as above one judge I felt judged me unfairly through a whole prelim test. I thought I performed better than the marks, I got congratulated by other competitors as I exited and had a bunch of 4's and 3's that I felt where a little unfair, it sucks when it happens but dressage can be about the judges ideals and I guess everyone doesn't see the same.

Or

6. Yes! But I guess mainly during the higher levels and the freestyles to music, I guess I don't get it all haha.

7. Sydney, Australia

Hope it helps your project :)
     
    05-09-2009, 07:25 PM
  #6
Foal
I don't know enough about this to really comment on your post, but...

I have a book you may want to try to find to at least take a look at.
I've only picked at it so far, but I'm planning on taking it with me on my trip to San Antonio to really devour.
Tug of War: Classic Versus "Modern" Dressage by Dr. Gerd Heuschmann
Why Classical training works and how incorrect "modern" riding negatively affects horses' health.

Here is a rundown of the chapters so you can get an idea if it's really something you might be interested in.

1. Who's responsible for todays training problems?
-riders, -breeders, -judges, -spectators (I find it interesting that it includes spectators), -instructers and trainers
2. Riding according to classical principles: What does it mean?
3. Basic Equine Anatomy
-the horse, the "unknown" creature, -"the head must be down!", The skeleton, -The "upper contraction system", -the muscles
4. Functional Connections and their importance in correct training
-passive ligament system of the trunk and cervical spine, -the effect of this posture on the spine, -stretching forward and downward, -why is it so important to have a loose back with supple muscles?, -the horses basic gaits, -the head-neck axis
5. Correct physiological training
-the young horse, -using draw reins, -ride outdoors!, -developing "pushing power" and collection, -anatomical preconditions of the horse, -correct collection is it still in demand?
6. Training from a veterinary point of view
-treatment and correction
7. Conclusions
-closing words, -the great importance of looseness, -the nine ethical principles of the true horseman

Sorry this post is so long, but the book wasn't cheap and I want you to be sure it's worth it if you decide to buy it but can't see it before you purchase it. What I've read so far has definitely been interesting!
     
    05-10-2009, 10:45 PM
  #7
Trained
1. What disipline do you generally train/compete in? (Your strongest or most preferred sport is fine too if your not consistently 'schooling')
Dressage
2. In your opinion, what points do qualified judges look for when judging a dressage test.
0 - Not performed
1 - Bad
2 - Very Poor
3 - Poor
4 - Insufficient
5 - Sufficient
6 - Satisfactory
7 - Fairly Good
8 - Good
9- Very good
10 - Perfect
3. In different levels of dressage competition, IYO, do judges look for different skills or have different requirements of levels of performance (for example, in a preliminary test, where is says 'working trot', does a judge mark differently for the same level of perfromnace if it says 'working trot' in a novice test.) Could you please give some examples of these?
Every test has a stated purpose printed at the top of the test. This is what the rider should be showing. For example at intro and training, part of the purpose is to show acceptance of the bridle, but moving up the level the horse has to show good contact and begin collection. Also, every movement in the test is also defined in the rule book. It would be extremely strange and unfair to judge a horse just beginning collection in second level to the standard of collection required at the FEI levels.
4. Have you found either from direct experience or from another persons experience, that bias is common? For example a judge may mark a grey or black horse higher than a bay, for the same level of performance, or a judge may mark down a person if they are not smiling as they enter the ring etc.
This really should not be an issue with any higher level judge, I know that certain breeds of horses will score higher or lower with different judges, but this is just a preference of movement. Also in the dressage seat equitation classes different judges will stress different points of a riders equitation and judge accordingly. Knowing that this is a judged sport, riders need to come into it expecting a lot of difference in opinion and accept differen view points. For example, at a show this past weekend, there was a Friesian who was quite consistent in his work, but his scores ranged between low 50% to mid 60% because some judges liked his movement, and some didn't. Because Friesians are extremely generally out behind, some judges consider it a major fault and meark down every movement, where as others accept it as a conformation thisng and score otherwise well performed movements high.
5. If you have competed dressage before, have you ever been confused with the mark you have recieved for a movement, either because you thought it was better than the mark given, or did not deserve the mark given?
(If you compete and have watched competitions please answer both)
Again, as a competitor, I understand that the judge will probably have a different view and opinion than me. This is why I show in the first place, for an accurate and honest assesment of my horse's training from a quaified person. Now, there are some lower level judges whose marks I will not agree with just based on their inexperience, but IMO every FEI judge makes a valid point on every test. This past weekend I rode a test for a three judge panel, my coach and I were extremely pleased with the test, but I only got a 65% average. Two judges gave me near 67% and the most senior one gave me a 62% and really bashed the whole thing. She was very right though, and was the only judge that gave me an honest assesment instead of just saying "Nice pair, fluid test" she critiqued me and well (although I would have liked a higher score from her :P )
Or

6. If you have NOT competed in dressage, but watched several competitors at one competition, been confused by the good % and placings of the competitors?
For this one, all I am going to say that in upper level competitions and when we start talking about qualifying for world cup, the olympics etc there are A LOT of politics. Most upper level riders know the judges that will take money, and know how to work things out so that they make it. This past Olympics and the US team was a gong show of politics and there was at least one rider there that paid her way in.
7. Your location
Currently Canada.
     

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