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.
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 )
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