If I remember correctly - a few years ago at a show near where I live a lady was doing an FEI level freestyle and in her final halt she turned and saluted the audience, not the judge at C. It was apparently done as a defiance towards the judge who was a total piece of work. I didn't speak with her directly, but that was what I heard. Anyways, I believe she was eliminated. No where in the directives on the freestyle does it say that you must face and salute the judge, just that you are judged on the entrance and exit halt - it's one of those unspoken "rules" I guess?
I agree that it would be best to learn from this "mistake". I would think that so long as your hand came off the rein and you bowed your head it should be okay. I've seen some very extravagant salutes. Me, I just drop my hand towards my thigh/knee and give a slight head bow. It's probably not worth it to pursue the issue. I would let it drop and chalk to up to a "mistake" or "bad judging", whichever you want and take what you can from it. I would suggest in the future to fully extend your hand down and towards your knee, even if it's really fast because you are nervous :)
ETA on Chevaux's point: Speaking of lenient judges - last year I had one that didn't stop me when I trotted through my halt rein-back, she didn't even notice! The judge at B went running down to the judge at C to tell her and they were kind enough to let me redo it. There was all kinds of confusion at the end of that test haha. However, a less lenient judge may have been inclined to give me a 0 because I technically did not do the movement; that would have been something I would have chalked up to experience. After all, I didn't do the movement (I do realize that this is different from your situation, as you did do the movement but perhaps not "up to snuff" as per that judge).
Last edited by Tigo; 12-13-2013 at 02:22 PM.