View Full Version : Dressage marking confusion.

17-11-99, 07:18 AM
I recently rode an official novice test. I had never been before either judge previously. I always wait around after I've ridden to take my tests home and read them, try to learn from them and go out and practice the next day, trying to keep in mind the judges comments. On this particular occasion I was very happy with my horse's lengthened trots and a friend who was watching said they were really good. However, I picked up my test to see the first judge (at C) gave me a 4 for the first and a 5 for the second. The judge at H gave me 7 and 8 for the same movement!!! the judge at C said I was crooked and the judge at H, whom I thought would have a better view of my hind end, said I was straight!! I wondered if the judge at C was watching the arena next door.

Anyway, my question is......... should I have approached the judge(s)to discuss the discrepancy or don't they like that kind of thing?? I've never done it before but on this occasion I was very frustrated, I don't think you could blame it on their positioning as some people have said to me. Is dressage merely an individuals interpretation of what they see?? I thought it was a little more black and white than that??? I put the hard yards in to get to these dressage days and I'd like to think that the judges do the same. I hold a great respect for the judges, it's not a case of sour grapes, I just want improve my horse and my riding but on this occasion it hasn't been a learning experience.

17-11-99, 12:18 PM
Wherever you are sitting in the arena, if a horse is crooked you can tell. I doubt H would have had a better view.

The 4 and 8 is a worry. If you are really concerned you can ring the dressage subcommittee and have a whinge, but usually there has to be a 30 mark discrepancy before they will give a warning to a judge.

I wouldn't approach the judges myself. They would most likely remember who you are later down the track - they watch so many rides they can hardly remember the nitty gritty of each test, although I've often had a judge remember my tests (admittedly after horror tests where the horse bucked throughout the entire counter canter/simple changes section). It would most likely be taken as sour grapes, just pass it off and hope next time you don't get the same judge. Everyone works hard to get to these competition, you're not the only one.

Two years ago at PC Dressage Championships we had the most horrendous judges - my little gelding was placed 5th and 29th in the same test. I watched a girl do a test and thought her final halt was terrible - about 5m short of G and certainly not square - and the judges gave her an 8. Sometimes it's hard to tell.

17-11-99, 11:47 PM
Now that I've got it off my chest I've put it behind me. Guess I just wanted to know I'm not the only one. I didn't know about the 30 mark discrepancy, so I've learnt something.....

Thanks for your reply, I felt my test was a good one and at least one of the judges agreed with me!!!!

Happy riding.

20-11-99, 06:07 AM
Hi Sarah,
It's so disappointing when you know that you have done a good test, to be marked so poorly and inconsistently. One mare that I used to compete with consistently scored high 50's and 60%. Imagine my horror when at one outing, she had done an average test by her standards, and one judge gave us 44%!! It almost reduced me to tears. But, I have learned to really appreciate my horses efforts. I knew that with that horse, she always gave me the best that she could at every comp, and that made me happy. I also learned never to ride under that judge again!

All the best and I hope this dosn't put you off official dressage. It's a great sport and the best reward you can get is a good horse that tries it's best.

23-11-99, 12:30 AM
Thanks for your thoughts, I competed on the weekend and did very well in my novice test so I am not going to give up!!! I also learned that another rider scored a 4 and an 8 from those same judges, this made me feel a little better. At least there was some consistency in the crazy marking!!!!!
Happy riding!!!

27-01-00, 02:47 PM
Judges encourage riders approaching them about differences. Judges have to wait around for half an hour after the final rider to allow riders to have the opportunity to discuss their marks. I have done a stack of EFA comps now and whilst I once believed that any judge who marked me badly once would continue to do so, I now know this is not the case. Don't worry about approaching judges, as long as you are polite and seem genuinely interested in discussing what you felt as opposed to what the judge saw no judge will hold anything against you and continue to mark you badly. Just don't try and tell the judge they got it wrong. They only mark what they see on the day.
Good luck, if you are getting 8's in official dressage at all you are doing extremely well.