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Ponderings of an Equestrian Professional

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Stick it in the **** it bucket.

My lovely Irish boy.

Ever had a test sheet you couldn't wait to file in the recycling bin?

I got mine for the first test I did after recovering from a fractured vertebrae. (The photo above was taken several years later.) I knew it wasn't brilliant, but I felt my big Irish horse did the best free walk he'd ever managed in a test, and didn't feel too bad in the rest of it, though he could always be a bit lazy.

We got 6 for our walk, and 5 for the paces. The lowest mark he ever got for his paces. My boss (a list 2a judge) & I agreed his paces were a 7 on a bad day!

I was so upset I screwed the sheet up & tossed it in the bin. When we got home I was glad I'd used the lorry bin. I fished it out, straightened it up & filed it away with all of my tests. I'm not sure why, though I'm glad I've still got it for this blog.

I think this sheet, from 2008 was probably the catalyst for me getting onto the BD judges list.

I had already been judging unaffiliated for several years, but the comments on this sheet did not always reflect the in marks given.

The friend I had travelled with felt the same way about her sheets and on the journey home we decided the judge was tending to mark too harshly.

Have you ever had a test sheet that made you feel like giving up? Comments from the judge that you didn't understand when compared to the mark given?

British Dressage Judge training has come a long way in recent years. When I last sat an exam my marks were consistently lower than the master judge, and I thought I was a generous judge. I think, in times of pressure like an exam, I revert to the tougher judging I received in my youth, something I am working on as I hope to move up the lists.

One of the things we are reminded of in training is that we should, if possible, make time to chat to competitors after the class is complete. It is not always easy to remember individual tests, but with the sheet to guide us we should be able to explain where & how marks were lost.

Remember, the judge wants to give you the marks. We start from 10 & deduct as required rather than starting from 5 & grudgingly give marks higher!

I'm so glad times have changed!


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