Why not a 10?

 In Claire Marie Senior, Confidence, Development, Dressage, Mindset, Psychology, Training

Why not a 10? 

As you might be aware I wear many ‘hats’ in this Dressage industry and one of them is a British Dressage List 2 Judge.  I have been judging for over 21 years and during this time I have seen thousands of different combinations ranging from British Dressage Tests Introductory to Prix St George, British Riding Club, British Pony Club and British Eventing Tests.

As a judge we are trained to be accountable for the marks given and our reasons behind them.  To be able to do this we need to know the ‘Scales of training’. These ‘Scales of Training’ we use as a benchmark for how we are judging each combination, which are: 

  • Rhythm
  • Supplesness
  • Contact
  • Straightness
  • Impulsion
  • Collection

Now, as you can see all these scales are based on the horse!  Yes the rider’s influence, degree of knowledge and ability will determine how well the horse performs the test but ultimately a British Dressage Judge will judge the horse more than the rider.  We are told ‘not to give a riding lesson’ in our summary so then will comment on the horse’s ability more than the riders.

Judges will offer their own perspectives depending on where they’re sat and what they see, it is very rare that you will get exactly the same mark and comments consistently over a period of time, even though the test may feel to ride the same, there is no guarantee that you will get the same reaction from each judge!

So which judge is right?  

Whose advice do you take?  

What’s the next step in your training? 

I think it is really important to not get confused!  Just because a comment is made on let’s say ‘not enough impulsion’ or ‘needs more suppleness and engagement’ doesn’t mean that what you are doing is wrong!  It may be that you already have these elements to be able to achieve a score of a 6 or 6.5 but what they’re really saying is that you need to develop these elements even more to get a score of 7, 8, 9 or 10! 

What this doesn’t mean is that your horse is lazy or doesn’t have suppleness or engagement! This can be really confusing especially if you’re a Novice rider who’s just starting out in Dressage and perhaps don’t have much confidence in your own ability or experience in riding a Dressage test.

For example: It is hard to not literally think ‘I need more impulsion’ causing you to ride more forwards than usual, to then (from your next judge) get comments of ‘tempo quick’ or ‘hurried steps’.  

The judges comments are very valuable and I would take notice of them, BUT, don’t allow those comments to take you off your training pathway!  As a judge you are justifying the reasons behind the marks you have given, and also what they’d like to see more of in order to give you that Excellent mark of 10! 

The value of the marks determines the quality of the movement you are doing. 

As a Judge I am always prepared to give a 10 for every movement which I see…go on show me what you’ve got! 

This is why I designed the Equitest.  It is important to know how a BD judge would judge you but the Equitest is solely judged on the rider’s ability on how well you present the test and also gives you help with how to gain those extra marks.  It explains the areas in your riding which need further development and which areas you have done well.  

If you become a EquiTest Member you will also receive a plan of action and how to help you achieve your goals, gain confidence, with a progress programme to work through.

That’s 2 ways of being judged, 2 sets of prizes to be won! Helpful feedback with a plan forwards! 

Try it out and enter today!  As always I’m here to help 🙂 

 

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