I was standing by the results board at a show last week hearing the sad tale of a judge who had ‘got it all wrong’ about a friend’s horse and whose marks had been ‘discouraging’ (even if they were right, they were therefore wrong). I then put on my own rose-tinted spectacles when I watched a rider I very much admire step up a level with her horse (which I know has had a lot of ‘issues’) and it went really well. I was delighted, but disappointed that they ‘only’ scored 66% because to my mind the achievement was definitely worth plus-70%!
A couple of days later, another rider I respect and admire was taking a nice young horse out for the first time. My eyes and my camera lens told me, ‘this is a very talented horse’ — and I was disappointed again when the scores for their tests were quite modest.
However, in both cases when I looked at my photos I could see reasons why the scores were at the level I they were…
This week Out and About Dressage is publishing two views on judging. One is an Opinion piece written by one of our local judges, Wendy Jago, and the other which has just gone on the website is by a Danielle Olding, a performance coach, who offers a scientific explanation as to why two judges, seeing the same horse perform, can come up with a significant difference in their marks. Danielle’s article, I think, helps bring a sense of proportion to our spontaneous and probably biased reactions — and the other by Wendy, to be published tomorrow, a ‘sense of direction’ . I would also refer Out and About readers to List 1 judge and trainer Mark Ruddock’s opinion piece, “Instead of moaning, have a go yourself!”