- Judges want to see you succeed! I saw this judge ask people if they were ready to go or if they’d like a few extra moments to trot around the ring before she rang them in. I saw her give points for effort. I saw her give people plenty of time to compose themselves after having an error. Dressage judges want you to have every chance of success (but there’s only so much they can do)!
- Appearances matter. Points weren’t taken off for a less-than-perfect appearance, but the judge definitely acknowledged beautifully braided manes, well-dressed riders, and well-groomed horses.
- You can abbreviate everything. Have you ever really examined a dressage test? The boxes for comments on each movement are tiny on some tests! (I’m looking at you, Second Level Test 3 and Western Dressage everything.) It’s important to fit as many of the judge’s comments as possible on the test, so creative abbreviation is encouraged. Examples? s/b for “should be”, crkd for “crooked”, plus lots of ↑ and ↓ arrows!
- Sometimes the judge loses track. Some tests have a lot of movements to score; on several tests, the movement (e.g. a circle) and the transition (e.g. upward to canter, downward to trot) are separate scores. The judge sometimes zips along the test with comments and one score, only to realize the error several movements later. Everyone pretty much got a 6 on forgotten movements.
- Scribing is fascinating. It was so, so interesting to hear the judge’s commentary and pick up on what she deemed important. While I couldn’t watch the test and write simultaneously, I could discern what the judge was looking for. Some things that surprised me? The judge actually cares about if you’re riding into the corners, head position doesn’t matter as much as you think it does, and the judge will notice that your circles are not round.
Have you ever scribed? Did you like it? Find it interesting? Get hand cramps?