“What Judges Would Change…” (Hunter and Sport Horse, March/April 2005)

In the article entitled, “What Judges Would Change”.  Hunter and Sport Horse Magazine, April 2005:


“I would like to see a greater number of riders who are performing tests appropriate to their level of riding.  For example, riders who have trouble sitting, have unsteady hands, and whose horses are uncomfortably hollow-backed and not on the aids are not, in my opinion, ready to show, let alone in the more advanced tests.  (I have seen this at all levels, including FEI). These riders would do better to work more on correct basics at home, and then when they can perform with reasonable correctness and harmony of aids, enter in a test which is at or below their current level of riding.  This takes honest evaluation by a qualified trainer, who is not afraid to let the rider know where he/she actually is and what level can be performed without harming/confusing the horse.  Moving up one level each year is fine, as long as the riding/training is moving up in quality as well.

Additional note: if the horse appears unhappy, the riding needs serious improvement.  When I see a horse in obvious distress due to incorrect/unclear aids and/or poor seat, it makes a negative impression.  I can easily overlook little mistakes within a test, as long as the rider/horse combination appears to be ready for the level entered and can present a harmonious picture.”

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