Monday 30 May 2016

I'm So Excited... To Scribe

I love scribing, like I probably love it an unreasonable amount. I gladly travel hundreds of km and pay for gas, food and accommodation, just to sit in a hot car or booth all day writing.

Last year was when I first started researching recognized dressage shows. I knew I wasn't ready to show at the really big gold rated ones myself yet, but I wanted to still go to watch and get a feel for them so I knew what I was working towards. I reached out to a couple of the dressage associations in Alberta to see if they were interested in me volunteering as a scribe. I ended up scribing for 3 dressage shows last year (plus a few hunter/jumper shows, but that's a bit different).

Even though I only scribed for three shows, that was 6 full days of scribing under 3 different judges, including an Equine Canada Senior Judge, and an FEI 4* Judge. I have scribed for almost every different dressage test there is (except for walk/trot): Training, First, Second, Third, Fourth, PSG, Intermediate, Grand Prix, Young Rider tests, Young Horse tests, Young Horse Materiale classes, Freestyles, and even Western Dressage.

You guys, I cannot even begin to explain how much you can learn while scribing. Think about it, you watch hundreds of tests, at all different levels, and you have the judge literally talking into your ear the whole time telling you what was good and what needs improvement. I still have a lot to learn, but scribing has already hugely improved my eye for what a nice movement is supposed to look like, and I can bring that back to my own riding. It has even improved my eye for levels far above that which I ride at myself.

Even if the above was the only benefit to scribing, it would be worth it, but there are so many other benefits as well:

  • Getting to know the judges. When you learn see first hand how fair the judging is, and that the judges want to see you succeed, it helps calm show jitters and puts some extra importance into those comments you get on your test.
  • Appreciation for bigger shows and the judging levels. I like my cheap schooling shows, but I have seen the differences between the judge levels and now I totally see the benefits of paying more to show for a high level judge. 
  • Who's who of dressage. I am the only dressage rider at my barn and do not regularly train with anyone. Spending the whole weekend at big dressage shows is an awesome way to get to know who the trainers are, who the best riders are, etc. Both dressage trainers that I went to Calgary to lesson with were people I first learned about through scribing their rides. 
  • Helping out. Volunteers are crucial to keep dressage shows going year after year. The shows I go to encourage all competitors to take a shift to volunteer as runner, gate person, etc. However, a rider can't scribe in the show they are competing in, so it can be tougher to find scribes. I feel like I am giving something back to dressage by scribing and that feels good.  

Additionally, I kind of feel like scribing is my calling. It's something that I naturally have the skill for. I ride dressage so I know the terminology, I am organized, I have fast and neat printing, and I am good at remembering comments word-for-word. I might will never be the world's best rider, but by George, I can scribe with the best of them! haha

This year I am scribing again. It starts with me scribing all three days of the Gold/CDI 3* show in Calgary next week. I will again be scribing for a FEI 4* Judge and I am excited. It's extra exciting though because this show has been named as an Olympic Qualifier, and there will be three riders there that are Top 12 riders in Canada and are in the running to represent our Country in Rio 2016!

Note: I think these memes are funny but I couldn't find proper attribution. I believe including them constitutes fair use/fair dealing, but if you are the owner I am happy to remove them or credit you.


  1. I love scribing but I haven't gotten brave enough to do recognized shows (aka where I will have to do a test above first(ish) level).

    1. Go for it! A couple schooling shows I wanted to scribe at ended up not working out, so my first time ever scribing in my life ended up being at a CDI show! I was super intimidated at first but it really wasn't that bad. I explained that I hadn't scribed before and the organizer set me up to shadow someone else doing it for the first day and then I took over for the rest of the show.

      Grand Prix, Freestyles, and Young Horse classes are challenging to scribe. Otherwise, if you can scribe Training, you can scribe up to Fourth no problem :)