Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Shadow Judging

As part of Cara Whitham's commentary at the Royal West Dressage Day on Sunday night, she challenged the people listening to try judging five of the First Level tests for ourselves. I took up that challenge.

I didn't have the actual test (First Level Test 3) in front of me, so I may have made some mistakes about where exactly movements started and ended, but I got down 22 movement scores for each rider, marked the movements that had coefficients, and put in collective scores. Cara said a few things during the tests, but for the most part I already had a mark down for a movement before she said anything about it, and I didn't make any changes to my scores.

In between tests, I was busy listening to Cara talk, so I didn't have time to tally up my scores at the time. Yesterday however, I did total my scores from the night and compared them to the official results. The official results were judged by Doreen Horsey, Equine Canada Senior Judge. Here they are:

Rider        A        B        C        D         E
My Mark 65.294 48.824 57.794 64.412 64.412
Judge's Mark 67.059 44.118 55.441 62.647 61.765

They're not perfect. All of my results are on a narrower spread than the real results (which seems like a common problem for people not used to judging, being scared to give the really high or really low marks). However, I am pretty darn proud of this in general. None of my scores were off by that much, and I had the same class standings as the real judge (except I technically came up with a tie for riders D and E, but Doreen Horsey had them less than 1% apart herself so that's not too bad).

Knowing the difference between a good test and a bad test doesn't mean I'll always be able to ride a good test, not by a long shot. Knowing what the judges are looking for does help in achieving it though. Also, I can guarantee that I would have been much farther off the mark if I had tried this exercise 2 years ago. I'm learning, and that's a good thing.

P.S. I cannot say enough good things about scribing as a learning experience, scribing has helped develop my eye so much.


  1. When I'm scribing and starting to lose focus I play a game where I guess the score based on the comment. By the end of the day I'm pretty good at it. I just wish I had more time to watch too.

    1. More of the judges I've scribed for say the score first and then the comment so that wouldn't work so well, sounds like a good game though