Yesterday at Topthorn in Suffolk I tried something refreshingly different….
How many times over the last 25 years have I judged the same person on the same horse in two different classes at the same competition, where they’ve ridden the same way in both, getting the same comments and similar marks in both?
No doubt this is just as frustrating for competitors as it is for judges as although it’s totally understandable and correct for competitors not to be able to get sheets from a class completed if they are competing in another with the same judge, it does restrict the improvement of performances.
Well I thought that there’s no better place to try make a change at an unaffiliated competition at Topthorn (http://www.topthornarena.co.uk/) yesterday that was sponsored by Hack Up Bespoke Ltd (www.hackup.co.uk)
If I saw a competitor trotting round the arena before starting their test who I’d judged in the previous class, I beckoned them over. I had a 30 second chat with them about their way of going in the previous test and what I wanted to see change to be able to give them better marks in a second test. I felt that if I did this with everyone then is was fair. I also encouraged them to get their tests recorded from C (in the welcome warmth of the judge’s box) if they had their mobile available and charged. They then had something to take home, rationalize and learn from, which further accelerates their progression up the levels.The feedback was so positive that competitors came to thank me in the judge’s box after the class and I was in there for a good hour following the class giving training and ring craft advice. This has to be so much more productive for competitors and the venue than for judges to simply turn up, judge, avoiding any form of interaction, then driving home.
I certainly felt far happier that I had put something useful back into the sport that we all love when I was driving home yesterday.