Stephen Clarke On Results in Europe & Rest of World

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Stephen Clarke of Great Britain, the Dressage Judge General. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Stephen Clarke of Great Britain, the Dressage Judge General. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Stephen Clarke, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Dressage Judge General, has given an explanation for differences in scoring non-Europan combinations when they compete in Europe compared with their homeland.

The British judge, President of the Ground Jury at the London 2012 Olympics, replied to questions about disparities in scores for horses and riders from non-European nations.

Separately, the Australian equestrian federation last week announced that its 2014 World Equestrian Games team would be selected based on results in Europe to counter . The selection procedure appears to have won widespread acceptance among team prospects.

At the same time, several American combinations that competed in Europe over the summer received scores that were higher than they attained in America, coincidental with the growth in the number of CDIs in the United States in recent years.

Asked whether judges might provide higher scores to combinations outside Europe as a way to encourage them, he said:

“To a certain extent this may be true. It can be difficult to be able to make sufficient difference between the better riders and the less experienced, especially at the smaller shows, without disheartening the less experienced riders.

“However, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration, such as the fact that horses and riders may be under less stress when performing on home ground and therefore perform better thereby earning higher points.

“Travelling long distances and competing and sometimes training in a different way than at home can have a significant influence on the way both horses and riders perform.

“We do try to be clear, throughout our Judges’ courses, that marking should be as consistent as possible throughout the world.”

He said the trend of similar results in the U.S. and Europe “also shows how consistent the judging is becoming.”