Erratic Judging at Munich Small Tour Sparks On-the-Spot Seminar

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Katrina Wüst of Germany with Linda Zang of the United States (left) and Stephen Clarke of Great Britain. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Katrina Wüst of Germany with Linda Zang of the United States (left) and Stephen Clarke of Great Britain. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

MUNICH, Germany, May 14, 2015–Erratic judging in the international Prix St. Georges Thursday led to Katrina Wüst, president of the ground jury for the event, to schedule what will amount to an on-the-spot training session.

Katrina, one of the most highly respected judges in the world, called the session of the judges at this prestigious event of three international levels–CDI5*, CDI3* and CDI1*–for Friday morning before the World Dressage Masters CDI5* Grand Prix.

The judges will view videos of the rides in which four American combinations competed to fill four of the top five placings in the session. Former Judges Supervisory Panel members Uwe Mechlem and Dieter Schüle and an expert who worked with Katrina on developing a proposed Freestyle judging system will take part.

Katrina did not give an opinion about the judging Friday, but she heard complaints from trainers over the erratic judging and the use of judges with little international experience. An issue raised was that competitors and owners across Europe and the United States spent large amounts of money to prepare for and transport horses to an event to receive widely disparate scores.

One case Thursday was that of America’stop small tour combination of Kimberly Herslow and Rosmarin who won the Prix St. Georges. Four judges awarded the pair over 70 per cent with a high of 73.684 per cent from German 5* judge Evi Eisenhardt but Monique Peutz-Vegter of the Netherlands scored the pair at 67.500 per cent.

Katrina had arranged a similar session at this event in 2014.

Linda Zang, an American 5* judge and appointed this year as a member of the Judges Supervisory Panel, attempted to schedule a similar session at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida after complaints about disparities in scores.

However, the schedule of the judges and the German riders involved–though many riders from the United States and other nations shared their views–did not make the meeting possible.

Linda told dressage-news.com at the time she believed that sessions she envisaged with riders and judges could become a part of the sport that could help alleviate some of the criticism of judging–one of the most cited cause of complaints.