Olympic Dressage Judging Smaller & Fewer Differences Despite Bigger Entries

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Olympic dressage judges and other officials. Judges are--K - Peter Holler, Germany; E - Susanne Baarup, Denmark; H- Gary Rockwell, United States; C  Stephen (Clarke, Great Britain (President); M - Maribel Alonso, Mexico; B - Thomas Lang, Austria and  (F - Eddy de Wolff van Westerrode, Netherlands. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Olympic dressage judges and other officials. Judges are–K – Peter Holler, Germany; E – Susanne Baarup, Denmark; H- Gary
Rockwell, United States; C Stephen (Clarke, Great Britain (President); M – Maribel Alonso, Mexico;
B – Thomas Lang, Austria and (F – Eddy de Wolff van Westerrode, Netherlands. © 2016 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 13, 2016–Despite a big increase in the number of horses starting in Olympic dressage, there were both smaller and fewer significant differences in the scores of the seven judges on the panel for two days of Grand Prix at the Deodoro Equestrian Center compared with the Games in London four years ago.

The difference between the highest and lowest scores for the 59 horse and rider combinations that were awarded–one combination retired before receiving a score–the average was 3.805, according to an analysis of the results by dressage-news.com. The number of dressage horses in the Games was increased to 60 this year from 50 in 2012.

The panel was made up of seven judges, spread around four sides of the arena–Peter Holler of Germany at K, Suzanne Baarup of Denmark at E, Gary Rockwell of the United States at H, Stephen Clarke of Great Britain at C, Maribel Alonso of Mexico at M, Thomas Lang of Austria at B and Eddy de Wolff van Westerrode of the Netherlands at F.

London was the first Olympics with seven judges on the ground jury, a change that was implemented after the 2008 Games as part of a major overhaul of dressage.

In the Rio Grand Prix, five pairs received scores with a difference of at least six percentage points, a mark that is generally considered to be outside acceptable differences. Judges also strive to keep maximum differences to no more than five percentage points.

The five pairs were: Kasey Perry-Glass on Dublet of the United States (6.1), Hans Peter Minderhoud on Johnson of the Netherlands (6), Anna Kasprzak on Donnperignon of Denmark (6.7), Karen Tebar on Don Luis of France (6.1) and Masanao Takahashi on Fabriano of Japan (7.8).

Another four combinations–Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfvén on Don Auriello (5.4) and Mads Hendeliowitz on Jimmie Choo SEQ (5.6) both of Sweden, Stephanie Brieussel on Amorak of France (5.1) and Yvonne Losos de Muñiz on Foco Loco W of the Dominican Republic (5.6) were awarded marks that differed by at least five percentage points.

For the 31 pairs to move on to the Grand Prix Special that was the second and deciding phase of team medal competition the disparity averaged 4.125.

Kasey on Dublet was the only combination on a medal-winning team while Hans Peter on Johnson was the only duo in the top 10 with a disparity of six percentage points or more.

The ground jury and officials at the London Olympics in 2012. ©  Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
The ground jury and officials at the London Olympics in 2012. ©  Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

In London in 2012, the difference in the high and low scores average over 49 marks–one combination was disqualified–was 3.818.

There, 32 combinations moved to the Grand Prix Special and the average disparity for the scores of those pairs was 4.025.

Three pairs had marks with a disparity of six percentage points–Laura Tomlinson on Mistral Hojris of Great Britain (6.277), Edward Gal and Undercover of the Netherlands (7.128) and Anna Kasprzak on Donnperignon (6.489).

Eight had difference of at least five percentage points–Helen Langehanenberg on Damon Hill (5.85) and Kristina Bröring-Sprehe on Desperados (5.426) both of Germany, Patrik Kittel on Scandic of Sweden (5.744), Morgan Barbançon Mestre on Painted Black of Spain (5.744), Emma Kanerva on Sini Spirit of Finland (5.425), Jan Ebeling on Rafalca of the United States (5.106), Jacqueline Brooks on D Niro of Canada (5.638) and Svetlana Kiseliova on Parish of the Ukraine (5.958).

Damon Hill was placed third, Desperados fourth, Mistral Hojris seventh and Undercover 11th, all on medal winning teams.

The judging panel in London was Wim Ernes of the Netherlands at K, Jean-Michel Roudier of France at E, Leif Toernblad of Denmark at H, Gary Rockwell of the United States at C, Stephen Clarke of Grerat Britain at M, Maribel Alonson of Mexico at B and Evi Eisenhardt of Germany at F.