Major Change in Championship Dressage Judges’ Scores to Launch in 2015

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At the medal awards ceremony for the European Championships team competition, Germany would still have heard the silver and bronze medals could have been awarded differently if the lowest and highest scores were not counted. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
At the medal awards ceremony for the European Championships team competition, Germany would still have earned gold but the silver and bronze medals could have been awarded differently if a new rule to be implemented on Jan. 1, 2015 was applied at the time. © 2013 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Aug. 1, 2014

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

A major change at world and continental Big Tour championships to limit big differences in scores will be implemented on Jan. 1, 2015 according to a policy adopted by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Dressage Committee.

The heart of the new policy will be to establish as unacceptable a difference of six percentage points or more from the average of six of the seven judges at Olympics, world and European championships.

The change was approved by the FEI Dressage Commttee and received the support of Stephen Clarke of Great Britain, the FEI Dressage Judge General. It will be submitted to the FEI General Assembly for final endorsement to come into effect on Jan. 1 next year.

The calculations to make the change was made for seven judges as applies to the Olympics, world championships and the European championships but not for the Pan American Games and other continental titles at levels lower than the Big Tour.

Here’s how the new system will work:

If there is a six percentage point difference from the average of the six other judges, the score of the judge with the lowest mark of six per cent will be adjusted up to the next lowest mark. If the score of the highest judge is greater than six percentage points than the average of the other six judges the score will be adjusted down to the next highest result.

The change came as a result of the European Championships at Herning, Denmark in 2013 where the score of 65.532 per cent by one of the seven judges could have cost Great Britain the silver medal. Germany won gold, the Netherlands silver and Britain bronze.

Michael Eilberg and Half Moon Delphi received a score that was an average of the seven judges of 72.264 per cent.

However, the average of six judges was 73.386 per cent, which meant the lowest score of 65.532 per cent was 7.754 per cent below the average of the other six judges.

If the rule to come into effect next Jan. 1 was applied to the 2013 event, the British combination would have been awarded 73.161 per cent.

The British team would have achieved a total of 234.437 while the Netherlands 233.967.

The final results would have been:

1. Germany – 235.651

2. Great Britain – 234.437

3. Netherlands 233.967