World Games Snapshots Unscientifically Based on Crowd Reaction, Social Media Responses

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Laura Graves and Verdades executing pirouette left, the movement that scored a 10 from one judge in the World Games Grand Prix Special. © Ilse Schwarz dressage-news .com
Laura Graves and Verdades executing pirouette left, the movement that scored a 10 from one judge in the World Games Grand Prix Special. © Ilse Schwarz dressage-news .com

CAEN, France, Aug. 28, 2014–Oh, for spectator judging by a phone app at the World Games as was experimented with at the World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany last month.

Lacking that phone app, dressage-news.com listened to crowd reactions, comments at the dressage stadium and reaction on social media including its own Facebook site.

Not to nitpick, but the world championships happen only once every four years and horses and riders spend years training to get each and every point. Rider gripes over scores should not, a growing number of people in the sport believe, be dismissed with the phrase, “that’s dressage.”

The 27-year-old Laura Graves, a virtual unknown even in her homeland until her reserve national championship title on her Verdades this summer put the pair on the America’s World Games team, may have suffered from unfamiliarity to most of the seven judges.

The reaction of many in the stadum and by online comments following her Grand Prix Special for a score of 77.157 per cent and eighth place was that the overall result was a tad stingy

Stephen Clarke of Great Britain gave her a mark of 10 for the left pirouette, another one gave her 9 and four gave her 8.5. Stephen was one of two judges to place her fifth, while three had her seventh, one eighth with Isabelle Judet of France giving a score of 79.020 per cent. But Australia’s Susan Hoevenaars put her in 11th place with the lowesr result, 75.588 per cent, and gave the American pair 7.5 for the left pirouette.

Victoria Max-Theurer on Augustin Old in the Grand Prix Special. © 2014 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Victoria Max-Theurer on Augustin Old in the Grand Prix Special. © 2014 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com

Victoria Max-Theurer, the Austrian phenom, whose partnership with Augustin OLD in the Grand Prix Special was an example in the eyes of both spectators and online viewers of harmony, fitness and sheer joy–no open mouth, no swishing tail, no grinding teeth. Two judges had the pair above 80 per cent but the overall mark was 77.857 per cent.

The overwhelming majority of scores were within two or three percentage points from the highest to the lowest.

The widest spread in marks was for Steffen Peters of the United States on Legolas–a high of 78.824 per cent to a low of 72.353 per cent with two scores above 77 per cent, one almost 77 per cent, a 74 and a 73.

Steffen Peters on Legolas on the final centerline of the Grand Prix Special. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Steffen Peters on Legolas in the Grand Prix Special. © 2014 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

Italy’s Valentina Truppa in her customary Carabinieri uniform, received loud applause when the pair rode into the stadium for the Grand Prix. They left to polite acknowledgement. The pair received a score of 73.814 per cent for 16th place, enough to put them among the 30 combinations advancing to the Special.

Valentina Truppa on Fixdesign Eremo del Castegno. © 2014 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com
Valentina Truppa on Fixdesign Eremo del Castegno. © 2014 Ilse Schwarz/dressage-news.com