International Dressage Judges, Officials at Annual General Assembly Review Developments in Sport

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Hans Christian Matthiesen, 5* judge from Denmark, addressing the International Dressage Officials annual general assembly. © 2019 Terri Miller

Dec. 27, 2019

The International Dressage Officials Club annual general assembly and dressage judges refresher seminar attended by more than 80 judges, stewards and other officials from more than 25 countries reviewed developments that will impact the sport in 2020.

The event was held at Gestut Schafhof near Frankfurt hosted by the Family Linsenhoff/Rath that included a visit to the stables to see Totilas and the history of the estate and its horses.

A presentation was made Daniel Göhlen, founder of the Blackhorse-One E-scribe system, and some of its many possibilities and advantages that is used for the World Cup Western European Circuit, Florida’s Global Dressage Festival and other events.

The eDressage system is running on iPads and looks like scoresheets, signed by judges and then sent digitally to riders. No paper, only one assistant to the judge is needed, no more runners or score checkers. Results are immediate and no more corrections.

For the judges, participants were told, it offers many opportunities in education including course directors, upcoming judges and the Judges Supervisory Panels employed at championships. Shadow judging is much easier.

It can also be a help for announcers/speakers as they can explain incidents and results. It also offers a personal dashboard.

“In the end the sport will benefit; it will be more transparent and accountable,” the seminar was told. “Security is high with fewer possibilities for manipulation and mistakes. Overall, it doesn’t change the sport but improves its presentation.”

Elisabeth Williams of the United States, FEI Steward Education General and IDOC board member. In the background is US 5* judge Janet Foy and BlackHorse-One founder Daniel Göhlen. © 2019 Terri Miller

Elisabeth Williams, International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Steward Education General and IDOC board member presented a “What to do” session on rules.

Frank Spadinger, FEI Director of Education, explained the new Complementary Evaluation System.

Many questions and doubts from officials about the background and aim of the system were addressed.

“It was a great opportunity to ‘talk to the FEI’,” the IDOC said, and “reassuring to hear that the FEI still supports the existing education system with refresher exams and in-person meetings.”

The new Code of Points systems was explained by Hans Christian Matthiesen, 5* judge from Denmark, including the background and definition of Focus points, Firewalls and Deductions for all movements on small tour level.

Video examples were displayed to explain the application of the system, from low marks (0-1) to the highest marks (9-10). There was considerable participation from seminar attendants on aspects of the code of points.

Katrina Wüst, from Germany, and Gary Rockwell, of the United States. © 2019 Terri Miller

Katrina Wüst, 5* judge from Germany, a creator with BlackHorse-One of the Grand Prix Freestyle degree of difficulty format and most recently the short Grand Prix used at Olympia World Cup last week, gave an explanation of the new judging system for Children competition.

She provided what was described as “a clear and logical definition of the ‘quality’ part including the seat,
effectiveness of the aids and position,” supported by video examples.

The IDOC said it plans to continue the format of the annual meeting and refresher seminars for judges and stewards at future annual events.