Following the FEI Dressage Committee meeting in Mannheim (GER) on 27 and 28 August, the Committee has put forward proposed changes for the judging system to be presented at the upcoming FEI General Assembly in Taipei (1-6 November).
The proposals are based on several pilot studies that took place during the 2010 season and feedback from within the sport. They are the result of detailed analysis of the fitness for purpose of current judging methods in Dressage with the aim of achieving maximum transparency and fairness and, as a consequence, trust in the sport.
The proposed changes are as follows:
Seven judges (instead of five) for defined events such as Olympic Games, FEI World Equestrian Games, FEI Continental Championships on Grand Prix level as well as FEI World Cup™ Finals.
Half marks for all FEI Dressage competitions in order to give the judges the opportunity to refine their judging and make it more precise. Half marks can be given in their full range from 0.5 up to 9.5 and for all scores (marks for movements, collective marks, technical element in the Freestyle both per movement and as final mark for that movement). Half marks already exist for the artistic element in the Freestyle.
Judges Supervisory Panel (JSP) for defined events such as Olympic Games, FEI World Equestrian Games, FEI Continental Championships at Grand Prix level as well as FEI World Cup™ Finals. The JSP is allowed to correct the judges’ marks for factual errors, such as definite technical mistakes. One of the benefits of the JSP is to provide a “back-up” for the judges in order to protect both judges and athletes by preventing unfair marks. Clear guidelines have been prepared stipulating how the JSP should interact with the judging process. The ideal composition of a JSP group (three members per show) would be two judges and one trainer or rider.
Apart from supervising at events, the JSP should evaluate the quality of judges in general, make a proposal for assessment of judges and their status (promotion), provide a “long list” proposal of judges (for the Olympic Games, WEG, Continental Championships on Grand Prix level, World Cup Finals) and a general overview of the “judges’ world” to the FEI Dressage Committee and FEI Headquarters, as described in the Dressage Task Force Report.
FEI Dressage Director, Trond Asmyr commented on the proposals: “There is no doubt that the education of the judges and their continuous assessment according to fixed standards is an ongoing process that helps to ensure the highest level of fairness and correctness in the sport. It is vital for the future of the sport that the judging is seen to be fair and transparent.”