At the wonderful venue of Ann Kathrin Linsenohoff who last year received the EC Dressage for Juniors and Young Riders in Kronberg, now a group of 70 Grand Prix judges was received for a two day seminar. Dressagedirect had been invited and could feel the wonderful atmosphere and openness in discussions. Since 2006 no Grand Prix judges seminar had been organised, so the group enjoyed the seminar quite a lot. Dr. Dieter Schüle was the chairman of the seminar. Five lectures were at stage in the first day. Dr. Dietrich Plewa examined the gaits. A lecture on lateral work was presented by Klaus Ridder, while Christoph Hess examined the pirouettes. Peter Holler did a presentation on flying changes and Katrina Wüst presented a lecture on piaffe, passage and transitions.
After each lecture through video the lectures and given marks were analysed. Discussions were quite open and not seldom practice showed only one point in between. Even when showing a bigger gap, consensus could be found.
Of course also in the arena, excercises were ridden and marked. Matthias Rath, Helen Langehanenberg and Dorothee Schneider were happy to ride some excercises. In the afternoon complete tests were ridden by Matthias Rath and Jill de Ridder. They rode the Grand Prix, the short Grand Prix and the new Grand Prix Special that is developed for the Olympic Games.
Richard Hinrichs had a special lecture on the theme piaffe, while Harald Müller spoke on the theme clean sport from FEI Perspective.
Opinion: No Short Grand Prix Special
It was a very good judges seminar with discussions with judges and trainers held in the right atmosphere. Only in this way the judging can develop to a more uniform activity. In the end visitors also shared one important statement against the new short Olympic Grand Prix Special. Therefore they asked Christoph Hess on behalf of the German FN to write a letter against. Jürgen Koschel summarized why. "It’s no coincidence that horses receive better marks in Grand Prix Special than in Grand Prix”, he expressed, “Our recent Grand Prix Special is from a trainer’s point of view a very horse friendly test. It contains fluent lines and a good order of exercises. We are very happy with this test and like to keep it included in all championships, including the Olympic Games.”
Also Uwe Mechlem had some news to share. Although he feels that the Judges Supervisory Panel is something good, he prefers not to be included in it anymore. He has been in the centre of some discussion already when he shared the JSP last year in the testing period because of his age. He feels it’s time for new younger prospects to take the job over. He will become 76 this year and the limit for international judging is 75.