The long-anticipated Judging Systems Trials, a brain child of the FEI Dressage Task Force, took place in the Deutsche Bank Dressage Stadium in Aachen, Germany, on September 7-9, 2009. This well-organized event, which was open to an audience and press, was a first concrete step forwards in the modernization of the dressage judging system.
A large number of especially Belgian and Dutch riders volunteered to compete their experienced and upcoming horses in this event. The trial was not a competition and the riders will not receive their score sheets. However, for them it was an exclusive once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show in the famous Aachen ring. Unfortunately only one Olympic rider turned up, Imke Schellekens-Bartels.
The actual testing of the different systems happened on the first two days of the three-day event and it was separated into five trials. The entire trials were discussed on the third day amongst judges and Task Force Members. The actual results of the trials are not directly known as they are sent to Switzerland, where maths-wizard David Stickland will calculate the results of each trial and estimate the level of improvement of each system in comparison to the old format.