In April Zara Pawley – a top FEI International judge and Trainer held an incredibly informative dressage masterclass for the Wise Owl Equitation Saddle Club.
As part of the session Zara recognised that often the meanings of comments made by judges on test sheets aren’t very clear or understandable to riders. So she took the time to explain 15 of the most common ones . Here they are summarised below…..
- Against the hand – the horse has too much weight in the hand and is fighting against the rider
- Behind the leg – the horse is not sharp enough off the leg or thinking forward – use this comment as homework in your schooling
- Brief – the movement was too quick, this shows the judge that the rider doesn’t have confidence that the horse will stay into the movement – a mark will be lost here
- Disunited – the rhythm has been lost in the canter – the legs are incorrect. If this happens often check the saddle fitting or speak to your physio
- Dropping the contact – the horse disappears off the hand and the rider hasn’t got any weight in the reins
- Hollow – The horses head comes up, also referred as above the bridle, or tight through frame or tight behind the saddle
- Clarity of rhythm – when the paces don’t have the correct rhythm e.g, at a walk there isn’t a clear 4 step beat – it appears to be more of a lateral movement
- Inaccurately ridden – When the movement is performed incorrectly, not at the marker or a 20m circle is not a circular shape
- Inactive – not travelling forward, lack of energy
- Incorrect bend – the horse is bent to the outside through the corners or on the circle
- No stretch – when the rider doesn’t give enough rein to allow the horse to stretch out during the free walk
- Lacking engagement – the horse needs to step more under his body or the steps needs more jump
- On the forehand – the horse needs to be more uphill, step under the body more and use their hind legs better
- Resistance/Tension – The horse is shortening his neck and the hind legs aren’t pushing him forward
- Tongue out – As described, loses 2 marks as per the rules.