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Some Dressage judges “pet peeves” by Janet “dolly” Hannon
• Competitors not showing up to the ring on time and /or entering the ring very slowly after the
bell has been rung.
• Horses being shown who are not well groomed. For example: wild looking manes ( if not
braided), dirty dusty, manure or urine stains.
• Riders not knowing their test and not having a reader if they need one; the judge does not care
either way and does not want you to go off course.
• Arguing with the judge over an error or lameness issue.
• Losing one’s temper in the ring.
• Forgetting to pat or praise the horse at the end of a test, and /or looking displeased.
• Overcorrecting or punishing the horse either during, before ,or after a test unfairly
• Use of voice like “clucking” repeatedly.
• Looking very unhappy during a test ( unless warranted)
• Ill-fitting/ Improper tack: an example would be a noseband that is adjusted too low and too tight
and more examples: a saddle that slides forward onto the horses shoulders, spurs on upside
down, Illegal bit.
• Poor turnout on the part of the rider like loose hair, no gloves, or coats that is too tight or much
• Dirty tack during nice weather, with no mud in sight.
• Not reading your dressage test after your ride before you show under that judge again, or
before the next show. Judges put a lot oftime and effort into the tests.
• Forgetting to tell the judge and /or scribe your :ompetitor number as you pass by the judges
table. Not required but advisable.
• Very large saddle pads or very small ones on the horse/pony.
• Obvious strong counter flexion of the horse especially in corners and on circles. Wrong bend.
• Excessive use of the whip or spurs; and/or the hair worn off the horse’s sides, ie: spur marks
• Riding a very inaccurate test, an example: Riding a 20m circle for a 15 m circle.
• Showing horse at an inappropriate level that it is not prepared for.
• Competing a horse that is very fat and unfit or very thin.
• Showing a horse that is very obviously lame: the rider should feel this.
• Rider talking to reader during the test or vice versa ( could be unauthorized assistance)
• Trying to sit the trot when it is difficult for you in a test where it is not required.
• Riders really struggling to sit the horses gaits, usually the trot when it is required.
• And lastly blaming the judge (or worse yet the horse) for a disappointing score. We all want to
give good marks whenever possible.
• The competitors should know the rules, and rule changes to avoid issues at the competition.
Good example : Know which tests you can carry a whip in.