Charlotte Dujardin, dressage, dressage judges, dressage training, United States Dressage Federation

Judge’s Remark: Rider, Wise Up!

Dressage judges are just a little too cryptic. I know they’re trying not to discourage novices from the sport entirely, but I’d be o.k. if they were a little more direct.

A comment such as, “Rider should take up tennis” might be a bit too direct.

However, I’ve spent a month trying to decipher this judge’s comment: “Horse needs to be more responsive.” This makes it sounds as if the horse is at fault, so I read this comment to my horse. He sniffed at it and failed to respond.

Actually, Micah is responding exactly as he’s been taught. I’ve taught him that I’ll fiddle-fart around for quite some time, content with a modest response. (I am generally pleased with any horse that doesn’t try to kill me, so one that listens to me most of the time is a pure dream.)

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Rather than remarking “Horse needs to be more responsive,” the judge should have come directly to the point.  “Rider needs to wise up,” would have been appropriate, as would “Use less leg and insist on a prompt response. Use less hand and more seat. You are working way too hard up there, girlfriend.”

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