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New dressage choose system goals additionally to profit riders


  • A NEW British Dressage (BD) system promises not only to “revolutionise” the way judges are trained, but also to help riders develop and progress.

    BD has worked with equestrian specialist tech company Black Horse One to create an online platform, which is at the centre of a new judge education system.



    BD training and education manager Charlotte Osborne told H&H the system is designed to provide standardised training and assessment.

    “It’s not that judges were doing a bad job before, but the previous system was very focused on assessment and examining, and the assessment process wasn’t very user-friendly,” she said.

    Ms Osborne added that the new system is more inclusive. There is less travelling for potential judges so more people can access the training, and “we’ve now got a wider range of people, which is so important for our sport”.

    She said the new system, of online training and in-person and self-directed activity, will help judges develop and progress.

    “It means judges come forward with all the knowledge and information they need to do a good job,” she said. “It’s not about training to pass exams, it’s about training to be a better judge, which provides the best competitor experience.”

    Ms Osborne said it is very important the right combination wins the class, and the training should help judges gain “360 understanding” of everything involved in training a horse to a certain level.

    “The riders have to also have a good experience,” she said. “They have to go away feeling they’ve got the right feedback, which they understand, can relate to and can use it to develop. That’s what dressage is supposed to be about; a test of training, not a test for its own sake.”

    The first online assessments are due to run this autumn.

    BD judges’ director and FEI five-star judge Peter Storr said: “After three years of development, it is incredibly exciting to launch this system.

    “I think the pandemic has encouraged us all to embrace technology and I am looking forward to working with Black Horse One for our online judge training and qualifications. I have previously used Black Horse when judging at international competitions, as well as to deliver  seminars and test candidate judges, and it continues to impress me.”

    BD judge Sarah Kingwells, who has used the system to pass her latest upgrade, told H&H the system is easy to use.

    “It is very accessible and all the things you require are easy to get to,” she said. “The training is more structured than before and that gives you confidence in yourself and all aspects of judging, knowing the training is so thorough.”

    You might also be interested in:

    H&H’s guest dressage columnist on restructuring Area Festivals and new judge training

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