Score results in eventing dressage compared to straight dressage
I've been pondering on something recently and wondered if the great COTH minds have noticed anything similar and had thoughts.
When I attend dressage shows the high scoring rider is usually in the middle to upper 60% but at a horse trial the high scoring dressage test is usually in the upper 70% A score in the lower 60s could put me in the ribbons at a dressage show but next to last at a HT.
Has anyone else noticed this and would there be any reason? Do dressage judges give eventers a "break" in their scores (I've actually heard that dressage judges should score eventers higher due to the crazy event horse factor) or what makes them more likely to use a wider range of scores? I've seen more 8s 9s and 10s at HTs then I have at dressage shows.
I am not by any means suggesting that I deserve to be scored higher.
IME, DR judges are more thorough and "strict" with what counts as an accurate and connected test than EV judges - they take into account a classical approach, and score accordingly. Just my experience.
My wild, unsubstantiated theories:
1. The judges don't feel any pressure to "keep" eventers below 60 as we aren't going for medal scores. Thus if a score is between 6 and 7 they go with 7...and
2. They have to pick whole numbers because they have to. Just take 2 scores - if in dressage they give 6 and 6.5, the average is 6.25. In eventing, they may say 6 and 7 for 6.5. This is even more of a factor for doubling. Would be great to hear from judges. In our area, the "dressage" judges judge eventing too.
3. Lots more going on in even low level dressage. Just ride Training 3 versus Novice B. Nevermind First 2 or 3 versus Novice B. Note, not dissing eventing dressage at all, BTW.
Last edited by akor; Oct. 19, 2013 at 03:20 PM.
"Fool! Don't you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you." Cleopatra VII
This is complete speculation but a lot of dressage professionals
Here in the US don't bother bringing their horses out until they're at 4th level, so at training and first level, you are getting a combination of amateurs and LNTs. In eventing by the time you're going novice which is maybe like first level you're competing Directly against some awfully good experienced riders/competitors on horses they intend to take to the top.
It would be interesting to see a comparison of scores for the same horse and rider pair during the same season at both regular dressage shows and eventing dressage.
I agree with NC Rider-- I think that a lot of the Training/ First/ Second tests I have seen tend to be at a level comparable to what you might see in a Novice/ Training/ Prelim Rider (vs. Horse or Open) divisions. For example, horses that are not really solid on leg yields/ lengthenings, not 100% consistent in contact etc. So I don't think they're being scored that differently.
I work with an FEI Dressage trainer & based on what they've seen they figure ~10pts. A strictly dressage judge is much more rewarding of correctness at the lower levels - which is what she considers the 4* tests They don't like to fiddle below 4th, those DQs. Classical trainer who does not believe in rewarding the flash or btv-stuff at the lower levels & her judge 'friends' have passed along their emphasis in the training scale for these levels as an important part of the scoring.
If you have a local Dressage association, look for a 'Ride-A-Review.' Its a great way to get judging feedback & a glimpse of how they score & practice tests. Scribing is another option.
Food for thought-- at Fair Hill and Morven Park my horse's open novice divisions were knee-deep in 4* riders on their clients' expensive prospects. Of course there were scores in the 20s. Novice dressage is about like Tr 1. These riders had better be able to ride fantastic tests.
Edited to say Novice doesn't even have a stretchy circle and Tr 1 does. Also, too: about 80% of USDF members never show above 1st Level. So that means some significant portion of people in the classes are mere mortals. At the same time, the BN horse and rider must be able to safely jump 2'7" fences on uneven terrain to safely complete an event. The dressage is easier but the horses and riders do need to have a significant degree of skill that many people just starting out at T1-T2 don't yet have.
I've done recongnized dressage and recognized eventing on the same horse this year. So for comparison:
This summer I took my new horse to 3 recognized dressage shows. He has five tests at Training 2 for a 73.5% average and 5 tests at Training 3 for a 71.5% average.
This fall he's been to 2 recognized Horse Trials both riding Novice Test B, and he has a 21.2 average.
N Test B is easier than Training test 2 so I'd expect to pick up a couple points there. So in our case I don't think the difference is 10 points more like 3-5 points.
On my tests the HT judges were more willing to give a wider range of scores: 6-10 and the dressage judges more like 6-8. I think the difference between a 8, 9 and 10 are much less clear and many judges just won't go there compared to the difference between a 6, 7 and 8.
Also I think you've got more horses in HTs that are doing dressage well below their capabilities since dressage isn't generally the indicator of when it's time to move up. You've also got more horse above their current capabilities so in general you see a bigger range to the quality of rides at HTs. The other day a friend who scribed in last week's HT commented that when someone came in and really rode a good test the judge was excited and WANTED to give good marks. I think this motivation might be different from watching 20 rides of similar quality.