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Dressage: How to get a referee category?

Anyone can try to become a judge – the road is open to everyone. But it is worth remembering that a dressage judge is not only one who knows how to correctly evaluate the elements and movement of a horse according to the pattern.

A judge is someone who knows the biomechanics of a horse “from” and “to”; able to their thoughts and convey them to the rider.

A judge is someone who knows by heart the rules of equestrian discipline and has the entire list of qualities necessary for a judge, and believe me, there are many of them!

So where should you start your career in this career and what obstacles can you expect? What should every judge certainly know? Says Anna Eliseeva, judge of the international category 4 *.

And learn by heart again
Anna notes that starting her career in refereeing is a thorough study of the requirements for judges of various categories, finding out how to practice and cramming if not all, then at least the basic rules.

In addition, you will need to study all the information related to stewarding – a good judge must know all the details of behavior during tournaments, be aware of all the innovations regarding the permissible equipment and appearance of the rider. The referee at all tournaments always interacts with the steward, and in the case of controversial issues, the decision remains with the chief judge.

In addition to the basic rules relating directly to the discipline of dressage, you will need to familiarize yourself with all additional editions of the International Equestrian Federation, intended for judges and disclosing the criteria for grading.

You can view all documents here: inside.fei.org

Practice and work on yourself
Becoming a judge involves a long practice.

Anna told us that you need to start with simpler “posts” that will help you learn the judging system from the inside and get acquainted with the grading process itself.

To do this, you will only need to ask the volunteer for the competition as an assistant judge (reader) or assistant secretary. As a rule, such a request is not refused anywhere, but all issues must be resolved directly through the organizing committee of the competition.

As a reader, you can fully plunge into the process of refereeing, having clearly seen how and for what the judge gives marks. The big plus is that, writing down the judge’s comments on this or that element, you will immediately understand what was done wrong in the performance and why a specific assessment was made.

The future judge needs to work hard on himself – to study hard, to be neat and friendly, attentive to the comments of his senior colleagues.

The novice judge should be liked by other judges and riders – hardly anyone wants to see in the ranks of strict, but fair experts an eternally gloomy person who is negatively inclined towards everyone present.

Secret requirements
There are some requirements for judges, the description of which you are unlikely to meet on the rules pages. But from this they do not become less important.

1. The judge must be hardworking and diligent, always honest and unbiased, painstaking, positive-minded and must have good health. After all, not everyone can keep a long concentration, focus and attention, noting all the little things, for several hours.

2. The judge must comment on the marks. Especially important is the commentary at the end of the ride, where the general impression of the couple should be expressed, the main shortcomings that the rider should work on, wishes for the future. The more detailed the judge argues the rating, the better the rider will be able to understand his mistakes and try to correct them in the future. The judge’s task is not only harsh criticism, but also helping the couple, guiding them on the right path.

3. The judge must know the biomechanics of the horse and be able to ride. This will help him better understand the interaction of the rider and the horse and, accordingly, better navigate the grading.

Insidious test
Anna also mentioned that it would be much easier for novice judges to try themselves in a “combat” situation if top riders did not start in the standings. Real quality is much more difficult to see than a glitch or some kind of error.

That is why it is worth starting to try yourself in refereeing first with the simplest rides of an elementary or children’s level, and then, having adapted, increase the complexity of the evaluated scheme.

How to become a judge of the international category?
After conquering all categories of national refereeing, you will have the prospect of becoming a judge of the international category. To receive it, you must have an All-Russian category and judge national competitions according to the Grand Prize program for 3 years. But it is worthwhile to understand that the requirements for international judges are even higher.

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