Scribing For Axel Steiner

Judging from C

Best bang for your buck on getting a better grasp of what dressage judges Really want to see in a test?

Hint, 1st choice is not going to be participation in a pricey dressage clinic with Whopdido trainer from somewhere-far-away.

Go spend a full day as a scribe at a recognized dressage show – it will be a wonderful eye opener!

I had the opportunity to sit for a legend, Axel Steiner, and if I could, I’d be traveling around with him, or Anita Owen, doing this all the time – it’s really that good!

Axel is a USEF “S” judge, popular clinician, part of the USDF “L” faculty, USEF judge examiner, and a retired FEI 5* judge with a history of judging the Olympics, World Cup Finals, Pan American Games and many other international championships.

If that sounds intimidating, just wait until you sit down the very first time to scribe, ever, with score sheets of FEI level Young Horse Final Tests in front of you.

Then prepare to write fast, learn a LOT, and have fun while doing it.  Axel is educational while judging, and after watching many riders at all levels it became much easier to understand what is expected in the showring.

Early Sunday morning at the Dressage Derby III held at the beautiful  Christiane Noelting Dressage Center in Vacaville, CA.

Christiane Noelting Dressage Center

Scribing for Axel at E.

Axel Steiner

Some tips are to bring a pillow to sit on.  Layered clothing.  Hat and sunglasses.  Keeping close tabs on the Order Of The Day sheet.

Dressage Derby III

And also, scribes do not clap.  Just if you forgot that.  But if you do, no one will bite your head off.  Axel even stood up for me and the slightly illegible numbers scratched down on my beginning score sheets.

The show started off with the FEI 5-Year-Old Five Year Final Test, the FEI 6-Year-Old Final Test, and FEI Intermediate II.

Here is Merrie Velden in the 5-Year Test on Zuckerhut.

Dressage Derby III

Judging from E, it becomes very clear how different the view-point is from C.

Judging from E

And as a side bar, scribes at E do not ring the bell even on not-yet-called-for errors by C.  Ask me how I know.

The bell

In all, it was a wonderful experience, especially seeing reactions to specific riding, small mistakes, large mistakes, and in particular, the movement of the horses as translated to a score.

Dressage Derby III

In the afternoon, sitting with Anita Owen, FEI “C” Dressage Judge.  Very kind and just as helpful, and extra credit just for being Swedish!  The judging from C offers a different view – definitely try both if you can!

With Anita Owen and Colleen Reid.

Christiane Noelting Dressage Center

What about you, have you found scribing to be helpful?

21 thoughts on “Scribing For Axel Steiner

  1. Glad you had a good time scribing for Axel and Anita. You are very brave to start out scribing FEI tests. I scribed for Axel on Saturday and had a great time. I have scribed for many years, since the early 80’s and have always found it to be a rewarding experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m an immigrant – we’re born risktakers from the start 🙂 Supportive environment – why have I waited this long?!
      Didn’t know you’ve done so much scribing Christine – that explains why you got so far with Max. Great job!

      Always keeping an eye out for you for a horse prospect – I know the one will show up for you soon 🙂


      1. The Foothills Chapter is sponsoring a scribing clinic in July with scribing real tests after the class. You should participate. July 18.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Great – worth to look into. Thank you for letting me know!
          I’ll definitely see if I can be there.
          I’ve had contact with Michelle Dodge and may be participating at her event ( I think it’s the L program Final Testing).
          Hoping these events don’t collide.


    1. It was eye opening to say the very least! And now I want to do more. Just go for it if you can, higher levels just means more little boxes, faster, and eh, OK, more stress 🙂


  2. Yay for you! I agree, tremendous things are learned from scribing. It also can be very stressful, like when you screw up the tests by getting them in the wrong order (uh, don’t ask me how I know that). Think: school nightmare…Yeah, well, I won’t do THAT again. And that particular show will probably not ask me to scribe again 🙂 However, you do learn a lot by listening and watching, although with the frantic writing I didn’t get much chance to actually watch the tests, or to ask any questions. You certainly do start to pick up what the judge’s hot buttons are, both positive and negative. For myself, I would limit scribing to four hours, because my concentration and wrist gave out about then (and I still had three more hours to go!).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed, 4 hours sounds like a much more reasonable time than a full day.
      Now, depending on the judge, there is still a lot to learn, even if you’re bent down writing. I could hear feedback the whole time, and just glancing up here and there, it confirmed what I was hearing. In essence, it showed how LITTLE time we have as riders to really shine in the ring, and that relaxation + energy will win every time.

      Sorry about the mix up. Hey, we’re ALL humans! No need to dwell on it. (But I’ll definitely keep that piece of advice in mind!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. After mentally beating myself up, I comforted myself by thinking, “well, two mistakes in seven hours of scribing. And how many things did you get RIGHT? You’re learning and you won’t do that one again.” Then I worried: but what mistake will I make next time? Oh well.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I want to scribe so badly! And I can’t believe you were at Christiane Noelting’s, which is so close to me, and we didn’t meet up! Maybe we can scribe together next time? I should email the show secretary!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, that’s an idea! That would be fun! I’m rarely out that way, it’s about a solid 1 1/2 hour drive from my barn, more if actually trailering, but just as an attendee it was a breeze.
      It would be really cool to be there at the same time 🙂


  4. Friesian!!!! Oops, sorry I had a moment hehe. That sounds like such an amazing experience! Congrats! I’ve never scribed before. I guess I should try it someday, but I’m a little intimidated… even at these little schooling shows at my barn hehe.


    1. Don’t be intimidated! There is a first for everyone, right?! I’ll be heading out again to do this toward the end of the month, for a full weekend. Plenty of new, other, mistakes to be had I’m sure, but it’s all in good fun 🙂
      And yes, the Friesians get a lot of attention at the shows, don’t they! 😉


Comments are closed.