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?

Demo Riding at the USDF “L” Program with Valley Oaks CDS

Cooper participated at Starr Vaughn yesterday!

Without leaving the arena, screaming incessantly (Or maybe he did, and I was too distracted to notice in there), or spooking at the big mirror.

This was only his 2nd Dressage outing, stepping it up from Intro Level to Training Level.  Yes, he was tense.

And very scared at first in the outdoor warm up – all alone, foggy.   (Definitely some screaming out there.)

Just entering the indoor was a huge thing for him…  Just look how scary it is.

Starr Vaughn Equestrian Center

But he pulled it together and got through it with me.

This was a great opportunity to train in a show environment, while also receiving feedback from S Judge Debbie Riehl Rodriguez and the large group of soon to become judges.  Very grateful for some nice comments for us!

Partner in crime today was Nancy, my “star of trailering in black dark in dangerously dense Tule fog”.

Both Cooper and her gelding Gandalf took it in stride, while the two of us were fretting up front, squinting at the yellow line in the middle of the road and in general held our breath for making it there safely.

It was so fun to be part of this!  No other pictures, unless someone else sends something over.  Just these two relaxed riders, who were all smiles after their rides.

Valley Oaks L Program

What’s the USDF L Program?

Developed by the USDF Judges’ Committee , this educational training program teaches judges to evaluate the correct training of dressage horses.

The “L” Education Program is designed with several goals in mind:

  1. Provide trainers, instructors, competitors and spectators’ insight into the evaluative techniques of judging dressage.
  2. Prepare and evaluate candidates who wish to pursue entry into the USEF ‘r’ Judge Training Program.
  3. Provide continuing education for licensed judges and “L” graduates.