NEWS > Dressage
Posted by Samantha Napier on 12/11/2017.

Kerrie Swan-Bates reports from the Dressage Festival Fundraiser and Education Seminar with Stephen Clarke!

On Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th November I attended the Dressage Festival Fundraiser at Werribee. The education seminar was conducted by Stephen Clarke FEI 5* judge (UK) and assisted by our very own Suzie Hoevenaars. Saturday's session was held at the Geelong Grammar Equestrian Centre. On Sunday, Stephen and Suzie shared the commentary on several tests (via headsets) and Stephen also judged some of the tests. What a boon for the competitors involved!

Tasmania was well represented at the education seminar by Suzan McDermott, Bert Gibson, Sue Lamont, Peter Fischer and myself on Saturday. Suzan, Sue and I were joined by Jenny Laird on Sunday.

Saturday's sessions covered the basic principals of judging, what we accept and can expect to see at each level and the importance of judges giving accurate evaluations and comments in order for the rider/trainers to understand where improvements can be made. There was also discussion and questions from the floor on specific movement evaluations and judging trends.

Continuing on the theme of quality and correctness within the test movements, we saw a video and discussed the preparation for collection, the collection and use of the hind leg within the canter pirouette and appropriate mark allocation. In the afternoon with a selection of very good quality demonstration horses, we assessed and discussed why the training scale is so important at each level. We looked at the horse's basic paces, rhythm, suppleness, contact and connection via the back. Engagement was a recurring theme and we studied the hind leg action, reaction and adjustability, diversifying to appropriate exercises to facilitate the desired result/improvement in each horse. The practical session ended with Stephen commentating while Gitte Donvig and the lovely Sancette did the Grand Prix test.

Stephen very successfully married the judges refresher seminar with the rider and trainers education component, giving the audience the benefit of his holistic knowledge of horse training and dressage test judging. I consider myself very fortunate to have been in attendance.

Kind Regards,
Kerrie Swan-Bates

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