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Guide The Greatest Horse of All: A Controversy Examined

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Our mark is too often 6. But what of the solutions that are being put forward, drop the high, drop the low, get apps to measure the movements in the freestyle…. This for me is not good judging, a judge who is brave enough to give high and low scores, is a better judge than the judge who is always in the middle. When we put away the highest and lowest scores, at the end of the day, we get judges who like to be in the middle. That is a problem. I did this pair judging when we had a special clinic in Warendorf with Wim Ernes — it is such a shame that he passed away — but we found this was absolutely the best system.

We had a lovely discussion, a very positive, constructive discussion and then, I think we had good marks. We had from our point of view, the right marks, one can concentrate on the music, the artistic impression, the other on the technique. I like more two judges in discussion to produce three results. Is there really a crisis — do we need to hand dressage judging to mathematicians and clever apps to take the human element out?

We ask our dressage judges to look to 10, things per second, which is impossible.

The Greatest Horse of All: A Controversy Examined - Charles Justice - Google Книги

I believe a lot could be done by using psychology to approach the issue, and maybe assign certain tasks to certain judges. Princess Nathalie thinks that sports psychologists could work with the judges to give them more courage…. What you see is your perception of what there is. You can improve judging by making judges aware of this. But the judges must be aware that they will have the tendency to give more marks to Isabell Werth, than someone who is new to Grand Prix….

Knowing is not everything — there are tools to train towards more awareness, and more awareness slowly brings more objectivity. Psychological training, awareness of how perception works, giving tools to prevent too much stereotypical judging, that would be the way. There is the room for improvement, and a good Code of Points, of course. You and I were there and we saw decisions that were totally crazy. As you will see below, there have been dressage judging crises, ever since dressage tests began. If we are to have a hope of surviving, then strong and well-funded NFs should take under their wings weaker nations on the brink of being ready to participate in the Games.

It should be done by genuinely helping bring the riders in other countries up to standard. For instance, in my country, Australia, we have good eventing competitions and a number of competent trainers. So if we took on squads of eventers from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Phillipines, and placed them with carefully screened and supervised trainers, then when the vote to kick equestrian out came to an IOC Congress, the representatives of those countries might feel that their countries were very close to making it to a Games, and vote to keep equestrian in.

Alois Podhajsky in the history outlined below, called attention to the lack of riding expertise in the ranks of the judges, and this problem continues to today. The people you would really like to see in the judges boxes, are too involved with competitors and competing teams, so we end up with a group of — at best — struggling small tour riders from that very narrow group, the affluent middle class with the time to spend traveling the world, to get the brownie points to move up the ladder. Perhaps we should think about ways of making judging a more attractive proposition to young judges with an independent eye yeah, who gets to make that call?

I hear what both Christoph and Col.

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Podhajsky say about collective ie. And judges who do reveal themselves susceptible to PR and pressure, like the ones that marked up Totilas at the Aachen Europeans, should be suspended for a decent period of time to ponder the error of their ways. This also requires a chief judge, like Eric Lette, with the force of his own convictions and the ability to pull a jury together. The attempt to automate judging, to take it out of the human dimension, comes from those who can only see the form, not the reason. Nose must be on the vertical, absolute? No, there might be a moment where a horseman, but not a machine, will make allowances.

Alois Podhajsky had to say on the matter fifty years ago…. But since the term has become the international one for this kind of riding, we must accept it. Since this book is long out of print and generally unavailable, I will quote extensively, so that the wisdom is not lost….

A jury consisting of one to three judges evaluated the performance and decided the placements of the contestants. In the principal test, which was ridden on the show grounds before the public, all riders had to present their horses in a group and upon command.

Great Stirrup Controversy

This presentation in a group gave an opportunity to watch the behaviour of the horses under varied conditions and afforded a comparison of the performances of the different riders. One early decision was whether to use combined or separate judging. Combined, the judges all sat at one table, and came to a score together.

Podhajsky was again the sceptic:. It frequently happens, however that the records are nothing more than a maze of complicated technical terms and pompous phrases which are no use to the rider and only confuse him. Writing in , the Colonel obviously had an uncanny ability to look into the future… And of course the fence-sitters were always with us: This leads to the obvious conclusion that these judges lack equestrian knowledge or the courage of their opinion.

Here we see how we have progressed over the past 50 years, our faint-hearted ones tend to go 6. A similar system was already in use in skating competitions. General von Pongracz had been an active rider from his earliest youth into advanced age. Well-known in international jumping competitions, he had won the record for the high jump in In in Berlin at the age of seventy-two, he placed sixteenth in a field of twenty-nine riders.

Finally it was turned down with the explanation that in case of erroneous judgement there might be demonstrations of displeasure from the public which would be detrimental to the sport of riding.


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The General was not the man to be put off with such shabby excuses. He declared in his stentorian voice: And so does the judge. The public has a right to express its opinion about any bad behaviour of a rider. In the same way it may stand up against an obviously unjust decision from a judge. In such cases it is of no interest whether the misjudgement springs from a lack of knowledge or from a weak character. A judge like that should be eliminated from the jury.

The results — the sum of forty-two marks — were made known after each rider had completed his test. Nevertheless, from the mere publication of the results very few spectators were able to obtain a clear picture of how these results were reached or to assess the attitudes of the judges towards the principles of classical horsemanship and the regulations of the FEI. With our highly developed technology, however, it should be possible to announce the marks for the various groups of exercises publicly and immediately by way of luminous digits.

Instead of putting down the marks on a test sheet the judge should make them visible on a large board by pressing the appropriate electric button. Thereby misunderstanding between rider and judge has sprung up and the gap has deepened ever since. Up until the Games, the tests were called and interpreters provided, however this was changed for Berlin and the riders had to ride from memory.

It was not an unmixed blessing according to Podhajsky:. This may easily lead to mechanizing his horse, a dangerous direction for a rider to take and one that must be condemned from the point of view of serious schooling. But he liked the new test: I want to underline particularly that this dressage test did justice to the principles of classical riding in every respect, allowing sufficient space for the basic requirements expected from a dressage horse such as the purity of the paces, impulsion, suppleness and so on. Gold in to Oberleutnant H. Complete equilibrium of the horse.

Full harmony between rider and horse. There was an artistic concept in the lay-out of the different exercises. They succeeded each other in harmonious sequence from which no tension might arise and which at the same time offered the judge opportunity to examine thoroughly the standard of horse and rider. It is small wonder that even years afterward experts still stated that the dressage test of the Olympic Games of was the best designed so far.

Pollay and Kronos in Piaffe. This performance can be called a perfect Piaffe. Kronos shows plenty of suppleness. He trots on the spot. A wonder of equilibrium. He is doing his task on invisible aids of his excellently sitting rider. In justifying themselves they might point out that they had given high marks, too, to the great adversaries of their nation. Gerhard was placed second with the German judge, third with the Swedes and the Dutchman, and seventh with the French judge. It was also announced that after the Berlin Games, the highest and the lowest scores would be dropped.

Bronze to the man himself, Alois Podhajsky riding Nero.

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Fifth with the Swede, fourth with the Frenchman, first with the Austrian, seventh with the German and second with the Dutchman. Three judges placed their countrymen first, three placed them second. One rider who was placed second by his fellow countryman but ranked seventeenth, twentieth and twice in the twenty-first place in the scores of the four other judges.

This was in a group of twenty-nine contestants from eleven nations! Any further comment is superfluous. In Berlin in the horses had not only performed the most difficult exercises brilliantly but had also excelled in the regularity and harmony of all paces. In London, none of this was to be seen although the test had been made considerably easier by eliminating piaffe and passage. Two of them placed their compatriots first and second. The third judge had only one rider from his nation and he gave him first place by awarding scores out of all proportion.

One rider who had been placed second by his compatriot was put in eighth and tenth places in a field of nineteen riders from nine nations by the two other judges. A larger jury would have in any case guaranteed a more impartial judgement. A grotesque explanation was given for eliminating place marks, namely that the system of deciding the winner by such marks was not applicable with a jury of three judges. This decision, which was made public at the very last moment, in fact gave one of the judges the chance to give the gold medal to his compatriot whose place mark was nine, while a better rider with the place mark eight had to content himself with the bronze medal.

But the judges or the responsible organization had taken care to prevent all outsiders from having a glimpse behind the scenes. Against all laws of fairness the names of the judges remained a secret even for many months after the Games and in the lists and official reports were supplanted by A, B and C. Consequently, the scores of three judges only counted for the final results. The place marks were not taken into consideration and have not been reintroduced since. Instead, after each ride the judges compared the marks they had given for the different groups of exercises in the test.

The scores had to be corrected in case of a difference exceeding four marks. The test sheet provided a special column for these corrections. As a logical consequence to this procedure, the judge with the greatest experience and knowledge but also with an overpowering personality forced his opinion upon the other members of the jury. Moreover, weak and uncertain judges by wavering between the indifferent marks four to seven, escaped having to stand up for their evaluations to the president of the jury.

All in all, this was certainly not a satisfactory solution of the problem. Three of the five judges had compatriots to evaluate and promptly placed them first, although with the other judges they landed in the ninth, eleventh and nineteenth places. Two judges awarded the second place to their fellow countrymen, one of whom placed twentieth with one of the other judges, and that in a field of twenty-seven competitors from ten nations!

For the Games, when the equestrian events were held in Stockholm, the test was made more difficult:. This exercise on the circle was highly criticised by some riders who called it a circus trick. However, its performance should be no problem for any dressage horse schooled by the principles of classical equitation, possessing sufficient balance and suppleness, and taking a perfect contact with the bit. Two of the five judges had no countrymen competing in this test. Two of the other judges considered for medals only their own compatriots, whom they placed first, second, and third, while with the other judges their scores did not amount to more than the eighth, fifteenth, nineteenth, and twenty third places.

Most aggravating of all, this happened although for the first time the judges had sworn the Olympic oath for fair and impartial judging! The fifth judge awarded the first place to a contestant from his country while he placed the two other compatriots somewhere in the middle of a field of thirty-six riders from seventeen nations.

Due to the initiative of the president of the Federation Equestre Internationale, H. Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, it was possible to ward off this serious blow to the art of riding. Energetic measures were taken on one side and on the other there was readiness to compromise. The two guiltiest dressage judges were barred for life from any further international activity, and each nation was allowed to delegate only two riders to the Olympics in Rome, thereby eliminating any team medals.

Thirty-three groups of exercises had to be evaluated. As an innovation the following Collective Marks were introduced, which at the end of the ride were also to be scored by ten to zero. Paces regularity and freedom 2. Submission, suppleness, and lightness of the horse 4. Position, seat of the rider, correct use of the aids. One coefficient of 4 was administered for the Collective Mark given for regularity and freedom of the paces. The final result was deducted from the sum of the scores of both tests. Moreover, films were made of each rider and consulted by the judges before deciding the scores in order to correct their marks if necessary.

The equestrian standard was of no extraordinary level to begin with. In addition, due to the small entry of only seventeen competitors in an Olympic event together with the complicated system of judging, the interest of the public died down alarmingly.

During the test the otherwise overcrowded grandstands began to thin out. The last riders presented their horses in front of rows of empty seats. The results were not published until four days later. This retarded publication and the placements, which were incomprehensible to the experts and to most persons interested in the Grand Prix de Dressage, caused a great deal of justified criticism in the international press.

They came from countries that had not delegated any contestants to the Grand Prix de Dressage. The entire system of judging was surrounded by incredible anonymity. By roundabout means, it was heard that in a special conference the judges consulted films made for that purpose before deciding the final places of the riders. No wonder that the definite results were not made known until four days later. It was a hopeless system which had no place in Olympic Games. However, he was not authorized to give scores. But again this was not a satisfactory solution to the problem.

Nevertheless, the office of the side judge was maintained up to the Games of The individual winners were: Chammartin Switzerland on Woermann 2. Boldt Germany on Remus 3. The team medals were won by 1. Gold in Tokyo to Henri Chammartin and Woermann — seems spectacular in front, out behind has been around for a while. Separated from each other, they were to evaluate thirty-two groups of exercises with marks from ten to zero.

Again the scores were examined by the president of the jury, who ordered them to be corrected if the comparison revealed gross divergences. The four Collective Marks, three of which were multiplied by the coefficient 2 and one by 3, were determined by the group. Corrections in the test sheets and the final marks given collectively more or less annulled the idea of separate judging.

In a ride-off the judges evaluated the better 25 per cent of the participants for a second time. The scores of both rides were added up to determine the final results and the winners of the individual medals. The side judge was again an observer without a vote. The same system was maintained in Mexico in Again it was a rather un-Olympic procedure. Because of the distance of the Games from my homeland, I could not be present and form a personal opinion. It was not easy to obtain an unbiased over-all view from the various contradicting reports.

White begins by tracing the research of the 19th century German historian Heinrich Brunner , who claimed that the switch to mounted warfare occurred after the Battle of Tours with a Saracen army in Brunner pointed out that Pepin the Short began demanding horses as tribute from the Saxons in , citing this as evidence of an increasingly cavalry-dependent army. The lance , White says, is the strongest evidence that the Franks had adopted the stirrup by this time.

Despite the great influence of White's book, his ideas of technological determinism were met with criticisms in the following decades. It is agreed that cavalry replaced infantry in Carolingian France as the preferred mode of combat around the same time that feudalism emerged in that area, but whether this shift to cavalry was caused by the introduction of the stirrup is a contentious issue among historians. It has been asserted that armored cavalry were used successfully without stirrups before their introduction, and that the transition to cavalry was not a result of new technologies.

The first fully armoured cataphracts appeared in the third century BC, almost years before the Carolingian dynasty. White argued that they were "essentially armoured bowmen. Hilton, were quick to point out that "the most serious weakness in this argument is that the introduction of the stirrup is not in itself an adequate explanation for any changes that may have occurred. The stirrup made new methods possible, not inevitable Military historian Stephen Morillo, of Wabash College , offered a different explanation for the rise of cavalry in Medieval warfare: Morillo contends that cavalry-dependent militaries are common in societies that do not have strong central governments, and cites Medieval Japan and China as analogous examples to 8th century Europe.

A central government , he explains, is crucial to the development of a highly trained infantry, but cavalry can be maintained, however loosely, by an already horse-owning noble class. Sons of such classes were raised to the military lifestyle, trained in small groups built from the social connections among the class, and exercised military force in the interest of maintaining their own position in the hierarchy of power.

Even White quoted Brunner as admitting that a good infantry could break a cavalry charge if its soldiers held their ranks. Therefore, Morillo considers feudalism a political construct rather than a military one. It has also been asserted that modern reenactment and experimental archaeology has shown that the stirrup provides very little benefit for a mounted lancer , and a cantled saddle and spurs have a greater effect.

White noted the importance of the prior emergence of the saddle, but argued, "The stirrup made possible—although it did not demand—a vastly more effective mode of attack" than a blow "delivered with the strength of shoulder and biceps":