Over the past couple of years I have been judging some unaffiliated dressage at local riding clubs. My hope is that one day I will become a fully fledged, listed, affiliated Judge! (Eeek!) My passion for dressage started when I was 14 (a little late in my riding career) and it grows every day. My sister was the one who suggested I look at Judging, so, fully immersing myself in the world of dressage I signed up to become a trainee. Unfortunately life has got in the way a little meaning I'm still on the trainee list for now but I love going out for training days and to local competitions to judge.
One thing I've always noticed is the nerves alot of people seem to have as they enter the ring. Quite often people make mistakes, get panicked about going wrong and I've even had some people retire just because they turned left instead of right. As a rider I would always get nervous just before I entered the ring but I always remember one judge (a former Olympian), whom I was writing for at the time, explain to me that all they want is for you to do well. They don't like giving out poor marks and now I'm judging I completely understand were he was coming from. I love to give out high marks, its fantastic to see someone really go for the test and be able to give them 8's, 9's and 10's. It's always good to remember that each movement is scored individually. Yes, you might get a 4 for one movement because something went wrong, However, you could gain an 8 in another which brings your average back up. Yes, I realise nerves on the day are not always down to being judged. However, if they are don't forget the judge wants you to do well, and wants to give you high marks.
Please don't give up at the first hurdle in a test. Nobody is perfect, winners don't quit, they just keep going!