Monday, December 13, 2010

2011 Dressage tests First Level: Hint #2

Most folks have heard that in the new 2011 first level tests, sitting trot is optional. But is it really? At the seminar on the 2011 tests participants asked three ways till Sunday if posting trot would affect their score. 
  • If two rides were identical, and one was sitting and one posting, which would get the highest mark? Answer: if the rides were identical they'd get identical marks.
  • What if I start out sitting but switch to posting? Answer: It doesn't matter to the judge.
  • How will posting affect the rider score? Answer: It won't.

Judges provided the assurance that the rider’s sitting or posting is irrelevant to the score, and they also encouraged posting if sitting inhibits the horse. One judge lamented that they often used to watch rides and in the stretchy trot (posting) the horse suddenly showed much more freedom and swing -- they're happy that now horses won't be as inhibited and performances will be better...


  1. It just makes so much SENSE to allow posting. It also is more in line with Europe.

    Sitting the trot *before* the horse is expected to have a collected trot just feels unkind to me. Some horses have trots which are smooth no matter what, but others... not so much.

    If I sit, my horse automatically puts himself into a collected trot. He really lifts his back, really drops his hindquarters... and really shortens from the expected first level working trot. If I push him forward, it starts to resemble the extended trot rather than a working trot, which is what you *want* to have happen when you sit and push forward. But for my horse, a trot as asked for at first level is simply not comfortable to him if the rider is sitting. He'll happily trot all day if I'm sitting, in a trot which would be lovely in second level.

  2. I remember asking a judge about the differences between sitting/posting at Training level while scribing (in between tests, of course!) and their answers were pretty much the same. It wasn't until I saw JJ Tate riding a young horse, alternating sitting AND posting throughout the test, that I realized alternating was an option, and when asked, the judge said, "Do whatever you think shows your horse off the best." There are lots of people who think that if they aren't bouncing, they can do First -- and the horses suffer for it!

    I do like the changes I've seen so far of the 2011 tests -- I ordered my booklets but haven't studied past First -- and that includes allowing posting at First. I don't think allowing posting "dumbs it down" at all, the way some people have complained. You still have to get through the entire test!

  3. Love the change in the tests. Now, I just hope all the judges realize the concepts expressed in the answers given to the questions. Maybe they need to add a warning on each test sheet--rider not to be penalized for rising trot.

    Sorry. I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to some of these judging standards. I've encountered some pretty inconsistent judging in my time. (Including one judge who wanted to make me change out of my "conservative raincoat" before my ride. It had been raining when I tacked up to ride and stopped before my ride--but began again during my ride. Her comment was something like, "What's that your wearing?" I told her it was legal rainwear. Then she said, "It's not raining now." I told her it was when I got on and I had no one to help me change. She grumpily accepted me into the arena.)

    The rules need to apply to everyone fairly. Hopefully since the purpose of posting is to allow horses to move better, this one will prove a benefit to all.

  4. That is a great change to the first level tests. I totally agree. Why sit if the horse is not able to collect for the duration of the test? I imagine that this would improve rider score, since sitting a back that is not ready forces the rider to tighten, hindering effectiveness. This is better for horse and rider!

  5. That's great reassurance that it won't affect marks. In the most recent Dressage Today, one of the rider critiques encourages the rider to post for better marks, as it will show her horse better.
    I;m very happy about the change!

  6. I scribed for a judge who preferred riders to post during the test rather than sitting. She really felt that many horse and riders at the level were not ready for sitting trot and it allowed horses to be more through.


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