From the Judges Box

freja in judges box.jpgRecently I judged a dressage schooling show which was the last of a series from the summer season at the Stockade Polo and Saddle Club near Saratoga, NY. My scribe explained to me that many of the 60 rides I judged had been attending each monthly show, improving with each outing.

It was exciting to see the variety of breeds and sizes of the competing horses. There were small 14.1 hand Morgan’s and Quarter Horses to an 18.1 hand Shire cross to Dutch Warmbloods and Paints. And of course there were numerous Thoroughbred’s from the track desended from legends such as Seattle Slew and Secretariat. Some of the most consistent harmonious rides were on a trail horse and a former roping horse, both of whom transitioned well into their new career of dressage horses.

Several older school horses performed as pro’s, carrying their timid riders around an accurate, albeit, sluggish rides. The horses were clearly enjoying their job, relaxed and calm with floppy ears and soft eyes as they were put through the paces.

Of course there were the reluctant participants who misbehaved, dodging out of the arena every time they passed A, or refusing to step into canter, chosing to bolt or buck as an alternative. However, the riders persevered and finished with the horses completing their tests in spite of the arguments.

The high score of the day was won by an elegant black Anglo Trakener gelding, Azay Avignon, who was recently plucked off the film set of Ruffian where he played her double for the soon to be released Hollywood production of “Ruffian”. His test was beautiful. Azay was remarkably poised and correct in his rhythm and balance, showing a pleasant harmonious ride that judges enjoy watching. He clearly is enjoying his new career in the world of dressage.