Through the Judge*s Eye

by Dina Mazzola
Demonstrate correct basic position
Demonstrate control of the horse’s pace
Ride with light contact
Show an excellent sitting trot and canter
Be able to execute the IEA or USEF tests
• Performance, Performance, Performance
 If you ride a great hunter round, chances are you are going to get a great
• Track, Pace, Position and Distances
• Show me you can ride an accurate, effective
round that answers the track, pace and distance
questions posed by the course
• Accuracy first, style second
• Position and style are the “tie breakers” or how I
order the accurate rounds.
Soft, supple, still, strong
Invisible aids
Appropriate use of various seats and rein aids
Eye level
Correct body and arm angles
Correct hands
How rider position affects quality of horse’s jump
and general shape
Beautiful Equitation
Excellent. Great performance and exceptional quality
Very Good. Solid Performance and good quality
Good. Quality Rider with perhaps and minor error
Fairly Good. An average horse or rider with a minor error, or
a high quality horse or rider with a couple of minor errors
Sufficient. A bit below average rider with a few minor errors
or mistakes
Insufficient. Poor performance with one or more serious
errors or poor quality, missing lead changes
Fairly Bad. Very poor performance, making serious errors,
adding strides, more than one significant distance error
Below 60
Bad. Bolting, bucking, running off, trotting, stopping, refusals,
knockdowns that are the fault of the rider, losing stirrup or
Judges Scorecard
(or at least win the class)
①Present a neat, workmanlike appearance
demonstrating correct angles in your position
②Ride a well planned, well executed, entrance
③Execute a prompt transition up to pace, correct
for the horse and class
④Find evenly matching, appropriate distances to
each fence
⑤Maintain an even, rhythmic pace throughout the
⑥Execute prompt changes of lead before the
⑦Ride an accurate track
⑧Focus and eye level is always and up, ahead and
to the next jump
⑨Maintains a soft, still and supple position, with
correct angles, using a level appropriate release
⑩Executes a smooth, well planned closing and
downward transition and pats horse
① Incorrect basic position
② Inappropriate release
③ Bad hands
④ Ahead or, or behind the motion
⑤ Cannot sit the trot or canter, posting to the
⑥ Poorly executed lead changes
⑦ Pace: too slow, too fast, uneven
⑧ Poorly planned entrances
⑨ Missing the distance
⑩ Incorrect track
• Simple changes are equal to flying changes
• Use of the stick
 USEF rules using the stick is incorrect, score of 60
 IEA rules cannot use the stick outside of the ring, so…
 Never on the shoulder
• Suitability
• Try to account for relative difficulty of horse
• Strides don’t count, but. . .
 Has to match and be up to pace for that horse
• Leads!!!
 Inability to perform a correct simple change of lead
 Not correcting a cross canter
 Picking up the wrong lead on the entrance
• Poor track to the jump and on landing
• No plan for strides in the lines
 Have a plan depending on the stride length of the horse
and how the warm up rider rode the horse
WATCH riders who are better than you
Go EARLY and watch the best trainers give a lesson at 6:30 in the
morning at an A show – it’s a free clinic
WATCH the best riders on YouTube
Become a STUDENT of the sport and read up
Present a good ATTITUDE - always
PAT your horse – they work hard for you
…success is earned not given…
The Judge is Back by Randy Roy (Amazon)
Hunter Seat Equitation Manual
Hunter Seat Equitation by George Morris (Amazon)
USEF Rule Book (
The Judge’s Eye by Linda Andrisani (
Form Follows Function with Cynthia Hankins
The American Hunter/Jumper Forward Riding System by Bernie
Traurig (
Get Connected (featuring USEF Tests 1-19) (

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