Everyone’s jumping on the judging bandwagon, and what happened to me in Rotterdam was not right [Spencer received scores varying from 73% to 65% for his grand prix aboard Numberto]. It’s not as much about the discrepancy in marks as the placings – fifth and 25th.

These shows take so much hard work and money to get to and when something like that happens it immediately makes me question and doubt what I’m doing. But as a rider who has done a small amount of judging I do understand how difficult it is, and a lot of people don’t appreciate that. I hope that we see a system developed that is not only better for riders but also easier for judges.

As for what that system might be, I don’t have the answer, but it’s got to have simplicity to it. A code of points [as proposed by the International Dressage Riders Club (IDRC)] is a good basis, as it would bring more structure to the marking.

There is the idea of judges starting with a 10 and deducting points according to faults, but I think it will be hard to train judges to think differently about the way they mark. Some judges may already do that, but senior judges are not going to change the mental process of their marking system.

The timeframe in which they have to watch a movement and make a decision is tiny. It’s a mind-boggling process when you really think about it.

It would have been nice if the senior judge had come to speak to me in Rotterdam, just to acknowledge the discrepancy and the fact that there had been a mistake in the judging.

It’s important this sort of thing isn’t ignored, and the tragic thing about my situation was that the team missed out on the chance to progress to the next leg of the competition.

Time to do some selecting

With the very sad sale of Half Moon Delphi, who has now left Michael Eilberg’s yard, the contest for the fourth spot on the team for the Europeans is still wide open.

Carl, Charlotte and Fiona look pretty secure, but there are several other combinations on a level pegging.

Supanova would be my first choice, but he’s still a little unpredictable, especially at big shows, as he hasn’t had masses of exposure.

I’ll be riding him at Hagen, with several people going to Hartpury CDI, then Hickstead CDI. There’s a lot riding on these three shows and it makes for very good sport — the selectors might have to do some selecting!

Ref: Horse & Hound; 2 July 2015