More than 800 horses competed at last week’s NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships, from prelim through to intermediate I. In our latest video instalment, a judge “grabs the microphone” to sing the praises of the riders

It’s not often that anyone approaches a journalist and asks to go on the record. It’s even less frequent that anyone asks to go on video.

But Mark Ruddock, a List One judge and dressage competitor who judged a number of classes during the  NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships including the Blue Chip novice restricted championship, was so struck by the quality of the competitors that he collared H&H’s dressage editor Alice Collins in the car park and asked to do just that.

In the video above, Mark shares his thoughts on the strength in depth at this year’s competition, and reminds us that British dressage has a lot to be excited about, at all levels.

Mark, who judges from prelim all the way up to grand prix, describes the competitors — both horses and riders — at the championships as “a judge’s dream”, as he gave “nines in every class” while sometimes wondering why he wasn’t giving a 10.

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About Mark Ruddock

After beginning his equestrian career in eventing and showjumping, Mark converted to dressage and has since competed up to grand prix; bringing his own and clients’ horses up through the levels.

He trains every level of rider from Pony Club through to grand prix, including several event riders competing up to four-star level. Mark is also a regular member of the ground jury at three-day events.

With 963 results on the British Dressage database — Carl Hester has just 628 — Mark is currently competing at prix st georges level with Zidane VIII, as well as in young horse classes with Keystone Can Doo.

Don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine’s 10-page report on all the action from the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships, on sale Thursday 23 April