A new dressage rule — which would have altered the team medals at the 2014 European Championships — could be introduced next January.

The change would mean that if a judge’s final score for a combination varies from the average of the scores from the other judges by 6% or more, whether above or below, the judges supervisory panel (JSP) could alter that mark to be the same as the next closest score.

The proposal by the FEI dressage committee would have seen Britain win team silver rather than bronze at last year’s Europeans as Michael Eilberg and Half Moon Delphi’s score would have been amended.

Michael finished on 72.26%. However, his lowest score of 65.53% was 7.75% below the average of the other six judges, which was 73.39%. Under the new rule he would have been awarded 73.16%, which would have pushed Team GB above the Netherlands.

This proposal has been distributed to national federations for feedback, and will be voted on during the FEI general assembly in December.

“The FEI has a constant eye on developing the judging system in dressage, with several new initiatives introduced over the years,” said Trond Asmyr, FEI director of dressage and para equestrian.

“The FEI feels it is time to introduce a safety net that effectively protects the scores awarded by the majority of the judges, in the event that one judge awards a significantly different score without a clear reason.”

However, Britain’s Wayne Channon of the International Dressage Riders Club told H&H that the proposed rule will only act as a sticking plaster to cover deeper judging issues.

“It is a good idea, but the real problem is that the system is inherently inaccurate,” he said.

“Judges need a codex system so that they know exactly what deductions to give for specific issues. It would lead to greater transparency and would mean that scores could be explained objectively.”

This news story was first published in H&H magazine (2 October 2014).