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Global Dressage Forum blog: Stickland’s statistics set to rewrite judging

Déjà vu… I’m in a lecture theatre on Aldwych, sitting first year module SR103 — that’s statistical research for us scientifically-challenged arts students. There’s a statistician standing at the front trying to make me grasp standard deviation.
Oh, no I’m not, I’m at the Global Dressage Forum listening to David Stickland’s talk “Evaluating the judging”. He definitely just mentioned standard deviation though…
David is a nuclear physicist, so you’d trust him with this task of getting to the route of the issues in our present judging system. And, even if we don’t completely understand where he’s coming from, where he gets to with his conclusions is making a lot of sense — the education of judges has got to be the answer to improving accuracy in competition.
Dressage has a reputation for being just a tad resistant to change. So, although people might get the feeling judging could be more accurate on occasions and seems a little nationalistic on others, to improve the situation we need hard facts and numbers. David is our definitive hard facts and numbers man.
British dressage rider Wayne Channon, also fairly stacked in terms of grey matter, has been talking about introducing half points in judging to anyone that would listen, and some who would rather not, since I first met him four years ago. Now, following David’s research, the FEI dressage task force is recommending to the bureau that half points be brought in.
So it might have been worth Wayne’s while. Will he rest though? Will he heck. Now he wants a code of points…
I’ll never get a job with L’Oreal, not least because I’ve just totally skiped the science part — but I will attempt to make that stats teacher proud within the pages of H&H’s 5 November issue (which will include all the other news and views from the forum). I just need to read the presentation once more on the plane. Peter Storr’s just checked in, reckon I’ll ask him to explain it…

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