Dressage half marks introduced for FEI and British eventing

Event riders will now be able to receive half marks in dressage at national and international competitions.

British Dressage (BD) implemented half marks in January 2014 and the FEI and British Eventing (BE) are now doing the same.

“Following the successful implementation in 2014 of half marks by BD and also due to the fact that the FEI are to introduce half marks for the eventing dressage phase in 2015, it was agreed by the BE sport committee that half marks should be introduced at all levels,” said a BE spokesman.

“The committee felt that it is important for BE, where possible, to mirror the FEI rules for simplification purposes. It was also agreed that, as all tests are judged by BD judges, introducing half marks would also make sense to align with its rule on this matter.”

International dressage judge and trainer Isobel Wessels thinks that half marks are a positive move for the sport.

“I was one of those doubters when it first came in for pure dressage,” she told H&H.

“But I have to say, having used them for the past couple of years, I don’t know how we ever managed without them. I don’t think things are as black and white as whole marks can make them seem.

“I also believe the event riders will enjoy being able to up their game little by little. Before, it might have taken two years to up a mark from a six to a seven, but now riders have something in between they can aim for.”

Isobel, who works with the New Zealand eventing team, said that half marks could improve the sport at international level.

“When I see their [NZ team riders] sheets, quite often there are huge differences in the marks from different judges.

“Now there shouldn’t be any excuses and marking should be more exact.”

Ref: Horse & Hound; 5 February 2015