FEI shelves controversial dressage scoring system

  • The FEI has dropped plans to introduce a new scoring system for international dressage tests.

    The HiLoDrop scoring system removes the highest and lowest scores for each movement so an average mark is formed from the remaining scores.

    The proposal was put forward by the FEI dressage judging working group and was met with mixed reactions by national federations.
    Following discussions at the FEI general assembly (18-21 November), the proposal was withdrawn.

    A statement from the FEI said the working group will now look at a testing plan for 2018 to trial the scoring system among other proposals.

    We have listened to you and we will withdraw HiLo and test it first in 2018 at all levels,” said FEI dressage committee chairman Frank Kemperman.

    “We will then have an independent panel to analyse the results of the testing.”

    A statement from the working group ahead of the latest discussions said a similar system is “widely used” in other Olympic disciplines.

    “While the changes are almost invisible for the vast majority of cases, in a few cases an important correction would be made,” the statement added.

    “HiLoDrop ensures that the consensus view of the jury predominates in the final result and is not unduly influenced by one judge being exceptionally high or low for whatever reason.”

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    Italy is the first country to adopt a variation of HiLoDrop scoring in its national competitions, for tests judged by five or more judges.

    The Italian federation agreed to “experimentally implement” the scoring system, whereby judges’ overall scores that deviate by 4% or more from the panel’s average will be dropped.

    “The system is adopted on a temporary basis, pending the approval of the new general regulations, until February 2018,” said a spokesman for the federation.

    “This period will be useful for the federation to test the practical operation of the software [needed for the scoring system].

    “This approach is based on the fact that the judges are in fact a team.”

    For a full report on the FEI general assembly, don’t miss next week’s Horse & Hound — out 30 November

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