First country adopts controversial dressage scoring system

  • A controversial new dressage judging system is currently being trialled in Italy’s national competitions.

    The federation is believed to be the first country to have introduced the new system.

    The Italian federation agreed to “experimentally implement” a variation of HiLoDrop scoring system for competitions that have five or more judges, at a meeting on 6 November.

    Judges’ overall scores that deviate by 4% or more from the judging panel’s average will be dropped under the new system.

    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.”

    He added that it will prevent the score of a single judge from unduly influencing any combination’s overall score.

    The system it will not be used for young horse classes.

    The trial takes place ahead of discussions over the use of HiLoDrop scoring per movement in international competition at the 2017 FEI general assembly (18-21 November).

    The FEI dressage judging working group is proposing that it should be introduced to for international competitions (news, 7 September). The proposal has been met with mixed reactions by national federations and will be discussed further at the general assembly.

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    “Such a system is widely used in other Olympic judged disciplines and also in other equestrian judged sports,” said a statement from the working group.

    “Following a detailed analysis of almost 1,000 competitions from 2017 it is shown that the average effect on final scores is a shift of +0.1% with a spread (standard deviation) of 0.2%.

    “In fact only 3% of all grand prix/grand prix special results would change by more than 0.5% — in almost every case a small upwards change.

    “The correlation of the HiLoDrop score and the score from the current system is perfectly linear.

    “While the changes are almost invisible for the vast majority of cases in a few cases an important correction would be made; 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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