The British judge whose marks for Lee Pearson’s Paralympic freestyle test were out of kilter with her colleagues – meaning he missed the silver medal – has told H&H she thought Gentleman was “unlevel in trot“.
Sarah Rodger, the judge at M, had Lee in 11th place out of the 15 starters, on 65.25%. The other four judges’ scores ranged from 73.75 to 78.25%.
Speaking after the test, Lee was caustic about Ms Rodger’s marks, saying: “It’s happened before with that judge and probably will happen again. She obviously saw whatever she saw and if that makes her happy, then I’m happy for her.”
Lee missed the silver medal by 0.05%.
Ms Rodger told H&H that she did not think Gentleman was completely sound.
“I feel sorry that Lee didn’t get the medals he was hoping for, but in that test I had the impression that the horse was unlevel in trot – which affects the choreography and artistic marks.
“That is why my mark was lower than the other judges.
“We’re all five-star judges, but we all see things differently – that’s why there are five of us,” she added.
Lee has said that Gentleman “struggled physically” during the Paralympics.
But para chef d’equipe David Hunter said he completely disagreed with Ms Rodger’s assessment of Gentleman.
“I saw the test sheets,” he told H&H.
“There were no written comments about it [Gentleman] being unlevel. In my opinion, and in Lee’s, it was perfectly fine.
“I know the one judge marked him considerably lower than the others – but that’s dressage.”
Lee has indicated that he would need to find a new horse for the next Games, in Rio in 2016, saying Gentleman has “probably had his day”.
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (13 September 2012)