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How the next generation of judges are breaking down barriers *H&H Plus*

Judging is often seen as the preserve of the middle-aged and pensioners, so where will our future officials come from? Pippa Cuckson finds plenty of hope in the next generation

When a 20-something Ali Dane told her father she was training to judge dressage he exclaimed: “Will you have to put on seven stone and wear tweed?”

There is still a wide perception that equestrians only take up officiating in their dotage. You can understand why: aside from tradition, officiating is one of the few equestrian activities people still do for “love”. Moreover, age discrimination legislation means judges are no longer forced to retire at pensionable age in many countries, reducing opportunities for the next generation.

But youngsters are making the cut – all possessing the rare qualities of patience, a commitment to lifelong learning and determination to raise the barriers to entry.

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