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THE SIXTH JUDGE BY DON JESSOP

Don Jessop

In a typical international dressage event, sit five judges assessing the quality of a dressage test.

I believe there should be a sixth judge...

And that judge should have the ability to determine the complete score and override all the other judges in the case they seem unfair or incorrect in any of their assessments.
Think of this sixth judge as the most important judge in the ring. The one holding all the cards.
The sixth judge, if you haven't guessed yet, is the horse carrying the rider.
The horse in the ring is being assessed by men and women, for submission, accuracy, impulsion, gaits, etc. even when none of it matters... especially if the horse is disengaged mentally, emotionally disturbed, or mechanically influenced to perform for a crowd without consent.
The horse, if judging you, would deliver the final score. Giving an overall score of your performance, your leadership, your kindness and your intention and his or her overall experience.
I hope your horse would give you a great score.
Many people, having a heart of gold, learn of the sixth judge and back away from the sport, because let's be honest... horses didn't choose it and once you truly see that, it can change your focus. But that's not what I'm suggesting should happen. I believe it's okay to compete. I believe it's okay to strive to get better. It's just that the people qualified to assess your progress from the sidelines are most often missing a deeper truth.
That truth about acceptance or rejection is stated in the body language of that sixth judge, your equine partner. Consider his or her experience. Would they love to come back and perform for you? How would you know if they wouldn't?
Take this simple quiz and acknowledge a deeper truth, then strive to improve. Test yourself and let your horse be the sixth judge today.
Test 1. I could drop the reins and rest, even in the middle of my test, knowing my horse would calmly stand and wait for signals.
Test 2. My horse is easy to catch, load, and travel to shows, showing no signs of resentment or fear entering new places.
Test 3. My horse sees me. He looks for me when I reach for him or her. It's called the horse man's handshake and if my horse won't reach back I know there's a problem.
Test 4. My horse remains relaxed before, during, and after the show. Willing and content.
If you feel you may not pass any one of these tests, it's time to address the truth. It's time to reach deeper.
Let's do it together. Don

Don Jessop - Blog Welcome

Hi! I'm Don Jessop

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