Cedric is an appreciated trainer and judge who works all over Europe. He lives in Belgium but has been the team coach in both european and world cup for both Youth teams and amateur teams for countries like Belgium, Denmark and Norway. He has also been hired for clinics in Sweden.
This summer he judged the Bavarian Summer Show in Kreuth where we met him for an interview.
1. For how long have you been a judge and which cards do you hold?
I am a judge for all breeds since 2001. I passed my AQHA card in 2016 and the APHA in 2018.
2. You are also a trainer, have your profession as a judge helped your training to see things in a different way?
In a way, yes. The more you read the rulebook the more you understand what the judge is looking at. Also the seminars give you a great feedback of how the industry and the sport is growing up.
3. What are your favorite events to judge and train?
Trail, Hunter, Horsemanship and Showmanship.
4. Does the rider always have the right to come up to the judge and ask about the judging after a class or how do you feel about that?
They have the opportunity to ask but they always have to ask the ring steward or the show office first. It also depends on how much time the judge has at that show. I feel glad to answer but I have to admit that I don’t use Messenger or Facebook or any other ways to answer questions after the show. That is more the job of the trainer.
5. In trail, does the shape of the horse matter a lot or can a horse with a higher head get pluses on the maneuvers if they are doing it steady and correctly?
What you judge first is the correctness. So if that horse has a head and neck position always the same without resistance I guess it should look correct. A horse that is too low or has the reins too long is not correct. I would say that I would not like to see the horse tensing his neck muscles to be able to pass over a pole.
6. Would you prefer a trail horse that is doing the pattern with a little more speed than a horse who is doing it too slow? And if so, what is too slow?
The gaits description is in the rulebook. So it is not a question about slow or fast. It is a question of rhythm in trail with correctness of the gaits and the transitions.
7. The same goes with the pleasure class, is forwards motion rewarded now days? Western pleasure is judge by…1) correctness of the gait, 2) the balance of the horse, 3) the topline, 4) the length of stride, 5) the risk (reins, slowness).
8. The pleasure classes at Bavarian Summer Show this summer were so good. Was it hard to judge when all the horses and riders did such a great job? What is your strategy? Do you set most of your placing’s from the first impression?
When you judge you also want to improve the quality of the QH in this case, in the horse in NSBA. So you need to recognize the good ones. Then to see who is able to stay like that (endurance and mind) and then also who is pretty looking or pleasant to watch.
9. Can you tell us shortly about the new scoring system of showmanship. What are the biggest changes? Penalties are now 3, 5, 10. The F&E is from 0 to 5 and no longer from 60 to 90. This is the point you get for the total impression of your go. Everybody starts with 70. I feel good to use it and I think it is easier for the rider to understand the score sheet.
10. Is the judging different from a small regional show than a bigger international show or is a +0,5 point the same at every show? It is the same. The only difference is in between Level1/ Rookie and the L2/L3.
11. How do you feel about judging a class when most of the riders are schooling? Does it ever happen that you thank the rider before the pattern is over or do you always let them take their time? If you would thank them and ask them to leave the arena, why would that be? Is there something important for the riders to think of if they choose to school their horse in the class?
It is very nice that the rider shows the judge that he or she wants or decides to school. We only ask to leave the arena when it is an over schooling (no longer an explanation or calm down but becomes too hard or without appropriate manners).
Thank you Cedric for taking your time to answer our questions. Now we are eager to learn more and prepare for show season 2020!
Text: Josefin Odeberg
Foto: Dirk Büttner