Note: breaking bulletin - new rule - dressage riders can ride FEI tests conducted under national rules, in a snaffle bridle! I recently had a wonderful experience, attending a dressage judge's seminar on the new dressage tests. Rather than go into a lot of detail that pertains to dressage only(I know, I know, my fingers are just itching, I can hardly stand it), I would like to just touch on the more general issues. While I'm sure there are enough poorly educated judges who do a poor job, I think it's really important to recognize that there are people out there who are VERY committed to their job and take doing it well very, very seriously. I think it's really important to learn from the good judges, and understand why they judge as they do. What are they looking for and why is that requirement important? There's a very old joke that all the great horsemen and horses were in heaven (yes, in this joke, the horses were ALSO in heaven). They decided to have a great horse show and to have all the greatest horses and horsemen and women join in. But just as the horse show was about to start, St. Christopher, the patron saint of horses and riding, shouted out, 'We have a very big problem!' Everyone turned to him and said, 'what problem? Everyone is here, we are ready to go!' 'I'm sorry but we can't', he said sadly, 'All the judges are in the other place!' Well, maybe they aren't ALL in the other place....LOL. With the next show season ahead I hope that some folks will take the time to learn what their judges are looking for, and maybe even give some thanks to the hard working judges that do a great job.