Work of the judging panel
There have been some discussions about the working place for the breeding judges at the shows. A few years ago, it was standardized that the judges should present the results from the conformation assessment as soon as they have reached a conclusion. It is however important that until the judges have reached a conclusion, that they are undisturbed in their discussion. The judges must have sufficient space to have unrestricted discussion about the horse in order to reach the most correct results. This means that horse owners, riders and their assistants must keep distance to the judges during the assessment of the horse. No more than one assistant is needed with the rider in the conformation assessment. Organizers of a show must put up some markings to make sure that it is clear to the assistant as well as to others where the unrestricted area is.
It is increased importance that the facilities, where the horses are measured are good, with a solid and level floor and that the ringmaster is experienced, as the new guidelines put more emphasis on the measurements in the conformation assessment.
It is as well important that all parties keep in mind that the marks for neck, withers and shoulders, back and croup and proportions are only preliminary marks that can be adjusted based on the functionality of these traits under rider. This applies at all times and for all horses that are assessed both for conformation and ridden abilities, regardless of whether the judges made an arrow on the mark in the conformation assessment or not. It is good to remind that 9,0 is the highest possible mark for neck, withers and shoulders and proportions in the conformation assessment. In order to give the highest marks, the judges must see the functionality of the trait under rider.
General rules about tightness of the noseband
The noseband must not be too tight. A space of at least 1,5 cm for Hanoverian/drop nosebands and at least 1 cm for English/combined nosebands must be kept between the noseband and the front of the horse´s nose (nasal midline). The tightness of the noseband is measured in the equipment check using a Noseband Taper Gauge or similar. A noseband found to be too tight will result in an elimination from the test if this happens in the preliminaries and from the finals if this happens in the finals. In pace events the combination will be eliminated from the round.
Riders are not allowed to loosen the noseband prior to equipment check. Unfortunately, as there are no tests, no preliminaries nor finals at breeding shows, the consequences stated in the rule cannot be implemented at breeding shows. If the noseband is found to be too tight at a breeding show the consequences are however stated in B11.1.6 (If illegal shoeing or equipment is found). As this does not affect the assessment or the performance of the horse directly, it is suggested for this first year of implementing this rule that on the first offence, the rider will only receive a warning, but the assessment will be valid. On the second offence, the rider should receive a public reprimand and the assessment invalidated according to the rules.
Loose rein in tölt
There has been quite much discussion about the demand of seeing the rein loosened in order to get 9,0 or higher for tölt. It is clear that there has been much confusion regarding this topic and clarification is clearly needed:
- In order to give 9,0 or higher for tölt, the horse must, according to the new guidelines, be well balanced and carrying itself. This simply means that the balance of the horse is not carried by the riders’ hands/reins, and that the body function of the horse is not forced by the rider’s hands.
- This is why it is now asked that the rider loosens the rein for three seconds as a requirement for the highest marks (9,0 or higher). What happens for these first three seconds after the rein is loosened, gives valuable information about the balance and the body function of the horse.
- If the horse is in good balance and carrying itself, the balance and body function of the horse will not change for the first few seconds after the rein is loosened. The horses carriage, regarding head, neck and back, remains the same as it was before the rein was loosened. This means as well, that the horse is able to maintain the required quality in order to receive 9,0 or higher for these first few seconds after the rein is loosened.
- Horses that are able to maintain the required tölt quality for 9,0 or higher on a loose rein for a longer period of time are extremely rare, especially when it comes to the younger horses.
- It is NOT required to show the horse on a loose rein longer than three seconds.
- In order to receive 9,0 or higher for tölt, it does not help to show the horse tölting on a loose rein for a long time with balance and body function for a much lower mark.
- Loosening of the rein and taking up contact again can, in addition, provide valuable information about the rideability of the horse.
- The rein must be loosened in the 100-meter section in the middle of the track so that it is clearly visible to the judges.
Reminder of other changes that were implemented in 2020
In order to receive 9,0 or higher, the slow tölt must be shown through a transition from walk. The transition itself is not judged, but it provides information about the carrying ability of the horse to see the slow tölt from walk, rather than slowing down to slow tölt from higher speed. The transition should be done within the 150-meter marking of the track to be clearly visible to the judges.
In order to receive 9,0 or higher for trot, the horse must be shown in all speed ranges.
It is also good to remind riders that it is only required for four-year-old horses that they run for 75 meters in gallop and pace in order to receive a full mark.