A few weeks ago I wrote about the exciting roster for this year’s Global Dressage Forum. In that post, I speculated that there would be some last minute announcements about presentations added to the program in the final weeks. Not only was I right, I am super stoked to see that a couple of my favourite talking heads will be approaching the podium two weeks from now.
Katrina the Magician
She’s one of the bestest, nicest and most civic minded of the five star judges, and Katrina Wuest is also the biggest campaigner for improving the quality of judging in the freestyle. Katrina will be presenting her concept for a new system for assessing the degree of difficulty in the freestyle that will see riders properly rewarded for things like a canter to piaffe transition, and not get 9.5 for difficulty when there was little shown (ie. Anky and Edward with Totilas). Katrina will share the stage with Stephen Clarke, and I will be very, very surprised if Wayne Channon doesn’t raise his hand to ask a question or three – though Wayne’s line of questioning will likely lean toward the judging system in general, as per his reply today to Stephen’s reply to his commentary on Eurodressage.
David the Mathematician
Okay, he’s actually a particle physicist, but you pretty much need to be a mathematician as well to handle that gig – and besides. I just like using ‘magician’ and ‘mathematician’ together. If Katrina’s my favorite judge, (don’t worry Stephen, you are also my favorite – I’m not monogamous that way), then David Stickland – D-Stick – is my favorite number cruncher. He is on the bill yet again this year at the GDF, much to my delight. D-Stick will talk about how PSG riders can glean more from their test sheets than an overwhelming desire to never pay to be insulted by ‘so-and-so’ ever again. Or a sudden compulsion to slash someone’s tires.
I think it’s great to introduce a discussion about something other than the Grand Prix at the GDF, which gives me an idea: Perhaps whoever organizes the GDF next year would consider putting a discussion of the pros and cons of the FEI young horse tests on the program. A panel would be interesting: someone like Ulf Moeller to talk about merits, someone who believes the FEI young horse competitions have become ends in themselves with not enough graduation of the winners to actual competitive careers, and someone from the veterinary/soundness point of view. Oh and they could also invite my girl crush Helen Langehanenberg to talk about it all from the perspective of a rider – or Emmelie Scholtens perhaps, or maybe both! Wouldn’t that be cool?
I’ll leave you today with something which appeared in a Canadian newspaper a couple of weeks ago, and which you non-Canadians out there may not have seen. I’m posting it mainly for the rather entertaining string of comments at the bottom, and not so much to publicize how truly stupid some horse owners out there can be. Perhaps there should be a kind of ‘driving test’ for horse owners. Though, given the number of dreadful drivers I see on a daily basis, it probably wouldn’t prevent people from letting a situation exist in which a horse can wander onto a roof…