What the Judges Are
Judges are looking at how you use the arena, i.e. transitions on markers, straightness, bend on circles and turns, correct shaped circles and movements, full use of the arena area, corners etc as well as the various stages of training as below: (this information is in the test book at the beginning of each level
At training level : To confirm that the horses muscles are supple and loose and that it moves freely forward in a clear and steady rhythm accepting contact with the bit.
All trot work may be ridden sitting or rising. Halts may be through walk. Transitions may be progressive:
At Level 1: To confirm that the horse has developed and maintains a rounded natural outline without restriction, moves freeely forward without collection but with active hindquarters whilst maintaining a steady rhythm and contact with the bit without tension or resistance.
All trot work may be ridden sitting or rising. All transistions may be progressive.
At Level 2: To confirm that the horse has developed an established rounded outline with restriction, moves freely forward without collection but with active hindquarters and achieved a degree of balance, straightness and throughness. The horse should be in a steady light contact with the bit without tension or resistance. All trot working rising or sitting except where sitting trot is specified in a test.
At Level 3:To confirm that the horse, having demonstrated that it has achieved through correct training the suppleness and muscular development so that it accepts more weight on the hindquarters (collection), shows a higher more rounded outline and the uphill tendency required at the medium gaits and is reliably on the bit and therefore able to show sufficient engagement to carry out the movements with the necessary amount of collection required.
Direct transitions. All trot work is executed "sitting" unless otherwise indicated in the test concerned.
At Level 4: To confirm the horse has now developed the increased rhythm, suppleness and impulsion to collect and extend its paces, maintain a light, uphill outline enabling it to show a degree of cadenced paces and perform direct transitions smoothly and with precision. Sitting trot unless otherwise directed.
At Level 5: To confirm the horse has now developed and can maintain the increased rhythm, suppleness and impulsion to collect and extend its paces, maintains a light, uphill outline thus enabling it to show a greater degree of quality and cadence in its paces enabling it to perform with greater engagement and collection.
At Level 6 & 7: The horse now has the increased rhythm, suppleness, straightness, throughness and impulsion to collect and extend its paces, maintaining a light, uphill outline enabling it to maintain cadenced paces necessary to perform the more difficult movements of FEI level tests.