January 31, 2010
I got an Error!
Copyright © 2010 Robin Brueckmann
So you are riding through your test at a show, and the judge blows her whistle. You stop, stupefied: you have gone off course. People do this even with readers, but there is no blame to the reader. You are still responsible to know your test. Donít yell at your helper (husband, trainer, groom, etc.) if you canít hear him or her calling your test. A reader may repeat a movement if it seems that the rider hasnít heard, but itís still your own responsibility to know and ride your test.
Once you go off-course, the judge will tell you where to pick up again, and you had better hope that you know your test now, because itís easy to get flustered when your concentration is disturbed. You know that you may be asked to repeat a movement that youíve already done, to get back in the flow of the test; any movements that you repeat will not be judged again. The judge allows you to repeat a movement to get back on track.
One error=2 points taken off that movement. If itís a coefficient movement, the 2 points get taken off before the coefficient, making it very expensive. The second error costs 4 points, for a total of 6 on the test. A third error, horror of horrors, earns you the big E: Elimination.
For another ride, you get your test sheet back and there is an error marked on it, but the judge never blew her whistle. This is known as a ďsilent error.Ē Typically, itís for riding the wrong shape figure in the walk, making a circle in the wrong place, or something else that does not disturb the flow of the test. If the judge does not stop you, and you make the same error in the other direction, the judge canít penalize you twice for it. For instance, you make your leg yield from D to E in one direction, and then D to B in the second direction, when it was supposed to be L to R and L to S; this can be a silent error. Again, you should only be penalized once for this type of error. If a rider posts instead of sitting the medium trot, I will stop the rider after the first line. I tell her that the medium trot must be ridden sitting; if she wants to post, I will dock her for a second error if she does it again.
Another kind of penalty may show up on your test sheet. Use of voice is to be penalized by at least two marks off each movement in which it occurs. These penalties accumulate, but do not get more expensive as you repeat the offence. In other words, you might have a voice deduction on ten movements; you will never get eliminated for use of voice. Itís just expensive. Usually the judge will differentiate this from an error by marking the score that the movement would have earned, slashing it, and putting in the lower score. In the comment box, she will write Voice. I usually circle this, to make it clear to the rider what happened. Often, the rider is unconscious of using her voice, and itís a kindness to bring it to her attention.
There are many reasons for getting errors or voice deductions on your rides. Practice and review your tests well before actual competition, so that you donít get any kind of deduction! I never use a reader; I find that I can concentrate more on my horse if I am not distracted by worry about whether the reader will call the test correctly or in a timely way. In the last cycle of tests, I had ridden all the tests except Intro and the Grand Prix Special, all from memory. Itís a learnable skill, and worth your time.