Interpreted Dressage Test Comments

druh-sahzh or dre-sazh and Euphemisms

By Brad Turley

Dressage has always been a challenge for me. From the time I heard the “dress-something,” I wasn’t sure if it was referring to my attire, my age or even how to say it.

So while the proper pronunciation might be difficult for me, the creative ways the judges comment on my riding isn’t. As a salesman, I’m experienced more than my fair share of sugarcoating. Based on what I’ve seen on my tests, judges creative use of euphemisms must be required to pass their judging exam.Interpreted Dressage Test

I thought I would share some of the comments judges have written regarding my riding over the past few years and provide the translation (TR) for those comments. It’s taken me a while but I think I’m getting it. So for your enjoyment …

  • “Watch not to override him with hand, sit up straighter and ½ halt more.”
    TR Try to get out of the fetal position and take your hands off his ears, it might help.
  • “H & R capable of much higher scores rider if develops more independent seat, leg and hand.”
    TR A few basics and you’ll do better than a 50.
  • “Tons of potential, a bit tense today.”
    TR Congratulations, you kept him in the ring even though you had little or no control over him.
  • “Steady rhythm in all paces, although slightly off at times.”
    TR Yes, you did all three paces but you might want to try to only do one at a time in each part of the test. Remember free walk across the diagonal doesn’t include trot and canter as part of the movement.
  • “A little more relaxed and this would have been even better.”
    TR Please remember that although breathing is optional, it is strongly recommended.
  • “Test was fairly good, even though horse lost balance at times (esp. during transitions).”
    TR Suggest you get rid of the draft horse with size 5 shoes. Horse with smaller feet might not trip as much. Note to rider, nice job not letting him pull you over his head, seems that you’ve really practiced that one.“
  • “Nicely managed.”
    TR Can’t believe you were able to keep him in the ring.
  • “Needs more energy.”
    TR Nice try holding him back but taking eight minutes to complete your test was a little long.
  • “Test started very well, then after 2nd canter he got nervous (or you did).”
    TR Seems that you lost him after he saw the other horse on x-c, might want to try blinders, a little effort on the canter to a gallop downward transition might help (pretty certain the test calls for a trot to walk downward), the cantering free walk was a first for me, interesting movement.”
  • “Wicked awesome horse, challenge yourself to be more elegant.”
    TR Suggest you buy your trainer a bottle of Dom for finding you this horse, maybe a new slimming jacket for you and some gloves the color of his coat (will be less difficult to see your hands move so much). Or maybe just go the elegant groom route, tux and tails with the slobber rag might be one approach.

And one that I was told about:

  • “Nice brow band.”
    TR None

And last but not least the one about the best judge ever – one that didn’t even make the written test (we think).

  • The rider was having a difficult time with a very nervous horse or to be more precise, a rearing horse backing into the chains. Luckily this was right in front of the judge. While I’m unsure if it was the look on the horse’s or the rider’s face, the judge got out of his truck and asked the rider if she would like him to hold her horse while the she dismounted. That’s my kind of judge! (Note to reader: Rider didn’t pick up her test, just went home.)
    TR Priceless

So as you can see, while dressage has always been a challenge, I am happy that I am making progress. Initially I had no idea what the judges really meant with their comments, but lots of practice, perseverance and hard work has allowed me to instantly translate the euphemisms without even looking like I’m trying.