It isn’t really the case with show jumping, but the dressage at Aachen is like a preview of what kind of battle field we can expect two months from now in bluegrass country. The team results won’t be final until after the Special, but I did a little math to see what the results would have been if the Grand Prix test decided the team placings. Here are the top six with average percentages (which I find more meaningful than total scores)

1. Netherlands – 78.713%

2. Germany – 73.222%

3. Great Britain – 69.909%

4. Belgium – 67.671%

5. Spain – 67.123% 

6. Canada – 67.122%

There are plenty of horses and a couple of countries missing of course – most notably Ravel and Steffen, and rising star for Spain, the young but wonderful Delgado, who Beatriz had said would be in the CDI part of Aachen but did not show (I’m waiting for my intrepid colleague Astrid, who is in Aachen, to reply to an email I sent her asking what happened to Beatriz). 

To me, the most interesting item of note in my ‘fake’ team results is the gap in average scores among the top three teams. Five and a half percent between NED and GER! That seems like a Grand Canyon to me. Slightly closer but still not exactly neck and neck, let’s call it  Zion Canyon, is the 3+ gap between GER and GBR. On the other hand, look how tight it is between fourth and sixth. Those are mere puddle jumps. I think that’s where the real scrapping will be at WEG.

They did the seven judge thing at Aachen, like they did in Rotterdam. You know what having two more judges means? More tens for Totilas! Today he got 13 in ‘total-as’ in the test. He also got a ten from Leif Tornblad for submission (world’s most submissive stallion!), and Edward got two tens for his riding. I did not get up in the middle of the night to watch it live on ClipMyHorse (which is the BOMB if you don’t know about it), but I had a good long look at some detail of the scores. The biggest disagreement among the top half dozen horses was for third placed Laura B. Roudier had her at 81.277 and Rockwell almost seven percent lower: 74.681. The argument that they saw different things doesn’t hold more than a cup of water because one was at M and the other at H. Movement by movement, they were either on the same mark or Rockwell was one lower, so not exactly something the Supervisory Panel would have caught. The only place they really disagreed, Roudier was definitely the one out of line, but his line of sight was almost certainly the reason. In the canter depart at E, Roudier (at H) gave an 8. The other judges gave 4 and 5. Roudier could not have easily seen if the horse had struck off disunited for example, since he was sitting directly behind the horse.  If a Supervisory panel had intervened and changed the mark to a 5, Roudier’s overall score would have dropped to 80.638%. 

Let’s take the scores for Laura and see what difference seven judges made, as opposed to five. Are you ready for the math? Wayne Channon are you reading?

Laura’s actual score was 77.447% 

1. if there had been five judges and neither of the two R’s was on the panel, Laura’s score would have been 77.234%.   She would still have been handily in third place, and given the gap between her team and those above and below, the team results would have been unaffected. This is the same outcome if the policy had been to use seven judges but to throw out the high and low scores.

2. if there had been five judges and both the R’s were on the panel (let’s take away the two scores closest to her average), her score would have been  – check this out – 77.447%. Exactly the same result as with all seven judges.

3. if there had been five judges and Roudier was on but Rockwell wasn’t, Laura’s score would have been  77.958%. That’s an improvement for sure, but she’s still third and so is her team.

4. if there had been five judges and Rockwell was in, with Roudier out, Laura’s score would have been 76.638%. Laura and her team still third.

Bored? Well here’s the conclusion Reader’s Digest would spoon feed to its Grade 3 level readers: having seven judges – with or without dropping high and low scores – decreases the effect that an out-of-line score would have on the outcome. In Laura’s case there was such a gap between her and those above and below that it didn’t affect placings. But if her score or that of her team had been within half a point of another, then there would have been real consequences.  My ill-informed off-the-cuff conclusion is that seven judges are better than five, even if it blocks the view of all the people who sit in the stands behind C.

Don’t worry, I won’t do this kind of arithmetic to you very often. If my little analysis made some of you nerdier types curious to see more detail on the scores, go to the Aachen site and have at ‘er: 


Here’s something to wake you up: John Harris has added his name to the list of people who resigned from DC HPC. He may also be the shortest-lived member ever of the DC Board, having joined the board as HPC rep after the initial five resignations left that post empty. Now the HP Exec has three members – and two of them aren’t really in a position to weigh in on anything WEG-related since one of them is a certain team member and the other owns a probable team horse.  

I have MUCH to say about the MM case, which has been finally wrapped up by the FEI, particularly in regard to HQ’s wet-noodle approach to disciplining the ground jury. But I’ve gone on enough for one day.