The Future of Freestyles: The Warendorf Results
The efficacy of freestyle judging has been the subject of discussion and investigation on and off ever since it became an official part of the Olympic Games in 1996. In 2009, the FEI assembled a dressage task force to take over after the dissolution in 2008 of the FEI Dressage Committee. Their mission was to present recommendations for the future development of the sport, and freestyles and freestyle judging was the subject of much debate. One of the recommendations they made was to divide their tasks between technical and artistic marks. Unfortunately, that recommendation was never considered. As a result, the question of lack of objectivity and accuracy in freestyle judging has arisen again. On September 24, 2013, a panel international judges gathered in Warendorf, Germany to, once again, evaluate the current system. Joining them was David Strickland, a senior research physicist and FEI consultant on statistical analysis. Missing was any representation from the artistic contingent.
In this episode, EquiChord is privileged to be discussing the outcome with Christoph Hess, one of the panelists. Not only will we be covering the results of the test event, but also the future of freestyles. Christoph Hess is an FEI “I” Judge in both Dressage and Eventing. The German National Federation awarded him the title of Professional Riding Instructor which classifies him as an international expert and educator of professionals. With this abundance of qualifications, Mr Hess was recruited as one of several international judges to officiate at the event.