presented by Gaitpost Magazine

Monday, October 27, 2008

It’s GDF Time!

Hi-di-ho from Holland, the land of three-kiss greetings, the colour orange and a language that sounds like scrambled English with a lot of throat clearing. If you are reading this, you probably know what GDF stands for – but just to make sure you know what you are getting into before reading on, I am writing from the eighth annual Global Dressage Forum, to which I have the great honour once again of having been invited as a journalist. My joy is slightly tempered by fear and trembling – I’ve been warned that I’m not the most popular writer on the block with some of the judges here. By this time tomorrow I should know if the target has been painted on my front or my back...

The program at first blush looks a little bland compared to the previous two forums: last year we had the Coby-tron and in 2006 there was the Sjef and Anky show, which ended on a rather stormy note. This year the forum will wrap up with a presentation from Hubertus Schmidt, a man whose horsemanship I can watch all day (so no complaints that he’s back again), but who is unlikely to provoke controversy – unless someone objected to his face paint in Hong Kong. However, we have plenty of judges on the menu this year, and after Hong Kong’s adventures in dressage judging, that is hardly surprising.
A few curiosities about the presentations on judging for your consideration:

1. Olympic judging – at the past two forums there were ‘analyses’ of the judging at WEG and the European Championships. This time, Mariette will lead us in an ‘explanation’ of the Olympics. That’s an interesting and meaningful change of vocab, don’t you think? An explanation tends to preclude discussion, and discussion was what made these sessions so awesome in the past. Also awesome of course was that last year’s judging analysis had Stephen Clarke at the podium and he is very good at making people feel that they can be honest when they both ask questions and answer them. Sadly for me and folks at the forum, (but happily for some of my friends back home) Stephen was busy giving a judging clinic in BC last week.

2. How to Solve Judging problems – now this is going to be good! A judging expert from gymnastics is going to share with us the changes that were made following a very controversial result in Athens in the gymnastics. I have SO MANY QUESTIONS. It’s a bit unfortunate that the format this year includes some work shopping, which means I have to choose this one over Hilary Clayton’s presentation on core fitness for horses. I would happily listen to Dr. Clayton on any topic for hours – but I just can’t miss that judging session!

3. How to Become An Olympic Judge - presented by Mme. Withages and Dieter Schule – huh? What’s this now? It sneaked onto the program with nary an announcement or preview in press releases just a few days ago, although I guess the title is pretty self-explanatory. Needless to say, I won’t be missing that session either. I can hardly wait to hear what hot tips will be shared at this most practical of sessions. Questions? Yes, I have many. If I’m not dead yet.

I hope I’ve got all you poor sods who stayed home all worked up now. Tune in tomorrow to find out how the ‘explanation’ of the Olympics went, as well as find out if I cry two years in a row – this time because of the Cadre Noir’s evening performance tonight.

And one little P.S. for those of you who are still annoyed that I never sent a final HOG blog. It’s Kyra who chews gum.

No comments: