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The Collectives: What are they?

In this mini-series we are going to take a look at the collectives. These are the marks you get at the end of your test for paces, impulsion, submission and your riding.

When a judge marks you they have two parts to fill out. The first part are the marks for each individual movement. The judge will be assessing the quality of your horses way of going (and this will be in relation to those scales of training we always talk about) and the actual performance of the movement and will take both into account when deciding on the mark. Judges are taught that they should provide a comment for every mark of 6.5 and below and this comment should explain why the movement didn't receive a higher mark.

The second part is the collectives which are at the bottom of the test sheet, and they should show the overall impression of your whole test. So they should include the strengths of the test as well as highlighting some of the key areas that need developing to get you higher marks. All of this, again should be related back to those Scales of Training. The comments you get in the collectives should show you why you got the marks you did: what you did have, what you didn't have and what you need to do to improve your horse and your riding to get higher marks. In other words, its basically a blue print to show you what to go away and work on in your training. I always think of it as the judges tell you what to work on and the coach tell you how to work on it. The judges shouldn't tell you how to improve just what to improve. You might also see that the judge has underlined certain parts of the collective description or the directives which are, essentially, the significant areas of concern.

When it comes to the marks of the collectives, it should reflect the marks you got in the movements of the test. Its only logical as the judge takes into account the horses way of going when deciding on a mark for the movement and in the collectives they are, basically your marks for your horses way of going. It would be illogical for a judge to give you 8s and 9s for good and very good movements only to give you a 5 for your horses paces because they are irregular. Similarly, if you get a 4 for a circle that is too big and too sudden transitions, a judge shouldn't give you an 8 for your riding as you were not accurate and didn't set your horse up or prepare for your transitions. So, whilst the collectives are separate in the sense of they just look at your horses way of going they should still reflect the overall test. So the person who wins the class should have higher collectives than the person who comes after them. Obviously, sometimes this isn't the case, more so now with the introduction of the .5 marks.

At Prelim, the collectives are laid out differently to how they are laid out at Novice level and above. This is to make it more clear and relatable to the scales of training. So, at Prelim, the collectives are

  1. Rhythm

  2. Suppleness

  3. Contact

  4. Rider Position

  5. Rider Results (basically their effectiveness)

The first 3 you'll see are the first 3 scales of training. It means then that the comments riders get for their collectives are directly talking about the rhythm, suppleness and contact. At Prelim, we expect that a horse may lose balance, that they may not carry their weight on their hindleg, that they may not be totally straight all the time and so the collectives are adapted for that. Whereas when we go to Novice and above the collectives become

  1. Paces

  2. Impulsion

  3. Submission

  4. Rider Position

  5. Rider Effectiveness

These collectives take into account all the Scales of Training but they interlink into all the different categories. As we go through this mini series we are going to talk about each one of these in more detail to know what they mean, what the judge is looking for and how we can improve each collective. Were going to follow the second version as i think it will apply to more people and i think, for the most part, at Prelim it is more self explanatory with them following those first 3 scales of training.

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