Further Steps Taken Towards a "Code of Points" Dressage Judging System

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 05:37

The final session of the 2018 FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne featured a presentation on the findings of the Dressage Judging Working Group with the Code of Points as a central theme of the presentation. 

Frank Kemperman (NED), FEI Bureau Member and Chair of the FEI Dressage Committee and Bettina de Rham, FEI Dressage Director, explained that the Dressage Judging Working Group has tasked a sub-group, the Code of Points Pilot Study Advisory Group (COPPSAG - which includes Stephen Clarke, Linda Keenan, Uwe Mechelen, Wayne Channon, Katrina Wüst and Anky van Grunsven), to come up with a proposal of Code of Points for a determined number of movements in the Grand Prix test.

The Members of the Dressage Judging working group representatives are Frank Kemperman, Maribel Alonso, Kyra Kyrklund, Richard Davison and David Stickland.

This Code of Points addresses many aspects of Dressage Judging and contributes to ensuring more clarity, fairness and openness in the system.

Code of Points for Optimal Judging

Richard Davison (GBR), Olympic rider and member of the FEI Dressage Judging Working Group, gave a detailed overview of the background to the proposed Code of Points judging system looking at research he has undertaken into the cognitive demands of judging.

In short, the study reveals that, among other things, for optimal performance Judges need:

a) A standard reference (Code of Points)
b) Standardised visual search routines
c) Realistic and sustainable cognitive processing demands (judging being a first visual then mental task)
d) An objective system for review of judge performance and system

Richard’s research also brought up the effects of sustainability, jet lag, nutrition, hydration etc., the impact of which on the judges’ cognitive process had not yet been considered.

Bettina de Rham, FEI Dressage Director: “The Code of Points will help to standardise the judging process, building on fairness and transparency, and also contributing very positively to the education of judges.”

Richard Davison (GBR): “Are our brains capable of making the same detailed decisions in the first hour of a Dressage test as well as hours later? Our competitions run for hours at a time. We should - for optimal judging performance - have a standard reference (Code of Points), standardised visual search routines, embrace analysis from objective data, and also learn from other sports where cognitive judging is so central.”

DJWG Reviews Recent Rule Changes

Judging Supervisory Panel

  • a supporting panel to advise the DC regarding all judging issues and to oversee judging and evaluate it and the judges. In addition, endorse the roles held until now by the Judge General
  • One of the members elected as Chairman and (partially) take the role of Judge General as well (to be determined) - at least one representative oiutside Europe; max 2/3 per stakeholder group.
  • to avoid conflict of interest, members cannot judge CHs during their mandate (nor participate in/train others for CHs), nor be on the FEI DC. 


  • The recommendation is to maintain the current use of 7-member Juries for specific higher-level Championships

Judges' Huts warning button

  • Implemented in the 2018 rules for FEI CH's and Games on GP level. Optional for other events.

Use of Modern Technology


  • DoD system for public audience judging and for television use
  • Introduce an E-scribe system to avoid paperwork test sheets. Voice recognition for scoring

Other sports:

  • Gymnastics Fujitsu introduction of using robots at Olympic Games 2010

Moderators at the FEI Sports Forum:

  • Frank Kemperman (NED), FEI Bureau Member and Chair of the FEI Dressage Committee
  • Bettina de Rham, FEI Director Dressage, Para Dressage, Vaulting & Reining
  • Richard Davison (GBR), Olympic rider and member of the FEI Dressage Judging Working Group

View the presentation PDF here.

Related Links
Can a Code of Points Improve the Judging System?
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Hans-Christian Matthiesen: "The Perception of Dressage Judging - No To Drexit"
Wayne Channon: "Who Moved My Cheese?"
IDTC, IDOC and Judge General React to Judges Working Group Findings Ahead of 2017 FEI Sports Forum
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