It’s no secret that coordinating judges, trainers and riders in large seminars and conferences is costly and difficult, especially since so many are scheduled in North America and Europe, and many Latin American, Asian, African, Australian and New Zealand judges can’t afford long trips.
But necessity is the mother of invention! FEI 3* judge Cesar Torrente decided to do something for international judges using webinars, technology widely used in the business and legal arena. Short for Web-based seminar, a webinar is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar transmitted over the Web using video conferencing software. A key feature is its interactive elements: the ability to give, receive and discuss information.
“Webinars are cost-effective,” Torrente says. “We must use its advantages to further the education of our dressage judges world wide. A webinar allows you to reach people around the world without leaving your house. The message is the same, but it now comes unattached to booking a flight or renting a venue. Putting on a full-length webinar demonstrates an open mind to national and international judges.”
Unlike on-location seminars and trade shows, which can be limited by location and venue, webinars enable you to efficiently reach a much larger audience with a much better use of time. Rather than fretting about drive or flight times, unforeseen travel delays and other varying factors, clients can simply block out an hour or two to view the webinar, making the process much more efficient. Webinars offer a chance to connect with a mass audience that otherwise might be unreachable because of time or location constraints.
For all these reasons, Cesar Torrente asked for help and some small resources from the Colombian National Federation to plan the first ever Judges Web-based Seminar (webinar). The Federation invited all Latin American Federations, and had positive responses from Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Uruguay and Bolivia.. Torrente was also very pleased to receive support from 5* Dressage Judges: Stephen Clarke, President of the IDOC, and Cara Witham.
“Stephen did the opening remarks from a video that was transmitted on-line to all participants, and Cara sent us a power point presentation of extreme value and importance,” Torrente recounts. “Participants were able to ask questions through the chat or by voice, and we could also see each other during the full day conference. We used three hours in the morning to go through the basics of judging, and the afternoon to watch videos of dressage tests from training level to Grand Prix, discussing marks and comments."
Torrente believes this is a first step to opening up dressage education worldwide, and hopes that this idea may enhance the FEI continuous education program throughout the world.
A native of Colombia, Cesar Torrente is an international dressage judge and an FEI level dressage competitor. He is the first judge to be promoted through the 2013 FEI 3 * program. Cesar has had the honor of standing on medal podium to receive the team gold medal two times in the South American Games and the Central American Games.
A corporate lawyer by profession, he travels the globe to judge worldwide, while maintaining the precarious balance between his career and his passion for horses. He’s known in the dressage world as a “rider’s judge,” because he knows what it’s like to be in the judge’s box as well as competing in the arena. He has great compassion for riders and always makes an effort to provide value comments to help them improve their scores and enjoy their journey in the world of competitive dressage.