(The 2017 Test will be used in 2018)
The Key phrases used by the judges in their critiques of the tests are: Regularity and Rhythm of the Paces, Impulsion (i.e. energy), Acceptance of the Contact (i.e. is the horse’s mouth and head steady in response to the aids), Engagement (i.e. do the hind legs appear to step under the horse’s body or trail out behind), Lightness of the Forehand (i.e. the appearance of the horse carrying himself and not leaning on the rider’s hand) and Uniform Bend of the horse’s body on circles and during the lateral movements of Shoulder-in and Half-Pass.
High marks are awarded for those movements where the horse shows all these qualities. Judging is a subjective art and not an easy task as one rarely sees perfection and often some good aspects have to be weighed up against weaknesses.
The initiative and boldness of the highly conditioned event horse often makes it difficult in the atmosphere of the arena, to show all these attributes consistently. But the winning combination will demonstrate harmony between the rider and horse whilst the movements are performed boldly but accurately showing some elements of brilliance.