British Dressage Winter Championship 2017 review the scores

British Dressage have just completed another successful Winter Championship over 5 days at Hartpury. I have analysed the scores of the Top 10 in each class to produce some interesting charts and statistics. I will be producing a separate report on the Area Festival Championship.

How have the scores changed compared to previous Winter Championships

I have now been producing these reports for a few years so it is possible to compare results with previous Winter Championship. To try to avoid the impact of the big rule change in 2016 I have looked at the average score of the Top 10 at the Winter Championship for normal dressage tests, freestyle tests and finally the average of both normal and freestyle tests. (i.e. I have not looked at Gold and Silver sections separately.)

British Dressage Winter Championships 2013 to 2017 Average Scores for normal dressage tests and freestyle testsThe chart clearly shows that the trend over the the last few years is that the average score is increasing. This is good news for British dressage and hopefully indicates that the British team and individuals will continue to be very strong in international dressage competitions and at the Olympics.

You will have probably spotted that the average for normal tests has dropped a fraction in 2017. It is only a very small drop which is probably explained by the major changes to the rules when Gold/Silver/Bronze was introduced. For this reason I don’t believe the drop indicates a trend. However, we will only know for sure when I add next years results to this chart.

Note: I do not have the results for 2014 easily available.

How do Championship and qualification scores compare?

The vast majority of the Top 10 get a lower score at the Championship compared to their qualification score. In fact, on average the Top 10 score 2% less at the Championship than they scored at the Regional.

However, a few competitors achieve a higher score at the Championship and the following is a list of competitors that scored 1% or more at the Championship than at the Regional. These competitors should be congratulated because achieving a higher score at the Championship is an achievement but to score more than 1% higher at the Championship is absolutely fantastic !

  • Victoria Maw and Bon Rouge CH in PSG Freestyle
  • Eilidh Grant and Rock DJ in PSG Freestyle
  • Alice Wilson-Gough and Snow Patrol in Medium Silver
  • Sara Gallop and Summerhouse Delano in Medium Freestyle Gold
  • Lizzie Murray and Ulyssa in Elementary Freestyle Gold
  • Nicola Buchanan and St Giles Fairytale in Novice Gold
  • Christian Landolt and Liss la Belle in Novice Silver
  • Sian Turner and Summerhouse Darwin in Novice Freestyle Silver

I was grooming for Alice Wilson-Gough at the Championship and she improved her score by over 1.6% and came second in Medium Silver whilst being 5 months pregnant. A fantastic achievement and only 0.26% behind the winner.

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How do the top 10 scores for different classes compare?

British Dressage Winter Championship 2017 Top 10 Scores for each class
British Dressage Winter Championship 2017 Top 10 Scores for each class
The chart shows the winning score, the average of the top 10 scores and the 10th place score in each class:

The standout score is the winning score in the Novice Freestyle Silver where the winning score was by a long way the top score at the Championship. The Novice Silver winning score was also the highest score in any of the normal tests – Gold or Silver sections. The same combination achieved both the Novice Silver and Novice Freestyle Silver scores.

This Championship was run under the flawed eligibility rules in the 2016 Rule Book. I believe that under the 2017 Rule Book this combination will not be eligible for Silver because of the rider’s experience at at an advanced level. So this competitor was within the 2016 rules competing in the Silver section but if this Championship had been run under the 2017 eligibility rules then the competitor would have been in the Gold section.

If this combination had been competing in the Gold section then they would have probably won the Gold section and I would be naming them, congratulating them and be watching for their names as they work up the levels.

Another 2016 Rule Book anomaly

When I was at the Championship I was asked about the winner of a Silver Section who was also entered in the Area Festival Silver section at the same level. I did not have the 2016 Rule Book with me but my best guess is that was probably allowed by the 2016 rules – although it would not be allowed under the 2017 Rule Book.

The published results for the Area Festival class confirm that the competitor withdrew from the Area Festival Silver section. I think this withdrawal saved British Dressage from the embarrassment of having the same combination win in the Silver section and the Area Festival Silver section at the same level!

Personally, I think it is a massive relief that the 2016 Rule Book is now history.

Championship Winners – where did they qualify?

British Dressage Winter Championship 2017 top 10 qualified at Regional ChampionshipThe pie chart shows Regional venues in north to south order starting at midday. The chart shows that roughly half of the Top 10 at the championship qualified at the 3 most southerly venues whilst the other half of the top 10 qualified at the 5 more northerly venues.

The largest number of competitors who were in the Top 10 at the championship qualified at Summerhouse.

If a competitor has the highest qualification score from any of the Regionals will they win at The Winter Championships?

10 of the 17 (almost 60%) classes were won by competitors who achieved the highest qualification score. So clearly there is a strong correlation between the highest qualification scores and success at The Winter Championships.

How did my ones to watch perform at The Winter Championships?

The ones to watch are competitors that, based on the Regional qualification score stand a good chance of getting a Top 3 result at the Winter Championships. Just under 50% of the ones to watch got a Top 3 result. So, better than last year when only 27% of the ones to watch got a Top 3 result … but I wouldn’t put my own money on the “ones to watch”! As with other things in life – dressage horses past performance is no guarantee of future performance !

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Are competitors who qualified with a wildcard just making up the numbers?

British Dressage Winter Championship 2017 Wildcard Entries in Top 10
British Dressage Winter Championship 2017 Wildcard Entries in Top 10
Absolutely not !!! The pie chart shows that the top 10 at the Championship includes just under a third of competitors who qualified with a wildcard. My analysis shows that over the last few years there is always around about a third of the Top 10 at the Championship who qualified with a wildcard.

8% of the Top3 at the Championship qualified with a wildcard. This was not as high as last year when 18% of the Top 3 qualified with a wildcard but it still shows that if you qualify with a wildcard you are still competitive.


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