Move Over Pencils and Pens
Having been a show jumping judge for several years, this “old dog" had to learn a new trick, paperless scoring.
Covid-19 protocols and regulations are mandating ‘contact-free’ creation and management of the paper score sheets that have been a staple at horse competitions for decades. No more flapping sheets secured to my clipboards. This past July weekend at the Oakhurst Horse Trials in Ashton, Ontario, I used a straightforward and powerful app on my tablet called Compete Easy.
And indeed, the Compete Easy app from Australia, did make it easy. Made for the 3-Day Eventing discipline, dressage, show jumping and cross country scores were uploaded immediately and posted globally for people to see.
Handling dressage score sheets was removed from the equation. No more shuffling pieces of paper back and forth. With the WIFI-connected app, judge and scribe were able to write on their own personal tablet. This avoided touch points and allowed the scoring to be immediate.
It was the first time in North America that the Compete Easy app was being used and the first event in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to use the live scoring Dressage app where immediate scores could be seen. As a rider trotted the centre line and made the turn at “C”, the score would be posted for grooms and parents to see. As one competitor put it, “One click and I can see my dressage scores before I’ve even gotten back to the barn!”
Show Jumping scoring was also supported. With a simple click, the results were recorded live. As Show Jumping judge Laura Kelland-May says, “Clear jump one, click, clear jump two, click, it was just as easy as checking a box with a pen. The big bonus was, once the round was finished the score was uploaded and the competitors saw their scores immediately. No more waiting.”
Using the app during the Cross Country phase was also a big hit. As competitor Elyse Howat puts it, “It was really cool to be able to watch the live cross country scoring. To see my peers make it past each fence and see a little happy face appear when they crossed through the finish flags is fun.”
The scorers and “control” for the event, Helen Richardson, Joan and Ruth Allum, were amazed at the ease and power of the app. “Watch this,” Ruth Allum said on several occasions as the live score popped up on her screen. No more shuffling through papers for each competitor in order to finalize the cross country score. Any issues were solved immediately as riders were on course and options for video upload were reviewed.
Each of the cross country jump judges had a tablet with the Compete Easy app uploaded and rather than mark a score on a sheet of paper, the jump was scored on the app which could be seen “live” as the rider progressed through the course.
As the last rider passed the finish line of the cross country course, the judging was complete. There was no collection of papers or scores to tally. They had been done through the app. All that was left was to make the virtual awards.
Kelland-May adds, “Overall, I think it’s an easy and intuitive app to use and I hope to see it used at future competitions.”
Laura Kelland-May is an Equestrian Canada Senior Judge (Jumper, Hunter, Equitation and Hack), Senior Steward and also officiates at Horse Trials and Events.
This article originally appeared on Bloodhorse and is published here with permission.
There are more interesting articles in our section on Riding Disciplines.