Report from Sam Watson Equiratings Evening

Sam’s presentation was truly excellent and a lot of food for thought was left for us to ponder.

He started off by telling us how Equiratings started. It all began by him not performing well in the showjumping phase at the World Games in Kentucky in 2010 and at the next World Games in 2014. He decided it was not going to happen a third time! He then worked out that he was in the bottom 10% of showjumping rounds!

By applying statistical records for himself he decided that it could be applied to other riders. He got himself a showjumping trainer, and with simple exercises, poles on the ground, he became more accurate, and he is now in the top 10% of gaining clear rounds.

Equiratings was launched in 2015 and statistical work is now done at National Level with Ireland, GB, and America. It then moved on to the Horse Fall Index (HFI0) at FEI level. This is a great tool as it predicts accurately how a horse is likely to perform.  The statistics are used from the previous 6/8 performances. Sam reiterated that once you gain an MER (Minimum Eligibility Requirements) it does not mean you can go to the next level. He says consolidation of performance is the key before stepping up.

Now Equiratings is involved with “fan engagement” giving statistics to the fans following the sport who like the depth of information and comparisons available through the Equiratings records. So the fan now knows how the combination is doing and likely to do.

Another string to the Equiratings bow is engagement at local level. This is where the rider gets feedback on their performance, and you might have got a PB in your latest performance which is highlighted. This is popular in the States.

Equiratings has become involved with Show Jumping and in the Tokyo Olympics had 25 teams under their wing.

Sam went on to discuss the type of horse in Eventing today. He bemoans the fact that we are trying to get dressage type horses to do XC. We have horses tiring out on XC which does not present good pictures of our sport. We have to get back to the TB blood horse to gallop and perform at the higher levels.

He had a graph showing how Dressage and Show Jumping had improved in the marks.   He said XC had not moved so much and that is a shame as XC is the key element of our sport, and time is the key element in XC.

Sam answered questions on AI as a tool for the future. It could be good used in conjunction with Judges.

So concluded a fascinating evening.


Report by Faith Ponsonby