My opinion is that judges should show responsibility and respect towards riders and horses in a show, and of course and vice versa both inside and outside of the competition track.
I still remember the words of a famous judge in connection with a seminar for judges held here in Austria many years ago. This gentleman died in a car accident some time ago. He was a professor and his name was Alfred Knopfhart. He was a dressur judge and was a respected and popular man.
After meeting with him the reason for this became clear to me. First and foremost it was the general respect he had for riding and riders. He shared this experience with us based on decades working as a judge and a riding instructor. He said that one of the most important aspect as a judge was to know the handbook well and know it by heart. Often angry riders, friends or relatives confronted him after a competition wanting to strap him around a tree. But most of them conceded when asked whether they knew the regulations or if they had red the handbook. Then he added that he would be happy to answer
questions after the conclusion of the tournament when things had calmed down a bit.
He gave some examples from his previous experiences, which I could easily compare to some happenings in Icelandic horsemanship. He told us that he would always read over the track list before the competition started, because he would rather not judge his own people, for example his students. He always tried to get a senior judge or an alternative judge if he could see some relations. Partiality is human and can work both ways and should be avoided as much as possible. Not to accept any gifts, no matter what kind they are. In this respect he mentioned many things not to be mentioned here, from a flower bouquets and dinner invitations to cars; there are large amounts of money at stake in these grand horse tournaments. He put special emphasis on the fact that being a judge involves responsibility, not just towards riders but also the development of horsemanship in general and the health of horses in the future.
Kind regards from Austria, Höskuldur Aðalsteinsson.