Of course, the scale of marks is from 0 to 10 and then 0.5 between each whole number. So not quite good is 7.5, or a little better than sufficient is 5.5. So, it’s important to know what each mark stands for:
0 – NOT EXECUTED This mark is given very rarely and only when a movement is not executed, such as a horse trots through the entire walk movement, or a circle is forgotten. If there is a fragment of the movement performed, a higher mark is in order.
1 – VERY BAD This is a rarely used mark but is better than a zero. The movement can follow the line but is full of resistance and/or disobedience.
2 – BAD These marks are about severe resistance. If a horse stops, runs back, kicks, rears or is disobedient.
3 – FAIRLY BAD This could be given if there is fairly bad resistance, or a resistance combined with a lack of quality and/or mistakes. If there is a total lack of quality and mistakes it would also be possible to give a 3 or even a 2.
4 – INSUFFICIENT The most important thing when giving a 4 is that one thinks of the movement as “insufficient”. If in the quality area the horse loses the regularity throughout the movement, caused by stiffness or resistance rather than unsoundness. In cases of an “error of test” when an attempt at a movement has been made but is not successful, this would be appropriate. If bending is not consistent throughout the test, then the mark should be 4 or possibly 5.
5 – SUFFICIENT If the movement has been achieved, even if somewhat restricted, earthbound, lacking suppleness or impulsion, as long as regularity is clear and the figure is fairly accurate it can warrant a 5. Clearly state in your remarks why the movement is not “satisfactory”. When there is nothing wrong with the quality, such as in a rein-back where the quality is good but there were too many or too few steps back, or on the other hand if the steps back were as required but the quality was poor such as not backing straight, the mark is 5. However, if in the too few steps example the quality is poor, a 4 is appropriate, as is a 6 when quality is good. If a horse is falling in on the corners and circles on only one rein but is otherwise able to hold his balance and rhythm, a 5 may be an appropriate mark.