After 40 years in the equestrian business, Isabelle Judet is one of those people who still finds the desire to discover new things, different horizons. Who daily puts herself back into the game and looks ahead. Based in Pamfou, an hour south-east of Paris, she works also as trainers in the equestrian centre she and her husband bought in 1978. Having met her many times in the most prestigious juries, today we asked her to answer Dressage.it’s questions
How and when did you meet horses? And where and why dressage?
«My dad was an orthopaedic surgeon. He regularly performed surgeries on jockeys and as I had always been very passionate about horses, he organised for me to go train on the racetrack in Maison Lafitte. My best childhood friend used to take dressage lessons with my future husband Jean Claude Cheret. Once I accompanied her to the stable and that’s when the path to dressage was first opened».
When did you become a dressage judge?
«I started following judging courses after injuring my shoulder in the mid 1970s. I couldn’t ride for a while and started my education to become a judge».
How did you career develop?
«I have always been a rider, a trainer and a judge. I love riding at home, I still ride a couple horses everyday, but I never really felt like a competitor. So, I focused more on my training and judging career, becoming a 5* international judge in 1989 and being twice Chef d’Equipe in charge of our national team for the French Equestrian Federation».
Do you have any worries when you are going to start judging a class?
«I think the more experience you have the less emotional you get. You need to develop a routine and many technical skills to feel more confident when judging. As you grow older, you cope with the pressure better and put things into perspective. When I sit in the judging box, my reflexes take over and it’s nearly like my brain drops the scores naturally».
«I am a very easy going person. I very much enjoy any activity involving the people I love. I have a very large family so that takes an important part of my life. I read a lot, I love taking care of my garden, I cook, I have gym class three times a week. I travel a lot for my job, this is something I very much appreciate».
Any suggestions to FEI regarding judges?
«I would strongly recommend the FEI create a video library with access to tests of all level with comments and grades given by an instructor judge. I would also suggest the FEI place an acting judge at the warming up so friendly riding would be more rewarded and the build up to prepare for a test starts having possibly an impact on the score».