Blue Clark receiving his National Level 3E Judges Certificate


This is the first of our stories spotlighting our brand new FEI Level 1 Judges that have recently upgraded and their journey to get to this point.  After completing a 3 day course to become a  National Level 3E Judge, which is the bridge between National Level 3 and FEI Level 1, they then were required to do many hours of online learning in the FEI system.  After passing this, they had an in person interview online with two senior international FEI judges.   On passing these steps, they were then upgraded to FEI Level 1 Judge.

We wanted to highlight the effort made by these Officials and their dedication to the sport of Show Jumping in New Zealand.  These officials are unanimous in their satisfaction, and want to encourage more individuals to begin the process of becoming an Official and the benefits that this brings.

We asked them a few questions and thought you would love to hear their responses.  There will be more coming over the next few days…….


First up is Blue  (Stuart) Clark, who hails from Canterbury Area.  Blue is also a caretaker at the Fiber Fresh National Equestrian Centre in Christchurch.  He and his wife Lisa and both heavily involved in the sport with Lisa being on the Show Hunter Executive and a Show Hunter judge.  

We hope you enjoy what Blue has to say………


How long have you been an ESNZ Jumping Official and what attracted you to begin the pathway of becoming a Jumping Judge?

I have been a Jumping Official since around 2002.  Before that I was involved in Pony Club since 1981 as a Judge, President and other roles so moving onto becoming a Jumping Judge for ESNZ seemed a natural progression.


What are the things you enjoy about being a judge?

The look on the kids faces when they do a good round and putting a ribbon on a kid that didn’t expect to get somewhere.  In Canterbury we also have a tradition of handing out chocolate fish at prize givings and the kids absolutely love this.


Are there any downsides and how do you manage these?

Dealing with different personalities can sometimes be challenging, but you learn to deal with them and just concentrate on getting on with it, and proving you can do a good job. 


What advice do you have for anyone thinking they would like become a Jumping Judge?

Just do it.  Come and spend some time in the judge’s box and see what’s going on.  Never get stressed, stay calm.  I particularly love mentoring new judges so find an experienced judge that can help you along the way.


Tell us about the journey to become one of the first FEI L1 Judges appointed through the new L3E Judge programme.  What did you have to do, what steps did you follow and how long did it take.  Anything memorable along the way? 

I had never even thought of stepping up until I was approached to do the 3E course.  The 3E course which was held over a couple of days was very valuable.  Working together with the other judges was key as we all learnt off each other.  Credit to Jumping staff, Fiona Bentley and the other judges doing the 3E course for helping me along this path.  The online FEI interview was intense and quite nerve-wracking but I was well prepared and got through it.


What are you looking forward to as an FEI Judge and what are your future aspirations?

I would love to judge a World Cup.  I have judged some CSI 1*s.  I would also love to do more judging in the North Island.  I judged in the Premier ring at HOY this year and really enjoyed that.  I also really enjoy mentoring new and upcoming officials and think that is a great way to give back to the sport.