My pony is scared of the judges box!

Joanna Fisher
Joanna Fisher

International Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Joanna Fisher shares her thoughts on how to deal with a  pony who is scared of the judges box!

Well, I can answer this by saying, your pony is very wise, as we all know who sits in the judges box, and no one likes to be judged!

On a more serious note, this can be a problem for even the most experienced horses, some judges boxes are decorated with elaborate flowers and at higher level, you could have 3 or even 5 judges, so it is a valid problem.
The only solution is practise.

If possible, try and hire out an arena that has judges boxes permanently in the arena, take your pony along and ride past and show your pony there is nothing to fear
The only other option is to enter as many shows/classes as possible and use the time in the arena as experience, ride passed the judges and try and say hello a few times before the bell rings so your pony knows the judges box is containing a friendly voice.
For sure after a few trial and error attempts the problem should disappear.
Good luck!

Joanna has written a collection of children’s books based on her horses over the years.

It has been published by award winning Candy Jar books and currently available in Waterstones and being read in schools. Click here to link to her website: She also has a dressage website which can be found at

For more advice from Joanna, why not visit her other blog posts here:


Do I need a dressage saddle to do dressage


How Can I make my Pony Stop Leaning on me?


Help My Dressage Circles are oval


What Age should I teach my horse flying changes?


How to turn a leg yield into a half pass


How can I teach my horse shoulder in?


How should I prepare for a dressage test?


Should I do Sitting Trot in My Dressage Test?

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