How to Score 14 on a Prelim Dressage Test

Jen Carter and Sayyida at Rocking Horse in February. Photo by Samantha Clark.

It’s so much fun to write the weekly EN’s Got Talent series because I get to follow along with the horses after that, and their owners and riders are constantly sending me little updates on how the horses are doing. I feel like I’m along for the ride! I received a very cool email last night from Sean Tennant, who purchased the stunning Trakehner mare Sayyida as a youngster before selling her to Kyle and Jen Carter. I documented Jen’s struggle to build a solid partnership with “Xena” in EN’s Got Talent — Part 1 and Part 2 — but if their performance this weekend at Longwood is any indicator, I’d say they’re on the right track! Jen and Xena scored a 14 on their open prelim dressage test, went clear on cross country and pulled a rail in show jumping to take the win.

The test score sheet, which you can view below, includes 12 9s, as well as 9s for both the rider and impulsion scores. The judge’s comments included “Gorgeous to watch!” and “So uphill and balanced throughout.” Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to track down a video of the test. If you happened to record Jen and Xena laying down a 14 at Longwood, please send the video to Of course, anytime spouses are competing against each other, there’s always a friendly rivalry. Kyle took to Twitter yesterday to document a conversation with the dressage judge, who couldn’t resist getting in on the ribbing. Congrats, Jen! Go Xena!

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  • Guest says:

    Jen and Xena also placed 2nd in the Open Prelim at Chatt Hills last month after getting a 24 in the dressage! They’ll be moving up to Intermediate in the future! Syndicate shares are still available, and they are available with breeding rights! Contact Sean at or Jen and Kyle at for more information!

  • Mac says:

    Jen and Sayyida also placed 2nd last month in the Open Prelim at Chatt Hills after scoring a 24 in their dressage test! Syndicate shares are still available and can include breeding rights! Contact Sean at or Jen at for more information!

  • guest says:

    WOW…what a transformation…..they scored 60.9 at the Ocala CCI 1*…I am sure it was a nice test but seriously what is with the judge….a 14…12 -9′s ….right!

  • Sean says:

    They’ve had flashes of brilliance all along, and it’s started to really click. They scored a 24 at Chatt Hills, and a 23 at another Prelim schooling show not long before that. The test yesterday was obviously fantastic.

  • Kim Hunter says:

    As breeder of this mare, I can comment on the 60.9 in a CCI1* vs. today. First, FEI scores are never as low as National-level tests (I also bred Sara Mittleider’s Harry Houdini who won the 2011 Galway CCI* dressage on a 46.6 and this Spring won OP @ Galway as part of his prep after spending 2012 season in Germany – on a 22.7).

    Secondly, Xena is a very sensitive mare. She needed time to mature mentally and emotionally in order to focus and give the relaxed, brilliant performance she is fully capable of on a regular basis. It’s been hard for Sean and the Carters (I’m sure; don’t know them personally) to be patient as they watched her peers advance more rapidly. But horses are like people; some peak early, others must develop over time. Barring injury this will not be the last time you read about Jen and Xena putting in a jaw-dropping D score.

  • guest says:

    The comment is more to point out irresponsible judging …no horse including Totalis scores a 14…to even mention that score and to believe it has merit and no bias is silly…really a 14…in what world…lets go to the UK…still a 14…we need good measuring standards….. so where does the horse go from here it is already near perfect…judge should not be judging…..Mensa scored a 17 and how good does that horse consistantly perform dressage….lets get the judges to be consistant so a test that is a low score actually means something…congrats on a great test but. 14….just stupid!

  • Karen says:

    “Guest” who are you to say that about the judge, or the judging? Are you a licensed judge? Are you competing regularly at the upper levels? You’re entire premise is ridiculous. Totilas has scored better than the equivalent of a 14 in the past…at the highest levels of pure dressage. Michael and Natalie Pollard have had multiple tests in the 16-18 range, as have others. Head back to the Chronicle forums and complain from your keyboard there.

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