. . . on her walk diagonal– her horse was “looking at the cows so she let her turn across 4 steps beyond the letter.”
BILL— It’s pretty much up to the judge to decide how inaccurate the rider must be in order to score an Error of Course. Often, unless there are so many that it could entail an elimination, whether the judge scores it as an “error” or just takes two points off in the block itself makes no real difference. When we judge as a panel (two or three of us distributed around the arena) it’s important that we all do it the same way – whichever way the judge at C chooses.
Sometimes if I am judging a helpless novice rider to whom I have already given two errors for getting lost, I’ll just start deducting inaccuracy points unless I have to stop for a third time to give her more directions. Even there if the problem reoccurs near the prior ones and not distinctly later on in the test, I may say “Oh, I didn’t explain that well enough,” and not ring her out. Chances are by then she is fairly mortified and has put herself out of the ribbons. Why further disgrace her?