Had the opportunity to do my first scribing gig with e-scribing. Would love others feedback on their experiences. Both positive and negative. I will say my first experience as an e-scribe (and I’ve been scribing for more than 20 yrs) was not the most pleasant for various reasons.


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Does E-scribing mean you are not actually at the show and you are getting the comments from the vet via some form of communication?

E-scribing is, instead of writing the judges comments and scores on paper tests at the show, the judges comments and scores are recorded electronically on the computer at the show (in the judging booth).

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So what does the scribe do? So curious as I’ve only ever scribed in person the old fashioned way.

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Basically the same as with paper tests only you are typing the judges comments on the computer along with the score instead of writing the comments and the score on paper. In theory it makes results faster for the competitor to get their scores (takes out the need for runners and scoring in the show office as the computer computes the score automatically) unless there are glitches in the system (and with computers and wireless communication there are always glitches).

The system is set up for the computer version to look like the paper tests only the comments box is before the score box as most judges today I guess are told to give comments, then score (I’ve had judges do scores, then comments in my years of scribing)

My experience has been that you are sitting in the booth just like the old days when the scribe wrote on a test paper (with the caveat that last year for the handful of shows that I scribed at - I sat in a separate booth and we used radios/phones for communication) but rather than writing on a test sheet, you are typing the comments on a PDF-like document that can be viewed either electronically by the competitor or a printed copy from the show office.

My observation would be that it likely is a tough transition for someone who has been a standard scribe for 20 years. I’d suggest not making a final evaluation of e-scribing based on your first time. Like all scribing experiences, the judge you were with can make it a great experience or a horrible experience.

It certainly was for me when I first started e-scribing. I’ve been e-scribing for 10ish years now, so it is second nature for me. I only find it challenging when I get a judge that wants to also dictate their final comments and gets very wordy. It is easy to get a bit behind since I can’t be doing the standard prep work while the judge is finishing their comments.

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I agree I should give it a bit more time. One main thing though, my judge was OK with the concept, the execution at our particular show was challenging both days (I only did 1 day)… And that was with the time between rides being 2 minutes longer than in usual shows. I was glad for the scratch rides to allow us to stay on time.

Judges who have a lot to say are challenging with paper tests. With e-scribing, it can get down-right difficult. I’m one who will make sure I get the score so in writing, will put in the score, then go back to the comments if I can’t finish them first. Almost impossible to easily do that on the computer, at least for me.

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What system were you using?

fox village I believe

I far prefer e-scribing to hand writing. I type way faster than I write legibly.


I’d prefer e-scribing, but does that rely on a pretty strong WiFi connection? I know an area event had some issues with their location being pretty remote and the e-scribing not working so hot as a result…

I have never scribed because I write painfully slow. I type quite quickly so this might be an option for me if it comes to my part of the world.

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I would also think for the big shows with top competitors the judges don’t have to say much as the riders pretty much know how their rides should score. It may be the lower levels and the smaller shows where the judges feel the need to comment on each move (and many times all the movement deserves is a 6 or lower) that it begins to make scribing a bit more challenging, both for pen and typing.

I’m sure if I did more e-scribing I would get better at it and feel more comfortable with it. It is a learning process. Tutorials would be a great tool. Our show did provide one such tutorial but the judge on that one was REALLY verbose, to the point where there was no way the comments would fit into the paper test’s comment box, even with abbreviations.

Thanks for all your comments above. I needed a place to vent a little and get feedback to see how much out of touch I am with this new wave of scribing (even though it has been at the big shows for several years now)


As a competitor, e scribing has a huge value to me because I can actually read the comments. Abbreviations are fine - it’s reading the handwriting of someone scribbling at top speed that is difficult.

I’m guessing ease of use probably depends on what device you are on. It is more difficult to flip between fields on a touchscreen tablet type situation than on a proper keyboard.


The learning curve is STEEP, and a lot of how it goes for the scribe will depend on the judge you have.

While it is a HUGE advantage for the show organizers and competitors, my advice would be not to use it at a show until the organizing team, judges and scribes have had the opportunity to train with it for several hours using actual horses and riders doing full tests at different levels. And test rides on training day should include things like riders retiring, riders being eliminated, riders making errors that require deductions, and total system failure where the program or the device goes completely off line.

As the scribe, you are solely responsible for trouble shooting any problems so you need to be prepared to handle them, quickly, and you need to know how to enter WDs, eliminations, etc. correctly, because generally the scores are publicly available online the second you press “submit.”

The program I’ve used involves writing on a tablet with a stylus, and the biggest challenge was writing fast enough while staying legible. Way harder for me than I had imagined. I would prefer a system that allows you type instead of writing with a stylus I think.

Another big challenge with this specific program was that the scribe only sees one box / movement at a time, and it’s time consuming to move back and add comments / change scores for previous movements on the fly, as judges sometimes ask.

Communication with the judge ahead of time is essential. They need to keep their remarks BRIEF. I ask them to always include the movement number, along with the score and remark. So when there is a complete system failure (and it’s a when, not if) I have a piece of paper and pen ready and immediately switch to just writing movement #, score and comments the old fashioned way. Then, when the system is back online, I enter and submit them electronically.

Basically the process should be seamless from the judge’s perspective, so it falls entirely on the scribe. Pressure!!! If you are fairly new to scribing or find it hard to keep up the traditional way, e-scribing may not be for you. But definitely the way of the future so worth it for judges, scribes and show organizers to invest some time in training.

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Completely agree on the training with real riders/tests. And yes, the scribe needs to be prepared to go to paper if the system crashes.

Getting the scores and comments then entered into the system after having to go to paper could mean the scribe doesn’t get a break as the riders scores for when that crash occurred won’t be entered until the scribe DOES have break. Timely scores are EVERYTHING to the riders (as a rider, it certainly is for me). One thing we did have at our show was a computer tech person who was troubling shooting AND if we had to go to paper, he could enter those scores into the system so the scribe didn’t have that to worry about.

My judge was great, she was as concerned about me being able to get things right (because of the glitches in the system) as I was about making sure I got her comments in the correct box and the correct scores in the correct box. Had a couple of glitches on a couple of tests where we both had to adjust and we did.

The next time will be better but it sure would be good to practice. Schooling shows don’t have the money nor the manpower and the judges at those shows tend to REALLY be verbose!!!

Overall I think I would have gotten a 7 (fairly good) on my effort but sure am upset with myself that it couldn’t have been an 8 or 9 :slight_smile:


I’ve not used that system and I agree - the stylus would be a challenge for me - I think about how illegible my signature is on the pads at the store and can’t imagine a whole day trying to keep it legible.

The system I use most frequently has many lines available to view at a time. I think I’d really hate only being able to see one at a time - the number of times something goes sideways in the middle of a test and the judge will say “we’ll come back to that one” would make me pretty nuts to only be able to see one movement at a time. Plus I’ve had to get a judge scoring the correct movements on more than one occasion. Those tests with the pesky transitions in their own box trip some of them up regularly.

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I have judged with a couple of different e-scribing programs. Some are very easy to keep track of -the horseshowoffice setup has a separate screen for the judge to be able to glance at and check on the scribes progress.
One that i used recently was problematic. Covid restrictions has a plexiglass screen between judge and scribe and I had no way of seeing what the scribe was typing - they could have been writing the Gettysburg Address for all I knew. I had no keyboard, so i had to also dictate comments plus they esigned for me.
I discovered part way through that the scribe was stopping to correct spelling and missing some important parts of the comments. At least the scores were correct.
An example - for the canter zig-zag - comment from me - correct count and changes clean, but horse much more supple left than right - 6.5. Scribe only wrote the first few words. So it looks like I was judging harshly yet using positive comments. I had no way of policing it at all.
I reverted to much more brief comments once I caught on to the problem.
Scribes are very important to the process and the shows cannot run without them. They need proper training so that they are comfortable with the procedure. A good scribe is a blessing!


Re: bold, While as a rider I would appreciate the comments to be this detailed, the first part about correct count and clean changes IMHO is not needed. The reason for the lower score is the second part (suppleness of the bends). From the scribes perspective, the first part is all she/he would have been able to type before the score was given, then the comments for the next movement would be coming from the judge. The second, most important part on why the score was not higher would not have been able to be typed (or written for that matter) before the comments for the next movement would be coming at the scribe.

OR on the paper tests, the scribe could go back to write the rest of the comment before the next comment started if the judge hadn’t started talking about the next movement. Not as easy on the computer depending on the program.

IMHO, I think the judges are doing their best to be kind and have positive things to say but in doing so, the important parts of why the score was lower than the 8, 9, 10 is going to be missed if the scribe has to write the positive comments first. Movements come up too fast for the scribe to jot down everything the judge is seeing. Yes, it may appear the judge is being harsh but I also think as riders, we have to understand the judge is not there to give riding lessons, they are there to tell us how the movement can be improved in as few words as possible.

For instance, 1st 3, at the end, the rider does a medium canter down the long side (1 score), next movement is canter from S-C (1 score), then trot from C-M, then lengthening of trot across the diagonal.

So, 4 -5 strides of canter
then 5 - 6 strides of trot
then lenghtening.

Think about all that can be said about the quality of the medium to working canter and then the amount that can be said about the quality of the down trans to the trot and the scribe is still writing what was said about the working canter (if there were major (or even minor) problems) while the horse is finishing the lengthening.


Thanks for showing the other side of the coin.
I did scribe recently for a CDI (most definitely not escribe lol) and I thought to myself that I needed to give even more detailed comments. There are easier places to do that than others most definitely.
When I judge the Intro levels, all that white space on the test seems to mock me - fill it up, fill it up! lol.