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Judges Opinions class, but it is actually a much bigger deal for a judge to come away from the show with happy exhibitors, and with pride to know he has selected the best horse in each class. Does backing your horse in the driving classes really count? Yes, backing is a requirement and shows a horse’s willingness in the harness. Even though most judges admit to having their placement order by the time the lineup is called, refusing to back or being stiff or unwilling can be a tie breaker. A judge has 15 seconds per horse to make a decision in a driving class. Placings can easily flip if a horse refuses to back in the cart. JUNE/JULY 2013 Miniature Horse World 49 After attending four different question and answer sessions offered at the AMHA annual meeting, one might notice a trend to the questions that were asked. Many of the same themes were repeated year to year, from different attendees, but the query was the same or very similar…what can I do to be seen and acknowledged by the judge? Or when being critiqued by the judges, what makes one or two exhibitors stand out time after time; no matter what horse or class that exhibitor is showing in? Judges in every discipline have a tough row to hoe. They are paid to give their opinions, but yet when their choices are pinned their decisions are at the very least, questioned. They are trapped in an almost no win situation. And no matter what the outcome, it is obvious that not everyone is going to come away with warm fuzzies for the judge. The losers will always be ready to bash the placings. So here are a few of the comments from the question and answer sessions that might give some insight to what the horse show judge of today is looking for. Does new/popular equipment make a difference in the show ring? Most important is proper fit of your equipment. When your halter, harness or cart is not on correctly, is dirty or doesn’t fit…they notice. Judges are paid to notice details. A halter not set correctly on the horse’s head, and Such By Melissa Powell or a harness incorrectly relays to the judge you either don’t know how to adjust your equipment, or you just don’t care….either way it can make a difference in how your horse is placed. Are the judges educated and know what to place in each of the classes? Most judges want to be accountable to the exhibitors and one way to be sure they are is to use the green evaluation cards that are available at the AMHA approved local shows. The Licensed Officials Committee is privy to the information submitted by exhibitors and they use this info in their training sessions to be sure our judges are trained and know our judging standards and rules. For many judges this is personal…they make their living in several different aspects of the horse industry. It is their livelihood and as you can imagine, they want to be the best, most informed they can be- so they will be hired and can continue to work and get paid! It may seem like a big deal to an exhibitor to win in a “Know what your horse is capable of. Be sure he will excel in that class before entering him.” Mike Rosauer “Most judges want to be accountable.” Patty Cloke


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