Judging horses – sticking to the “score”.

Attending the AQHA judges conference in Dallas felt like being part of a large orchestra! One of 350 judges, tuning up to be “on key” with the standard, and in sync with one another. So many experienced, talented horse-people, yet personal preferences, interpretations and biases were to be laid aside – a reminder to stick to the music score, without improvising.

We watched video after video dissecting technical faults, penalties… and excellence. We hit the controversial issues head on – everyone heard the same message, reading off the same sheet music.

We were reminded that it’s the judges who are largely responsible for perpetuating certain trends and training techniques that have become distasteful to the general public. Dressage, hunter, reining, western pleasure – every discipline and breed has it’s trends – judges share responsibility for the welfare of the horse and the industry.