This article caught my eye –and apparently ruffled some feathers. The Canadian author, believing that the hunter horse show world is at a crossroads, is calling for a more objective scoring system.
I’m so pleased to see several horse show disciplines develop a more objective scoring systems in recent years. I tip my hat to AQHA, leading the pack, honing a comprehensive penalty and maneuver score sheet for almost every horse show class – a real help to horse show judges.
“The judge doesn’t like palominos” doesn’t fly with an objective scoring method.
The author questions whether the hunter class is a “sport or an exhibition?” and makes these suggestions for a more “credible system”.
(To give credit where it’s due, most of these are already routine AQHA horse show policies).
Read the Horse Network article for more of his thoughts.
“• All A-rated horse shows must have a minimum of two judges. These judges can have no communication with one another at any time during a class. (Currently, judges often sit side by side in the judging booth and consult on the score.)
• The score must be announced after every round of every class—as is done in every other sport.
• Judge’s cards should be posted online the evening of the class for all to see, increasing both transparency in the judging process and the education of the riders and the coaches.
• Horse and rider should be judged and scored equally. Riding is a team sport…. Why is only the horse judged in the hunter ring? … Both horse and rider should be judged 50:50. …
• A technical element should be added to the score that is consistent in all classes by all judges. For example, if a horse has a light rub at a fence, the deduction should be consistent. The technical score is 50% of the overall score. That would mean there is an artistic score making up 50% of the total as well. (Judges may require a scribe to help keep track of the scoring.)
Other subjectively scored sports have adapted and updated their scoring system. Figure skating, for example, recognized that it had a credibility problem 20 years ago and changed its scoring system from a purely subjective score to factoring in the execution of elements and penalizing technical errors.”