Ask A Judge: What is the Hardest Thing About Judging (Judge 2 & 3)

I posed the following question to our Judges Panel.  Here are the responses of Judges 2 and 3:


1) What is the hardest thing about judging (hardest thing about judging the horses and the hardest thing about judging your colleagues)?

Answer Judge 2

The hardest thing for me regarding judging horses is placing the middle section.  Usually, the top place horses and the bottom place themselves.  I believe that in say a 6 horse class, the 3rd-5th places deserve fair assessment and in my mind, I really work hard to place them appropriately and fairly. 

Being a novice in the world of judging, I haven’t really considered that it will be difficult to judge a colleague as I have really found that I study the horse so closely, the person riding it is almost an afterthought for me.  I know that a judge cannot please everyone, and if a colleague has a problem with the way that I’ve judged a class, I believe that I will have my reasoning for my decision!

Answer Judge 3

I found that when I first started judging that I had to develop more of a “thick skin” to deal with all of the pressures of the actions and reactions of judging. When you tie a class, there is only one winner. That means only one person is happy with you for the most part, and that leaves 20 or 30 others that aren’t every time the gate opens. I do truly believe though, that if you tie the horses only, by the end of the show, all pretty much equals out. I absolutely loathe it when someone says,”Oh that judge is so political!” In some cases, I suppose that can be true to a point, but it has always made sense to me that if someone is really well known for having good western pleasure horses, that they usually DO have good western pleasure horses. Does that mean I look specifically for that person? NO! I look for the best show horse on that given day coming through the gate. If it just so happens that the same person shows more than one good horse at a time, it does not necessarily mean that I am being political. It means that the same person is lucky enough to have more than one good horse.

3 Responses to Ask A Judge: What is the Hardest Thing About Judging (Judge 2 & 3)

  1. amie9191 says:

    Well said Judge #3! I hate when people blame politics in the way a class was pinned. I always say that if you have the nicest horse in the ring then the judge HAS to pin you ;-)

    I’m living proof that you don’t need a name to do well in shows….just work hard and get the best horse you can afford.

  2. jjoker says:

    the judge doesn’t have to do no such thing.
    It’s nice when it happens but that is not always the case at least where i’ve shown.

  3. Em says:

    jjoker, it is the responsibility of the judge to place a class by placing what he views is the nicest horse first. I’m sure this happens much more often than people want to believe. At the end of the day, you may not agree with what the judge has to say but that does not mean that he was wrong and that also does not mean that politics have come into play. After all, the judge may have seen something in a particular horse that you didn’t!

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