Morgan Horse Judges – Whose Job Is It?

It’s interesting to note that the poll about becoming a judge has resulted in a statistical tie. I didn’t vote because, although I have thought about becoming a judge, I guess I’m not decisive enough to make the commitment.

I also see in the Network that the AMHA Professional Committee “continues to work on a solution to the limited pool of judges available for the GN.” As I understand it, the problem is that many of our Morgan judges are trainers who make their living getting horses prepared to show at the Grand National. It’s unreasonable to ask them to give up the income they generate by qualifying a horse for, and then showing it at the Morgan Grand National, in order to judge the show. We need more Amateur Owners and Breeders to become judges and we need to encourage and support them to do so. So, whose responsibility is it to see to it that we have enough qualified judges to judge our shows, including the Grand National?

I submit that it is not AMHA’s responsibility, but rather, it is the responsibility of those of us who want to show our horses. AMHA’s primary responsibility is the integrity of the Registry and promotion of ALL Morgan horses. Showing is only a part of AMHA, not the whole enchilada. I think it’s terrific that in order to promote the standard, there is a school for those who aspire to become Morgan judges, and that the 2 dollar Judges’ Education fee that we pay at Regional shows finances that effort. However, I think that we, the exhibitors, can do more.

It’s a huge investment of both time and money to become a judge. Generally speaking, one has either time or money, but not both at the same time. Therefore, we need to make it easier for anyone who is interested, to participate in the process. How many exhibitors realize that in order to become a judge, one has to spend time and money to not only attend judge’s school, but that a candidate also has to spend time as a learner judge, at their own expense?

My suggestion is that a Judges’ Education fee be collected from the Morgan exhibitors at all shows that hire qualified Morgan judges to judge the Morgan classes. Perhaps 2 dollars could be added to the entry fee for each Morgan class. That money would go to the Professional Committee to establish a scholarship to be given to the most promising candidates to use for expenses incurred in meeting the requirements to become a judge.

I also think that All-Morgan shows could do more to encourage Learner Judges. I would like to see shows pay at least a portion of learner judges’ expenses. (Travel, hotel, meals.) This may be a hard step for shows to take, but I believe that in the long run, it would benefit the Morgan show industry and that exhibitors should bear the cost. As an exhibitor, I would prefer that shows spend money on educating new judges rather than on parties and donuts.

What are your suggestions for increasing the number of judges in the pool?

5 Responses to Morgan Horse Judges – Whose Job Is It?

  1. Black Eye Beth says:

    I like your ideas, MochaMom. I, for one, would pay a little extra to help others that are interested in becoming judges. Since I am not a social butterfly, I wouldn’t miss the parties and socials, but there are others who really enjoy those. Maybe some social activities could be scaled back a little to allow funds to be allocated for judges education.

    I also noticed on the AMHA site that there is a “You Be The Judge” program. I believe it is new; there wasn’t much info. about it that I could find. It looks as though the program materials are free to the show committees and allows spectators and exhibitors to see how they would stack up in judging classes. Maybe having a program like this will give potential judges the chance to see if how they do and give them the confidence to start the judging education process.

  2. Black Eye Beth says:

    Maybe to be a professional you have to also be a judge and judge a certain number of shows in a 5 year period? That would certainly increase the pool.

  3. I heard with my own two ears last year from a trainer who had recently gotten ehr judges card that there was a list of people she couldn’t wait to pin down just because she didn’t like them. One good reason judging shouldn’t be mandatory for professionals. Just as there are unethical trainers, there are unethical judges, and I would bet that if you are one, you are likely to be the other. Note: This person STILL has not received one judging assignment. Thank Goodness!

  4. Black Eye Beth says:

    Very good point, Alicia. Definitely not a good reason to become a judge. Do you think, though, that having everybody have to judge would cancel that out? You can pin someone down but “what goes around comes around”… Just a thought. Probably just a utopian thought on my part.

  5. jjoker says:

    Judging is a double edge sword, even if you don’t play favorites someone still wins so you’re still doing a favor for better or worse.
    I believe there are enough judges and that judging is an honor, the bigger barns won’t judge okc because of all the horse sales that go on. I think these judges should give back to the breed that has givin them a good living and that has ginen them exposure threw judging.
    It’s not much to ask and if it is start promoting the newer judges and give them some of the “a” show that these other judges do during the year. The judges are out there and all there asking for is a chance.

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