New England is it worth the money?

Yes, I do believe we need to expand the judges pool, but I don’ think making professional horseman all apply for thier judges card is the answer.   Some of the professionals may be successful with the morgan show horse, but does everyone have what it takes to place a given class from first to last.  Some of the best veteran judges get lost sometimes.  

Judges need to know how to deal with the public.   Courtesy goes a long way.  An effort to make the audience and the exhibitors feel valued is crucial.  Judges who are observed by the audience with pure bordem should not be tolerated by the show committee.  A thank you from a judge to an exhibitor or a wallking of the line is something that seems to be done less frequently.  What has happened to the entertainment the judge is supposed to provide?  It is a horse show, show some excitement judges.

New England is one of the most expensive horse shows in the country, s0 as an exhibitor, I want to get my monies worth.  The whole show is controlled by the men and women in the middle of the ring.  So with that in mind, it’s time to get the show committee to realize that one judges’ opinion is not enough at this highly competitive show.  A three judge panel is needed badly.

20 Responses to New England is it worth the money?

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. erikarose says:

    very much so agreed. I think it is acceptable by everyone to say New England is a national quality show. It is also as expensive as the national, why not give people what they are paying for.

  3. GGR says:


    Gerry Rushton judged a class I was in recently. It was a 2 horse class. As he inspected us, he smiled at us and said, “thank you both, nice job” I was sort of taken aback, because I don’t recall a judge speaking to me in a very long time. While I didn’t always agree with how Mr Rushton judged (there’s that darn differing-opinion thing again!), he appeared to be a judge who geuninely appreciated the exhibitors.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I agree also. I was recently in a two-horse championship class judged by Tim Roesink and, while I didn’t win, he said “Thank you” before turning in his card. It may sound silly, but I thought that was nice of him. New England is a very expensive show, as everyone has said. To me personally, it isn’t worth going to as a “practice show.” If I was going for a major title and/or championship win, then I could justify spending the money. Otherwise, I enjoy the show very much as a class sponsor, sport horse division volunteer, and spectator.

  5. colwilrin says:

    I had the pleasure of watching Cathy Grimes judge a show once. She took the time to go down her line of JR. Exhibs with a big smile for all. Once turning in her card, she also would frequently approach an exhbitor and offer a constructive comment.

    Comments that I later recieved from parents and the trainers indicated that they felt she had taken her time to really look at each kid, evaluate the performance, and think of how it could be improved.

    I showed under Chris Nelson last year. Though, at the time, I didn’t agree with where I pinned (hey, we all are a bit biased towards our own horses), he offered comments to me in line-up after every class. It actually became a joke. I told my trainer that when I saw him walking at me it was like the kiss of death, and knew I had once again blown something…I even told her JOKINGLY that if he did it one more time I was going to yell “NO…get away!!!”

    Well…I took all his suggestions back to the trainers, we evaluated the comments and worked on everything he said over the next few months. By OKC, we pinned miles over where we had been the year before, and I am very thankful for his input.

    Sometimes you need that outside eye to identify your weak points.

    That, in my opinion, is well worth the show fees.

  6. erikarose says:

    oh to know what the judge is actually thinking…..

    I actually have only had judges comment on my rides at local shows.

    I know it isn’t possible to do it this way, but when I was a competitive dancer each of the 3 judges had a comment card or tape recorder so as they watched us they would comment good and bad. I can’t tell you how much that helped all of us.

    again, I know it is impossible to do this at horse shows, but I agree that it would be awesome to get some sort of feedback

  7. Anonymous says:

    I liked Virginia Norris at CT Morgan this year. In some classes I saw her talking to everyone in the line up and in my classes she said thank you to everyone. She also asked people to do a lot of different things that judges don’t usually ask anymore like transitions to the canter from the trot, reverse at the trot, she just switched it up a lot.

  8. I have a little story about Cathy Grimes….

    2004 at the NY Morgan Regional, Cathy was the judge. I was completing my first full season under the Scottfield Stables banner, and had been assigned the training of a very, very nice black gelding named Hartland Best Man, by his breeders, Steve Herz and wife, Christine Gelineau. I had gotten on “Chad” the first time in March of that year, and had really busted my butt to get him ready for the Regional show. I was in the Junior Horse English Pleasure championship, along with Kathleen Peeples, Jackie Qua, Cindy Stanton and many other trainers I greatly respect. Of the field of 10, I was the nobody in the ring, and didn’t think I had a prayer of winning, even though I felt I had the horse power to get it done. Imagine my shock when we won the championship!! That was a defining moment in my career, and even now, one of my most treasured experiences. To be given such a huge opportunity, with such a great horse from such prominent breeders, to get so much done in such a short time, and then to have a judge give me the nod at such a big show in a very competitive class…. just incredible.

    Fast forward two years…. Oklahoma. I found Cathy Grimes, introduced myself, and told her how much putting me at the top of her card meant to me. She was very gracious, gave me a hug, and we went our separate ways. Whether or not she could pick me out of a lineup is doubtful. But I won’t ever forget that moment.

    An example of many people coming together to give a newcomer a shot. From the owners/breeders to the judges, there are so many people who have done right by me, a fact easy to forget after a show like this year’s New England.

    Judges sometimes forget how much power they really have and just how much their opinion can really change things, both positively and negatively. What may be just a class for one person can be a huge achievement or disappointment for another.

    I just thought with all of the downhearted exhibitors who rightfully felt cheated at New England, a little pick me up was necessary! :-) There are the great moments given by great judges as well. For me, that NY Regional Championship win was one of them.

    Add Cathy Grimes to my short list of great Judges!!

  9. Banbury says:

    I am with you on Virgina Norris at CT, the classes were alot of fun with her putting us through our transitional paces…was fun to try to rise to the challenge with my horse who is still pretty green. I grew up on Arabs and they used to do alot of that years ago, required alot more than just getting around the ring.

    Some of my all-time favorites…Cecil Hetzel, Peter Cameron, Don Burt. No politics back in the day with any of these.

  10. Windenhill says:

    Alicia Fraser writes:
    “I have a little story about Cathy Grimes….
    2004 at the NY Morgan Regional, Cathy was the judge.”

    Actually, it was me who judged the NY Regional in 2004. You showed under Cathy in 2005.

    And a note about judges making suggestive comments to exhibitors in line up (do not confuse this with encouragement or compliments). During my early years as a judge, I was told by more than a couple of the judges that I learnered under that “we are not clinicians, we are hired to adjudicate and we should not be playing horse trainer in the ring”. While it sounds logical and I can certainly see where a judge could embarrass themselves handing out training advice (especially those of us who are not professional trainers), there are times when just a little itty bitty tip to a rider can greatly improve their entire horse show.

    I try to avoid “coaching” in the line up. I keep my comments to “Great ride!” or “Good recovery!” or “Wow, he really gave you a hard time, but you handled it well!” OTOH, I am absolutely happy to hand out my ideas or tips to anyone who wants to make an appointment to speak with me through the steward, and they ask for my opinion on how to improve their ride or drive. However, I don’t feel like I need to step on the toes of the trainer on the rail by handing out advice from center ring.

    Now, if I’m judging a little open show here around home and a kid or green adult can use a little encouragement and help, that’s a different story. But at our class A regional and national level, I don’t play horse trainer on TV, on the internet or in the ring when I’m the one marking the cards.

  11. Windenhill says:

    I tried to put a little grin thing after “You showed under Cathy in 2005.” But it went away! Guess I should have done : )

  12. I can remember the details of that class right down to having difficulty with a left underpass on my pants, and Chad leaping over a shadow on his way into the warm up ring…. guess I just can’t do math!! It is 2008 and Chad is 7 this year! Whew…. better stick to training horses! Thanks for the correction!

    I guess I must have shown under you at NY in 2004— didn’t realize that! Had a good show….reserve with a novice park saddle horse and all my kids finished top 4!

    As for tips in the lineup, I always like them. I just never know what is the most proper thing to do when the judge walks the line up in front of me. I usually smile if they make eye contact. Does it matter?

  13. Bette's Mom says:

    I still recall the first time I showed under Karen Homer-Brown. New England, I think it was 2003. I had just started showing, was thinking this all may be a giant mistake, that I was ruinging my horse with my incompetence, felt under tremendous pressure, and completely blew my first class and deservedly got the “chocolate” ribbon. But I worked hard the rest of the week and in our next class, she said one thing to me, “excellent” and we placed like third. That was enough for me to regain confidence and continue for the rest of the show season. I saw her at OKC after winning our third Grand National title, and with tears in my eyes, I thanked her for restoring my confidence… point is, sometimes we never know what a word or two can accomplish.

  14. Dawn Fire says:

    I agree with Tami. A positive comment is nice to hear, but feedback for improvement is not a good idea. It is not the judge’s responsibility to tell someone how to traine or ride their horse. That is a good way to offend a lot of people.

    As much as it sometimes stinks, any time you go to a horse show, you are getting one person’s opinion. Sometimes that is an opinion that you agree with and sometimes it is not. I am not saying that there aren’t bad judges out there, but for the most part you have to take the good with the bad. I always say that you sometimes win classes you shouldn’t and you sometimes lose classes you shouldn’t.

  15. Bette's Mom says:

    Absolutely Dawn, My motto is from the movie “any given Sunday” … on any given day, anyone can win, or lose… moments of brilliance and opinion is the magic.

  16. mrsfire says:

    Bette’s Mom,

    I always say that just because you won a class doesn’t mean that you are the absolute best. It just means that in someone’s opinion you were the best at that moment. If they ran the class again, you might not get the same outcome. At least, that is what I try to teach my daughter.


  17. hrhirene says:


    That is a very good way of looking at it. I like that!

  18. jjoker says:

    I love the any given sunday quote and would show under that idea any day of the week. All i’m asking for is a chance to compete on even footing and let the cards fall where they may. I also understand how the show world works and thats fine for the open classes i guess but leave the am. and kids out of it. they are the future and supporters give them positive reinforcement let them know keep working hard, keep trying, nice job. It means alot these guy look up to judges and trainers even alittle help from a trainer on the rail is nice.

  19. Deb says:

    I agree that it’s especially important to keep amateurs and kids out of it but I don’t think it’s too much to ask to keep EVERYONE out of it.

  20. jjoker says:

    I’m all for that!

Leave a Reply