UPHA Judging

Went to watch at Upha horse show, and saw some puzzling things. Help me understand. I watched classed Thursday night and Saturday night, all of them. I had a few puzzlers both times. Some of the classes were easy to understand, but two classes didn’t make sense to me in particular. In the Roadster class, one of the horses broke for almost a whole rail and still pinned ahead of horses that didn’t. He had a lot of motion, but he broke twice, and the judge definitely saw one of them, the longer break. He did really well, and there weren’t any bad horses in the class. Also, in Morgan Park Saddle, the horses that were champion and reserve champion both messed up big time at the canter. One horse couldn’t get into the canter, and the other one hopped around a lot changing leads. There were other really good horses in the class who went just as well and cleaner, so how come they won? Also, are equitation riders given extra points for going really fast? I am very new to Morgans (I had saddlebreds until a a year ago) and I thought the Morgans were more into manners. It is one of the reasons I changed breeds. The western and hunter horses were severly penalized for errors, but the saddleseat horses seemed to be able to make all the mistakes they wanted without it effecting how they placed. Is that right? Are there rules about this.

47 Responses to UPHA Judging

  1. BanditsMom says:

    Well, it seems that you witnessed the political judging that can occur in all show rings, including those of Morgan shows. Some judges are more fair than others. I didn’t attend UPHA, so I can’t really comment on the judging. But I’m sure in the Saddlebred world you saw your share of unfair judges.
    Another thing, if a judge is going to ignore flaws in manners; they are usually going to do it in the open & junior horse divisions, particularly in Park or Roadster. In my opinion, this is because those 2 divisions are really about the horse’s athletic ability and presence. Those horses are usually desired to be “hotter” and showy-er, so less emphasis is put on manners. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone pinning horses first who flop their leads, break, or misbehave; it’s just the way it can go sometimes. It really depends on the judge.
    As for the equitation riders, I’m not really sure what you saw (because again, I wasn’t there) but no, a faster pace is not rewarded in that division.
    I’m sorry that you were confused by this particular judge/show, hopefully your next experience with a Morgan or semi-Morgan show won’t be as bad. Just like any other event, you can’t always count on the judge being 100% fair. There are good ones and bad ones. Just last year there was a post on here about the judging at New England Regional which recieved over 100 comments. Tons of people were outraged at the judging that took place there.

  2. jmorse says:

    “Well, it seems that you witnessed the political judging that can occur in all show rings, including those of Morgan shows. …… I didn’t attend UPHA, so I can’t really comment on the judging.”

    So, are you NOT commenting on judging you didn’t witness and, based just on this one person’s account, painting it as political, bad and unfair?

    Read your class specs: in the park classes, (except for LADIES, AMATEUR, MASTER, JUNIOR EXHIBITOR Park classes) and in the Roadster classes, manners are listed last in the order of importance of the judgeable criteria, so perhaps not exactly “ignored” …just not as important.

  3. BanditsMom says:

    I’m sorry if I offended anyone…
    In my comment I also noted that …”less emphasis is put on manners…”
    So yes, I am familiar with the rule book. I was merely commenting on one person’s account of what they saw to be major errors on the part of the winning horses and riders in those divisions. I have seen it go both ways with judges; they sometimes penalize errors severely, other times they do not. And that was my message to GoodFella145, that you cannot always count on all judges to judge alike.
    I was not painting the UPHA judging as “bad” or unfair, I was saying that that could have been a possibility because I wasn’t there and can’t comment from anything that I personally saw.

  4. StacyGRS says:

    I can’t say that I’d blame politics right off the bat. First of all, a judge has to weigh what they see and while you felt that the others were good options, perhaps the good outweighed the bad for those that won in the judges opinion…after all, it is just that…an opinion. Most judges try to judge on the positive rather than the negative points, although mistakes and issues do get factored in. While I’m sure you know the basic good horse from bad horse, if you don’t know the class specs perhaps there was something the judge did know that made them tie it the way they did. Also, you mentioned that the park CHAMPIONSHIP was one of the classes…did you take into consideration that 50% of that class is tied on the strip (conformation/type)? That is true in this breed’s open performance championships. Overall I think this breed suffers from little politics in judging…I think it is a battlecry for some that don’t understand why something was tied the way it was, but I really think that there are very few judges in our world that take politics into consideration. That is NOT to say we all agree on which horse is better, which flaw is worse, etc, etc…that’s the horse show part:):)
    As for the speed in the eq classes, I’m afraid that is a trend that has been developing slowly over the last few years. Speed has been confused with aggression and riding hard and a few have been rewarded and now it has gotten a bit out of control, IMO. I saw it rewarded at OKC more than I’d like…as far as I am concerned, flying around the gazebo as fast as one can does not constitute good riding:) BUT…that said, I think the trend has been noticed and will turn itself around…most do.
    I’m glad you’re joining our breed…it’s a great one! Enjoy it and remember…it’s one person’s opinion:) Even when we have a class that I totally disagree with I try my best to see what the judge saw and what they didn’t like and work on it…there’s always SOMETHING to fix and that’s what we try to take from results. Have fun an good luck in your new Morgan endeavors:)!!

  5. khummel says:

    I have a question about UPHA classics classes at all breed horse shows. How do you feel Stacy and others about the rule that a horse show does not measure the hoof length of first and second place winners at an all breed horse show even though it is a USEF/A rated Morgan horse show? The three year old classic class where money is involved. I was told by the very reputable and well respected steward that the only way to have the winners measured is to file a protest and put up $300 a piece. Nobody wants to win that way and the repurcussions wouldnt be worth it to me personally. I will not elaborate here but I can tell you first hand it would not be worth the bad karma. However, I dont think this makes good horse sense. I would like other opinions. I put our horse at a clear disadvantange by making it legal. Water over the bridge now but I was very suprised that these classes/horse shows do not measure and that a rule actually exists to not measure them at these all breed horse shows. The steward told me at an all morgan horse show first and second place would be measured. I talked to last years reserve winner of the Gold cup show. They were not measured. What do other professionals think? Please enlighten me as I am also a member of the UPHA brotherhood, but I feel very left out of the loop of what is up here.

  6. GoodFella145 says:

    The Equitation classes were fast across the board, but it was really notieceable in the Morgan classes. But the first second and third place riders in the Morgan Championship weren’t the fastest ones, and seemed to be more controlled, so maybe the judge liked that they weren’t as fast. the saddlebred championship was quick, but didn’t seem to be as out of control fast as some of the morgan riders.

    i can’t undertand the roadster class, and that still hasn’t really been explained, i guess.

    i understand a little more about the park saddle. i guess i thought that the horses had to canter well both ways, no matter what. i didn’t know that you could mess that part up and still get around the mistake free horses on conformation alone. interesting. there were two horses in the class with really nice park walks; it didn’t seem to help them move higher in the ribbons ahead of the horses who had mistakes and not good park walks. how much does the park walk count for? so, does that mean then that the horse with the best conformation automatically gets more leeway in errors than any other horse?

    If it matters and helps at all, the park class went Lamborgini in Black, Starboard Blitz Kreg, Whitemud Dixie Dance King, Ultra Special Intention, Minion Mardi gras. All of them were really, really nice. I recognized 4 of the 5 riders. And 3 & 4 place didn’t make any mistakes, i dont think. Probably the best park saddle class i have seen so far myself, but i guess i don’t know what i am doing here, because i judged it way different than how it actually went. haha.

    is conformation also weighed in a roadster class?

    i will try to find the names of the horses in the roadster and equitation classes i saw.

  7. RaeOfLight says:

    GoodFella, if you need help looking up class results I have posted all the Morgan and Equitation class results under the 2009 Morgan Shows page for this show.

    A note to everyone else, I have just about caught up with linking to results and photo proofs for all past shows and hope to continue to do this throughout the show season.


  8. GoodLookinGal says:

    I tried, I really tried to bite my tongue. But I now see the results for the Park Saddle, and I have to say it: Why would anyone try to go in a class with lamborghini in it? No one beats that horse, he could miss both leads. Why waste your entry fee? He can’t be beaten by anyone but Mike Goebigs riders, so why did you pay the money?

  9. Sammy M. says:

    Although I agree with Stacy about the classes at UPHA (I also was not there) and how it could have been a number of things like a.) the conformation or b.)like she said, the good could have outweighed the bad.

    BUT, I do not agree with what she said about politics. I am in no way saying that this breed suffers from political judging on a massive, corrupt scale. I’m not saying that at all because that’s not true, but I wouldn’t say that it only suffers a little. And I would not say that it’s just a battle cry for those who don’t understand the results or think they were pinned unfairly. It most certainly happens in this breed.
    And it’s not always the person who pins poorly who notices. I’ve won classes before that I shouldn’t have just because of the horse I was on or the barn I was with. I think we’ve all seen the judges who look away when their favorite horse breaks or jigs right in front of them. I’ve also been on the other end of things, the worse end. The end where you have the best ride of your life on a competetive horse and the judge barely looks at you and doesn’t pin you because he/she’s never heard of your horse and then pins all the “big-name” horses first regardless of their performances.

    It’s not just politics, it’s more that there is a problem with unknown horses and riders. People/horses/barns who have established a name for themselves are pinned better than those without the name. It’s almost like, if the judge doesn’t recognize the horse or rider, they don’t know how they should pin them because no one else has pinned them yet or they don’t know how they’ve pinned in the past.

    So, though I would not jump to conclusions about UPHA if you were not there, I wouldn’t say that this breed is free of political or biased judging. It is most definitely present.

  10. PrincessPrada says:

    Who knows what happened at UPHA, but I think Sammy M makes a very good point. It might not always be politics, but it happens, like it or not. ANd I think the question of why anyone would even bother competing against a horse like Lamborghini is a good one. I think maybe one of the reasons the hunter and western divisions grow and grow and the EP and for sure the Park division get smaller and smaller is that the same hunter doesn’t win at every competition; and for sure, if a hunter blows a lead in front of the judge, even thoguh it is judged just as much on conformaiton as the park horses, the hunter will always be penalized. And if a famous hunter loses a class, no one really cares and it doesn’t damage the horse’s reputaiton. But if a famous park horse loses, its a huge deal. Judges don’t want to be the one to penalize the park horse that “should” win. And whetther you call it political or whatever doesn’t really matter. Its still not right, and shoudln’t happen.

  11. RaeOfLight says:

    Alrighty… we needed a new poll, so there you go. Is the judging in Morgan Shows political? This question was asked about a year ago, but the readership here has grown considerably since then, so I figure it’s worth asking again.

    Personally, I can see why people might think it would be political when it comes to big name training barns, etc. But something I think worth remembering is that most big names get big for a reason, they’re good at what they do! So of course they’re going to win. Not because they’re well known, they’re well known because they’re GOOD. Not only that, but once those training barns start filling up, the trainer can begin to pick and choose which horses he/she wants to take on or continue working with.


  12. Sammy M. says:

    Right, but we’re not saying that people/horses who AREN’T good are winning and that’s the problem. The problem is that those people/horses who are good, are winning even when they’re not good. Nobody is perfect, so nobody can be good all the time. But with a lot of judges, they pin those people when they have bad rides, above those who have good rides but don’t have the name or reputation.

    No one (or at least I’m not) is saying that those people/horses didn’t get to the top for a reason. It wouldn’t make sense if crappy horses/riders were the most well-known and well-pinned, in any industry. That’s not the issue. The issue is that people/horses with that kind of quality, but lack the name, are being ignored a lot of the time, while those with the big names are being rewarded (even when they don’t deserve it)

  13. PrincessPrada says:

    I understand what both Rae and Sammy are saying, and yes, Sammy. the problem with some of the english classes at spring premiere wasn’t that the winners werent good horses/riders/trainers, but that they were winning even when they didnt have good goes. And then we wonder why park classes are empty. maybe if is was mroe fair and the best performance won, not always just the best horse (that had mistakes) we would have mroe people in the class instead of witnessing the unfair slaughter from the rail.

  14. StacyGRS says:

    OK…I think Sammy might have misunderstood me…I didn’t say politics never happens, I said I don’t think it happens as often as I hear it blamed. A while back I had a horse win a class that I thought NEVER should have won. To this day I wholeheartedly disagree. However, upon talking to the judge his reasons were very clear. The issue I had with the horse, in his opinion, was forgiveable because the horse’s type, quality, headeset, and rest of the class. I was told he was 5 places above the second place horse and when “knocked” for that he was still 2 places above the second place horse. Now, I don’t agree, BUT…this was NOT a political decision. This was a decision based on this judges strong preferrence for this horse. We DID ask for his opinion upon entering, so how can I say that is wrong? And it is not political…do I agree? NO. Doesn’t make it political. I think that placing friends over others happens alot less than people think. Persoanlly, I had a friend judge us last year and he was the hardest on us of anyone. I also found that when you have a horse that is popular and known you tend to get judged against other performances that horse has given. I was told once by a judge that tied a horse of our’s second in a clas I though it won that they had “seen that horse so much better” another time. To hold that against a horse is sort of reverse discrimination, but, regardless not political and human nature…again, I entered…I asked. And, I couldn’t disagree…the horse had been better in other classes. While I disagree with the reasoning, the next time I showed that horse in front of that judge, we were the best we could be…and we won. It’s all about trying to not have 1 single reason to get beat…you have to try to take out all doubt. You may not agree that whatever imperfection you had should have gotten you beaten, but you have to be honest and realize there WAS an imperfection and therefore, you were beatable. Then try to eliminate it next time. Very rarely have I seen a great horse have a great go and be the clear winner and not get tied…no matter who the rider/driver is. It’s when nobody has the great go on the great horse that we all have to consider weighing out the good and the bad. That’s when things get sticky:)I can honestly say that I’ve seen a call that appeared political here and there from a judge but there really are only 1-2 judges that I think are, overall, political and playing games as often as not. Most take their job very seriously and weigh it out in their heads more than you think. You may not agree with their decisions, but they do weigh it out as best they can in a short amount of time.
    The statement was made that the known people tend to win because they become known by being good…this sort of touches on something I think people forget. The “known” trainers see enough horses and are experienced enough in evaluations to be the most critical of horses in their care. I tend to look at my horse’s flaws before their assets because flaws are what I work on every day. So, I see them and I analyze them…alot…and with brutal honesty. That said, those people also know how to not accentuate those flaws, or even diminish how obvious they become. They tend to know how to bring to the forefront a horse’s positives to be seen first and a judge doesn’t have very long to evaluate each horse.
    The original person that asked this question was not very aware of the specs for some of these classes (not picking on you…just pointing out that if you don’t know where manners is on the list of importance in relation to say, animation, vs conformation, how can you know how the classes should be placed?).I think a great thing for people to do is take the judges school once. Even if you never intend to judge…you can still sign up and attend. Learn about the specs. Learn about the priorities. It takes alot of the guesswork out of it.
    As for showing against Lamborgini, I would if I had a horse to do it on. In a minute. Are the odds of beating him great? No…he’s very good at his job, is BEAUTIFUL, and loves what he does. These are hard to beat. But some can get it done. Will everyone? No…he’s just plain better than most…but some do and what fun it is to be that person! And to be second to such a nice horse is no insult. I hate to see people think like that…part of the fun of showing is being against the best. Even if you don’t beat them, they push you to do the very best you can.
    just some food for thought…
    ps…this is why I don’t have a judges card…and why we have a small judges pool:) I was not at UPHA but I do know the judge and it is a person that puts great thought and consideration into judging and considers it a privledge to be asked. She holds the very idea of judging in the highest regard and concerns herself about living up to the reponsibility. That is not to say I haven’t disagreed with decisions she has made or that anyone else can’t, but that I know she gave it her honest best and truely believed what she put on the card when she handed it in and that, IMO, is really all one can ask from a judge. I’m not saying one can’t sidcuss or question reasons for placngs, not at all, but when we turn to accusing the judges of immorality because we didn’t agree we make it a responsibility wth very few rewards and many more drawbacks. JMO

  15. StacyGRS says:

    As for the UPHA question, I don’t know. I have not qualified at a multi breed show. We don’t have alot of UPHA classes out here, so when we do they are at all MOrgan shows. I guess I don’t think of many of our horses as being at a disadvantage with a little less foot, but we tend to keep our’s around where they have to be to show so if we have to adjust it ispretty minor. Otherwise it is a disadvantage. To be really honest, we measure at home and then again at the shows before we show, but other than that I think I don’t really take note if they measure or not…I just go get it done if someone at the outgate tells me to:)

  16. colwilrin says:

    Stacy – just to piggy back onto your story about the horse you showed that was “5 places” higher coming in the ring.

    In the 30 some odd years I have shown, I can not tell you how many times I have bit my tongue listening to the friend/relative of a 5th place horse saying “but her ride was clean,” and wanting to say…but it just didn’t have the quality to beat the others.

    Lambourghini has something that very few horses possess…and absolute charisma that makes a person draw a deep breath and get chills. You can almost see the horse smiling (if one could) when he shows. He LOVES his job and is fantastic at it. Horses that don’t carry that same charisma will pale in comparison, despite clean trips around the pen.

    I have heard show officials tell me to think of it this way. The horse is given a rating on quality and first impression as it comes in the ring. The performance will either take away, or add marks to that rating.

    Horse A is a 10…horse B is a 6, even with a clean go…A would have to lose 5 marks in points (completely fail to perform half of the entire ride) to be beaten.

    That always made it a bit easier for me to understand.

    When the real fun begins is when a bunch of 9′s and 10′s get out there together to duke it out!

    BTW…Stacy, knows all about 10′s …she has OC ;) Talk about getting chills!

  17. StacyGRS says:

    OC thanks you for the compliment…he thinks he is pretty special too:):)
    well said on the judging comments. The fact is that when the horse comes in one person will call it an 8 and another a 10…such is life in horse shows and Dancing with the Stars!:)Then they have to rate each mistake…so…the judge that called it an 8 says the mistake knocks it down 3 to a 5 and the other judge doesn’t think the mistake was quite that bad…they knock it down 2 to become an 8…it all becomes relevant. We pay for the opinion…take what you can from the experience and make every effort to leave no “holes” in your horse or your go. It’s the only way to truely enjoy competition and better yourself.

  18. StacyGRS says:

    BTW GLG…you don’t just go in a class to win it…I hope. You go in to show your horse and have fun and try to better your last ride. Some of those great classes that havegreat horses (even if you know you aren;t going to beat them) are SO fun with the nois and excitment. I was in the open park saddle workoff at OKC about 3 years ago and it was the loudest, most excitng class I’ve ever been a part of. It was the thrill of being there. I was third…4 made the workoff…I was happy to make the workoff, some very nice horses didn’t…and happy to come out third. Good ribbon, good class…the reason I do this.

  19. ultraspecial says:

    We were sent a video of this class that has been discussed. A horse that we bred and sold-Ultras Special Intention was in the class. Steve and I watched her and though we love her, and thought she was beautiful in the class, we also thought she looks more like a Ladies Park horse-rather than an open horse. She was very mannerly-as a ladies horse should be. Lamborgini is very much an open type Park horse-though we would love to be bragging about Ultras Special Intention winning this class, we know she has many wins in her future-and one class does not judge her overall beauty or talent for her career!

  20. Scottfield03 says:

    Hello, All!
    So, I haven’t said anything about the Park Saddle Championship at UPHA up to this point because I was in it, showing a wonderful mare named Ultra’s Special Intention, and therefore think any opinion I have would be viewed as tainted. So instead, I posted her video on youtube so that her owner/breeder/fans could see it. To UltraSpecial: I agree that Annabelle will ultimately be a Ladies horse, and I hope to bring her out that way at some point this season. :-) Had a Junior horse Championship (she’s only 4 or a Ladies Championship been offered, I would have taken her in it. Since the Open Championship was the only option, and the horse went to the show for mileage, I put her in it. I am soooo proud of how well Annabelle (Special Intention) did showing her first time under saddle–and still in a baby curb bit! Would I have loved a higher ribbon? Sure! But I was so happy with her classes and with all of the super positive feedback from the railbirds, that the ribbon becomes a non-issue. Besides, she tied 4th behind 3 World titled Park horses. Talk about good competition! I am thrilled with her debut, as is her owner, so what do I have to be unhappy about?

    PS – Thank you to everyone who cheered for Annabelle on the rail– She could hear you!!!

  21. PrincessPrada says:

    Scottfield- As one of the people actually IN the class, you were happy to be pinned 4th on a clean class behind horses with big mistakes?

    How about the rest of the judging?

  22. Scottfield03 says:

    I did not give an opinion on the judging, nor will I. Mine doesn’t matter. I wasn’t the judge. I made the mistake of offering an opinion on judging last summer on this blog, and I won’t be quick to make that mistake twice.

    I only gave my opinion on the performance of the horse I was showing. Given the quality of the class, I think it could have been pinned any number of ways, using any number of reasoning methods.

    As for the judging overall, we had a really good horseshow, both in terms of performances and ribbons.

    To quote my friend, Jen, “You pay your money and take your chances.”

  23. StacyGRS says:

    As someone who has been in a similar situation of taking a green horse in an open class (not this class and not this show…and I can’t speak for Scottfield), I can say that I was very happy to be placed in the middle ribbons. Just because I had a “clean” ride doesn’t mean that I felt I should have beaten horses that were experienced enough and mature enough to not just survive, but to shine and show off. It isn’t just that you walk,trot,and canter when called for, it’s HOW you walk,trot,and canter as well. If my Jr horse were to show against my ladies WC I would guess that even with a mistake, the ladies horse would beat the Jr horse. She may have a mistake, but she’ll wow em when she’s right and she’ll easily correct the mistake and move on. She’ll be as good on the last pass as the first, she’ll march down every rail without any hesitation and like she wants to win, she’ll guide anywhere I put her which means she’ll be able to be seen at her best, and she’ll wear the bridle like a seasoned veteran…light and mannerly with obvious understanding. Usually at this time of year the Jr horses lack that finish and maturity. Having seen more than a few horses at this time of year and again in Oct…the difference is big. I think the word “clean” is deceiving. What is “Clean”? Without a gait mistake (w/t/c)? Without a flaw? How do you judge a horse with something that really bothers you with a “clean” go against one that has fewer negatives and a mistake? At this point I am not talking about that specific class, but, about the problem that judging and reporting present. Do we know when results are reported that all of the other horses were comparable in the other ways? Soundness? Balanced motion? true gaits? Good attitude? Longevity? type and conformation? Bridleing? Transitions? Are any or all of these as important as getting the correct lead right off the bat or breaking into the trot for a couple of strides? They are things the judge has to consider…not just the obvious, bt the total package. Those things tend to get lost in translation. I don;t know if this applies here or not, but I’ve seen it many times.

  24. CowgirlUp says:

    I can completely understand everyone’s points here. These horse shows have subjective judging so it can vary from show to show and everyone’s opinions are different. And I, and I think others here too, get what Scacey’s talking about, with horses who are not as spectacular as others having clean rides but not pinning as well. Yes, it can be frustrating to work your butt off, have a clean ride, and still be beaten by those show ring stars who may not have clean rides. But that can be the way it is.

    BUT, I know from experience that those horses & riders with the reputation can have an advantage, not just because they are actual more appealing than those with clean ride, but merely because they have the name. I think someone already said something about it, how those with the name are given more attention, or judges seem to feel it’s “okay” to pin them high.

    I’ve been on horses before who ARE just as competetive and showy and gorgeous as the well known horses AND have had 100% clean rides on them and STILL been beaten by horses who haven’t had clean rides but have the name. And these horses that I’ve shown have won a lot, just not world or regional titles because they haven’t been there. They don’t get their pictures in the connection. So sometimes these judges haven’t heard of them and even though the quality is there and the manners are there, they are still beaten by those that the judge is familiar with.

    Another example of this is when I’ve seen riders with a not-so-well-known barn pin mediocre at shows, and then right when they start showing under the banner of a well-known barn, they suddenly win everything. And I know, some people might say “well, the training is better there so obviously it wasn’t because of the name it was because of the training” Well, right, I would agree with you, IF there was a change in the way the rider or horse looked. But i’ve seen it happen when there is obviously absolutely no change but the horse and rider do significantly better with the new barn.

    I’m guessing that those judges who do that, assume that because they haven’t heard of that horse, that must mean it normally doesn’t do well,so they don’t even give them a chance.

    I’m not saying that this is how every single show goes..obviously, not sure I’d still be showing if it was. But this definitely does happen and I don’t think it’s fair and I don’t think it’s fair to just say “Well, ya know there’s always a good reason for every decision they make” or to say that judges never take the name into consideration. Because I know, and a whole lot of others know, that that is not true.

  25. StacyGRS says:

    well, cowgirlup, I think the part that I find to be missing here is fact. You see, you say there is absolutely no difference in the performance, but I don’t know that to be true so therefore can’t bash a judge for something I hear and do not know. I am not saying you’re lying…I believe you believe what you say…as I do about most pople… but there may be small differences you don’t notice.and maybe not even you, but others that report this type of thing. I’ve had parents ask why their kid got beat when they were obviously better…well, they WEREN’T better. And I’ve also had people say just what you said…my horse was just as fancy and competitive as the well known one…and guess what, it wasn’t always. Your’s may be, but everyone that thinks their horse is just as good is not right…I promise:) Point being…maybe the differences were subtle but effective…rider and horse were just presented better. Taught how to get better spots in the ring, turned out a little better, something small was changed that made a bit of difference. Maybe not…maybe you are right and they sit in the middle and think about who moved where and what ribbon they should get, but, I don’t think so. I have bad news for all of you advertisers…the judge I live with does not read the magazines…at all. Not on principle, he just would rather be outside building, raking, tidying:) He doesn’t read anything on the internet…hates computers. He calls me when judging and tells me some chestnut horse won an ama class and it was really cool…if he doesn;t write it down, he doesn;t remember unless it’s a horse he’s seen in previous years. He doesn’t know and generally doesn’t care other than to know it’s breeding, etc for his own training/breeding purposes.
    I will say one thing about judging that he believes very firmly in…he says that being a judge has made him a better exhibitor. He understands more of what is and isn’t obvious from center ring, sees how little changes in things can effect the overall look that you wouldn’t think would matter. What the most common mistakes are that are hard for a judge to get past, etc. In general, he thinks it has taught him as much as anything else to succeed when showing. That tells me that standing in center ring is differnt than many think. There is just not that much time in there to come up with all of the moves and gossip, etc and take it into consideration in most classes. Has it ever happened? Yes. but I think that politics is very minute in this breed. Not non existant, but very minute. When popl choose to believe otherwise, IMO, they are missing out on a chance to learn how to better themselves and their horses.

  26. nightmusicfarms says:

    Who was the judge at UPHA?

  27. PrincessPrada says:

    Sandy Sesink was the judge.

    Maybe one of the reasons you don’t see the politics, StacyGRS, is because they work for you. You are at a point in your career where you get the ebenfit of the doubt.

    But, I think we might have finally gotten down to the real problem. To me, if I am a judge, the thing I am going to penalize most is lameness, followed by disobedience. Then I am going to weigh out mistakes. From the horses left, I will find my winner. I bet if we made a list of things a horse could be judged on, and we all put themin order, no two of us would agree. Part of the reason we all get so frustrated with the judging is that it is so based on personal opinion. Yes, the breed specs are there, but they dont tell us how much to penalize errors. We need a point system or something. Like hunter jumpers. Or reiners. What if every gait had a point value, or every horse started with 20 points and each error had a vertain point value, maybe at least the judging would be more consistent.

    The statement made by Scottfield that the class could have been pinned any number of different ways is exactly why this sport is so difficult, and also why judges end up on the chopping block. It should be more clear cut than what we have, guys. Stacy list many things that factor into judging. How bout an order of importance? Take some opinion out of it.

    And this is the first I have heard the “beaten by 5 places, so you get more mistakes and still win,” theory. What is that about?????!!!!

  28. colwilrin says:

    Princess Prada,

    There is a basic flaw in your premise. Not all horses can start at 20. In the average class, the basic quality of horses ranges greatly. A horse of lesser quality can not start out at the same value as a world champion quality animal. Therefore, the higher quality horse can actually have more errors before it is marked down to the performance level of the lower quality animal. In other words, an ugly headed, ewed-necked, flat knee trotting, slopped crouped 4H horse that won’t look through a bridle could stand on its head and spit wooden nickles…but it won’t beat that OKC quality horse. Nor should it!

    Judging IS personal opinion. That is the nature of the beast. It is subjective, and one person’s opinion. That is what showing is all about. We put our best efforts in to see how one person would rank us.

    The process of judging involves weighing a series of variables, and how one person perceives each of them. It is necessary to weigh and grade intangible variables (ring presence, desire to perform, match of rider to horse etc…)It is more like a beauty pagent with a heavily weighted talent portion and less of a track meet.

    Those who desire a more objective equine sport are really in the wrong business, and should look at something like show jumping, or racing…where only one or two tangible variables (speed or leaving rails up) are assessed.

    As for the beaten by 5 places, see my earlier post for a more indepth explanation. The concept is quite common and long standing.

  29. StacyGRS says:

    Well, first, maybe they do work for me…I’m willing to accept that possibility (although I’m not convinced of it, but it would be fairly blind to not accept the possibility) but have I always been in that spot? Since I was a kid? When I won at Oklahoma with my horse that I worked from home with my mom’s help? I’ve pretty much always thought I had a fair shot when entering the ring and showed that way…and have been treated that way. While I can’t complain at all about my success I get beat more often than not and I can usually see the reason if I look with honesty. I may not like it…or agree with it…but I can find it.
    You are correct that this is a subjective sport…personally, I think it is the best and worst of it. I love that a horse can step up beyond their physical capabilities with heart and exhuberance and have that help them. I love that on any given day I have a chance to beat a better horse. Those factor in less in a jumping or reining situation. A point system is fine except that, really, how long do you think it would take for a judge to apply points to say 6-8 catagories for each horse in a 15 horse class? I’m thinking we better get used to long classes.
    What is that theory about? Compare it to a race…more factual…if the lead horse is ahead by 20 lengths it can stumble and STILL beat the second horse by 2-3, which is all that is needed. Or, consider your point system. Top horse has 9′s in all 10 “catagories” (using 10 catagories for easy math) so it has an overall score of 90. Second place horse has a mix of 6′s and 7′s to total 64 as an overall score. Now, your 90 horse takes 4-5 trot steps to get into his canter lead the second way. Is that worth 26 points? That would make it worth more than 2.5 entire catagories! If not, say it’s worth knocking off 5 points in it’s “gaits” catagory (which is 1/2 the points for 1 transition which is alot since there would be approx. 10 or more transitions in a class as well as the actual gaits themselves, so, really one transition should be worth less than a point). Your winner now has an 85 and your second place horse has a 64…your winner gets to beat the second place horse by quite a bit still! Does this make more sense?
    As for order of importance, that’s the point…it varies from class to class. For instance in a ladies class manners is quite a bit higher than it is in an open class. A Jr Exb class and an open class should be judged very differrently. The same horses with the same goes in those 2 classes would very likely get quite different ribbons. That’s why I think that people should take the judging school. And, for soundness, well…that ranges from limping to being off in timing. Some people wouldn’t even notice a horse whose timing was off and some see it immediatly. Should a soundness issue be ignored by an astute judge because everyone might not see it? Because soundness, to me, is a biggie and unfortunately it is something alot of people don’t see. Therefore, if I were judging and I penalized it those people that aren’t aware of it might wonder what I tied that horse down for. Then I get accused of politics when I really had an issue with a horse that I felt was unsound. That’s my point. I had a good reason and because someone didn’t see it I am going to get to have conversations had by the person “reporting” this class saying I was political. Doesn’t make me wonder why our judges pool is shrinking.

  30. StacyGRS says:

    I am not, btw, saying…and I have NEVER said…that politics is non-existant. Just that I think that we really need to be careful … just because we don’t see the reason doesn’t mean there wasn’t one. And with the interet availability people with little to no knowledge can assess and criticize our judges and harm good reputations that have been hard earned.
    We took 32 horses to Santa Barbara one year (EVERYONE in ca wants to go to SB…it’s always our biggest)…we got TWO blue ribbons the whole week. One was in a one horse class. The judge was one of the judges we were about to see at Oklahoma. Clearly he did not like us. We had a few clients that wanted to back out of going to the gn. We told everyone to relax…three judge system, it would all be fine. We went home and watched videos, looked at pics, studied our horses and asked some questions of unbiased spectators. We went to Oklahoma and had our best year ever, as far as ribbons. We won 7 or 8 World Championships with horses that had been beaten at SB against horses that had beaten them and got 1st place votes from the same judge! We talked to him later and were told that they were better at OKC then they were at SB. Had we cried unfairness we would not have taken the honest look and would not have been the best we could be.
    If there really is a political judge, take note and try to avoid them. I’m just saying that I don’t think it happens as frequently as we hear it being blamed and I think we’re missing the chance to use judging for what it is meant to be…a way to better ourselves.

  31. PrincessPrada says:

    What a shame that if I want better judging I am told to perhaps look elsewhere. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. That is the trend, to leave the saddleseat ring to go barrel race, or jump, or anywhere that has better judging systems.

    I have no problem with a 20 minute class if thats how long it takes to get a fair shake.

    And if there are reasons for a horse pinning the way it did that has nothing to do with politics, then let me know the reasons. How stupid are we? “I am going to put my horse in a class to be judged by one person, who only has 6 minutes to evaluate all 15 of us, and then, I get a prize for reasons that I will never know. And I am gonna spend a lot of money to get that mystery opinion. AND no one owes anyone an explaination for anything.” Why don’t we just draw straws? What good is the reasoning if no one knows it. How am I supposed to do better?

    There just has to be a better way.

  32. jessica says:


    I don’t think anyone told you to leave the saddleseat ring. I do agree though, that for purely objective judging one has to participate in something that is judged solely by the clock (jumpers, barrels, racing). Any time there is a human judge, there is subjectivity.

    You sound rather bitter, and it makes me wonder if you enjoy showing at all. It is supposed to be fun, you know.

    How are you supposed to do better? Video tape your class(es). Have a reasonably objective friend give you feedback on the class.

    I can generally tell what sort of ride I’ve had, and if it is a good ride, and I’m down in the ribbons, I try to find someone that saw the class to tell me what I did that wasn’t quite right, or possibly more importantly, what other horses did that was much better.

    Mystery opinion? Actually, I find that if I spend a bit of time at the ring, and watch classes, I can figure out what the judge likes or dislikes. It isn’t really that much of a mystery.

    I’m sorry that you think the system is so horribly broken. Almost everything can be improved in one way or another, but I don’t see the same level of dysfunction that you obviously do.

  33. Sammy M. says:

    What an interesting discussion!

    I can feel the frustration of PrincessPrada. I could be wrong here, but I don’t think it’s that she doesn’t enjoy showing, I think it’s that she is just fed up with the system and venting. I think she is merely trying to get her point across, not trying to say that the Morgan judging system is horribly corrupt.

    I agree that a lot of the time the judging is reasonably fair and that if you try to see yourself and your horse in an ubiased light you can see the reasons for how you tied. But to me, undisputably, there are cases where that is just not true. It happens and people can deny it as much as they want but I would say that I’m a very knowledgable horseperson with a lot of experience on the Morgan circuit and i have seen my share of kooky judging. Not to say that it happens alll the time and it’s a huge problem in this industry; I’m not saying that at all

    Speaking of lameness in classes. This relates to both lameness and biased/political judging. I have a story of a show I attended last year. I saw a class (amateur western pl, i think) where a horse was OBVIOUSLY, and I’m talking plain as day, lame. I mean, it was limping at its walk and jog and favoring one leg at its canter. Everyone around me was whispering about it the whole time. (This horse normally moved soundly). It was a large class full of some very nice horses, hardly any slouchers. This horse pinned 2nd. It was unbelievable. None of us could believe it. Just thought I’d share that story

    PrincessPrada makes a suggestion that I think it’s fair to ponder over- longer classes maybe? At least for larger classes. Noramally a judge will take a little longer on a large class, like say junior exhib hunter pl. But I have seen it a number of times where the judge takes just as long on a class of 15 as they do on a class of 5, which is not good in my opinion. Just a thought

  34. jessica says:

    Sammy M.

    I don’t deny that there is unfathomable judging. Or even politically motivated judging. I do agree with StacyGRS that there are more cries of that than are justified. I have several good friends who are horribly barn blind (and I do believe we all are to some extent). They watch their horses go, and fail to see that theirs aren’t as well presented/collected/wearing the bridle/moving correctly/displaying good transitions, and so on. They only see that the first place horse bobbled something, and their horse didn’t. Therefore, they assume that the judging is political, rather than recognizing that there is something their horse needs to work on to improve.

    I do agree with you on the lameness situation. I too have seen lame horses pin well. I have come to the conclusion that some people either really can’t see it, or truly do ignore it. Both are unacceptable.

    I’m not sure longer classes would make a difference. I’ve shown to judges that take forever, and to judges that are very fast. As long as I can understand the pinnings – not necessarily agree, but at least be able to see some consistancy – then I don’t see speed of judging as an issue.

  35. Carley says:

    Generally, if I can follow the judges placings in classes, then I’m okay with their style. It’s when I watch class after class and still cannot figure out what they like and dislike. Thats what irks me. I haven’t been around the morgans for very long, but I have already started to pick up on which judges I like and ones I don’t. Like I said previously, it all goes back to who I can follow. Even if I don’t agree (if i would place more emphasis on manners, way of moving etc.) I’m okay as long as they are consistent.

    About the lameness issue… I believe that’s when a judge can really get called out. If a normally spectacular horse comes in the ring lame, and still pins high, then you know they only pinned because of they’re name/rider/etc. I saw this happen a couple times last season. I think if we required more educationed judges, like knowing they know what a lame horse is, then the politics would disappear.
    To me its when the judges don’t know what a quality horse really is that they fall back onto picking the trainers and horses they are comfortable pinning higher.

  36. PrincessPrada says:

    I love to show! Love it!

    My problem is that there is NO accountability where judges are concerned, and its not their fault– we have no hard and fast rules in regards to judging. I know we have judging standards, but they don’t tell us how to weigh faults against one another, and they don’t clarify what good points should be most rewarded. As a result, the judge can pin it any way they want because there is no higher authority clarifying what faults are bigger or what positives are better to really sort out 1st-6th. And I would even be okay with THAT if the judges at least had to fill us in on why they pinned it how they did. But I am sick of these judges being given the priveledge of judging only to do whatever the heck they want in the center and not so much as have to offer an explaination to the exhibitors. I can’t believe that for what we pay for an opinion, and what we are asked to accept in ribbon placement, no one else has a problem with not even getting a reasonable explaination after a class. I really don’t think it is an unreasonable request. Look at the posts here- judging is always a hot button issue, and people spend a lot of time defending judges, making it clear that it is the judge’s job to place the class and anyone who questions it doesn’t know what they are doing or is a sour loser. NO! I love to show. i would love to be better at it. But in exchange for subjecting me and my horse to the opinion and scrutiny of a judge with free rein to do whatever they want, I would like either 1- more regulations and clearer definitions of what should be Penalized, severely penalized, DQed, rewarded, substantially rewarded and everythign in between OR 2- a written or oral explaination of why/how the class was pinned. This could easily happen in the 5 minutes of time we all spend in the middle lineup wondering how we are all gonna end up. Most of the time, I win. Last year, we were 1st and 2nd in every class but 3. I went to 7 shows. My horse is very well known, and I benefit greatly from the bias in our system. It is still bias.

    Lameness= DQ in my book
    Missed lead= Severely penalized
    Consistency = +1
    An explaination = Priceless

  37. Sammy M. says:

    I liked your last remarks on bias and your horse’s reputation. It’s refreshing to hear and only supports everyone’s points on here.

    Another option for getting explanations would be that they could be posted at the horse show office after each session. That would be AWESOME.

  38. colwilrin says:

    The judges can offer an opinion. At the end of the show (or your participation in it) you have the right to ask the Show Steward if you may talk with the judge. Then you are free to ask the judge why they pinned a class or you a certain way. You may ask what you did wrong, how to improve, etc…

    It would be interesting to see what a judge would say if you approached them after a class where you thought bias helped you and asked “why did I win.” After the judge picked their jaw up off the ground, I’d love to hear the answer. It might be more telling than the answer to the usual “why didn’t you pin me higher.”

  39. Ignitor says:

    I maybe wrong but since the UPHA Classic’s are Preliminary classes to Qualify to compete for the Actual Championship class that is held each year at the Jubilee Regional…I don’t believe there is a need to measure the first and second place horse.

    Just like if you go into any qualifying class… EXP: 2 yr old Pleasure Driving Mare and Gelding class… The first and second place winner is not measured. Now unless you feel that they are over length then you can file a Protest to the Steward. I thought it was $200 to file that protest. It is goverened by the USEF. You can find that info at the USEF web site.
    Otherwise when the Jr. Pleasure driving CHAMPIONSHIP occurs.. that is when the Grand and Reserve winners ARE to be measured. It is the rules for a Class A Morgan show.

    If it is an Open show or an ALL breed show and not A rated then they do not need to measure and length is not an issue.

    Since this UPHA show you speak of is a USEF A rated show for Morgans.. The Grand and Reserve Champions Must be measured. (That is done at the out gate by the steward for whoever asked that question). Since the UPHA Classic Pleasure and Park Harness Driving (Open to 3 yr old and under) is not considered a Championship class the first and second place horse is not measured.

    That’s my take on it anyways.
    If you find out anything else please post.

  40. Ignitor says:

    In regards to the Open Park Saddle class Comment.. Why should others show up when you are against a WC. Stay home and save your $$$…

    Well I guess I am one of those who will choose to show up. Call me Crazy..foolish with my money but that is what competition is all about.

    You know a Grand Trainer in this business told me once… It is harder to stay at the Top then to get there. And I agree!!! Why shouldn’t I be the one to upset the apple cart. It maybe my horses day!

    I have a nice horse and I want others to see it. That is why I pay to enter and compete in the Park classes. I may or may not have a great class. You never know if your horse is on that day or not…you only hope they are.
    My reward may not be the blue ribbon….My reward is the satisfaction I had a good ride ( hopefully) and that the crowd liked what they saw.

    Many times at the GN I have seen the 3rd or 4th place horse get a standing Ovation when they exit the ring. That to me would be better than the Blue anyday. I still remember those horses names to this day.

    Plus when your horse is GREEN in the ring you need to work out the kinks before the BIG Dance in October. Scottfield my hats off to you. Those Green horses will be the seasoned ones before long which in turn makes them very marketable. Which is the point isn’t it?

  41. StacyGRS says:

    Pprada, I’m not sure where you got that you should go elsewhere, I never said that at all. What I did say was that I hear more people complain about politics than I see politics and I consider it a pretty heavy accusation. If I am going to attack someone’s morals I have to be pretty sure that I am exactly right on the money. Even if you find out later you were wrong, things can’t be unsaid and damage gets done.
    Here’s a different way to look at it…I watch Dancing With The Stars…after each dance I come up with my own score based on what I saw and what I know. I then listen to the judges explain what they saw…an illegal lift, toe heel instead of heel toe, breaking hold in a dance that doesn”t allow it. These are genreally things I didn’t take into consideration and therefore my score tends to be off a point or 2 when it comes to these situations.If I didn’t hear the judges explainations I might think they were bad judges (based on the vast knowledge I have gained about dancing for the last eight seasons:)or playing favorites,but,actually they have good reasons for what they do. I think our judges generally do too. And, on DWTS a couple can have a mistake or a problem and still be the high score on the leaderboard if they were still better than the other dancers,even with the mistake taken into consideration. As has been mentioned, you can ask the judge after the show about your ribbons. So you do have a way to find out reasons…absolutely. And I would guess most judges would much rather you asked them then assumed the worst.

  42. colwilrin says:

    There are often things that the railbirds don’t see, or know to look for.

    I was at a show a few years ago where a western rider had a phenomenal go. People at the rail were stunned that she pinned at the bottom of the pack. Many cried politics and said nasty things about the judge.

    The pinning didn’t surprise me one bit. She made a very lovely SLOW jog pass, alone on the rail, and very close by the judge. The judge watched intently as she fluidly passed by with her pinky finger right between the rommel reins!

    Now, unless you were looking for it…which I purposely do…the average railbird would have never caught this disqualifying mistake. However, the judge did and was accused of politics by those that either missed it, or didn’t know it wasn’t allowed.

  43. nightmusicfarms says:

    This really an excellent and very healthy conversation. Nice to see. Stacy, I again commend you for being one of the few professionals willing to discuss virtually any topic with intelligence, objectivity and courtesy. I, for one, always learn from the experience.


  44. StacyGRS says:

    Please don’t confuse this with me saying that political judging can’t and never does happen…I never said that. This started because one person, who was unsure of the specs for the classes btw, reported what they saw and the very first comment/reply (by someone who was not there and did not see the class) was that this person got to experience political judging. This, imo, is jumping to a HUGE conclusion based on a second hand story and in the meantime tarnishing someone’s reputation. I just thought that that was unfair. Realize that I am not foolish enough to believe that it isn’t possible that a horse show had politics…it is possible, but i see alot more of this type of assumption (and what Susan experienced in the western class) than I see judging to which I find the only reasonable explainantion to be politics. I just wanted that to be clear. Saying a judge is political is a big slam that can hurt their career as both a judge and a professional, if they are one. Once someone is deemed dishonest it can have consequences for years to come. If the shoe fits, that’s one thing…but this kind of accusation shouldn’t be taken lightly and shouldn’t be publicly stated based on one, admittedly new to the breed, spectator’s casual observations. That is all I was trying to get across and this situation, to me, was a perfect example of a cry of “politics!” when there is little to base it on, IMO. It was not explained immediatly that 50% of that class is based on type and conformation. No questions were asked about the other horses canter departures(if they were watching the 2 messed up, were they able to also watch all of the transitions of the others?) It wasn”t asked if the judge SAW the canter issues of both horses. The explaination was just “politics”. That’s what made me reply to this.

  45. bella92290 says:

    Fellow Above Levelers…..What an interesting post, and same as last year one hot topic!
    I was at UPHA for a day, I could follow Sandy and I thought she overall did a fine job, one persons opinion. One of our trainers is a judge whom I have known for almost 10 years and whom judged OKL this past year, we have had many conversations about judging over the years as I try to pick her brain. She rarely reads the Connection, NEVER is on the internet, but does remember alot of horses from shows. It is always interesting to hear her thoughts, and let me tell you she takes her job seriously, very. And she judges each class with a clean slate. If she were not my trainer I would be 100% happy for us to show with her as the judge, because she will tell it like it is. And I will also tell you other than OKL this year (we are going and we are stuck with them like them or not, no way to switch to a different show!) I was thrilled to be pleased with all the judges of the shows we wanted to go to. Not because I think they like our horse, but because I think they judge honest and fair. Let me tell you a story last year in the HP Limit class of about 10 or more horses the announcer called out the 1st place horse and the judge came out of the gazebo only to correct him and point to our horse as the one she chose, don’t know if he wrote it wrong or what happened….but kudos to her for taking her job seriously enough to correct that. And when he won the JE qualifier thrilled we were and when he did a full rocking horse canter off the ground (it’s the only way I can describe it) in the championship and she did not pin him….we were sad but she judged fair and consistent, which is why we are thrilled to show in front of her again this year. I think judges who judge well will be asked to do more shows and develop a reputation for that, and those who don’t will not. And I also agree that you should talk to the judge for feedback and if you did not see it the same so you can only better your performance if you take what they say and work on it. None of us like to hear feeback that tells us we need to improve on something…but those of us that do take it and do something with it always improve.
    Michele =)

  46. Sue says:

    I have read through all these posts and have some comments. I have shown for YEARS (too many to mention-it would give my age away) and I have used the “it’s politics” line for years when I was younger. Eventually, I got smart and took a good look at what I was doing. It occured to me that if I, as an amateur, wanted to be respected and win occasionally, maybe I should take another look at what I was doing.

    After I took the rose colored glasses off, and really looked around, I realized I needed to change a whole bunch of stuff. The Pros know how to present their horses, they know the grooming secrets, they know how to condition and get those horses as fit as they can be. And they have the benefit of having the staff to do it right. When I learned that preparing for a show was a year long process, to get the tail, and coat right, when I learned that the tack needs to be cleaned ALL the time, not just at the show, and when I learned that maybe I needed to work harder, it all fell into place. And I bring horses to OKC that are very competative. I am never ashamed to go out with the “big boys”-if I can’t win, they will know I’m there.

    The riders (Pros) that wre at the top of the card are masters at presenting a horse to the top and know show ring position and how to get that beautiful pass.

    BTW, I personally know Scottfield and I’m sure her park horse will be a force to be reckoned with in the Ladies classes-I’ve heard great things through the grapevine. I give her alot of credit for taking a young inexperienced horse into an open championship. I have done the same thing and will go in knowing it’s for experience and ring time, marking the miles so to say, with no expectation. If she brings a horse to a show the rest of us pay attention.

    I have shown under the judge at UPHA and while I don’t remember winning a class-I was certainly pleased with her judging. Last year my daughter came out with my horse for walk trot at the end of the season, she showed in front of Sandy and did okay. She didn’t win-and shouldn’t have, the horse wasn’t quite where he should have been, not quite under himself enough although his head looked set-he wasn’t quite in the bridle. Yes-I realize I am being picky and it was a walk trot class-but that was how I saw it. He didn’t do anything wrong-but there was something missing. Now I could say it’s politics as the winner was from a well known barn, but it wasn’t quite there and the differences were small, yet I saw them.

    Every now and then I judge a local open show and it’s the best thing I can do-it brings everything into perspective. All of a sudden the show looks different.

    I would suggest that everyone take an opportunity to judge-if you don’t feel comfortable to judge a loal open show-ask a judge at one of the one day shows if you can shadow them for a while. It will be an eye opener.

  47. Scottfield03 says:

    Thank you so much for the kind words. Made my day!! See you at Western NY – and I think I might be bringin’ my Junior Park Mare! :-)

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