Ever had a bad judge? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 15 Old 05-27-2013, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Ever had a bad judge?

I recently got back into riding after a long hiatus a few months ago, and haven't shown since I was a kid over 10 years ago. I've attended two shows that my barn has been involved in so far, and both times I've heard from several people that the judging at both shows was sometimes (or completely) unfair.

In the second show, for example, it became evident after a while that the judge seemed completely biased by the horse's color. The dapples and the paints were scoring the highest, while the chestnuts and bays always came last. There were several instances where riders who made many serious mistakes scored higher than riders who made almost none, which was frustrating. One dapple grey in particular was doing this competition while badly lame. In the show he'd been in the week before, he'd finished last and his rider was even marked down for bad horsemanship because of the lameness. Yet in this competition he won everything--while still lame

I don't plan on showing for a long while yet, but these few instances have made me more nervous about it because now I'm starting to wonder just how often people end up having to deal with crappy judging, and if I would know if I truly earned my ribbons or not. So my question is: have you ever been in/observed a horse show where there was bad judging?
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post #2 of 15 Old 05-27-2013, 10:56 PM
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Every judge that doesn't place you first is a bad judge. XD

Let's just face it, a QH carded judge at an open show is probably not going to pin an open hunter type. And an open hunter judge is not going to pin a QH type. Judges that breed or show particular horses tend to gravitate to them. And judges each hold different criteria for what is better or worse to them. Though it is hard to believe "color" comes into factor. If you really want to know what's in a judge's head, you should really go ask them after the show. Be respectful, but judges seem to always want to help you learn.

But I have many judge friends who are very fair and understanding.

You can completely mitigate this problem by setting your own personal goals, regardless of what a judge says.
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post #3 of 15 Old 05-27-2013, 11:02 PM
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Of course, every judge is a human being and capable of making a poor decision, so you accept that when you go into the ring if you are competing in any competition that requires a subjective evaluation.

The only way to compete on a reasonably level field is to go into speed events or jumping, the winner wins!
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post #4 of 15 Old 05-27-2013, 11:02 PM
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The judge who marked down the rider for having a lame horse is a bad judge, obviously lame horses are excused from the ring. We've all seen bad judges, obvious favoritism, etc, etc. Show committees don't hire back those judges, busy judges are the objective, fair ones, more show committees are booking them, the not so objective judges are usually the "booked at the last minute judge" because the other judge was sick. However, when showing, accept the judge's opinion, you paid for it. And it is only one person's opinion for one day.
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post #5 of 15 Old 05-27-2013, 11:25 PM
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Just remember that you're paying for one person's opinion on one given day. Don't take it to heart and just go out with a goal of doing your best and having fun with your horse. Eventually, when you've shown enough and paid enough dues, the mileage will start to pay off and you'll start placing well. Or you'll have a bad day and you couldn't buy a ribbon. If you and your horse still enjoy the outing, it was a good day.

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post #6 of 15 Old 05-28-2013, 10:46 AM
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Judges are people and people have their preferences. I have done some showing but that was never the main part of owning horses for me.
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post #7 of 15 Old 05-28-2013, 11:25 AM
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Judges are human. Some are fair, some arent. Remember, it is just a show. You own horses because you love them, not how they do in the showring(at least I hope). Do your best to have a good time even if you don't care for the judging and just gripe about it at the barn later.

Ω Horses are a projection of peoples dreams Ω
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post #8 of 15 Old 05-28-2013, 04:03 PM
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I was going to enter my arab in open halter until I saw that mine was the only non qh in the lot and I knew the judge had qh's. I entered him in ponies instead as he was a hair below 14.2 with a fresh hoof trim. Since the ponies were in all shapes and sizes I knew my boy stood a chance and he did, he won. Winning didn't matter just that he was properly judged. It galls me when judges don't have the fortitude to dismiss a lame horse from the ring. A person should complain to the club's show committee. If they are in agreement they won't bring that judge back.
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post #9 of 15 Old 05-29-2013, 04:16 PM
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The place I am showing at is also a Lesson Barn and I swear they pay the judge to place their students higher than anyone hauling in. Its crazy, but every time I go to a show at this place, the same people win, regardless of if they made mistakes or not. What do I do to solve this problem? I look for new places to show. Showing for me is fun, deep down inside I don't care if I win but it still frustrates the h**l out of me to see the same riders making the same mistakes and still wining at each of their shows. And I'm not the only one who thinks the show is rigged. Most people who haul in see it too.

The judge is paid to place people and their horses, and just like any other human being, there are judges who favor people or horses and who place people unfairly. What I try to do is find a judge that I like, one that places fairly (even if I don't place high and the judge is fair) I will remember that judges name and find other shows in the area that the judge goes to.

I'm also more of a Jumper and Eventer than I am an English Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle, or Hunter over fences so I'm used to wining by being the best/fastest horse and rider combo. I never liked the idea of being judged based on someone's opinion (since everyone's opinion is different) But I go to horse shows for the sake of having fun and to expose my horse to as many different things as possible.

I think I'd make an awesome judge.


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post #10 of 15 Old 05-29-2013, 04:35 PM
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same complaint in every "judged" sporting event out there. Judging is subjective, without any enforceable standards. Seems to be an endless point of frustration everything from Gymnastics to Horse shows even IDPA shooting. Don't know why people subject themselves to it.
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