Thank you SpeedRacer and AlwaysBehind! It is a huge pet peeve of mine when people think they didn't place because their horse was the wrong color or b/c hunter judging is too "political". I've read quite a few judge's cards and NEVER have I seen a judge put "wrong color" as a penalty. I showed a (loud) paint extensively on the A circuit one entire year and we won quite a bit, including flat classes. I've been beat out by pintos and palominos. Even a few apps (haven't seen a lot of them though) There is an ideal that the judge's are looking for and whoever gets closest to that ideal wins. Long low movement, floaty gaits with little to no knee action, very consistent pace that's not too fast or slow, nice bascule over fence, high tight and even knees, etc, etc etc. Sorry, but how many Arabs have a nice long low movement?? Usually, they aren't built for that. (not always, I know an Arab x WB that is a stellar mover) How many drafts do you know with no knee action that float around the ring? I have yet to see one! I know quite a few QH's who are spectacular at the lower levels, but simply can't keep up at the upper levels (how many QHs do you know who can easily lope down a line of 4" jumps on a 13+ foot stride? I can think of only one off the top of my head). Once you get to the upper levels they usually aren't built for the job, which is why the WBs and TBs tend to win. Lots of pintos and palominos have a lot of QH blood in them. They're in the same boat. Whoever puts in the best trip, whoever is the nicest mover, etc etc wins. If you do your research and find out how to judge a hunter class and watch enough shows, you'll see how unpolitical it is. I'm not saying at lower level schooling type shows the judging will always be accurate, but I went to a show a few weeks ago, watched a flat class of over 30 amazing movers and was able to pick out the top 8 who ribboned, including the winner.