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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going to be a part of an FFA CDE in April and I'll be doing horse judging. My group and I are looking for references to learn more about what to look for when judging. If you have any websites, books, videos, or any tips at all for judging, we would all appreciate it!

Thanks!
 

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Hey, welcome to the forum! :)

I'm in FFA horse judging. Who will your leader be, and what does she know about horse judging?

I can give you a bunch of tips, but currently I'm half asleep and so maybe later when I don't feel like passing out. :)
 

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First of all welcome to the forum!

I'm glad you are getting into horse judging! I did FFA and 4-H judging contest when I was in high school. It's really a great experience.

What kind of resources does your coach already have? We had an entire library of practice judging videos that we used to get ready for a competition. They were a similar set up to this:


It shows you the class, giving you time to take notes and decide how to place the class, and then afterwards will tell you how the class was actually placed and why. This is just a sample video so it doesn't show the whole thing, but its well made. If you don't have any this is a good company to go with. Our regional contests were all held at MTSU. Dr. Whitaker is really good.

But the tapes are the first thing I would invest in if you have the resources to do so. I think you'll get a lot more out of them than you will looking at pictures especially when it comes to the performance classes. Also if you have any good show barns in your area you can have your leader contact them and ask if they would be willing to give a live demonstration.


Judging the class correctly is only part of it though. You will also be required to give oral reasons to defend your placing of certain classes. Be sure you take notes while you are judging to help you remember the class and write your reasons later. AQHA has an excellent manual for reasons that I believe they will send to your group for free if you have your coach contact them. If not you can download it as a pdf online here: Test Your Judging Knowledge – America’s Horse Daily

I hope that helps. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks! :) My advisor/coach doesn't know a whole lot. At our competition earlier in the year, we just got a couple packets with stuff in them. It helped, I was 2 points away from high individual and got the highest score in my team, but we need to pick it up, as a group, for state!

I'm not sure we have a budget for videos, but I'm going to find out! I will have to find out about the show barns also. I don't know if we have any in this area.
Oral reasons are the scary part! We also have a test before the actual judging, too.
Google has failed us with pictures and videos of classes, so we are just trying to get ANY kind of tip or resource we can get!

Thanks for your replies!
 

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Reasons can be a little intimidating, but if you break them down into their simplest parts, they aren't so bad. They basically consist of introductions, terms describing the horse, and transitional phrases to connect them all together. The AQHA manual I linked to has boat loads of these that you can use to create your reasons. But you'll have to learn them because you're not allowed to take the book into the competition with you.

The way we used to practice reason terms was with a deck of Uno cards. Each card number represented a different class (you'll have to weed out all the special cards for this). Each member of the team would draw 4 or 5 cards and we'd go around the circle spouting off terms for each of the classes we'd drawn. It's a good exercise for thinking on your feet.

Also practice makes perfect! The more sets of reasons you say, the more comfortable you'll be when you get up and say them. You should be reciting a set of reasons to your coach or team mates at every practice. Then you can give each other tips on how to improve. In no time it will be second nature just to spout off a set of reasons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I looked at the AQHA manual and there are a lot of things we need to learn! Can you explain the Uno thing a little different? I think it would be a great idea, but I'm sorta confused.
 

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wooo FFA is amasing it has completly changed my life! i have nuthing helpful to say bc this year will b my first on the horse judgeing team:)
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OK so each UNO card number represents a class:

1 - Quarter Horse Mares
2- Quarter Horse Geldings
3- Walking Horse Mares (you might want to change that one if you don't expect too have a class)
4- Conformation Hunter
5- Hunter Under Saddle
6- Western Pleasure
7- Plantation Pleasure (again you can trade this out probably won't have to judge one let alone give reasons on it)
8- Reining
9- Wild Card (you can pick any class you want for this one)

You go around the circle. Each person takes a turn to lay down one of their cards and say a term from the designated class. For example I would lay down a 2 (QH geldings) I'd say something like "he was wider from stifle to stifle, with a more bulging gaskin both inside and out". And you just go around until you run out of cards.

Does that make more sense?
 

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My twin daughters were in 4H horse judging, and won the APHA World Championship among other honors. They placed very high by practicing as follows:

Watch youtube videos of world caliber performances... APHA, AQHA, and Arab in all the major events, for us it was halter, hunter under saddle, trail, western pleasure, reining.

Study the winning rides and winning horses, and get your eye trained for superior movement.

Make a toolbox of phrases to use in your reasons, and practice, practice, practice in front of your team, parents, and friends. That way when you are nervous, you have the rote memory to just relay the appropriate phrase ... "the big bay was the most consistent mover in the ring, moving obediently and correctly. It was noted he maintained his collection on a loose rein, driving deeply from behind with smooth transitions both ways of the arena, requiring no checking or fixing from his rider."

Practice your stance, my girls stood squarely, with legs slightly apart, and hands behind their backs (which decreases fidgeting). They looked confidently at the reasons taker, and started with "Good Evening Ma'am (or Sir)... In the class of Western Pleasure, I found an obvious top horse in the bay, a close middle pair in the sorrel and palomino, and a bottom in the black, resulting in a placing of 1, 4, 3, 2." Emphasizing One, FOUR, three TWO.

Halter emphasize femininity in mares, balance, structure, and muscling. Cadence and collection is important in pleasure, length of stride in hunter under saddle... etc. Your horse judging packets should have a collection of phrases for your toolbox, internet searches on horsejudging will give you more. Find the ones you like, memorize them, and apply them in the classes you watch.

You can make up points in reasons even if you place the class differently than the judges, if you give a compelling reason why you placed the class as you did, so reasons are what will separate good horse judging teams from great ones.

Good luck and have fun, my daughters really enjoyed their time in it.
 
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