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<em>Journal</em>

Raising – and Maintaining – Standards

Think you know everything about the AQHA World Championship Show judges and judging? Get the inside scoop on how the judges are selected and trained.

The American Quarter Horse Journal
February 11, 2013

Trail judges at the 2012 AQHA World Show

"Raising – and Maintaining – Standards" in the February Journal dives into the intricacies of selecting, scheduling and training world show judges, plus how specialization and implementing new systems plays into the mix. (Journal photo)

Last fall, when the national football league referees went on strike, it became obvious to fans, players and coaches how important it is to have well-trained, consistent officials managing the games. Remember the controversial hail-Mary pass into the end zone during the game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks? The ball landed among a pile of players from both teams, with two substitute referees standing right there. One referee called a touchdown, while the other official signaled an incomplete pass.

That inconsistency – by untrained and unknowledgeable judges – is what AQHA wants to avoid.

“We want the best possible officials in the game,” said AQHA Executive Director of Competition and Breed Integrity Tom Persechino. “Our exhibitors, trainers and their connections see the ‘end product’ – the judges in the arena judging a class. They don’t see the year or two of prep work that is put into selecting and training those judges for that job at AQHA’s world championship shows.”

AQHA has a good system for providing world-class judging at its premier event, but any good system takes maintenance and a constant eye toward improvement. The budget for the judges at AQHA’s world shows is the largest single unsponsored and unreimbursed expense when it comes to the shows. At the AQHA World Championship Show, as much as a quarter of a million dollars is allocated to judges’ pay and travel, so it simply stands to reason that the Association wants the process to be correct with so much invested and on the line.

The February issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal dives into the intricacies of selecting, scheduling and training world show judges, plus how specialization and implementing new systems plays into the mix.

“The whole objective of the entire process is to get the classes judged correctly,” said AQHA Senior Director of Judges Alex Ross. “It takes a lot of time and effort to do all this, but it makes judging more accurate.”

Look for “Raising – and Maintaining – Standards” on Page 40 of the February 2013 issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal. Contact the Journal circulation department at (800) 291-7323 to order single issues of the magazine or visit www.aqha.com/journal to subscribe.  

When you leave the show arena, do you ever wonder how your score or placing was calculated? Or would you simply like some insight on the areas you need to perfect the next time you enter an American Quarter Horse show? If so, sign up for the AQHA Educational Judging Seminar, which is March 18-20 in Irving, Texas, at the Sheraton DFW, with a $350 registration fee. Space is limited so register today! This event will be the last judging seminar this year.