Become a Judge

Become a Judge

Make your mark on the industry as an AQHA-approved judge.

American Quarter Horse judges are held to the highest quality of standards. Apply to be an AQHA-approved judge and help improve the quality and welfare of registered horses in AQHA-approved competition.

AQHA has three unique types of judging positions. 

  • AQHA All-Around Judge -- These judges are approved to judge any AQHA-approved event.
  • AQHA Specialized Judge --  These judges specialize in specific areas, including: cutting, reining, roping, ranch riding, over fence, team penning, speed events, dressage, halter, Level 1, versatility ranch horse, working cow horse, western dressage and cowboy mounted shooting.  
  • AQHA International All-Around Judge -- These judges are from outside the U.S. and are approved to judge the classes approved for their country or region.

AQHA All-Around Judge 

The following criteria must be met before becoming an AQHA All-Around approved judge.

  1. Have individual, current-year AQHA membership and be a member in good standing.
  2. Be at least 25 years of age.
  3. Each applicant's name must be listed on the AQHA website prior to review by the Judges Committee.
  4. Receive approval from AQHA State Selection Committee for judges.
  5. Receive approval from AQHA Judges Committee.
  6. Receive approval from AQHA Executive Committee.
  7. Receive notification from AQHA that applicant may attend the next Judges Qualifying Exam.
  8. Pass final review and approval by Judges Committee and Executive Committee.
  9. Attend workshop during the first year placed on approved judges list.
  10. Required to complete re-certification and/or a rulebook test each year via online testing.

 AQHA All-Around Judge Application - Application deadlines: December 1 for review in March. June 1 for review in September.

AQHA Specialized Judge

A complete list of mandatory criteria is included in the judges application form.

  1. Have individual, current-year AQHA membership and be a member in good standing.
  2. Be at least 25 years of age.
  3. Each applicant's name must be listed on the AQHA website prior to review by the Judges Committee.
  4. Receive approval from AQHA State Selection Committee for judges.
  5. Receive approval from AQHA Judges Committee.
  6. Receive approval from AQHA Executive Committee.
  7. Receive notification from AQHA that applicant must attend the next new judge orientation, complete mandatory testing and agree to the Judges Code of Ethics and Social Media Guidelines.
  8. Required to complete re-certification as determined by the Judges Committee and Executive Committee.

AQHA Specialized Judge Application - Application deadlines: December 1 for review in March. March 1 for review in June. June 1 for review in September.

AQHA International All-Around

A complete list of mandatory criteria is included in the judges application form.

  1. Have individual, current-year AQHA membership and be a member in good standing.
  2. Be at least 25 years of age.
  3. Submit application by designated deadline.
  4. Complete interview by Judges Committee members.
  5. Complete the required testing online and scores to be reviewed by Judges Committee.
  6. Receive approval from AQHA Judges Committee
  7. Receive approval from AQHA Executive Committee.
  8. Required to complete re-certification as determined by the Judges Committee and Executive Committee.

AQHA International All-Around Judge Application - Application deadlines: December 1 for review in March. March 1 for review in June. June 1 for review in September.