November 6-21, 2015, Oklahoma City
Journal at the World

November 17, 2013

The Sixth Judge

At the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show, a sixth judge is being used to catalog major faults in halter horses for judge education.

By Becky Newell
The American Quarter Horse Journal

Clark Parker

AQHA judge and steward Clark Parker, center, catalogs major faults in the halter classes at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show.

Nearly every finals class at an AQHA world championship show has five judges. However, during the halter classes at the 2013 AQHA World Show, there was a sixth judge in the arena. But long-time AQHA judge and steward Clark Parker wasn’t placing the horses in those classes. He was there to identify and catalog the major “faults” of the horses in more than 30 amateur and open halter classes.

Examples of faults might include bench knees, hocks that are too straight, calf knees and a toed-out stance.

AQHA Senior Director of Judges Alex Ross sits down with the judges prior to the halter classes and they as a group discuss the different major faults that they could encounter and that are considered undesirable in the breed. The world show judges are holding themselves accountable for identifying and calling the faults they selected as “major.” Identifying and deducting for major faults in halter is similar to what the judges do in all scored classes, and the judges believe it is a real positive for judging and for the halter industry as a whole.

When needed, Alex will sit down again with the judges and will review the faults that Clark identified in the respective classes.

Before the start of the show on the three mornings when there were amateur halter classes, Alex and the judges revisited the major faults and discussed various situations that may occur in halter classes.
“At the world show level, we are constantly striving to make the judging the best it can be,” says Tom Persechino, AQHA executive director of competition and breed integrity. “This is one way to advance that objective with halter. We appreciate the judges sharing their knowledge to assist with developing this new program.”

Tom adds that based on what Clark finds and how his cataloging of faults works, there will be modification to how AQHA’s world show judges are monitored, educated and prepared for judging the Association’s world shows.

“In the halter classes and judging specifications, we will be working with the World Conformation Horse Association on what we find and the work we do with judges for those world show-level classes,” Tom says.