Become a Judge

Find out the rules and criteria you must meet before getting your AQHA judges card.

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.

The following criteria must be met before becoming an AQHA approved judge:

  1. Have individual, current-year AQHA membership and be a member in good standing.
  2. Be at least 25 years of age, mandatory retirement 75.
  3. Each applicant's name must appear in at least one issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal prior to review by the Judges Committee.
  4. Undergo review by AQHA Judges State Selection Committee.
  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 seminars during the first year placed on approved judges list.

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

Types of AQHA Judges

AQHA has two unique types of judging positions. Click to download applications:

  • 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, over fence, team penning, speed events, dressage, halter, cowboy mounted shooting and Level 1.

All-Around Judge Applicants
Specialized Judge Applicants