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
Clint Ainsworth – Lithonia, GA
John Wayne Andersen – Broomfield, CO
Don Beard – Cheyenne, WY
Tammy Braham – Grove City, PA
Jimmy Daurio – Pueblo, CO
Jamie Dowdy - Marshfield, MO 
Rusty Green - Pilot Point, TX
Kevin Hood - Bonner Springs, KS
Eric Hubbard - Fresno, CA
Valerie Kearns - Grayslake, IL
Casey Orr - Calico Rock, AR
Adam Wainscott - Sanger, TX
Kathleen Zelnio - Moline, IL

Specialized Judge Applicants

Cutting
Russell McCord - Ft Worth, TX

Halter
Timothy Jackson - Sardina, OH
Ann Jones - Flowery Branch, GA
J. T. Mitchell - Aubrey, TX
Ross Roark - Andrews, TX

Over Fence
Michael McCormick - Allen, TX
Mark Tompkins - Clare, MI

Ranch Riding
Ben Balow - Skill Valley, AZ
Jaime Beamer - Weatherford, TX
Jeremy Cox - Pleasant Plains, AR
Kristen Gonsoir - Groton, SD
Stacy Hanson - Simi Valley, CA
Linda Hitt - Elizabeth, CO
Kevin Jewell - Conyers, GA
Matthew Livengood - Nampa, ID
Allison Oseid - Caledonia, IL
Doreen Schwartzenberger - Longmont, CO
Terry Wegener - American Falls, ID

Reining
Tanya Jenkins - Purcell, OK
Careena Laney - Purcell, OK
Wendy Nelson - Cochrane, AB

Roping 
Jeremy Cox - Pleasant Plains, AR
Ned Kiehne - Magdalena, NM
Smoky Pritchett - Red Bluff, CA
Rodrigo Pulici - Brazil

Team Penning/Ranch Sorting
Lenny Wheatley - Washington, GA

Versatility Ranch Horse
Ben Balow - Skill Valley, AZ
Dave Belson - Cavecreek, AZ
Jeremy Cox - Pleasant Plains, AR
Bob Grant - Camp Verde, AZ
Rebecca Grant - Camp Verde, AZ
Stacy Hanson - Simi Valley, CA
Linda Hitt - Elizabeth, CO
Kevin Jewell - Conyers, GA
Matthew Livengood - Nampa, ID
Rodrigo Pulici - Brazil
Terry Wegener - American Falls, ID

Working Cow Horse
Stacy Hanson - Simi Valley, CA
Linda Hitt - Elizabeth, CO
Cayley Wilson - Abbotsford, BC