Judges for AQHA World Championship Shows

Have you ever wondered how judges are selected for the AQHA world championship shows?

American Quarter Horse Association

Learn more about AQHA judges at www.aqha.com/judges.

AQHA world championship shows are the most prestigious single-breed horse shows in the world. Exhibitors compete all year long to qualify for the chance to take home top honors and a coveted AQHA golden globe. These exhibitors put countless hours into preparing for the shows, and it’s the job of the AQHA world show judges to evaluate the talented horses and riders who take home the title of AQHA world champion.

But, have you ever wondered how these judges are selected?

Each AQHA world show qualifier has the option to nominate an AQHA judge by filling out the bottom section of the entry form. As entries are processed at AQHA, the nominations are detached from the entry and sent to Carla Nelson, administrative secretary to the senior director of judges.

She then files all of the nominations alphabetically by last name. Once the nominations are alphabetized, the category of each class, along with the judge’s AQHA ID number is added to each nomination form.  

“This is a very thorough and time-consuming process that we take very serious,” Nelson said. “We value our members’ input and hope that you will take the time to submit the judge nomination when sending in your next entry form.”

The names of the nominated judges are placed into a spreadsheet for each respective show. The number of the nominations for each judge per category is also listed on the spreadsheet.

After the list is compiled, it is sent to a selection committee comprised of AQHA Judges Committee members who do not have conflicts of interest with AQHA’s world shows and alliance partner representatives. The selection committee reviews the list of judges and also has the option to make additional recommendations to the list of nominated judges.  

After the selection committee has approved the list of nominated judges, the list is sent to the AQHA Executive Committee for initial approval. After the Executive Committee approves the list, AQHA begins the hiring process. Judges from the list are contacted to determine if they are available to hire. AQHA then compiles a list of judges for each show and presents the list to the Executive Committee for final approval. After receiving final approval from the Executive Committee, the list of judges for each show is released on AQHA.com and AQHA sends out the official contracts to hire the judges.  

When you submit the judge nomination it is for the following year’s respective world show, so please take a moment to review the list of judges for the world show that you plan to attend. Any judge that judges at one of the AQHA world championship shows is not eligible to judge the same show the following year, except the specialty judges for the speed events, team penning and ranch sorting.

About AQHA Judges
American Quarter Horse judges are held to the highest standards and receive continuous education to improve the quality and welfare of registered horses in AQHA-approved competition.

Learn more about AQHA judges at www.aqha.com/judges.