Horse Judging

(Journal photo)

Competitive horse judging teams are offered through senior and junior colleges, as well as through 4-H, FFA and AQHA state affiliate youth associations. Participants evaluate a variety of four-horse halter and performance classes and give four to six sets of memorized oral reasons depicting their placings. At contests, professional judges determine an official placing for each class. Participants' scores are calculated based on how close their placings are to the officials' placings. Each class and set of reasons is worth 50 points. The competitor who drops the fewest points wins the contest.

Horse Judging Resources

  • Download the AQHA Handbook for up-to-date contest rules.
  • Score sheets can be found on Forms page under "Judges."
  • Download and view all AQHA patterns.
  • Request printed materials such as the colors and markings page or anatomy chart here.

AQHA Horse Judging Manual

The AQHA Horse Judging Manual is a guide for developing a successful horse judging team. This manual includes the following chapters:

  • Coaching the Team
  • Developing a Set of Reasons
  • Conformation
  • Halter
  • Western Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle
  • Reining
  • Western Riding
  • Trail
  • Hunter Hack
  • Horsemanship, Equitation
  • Connective Terms

AQHA Horse Judging Contests

  • Youth World Show Judging Contest information is available here.
  • World Show Horse Judging Contest information is available here.