Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Is it appropriate for someone who is not exhibiting a horse to approach the judge and ask questions?

This question comes from the comments from yesterday's post. It is never appropriate for anyone except show officials (ring steward, manager, secretary, etc) to approach the judge directly. There are several reasons for this but the most obvious from a judges' point of view is the distraction. Sometimes we (judges) look as though we are not doing anything. In fact, keeping a running tally of our top picks, adding up scores, deciphering our own shorthand and even possibly running a class or eating a quick bite are all things that we may be doing without your knowledge of it. If you are not exhibiting, you should still use proper protocal for asking any questions of the judge. Go to any show official and they will either point you to the correct official or take your request and present it to the judge. The judge will then find the best time to take a moment to answer any questions. You may get a written response, a rulebook reference or possibly a moment with the judge directly. Another big reason not to approach the judge is bias. There should never be an implication on part of a judge towards a bias to one horse and/or rider or another. It is just inappropriate. Most all rulebooks address this situation and actually, I can't think of one that doesn't. USEF, AQHA, APHA, ApHC, POAC, FOSH, and the numerous other governing bodies address this directly in their rules.

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I am just one judge with one judge's opinion. Almost all of the classes I judge are based on the rules of USEF & AQHA. Judging a horse show is very subjective to the interpretation of the rules. Please keep this in mind when commenting.