Practical Horseman magazine presented an “Ask the Hunter Judges” seminar during the Atlanta Summer Classic II horse show at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, Thursday, June 23, 2011. The featured horse show judges were Scott Fitton, Betty Oare and Barry Lobel. Participants were encouraged to bring questions to ask about hunter and hunt-seat equitation horse show judging.
Scott Fitton is a US Equestrian Federation “R” hunter and hunt seat equitation judge, successful trainer and horseman out of Wellington, Florida. Betty Oare received her “R” rating in the early 1970s and has judged many famous shows including Devon, Indoors and numerous circuits. She also competes in the Amateur-Owner Hunter division. Barry Lobel, from Bedminster, New Jersey, is a Hunter/Hunt Seat Equitation judge.
The horse show judges, Scott Fitton, Betty Oare and Barry Lobel, answered questions on horse show judging from the 60 participants who attended Practical Horseman magazine's "Ask the Hunter Judges" seminar at the Georgia International Horse Park. Questions on horse show judging were also sent in via Facebook and email.
1. How do you narrow down large hunter flat classes to pin them?
Listen: Narrowing down large hunter flat classes
2. How do you judge/penalize a rider who picks up the wrong lead on the opening circle or trots a few steps on the wrong diagonal in the hunter ring?
Listen: Judging wrong leads/diagonals
3. How does the weather affect your judging when you have one rider go out and the sun is out and 30 minutes later it is pouring?
Listen: How weather affects judging
4. Are you very critical of how a rider’s size fits their mount?
Listen: Suitability of horse to rider
5. We see photos of well-known riders jumping with nontraditional equitation in the hunter classes. Does this distract you as a judge? How does the rider’s style affect your judging in the hunters?
Listen: Rider form in the hunters
6. Which horse would score better: the average moving horse that puts in a fantastic round, or a fantastic mover who has an average round?
Listen: Scoring the underdogs
7. Would you prefer to the illusion of a correct frame or a steady, relaxed, low frame?
Listen: Preferred frame
8. What would you prefer to see if a trot jump doesn’t go as planned: the rider pulling back hard to make the trot, or the rider allowing the horse to go over at the canter, and how much do you take off for canter strides?
Listen: Trot jumps
9. How do you judge the hand gallop? How much pace change is needed?
Listen: Hand gallop
10. Handy classes: What are the specifications?
Listen: Handy classes
11. Which equitation tests do you like to use and why?
Listen: Favorite equitation tests
12. How does the “halo effect” affect your judging? Does your opinion change when you see a well-known winner?
Listen: Halo effect
13. Are there any riding habits that you see in the ring that drive you crazy?
Listen: Bad habits
14. Does order of go in the class affect the results?
Listen: Order of go
15. When does your judging start?
Listen: When does judging start?