FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Judges’ Committee Chairman Jennifer Bingham welcomed the SHOW HIO judges who attended the judges’ clinic held at the Franklin Marriott Conference Center. Bingham said, “We hope this will be an annual clinic to be held in conjunction with the Trainers’ Banquet.” 

She next introduced the 2018 Judges Committee, Rollie Beard, Chris Bobo, Nathan Clark, Dr. Doyle Meadows and herself as chair of the committee. She said, “Two of our members will be rotating off Dec. 31. Rollie and Nathan will be replaced by new committee members, David Sisk and Sam Sorrell. Chris, Doyle and myself will rotate off in Dec., 2019.

“This committee is on a strictly volunteer basis and consists of four experienced Master judges, whose primary occupation is outside of the TWH industry and at least one member who holds a judging license in another breed or a retired master judge from the Walking Horse industry. This committee answers to the SHOW Executive Council and the members are approved by the Executive Council and they also name the chair of the committee. 

“When an issue arises, the chair is contacted by the SHOW office and they take the issue to the committee for discussion & review. The committee votes on the issue and the chair then takes the committee’s recommendation to the Executive Committee for final decision making. No one person on the judges’ committee has authority or control over any issues.  Also, for clarification, the judges’ committee members are allowed to show and compete at shows while serving on the committee.

“The Executive Council did ask the judges’ committee to hold a closed book test this year and look at a way to re-rate judging designations. The test scores combined with the number of shows judged will be used to come up with this new rating system. At this time, it has not been finalized yet.

“During our review today, the panel will go over everything covered in the test later this morning.”
Bingham then introduced Dr. Doyle Meadows who spoke about judging ethics and the perception of judges in and out of the ring. 

Following his speech, the Judge’s Seminar began with a question and answer session. Rollie Beard began with examples of fine harness bits that could be used and stated that if they had an illegal bit, they should excuse the entry. 

Nathan Clark was next and talked about replacing a lost chain during a class. “There shall be no changing or touching of the action devices after the entry has entered the show ring, except in the event of breakage or loss of the action device and then only the broken or lost action device may be replaced. If the action device that is not broken or lost is touched, the entry MUST be excused from the class immediately,” concluded Clark.

Bingham then pulled up silhouettes of English versus western flat shod horses. Bingham commended the judges on doing a much better job utilizing the specific standards to place the horses correctly. She continued, “Loose reins along with neck reining and a lower head set are the main factors differentiating the western flat shod horse from the English horse but you still need to take into account the importance of gait and also nonstandard characteristics.”

She addressed the issues that when they were judging optional tack classes and that they should differentiate between which horse is the better horse for how it is presented just as the best of show in a dog show is done. She reminded the judges that the trail walk is an optional gait in Country Pleasure and Trail Pleasure classes and that All Day Pleasure and Country Pleasure allow cavesons and can be ridden two handed in western tack regardless of bit. Also that horses four and under, with the exception of All Day Pleasure and Country Pleasure, may be ridden two handed but only in a snaffle bit in western tack and that the maximum bit shank length is 9 ½ inches.

Bingham stressed, “These classes are very important to the people showing in them. We did receive less complaints this year on placing horses correctly.”

Beard then demonstrated the correct way to hold western reins with full bridles to show each way. 
David Sisk explained the difference between the fall of a horse versus the fall of a rider, “An exhibitor is considered to have fallen when he or she is separated from a horse that has not fallen in such a way that requires remounting into the saddle. This does not disqualify the entry. A horse is considered to have fallen when the shoulder and haunch on the same side have touch the ground. The fall of the horse shall disqualify the entry except when the fall is a result of contact interference from another horse or rider. 

Sam Sorrell explained when to stop judging a class, “Judging of the performance of the horse ceases when they are called to the line-up but manners on pleasure horses and other issues judged in the line-up continue until the judge turns in his or her card.” 

Clark emphasized backing in the flat shod classes, “You cannot place a horse that doesn’t back over a horse that does. Horses should back readily and quietly without dragging their feet or bracing or locking up on the bit.”

Beard reminded judges, “You cannot place a horse that doesn’t canter or perform all required gaits over a horse that does. A horse that does not canter correctly on their front and back leads should be penalized in the final judging. Since the canter is one of our gaits we need to make sure we are judging it accordingly.
Bingham then explained about Disqualification cards, “These must be filled out any time an entry is excused from the ring by the judge. The card must include the class number, the back number and the reason for the Disqualification and signed by the judge. One copy is given to the entry, one to center ring staff and the judge keeps a copy.”

Sisk then commented on working a class, “Horses should be worked both ways of the ring at all required gaits sufficiently for all horses to have performed before each officiating judge. Also be conscious of not turning your back on horses in your line of view.” He added, “Have your Rule Book with you every time in center ring when you are judging.”

Sorrell spoke about the line-up, “The judge or judges must walk the lineup in all Flat Shod classes. A qualified ringmaster may walk the line-up in any performance class if one is available, otherwise, the judge will walk the line-up.”

Workouts were discussed by Clark, “All Horses chosen for a workout must be worked both ways of the ring at each gait asked for by the judge. A judge shall not place any entry in a workout unless the entry has performed all required gaits both directions of the ring in the initial performance. Horses not making the initial workout do not have to be worked both ways of the ring before being excused. Once the workout begins it will be judged as a separate class.”

Sorrell made a new clarification to the Judges Section – General Judging Procedure, “If an entry enters the ring after the gate is closed and the class has been called to order, the entry must be excused immediately.”
Beard stated, “In the All Day Pleasure classes, they must enter at a Trail Walk. The order of gaits are Trail Walk, Pleasure Gait, Extended Pleasure Gait, Trail Walk, reverse and repeat.”

Bingham reminded judges about the Equitation classes, “Exhibitors are judged on their seat, hands and ability as it relates to the performance of the horse. The horse is not judged in Equitation. Also, appointments of the rider and horse, ring showmanship and overall presentation are considered in the judging of Equitation. Pattern #1 is used for all one-night shows and all 11 & Under classes. The use of communication devices are strictly prohibited. If an entry is found to be in violation they must be excused.” 

Sorrell then discussed the key points in the Halter Division:

* Halter classes are judged on performance, presentation and conformation
*Show in show halter or bridle (both halter and model classes)
*Entries showing obvious outward signs of sedation shall be excused
*Halter classes – entry should reflect a natural looseness with free moving shoulders and ample overstride
* Strong emphasis on naturalness and characteristics passed on through breeding
* Mandatory attire for Halter: Collared Shirt and tie; long pants. Hats are recommended for evening but optional during daytime performances.
*Model – Entries are led into the ring and lined up as directed and then judge on presentation and conformation. An entry that does not stand quietly must be penalized in the final judging
*Mare and Foal – entries are judged 50% on the mare and 50% on the foal;

Beard then went over the Code of Ethics and emphasized that #2, #3 and #4 are addressed in the test. 


As a condition precedent to my appointment, or to my renewal, as a SHOW Licensed Horse Show Judge, I, the undersigned, do hereby swear, affirm and agree to;

1. Abide by the provisions of the “Horse Protection Act” (“HPA”) and the current Rules and Regulations of SHOW:
2. Judge each horse or exhibitor fairly, without bias, without prejudice, without influence and based solely upon the performance before the Judge, to the best of my ability;
3. Excuse any horse from the show ring if that horse, its trainer, its exhibitor, its owner, or its groom is in violation of any provision of the Horse Protection Act, any Rule or Regulation of SHOW, or any other rule or regulation having the force and effect of law;
4. At all times demonstrate the integrity, professionalism, competence, and skill necessary to be a SHOW Licensed Judge and to deport myself accordingly;
5. At all times, whether actively judging or otherwise, treat other judges, exhibitors, owners and/or trainers with courtesy and respect and refrain from directing any abuse or threatening conduct toward them;
6. At all times, whether actively judging or otherwise, to conduct yourself in a manner which reflects credit upon the Tennessee Walking Horse, the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry, and SHOW and not in a manner deemed improper, unethical, dishonest, unsportsmanlike or intemperate, or prejudicial to the best interest of SHOW;
7. To cooperate full and truthfully with SHOW in regard to any questions pertaining to a horse show at which I judge, including submission to a polygraph examination by an examiner chosen by SHOW;
8. To not accept any sort of remuneration, consideration, or anything of value that constitutes a bribe in the furtherance of judging duties, to promptly report to SHOW any attempt by third parties to bribe me or otherwise influence me in the furtherance of my judging services, and to report any information regarding bribes or illegal persuasion of judges, whether directed toward myself or other judges. To report any phone call or contact, in any manner, from trainers, exhibitors, owners or others that in any way could be considered an attempt to influence me in the furtherance of my judging duties;
9. I agree to remain current and pay all amounts due to any horse show, sale or SHOW for any indebtedness which are 30 days past due, and be bound by and agree to all Rules of SHOW.
10. I agree that I will not judge more than 4 horse shows in 2019 without obtaining the permission of SHOW.

Bingham explained that the Show Pleasure and Park Performance should have the emphasis on manners, quality and suitability to the exhibitor while performing in both divisions. She said that they were shown only in English tack and attire and that they were a two-gait class performing the Flat Walk and Running Walk. She further said, “A laboring, square going horse or horse hitting on its heels will not be acceptable and should not be rewarded and may be excused if excessive. Judges should not reward a manufactured, extravagant and exaggerated gait.”

Clark followed her with the Rules Governing Judges and went over each of these. With a special emphasis on number 10 pertaining to stud fees and mare care. They are:

A judge shall NOT:
1. Inspect or discuss any horse entered in the show prior to the start of the show, unless so requested by Show Management. Show Management must be present.
2. Be contacted relative to a show they are selected to officiate by any person having an interest in any horse expected to be shown at such show. All contacts made in violation hereof shall be reported immediately to SHOW by said judge. The Judge must report any phone call or contact, in any manner, from trainers, exhibitors, owners or others that in any way could be considered an attempt to influence the Judge in their judging duties to SHOW.
3. Arrive on the show grounds until one (1) hour prior to the start of the show time listed on the official class list.
4. Be an exhibitor or manager at any show in which he or she is officiating.
5. Judge a horse they own or co-own or is owned by their immediate family.
6. Judge a horse owned by their current employer (which includes the employer’s immediate family) or judge a horse owned by an employee (which includes the employee’s immediate family). If the employment ceases, a thirty (30) day waiting period applies before a horse owned by either party could show before one of the parties involved.
7. Judge a horse they are training or is being trained by the Judge’s immediate family, regardless of remuneration received.
8. Judge a horse that has been boarded, owned, trained or shown by the Judge or the Judge’s immediate family, regardless of remuneration, within a period of thirty (30) days prior to the show. 
9. Judge a horse that has been sold by said Judge within a period of thirty (30) days prior to the show. This also includes a horse for which a Judge has acted in the capacity of an agent, and/or has collected a commission or other forms of remuneration as the result of the sale. 
10. Judge a horse where either the Judge, exhibitor or owner (including immediate family of all parties) has remunerated the other person for the leasing, boarding, riding, showing, training, consulting, schooling, assisting or tutoring of any horse within a period of thirty (30) days to the show. Stud fees and associated mare care are excluded from this rule.
11. Place a horse that has not performed all gaits over a horse that has performed all gaits in order to be judged in overall performance, presentation and conformation. This shall include placing a horse that refuses to back in the line-up over a horse that does back.
12. Be a house guest of a person who is exhibiting in a show or whose family is exhibiting in a show in which the Judge is officiating.
13. Judge an exhibitor in an Equitation class with who the exhibitor or their parent, guardian or instructor has received any form of remuneration in connection with the sale, lease, boarding or training of a horse within thirty (30) days prior to the show.
14. Judge an exhibitor in an Equitation class that has been instructed, coached or tutored regardless of remuneration within thirty (30) days prior to the show. The conducting of clinics or seminars is not considered to be instructing, coaching or tutoring unless individual instruction is given. 

Clark also went over the 2018 updated Standards Chart.

Flat Shod Standards Chart

Flat Walk Running Walk:
*Four Beat Gait
*Smooth & Fluid Motion
*Overstride/Long stride
*Level with front & hind legs

*Rythmic Headshake up & down
*Ears alert & interested
*Good Manners
* Balanced
*Horse & rider well suited

*In Western equipment, riding on a Relaxed/Loose rein

*Crampy, Artificial Labored Gait
*Stiff front or rear leg action
*Unlevel front & hind legs
*Crossing/Winging front feet
*Pacing, Trotting or Racking

*Not shaking head, shaking side to side, or dipping/uneven headshake
*Pinning ears
*Wringing Tail continuously
*Not Performing Proper Gaits/Breaking Gait
*Excessive Speed
*Bumping/Pumping/See-sawing of Horse’s mouth
*Fighting bit
* In Western equipment, riding on a tight rein

*Artificial, labored or crampy way of going
*Unruly, rears or refuses to go
*Runs off
*Lameness/abnormal gait
*Horse falls of his own accord

*Correct Leads

*Incorrect canter lead/refusal to canter/Cross cantering
*Too fast
*Bumping/Pumping of reins

Line Up:
*Backs readily – 2-3 steps

*Does not stand quietly
*Refuses to back/backs with resistance
*Spur marks

Prohibited Equipment:
*Rubbed, scurfing or bleeding of pasterns
*Bleeding of mouth/muzzle 

Talent should be rewarded in the Flat Shod Tennessee Walking Show Horse. This horse must exhibit a strong and pronounced four beat gait with long stride, pronounced lift and reach and a cadenced head shake. This horse should not appear artificial, labored or cramped in its way of going.
Horses exhibiting Standard characteristics are desirable choices for a Judge’s card. Horses exhibiting the Non-Standard characteristics should not be placed over horses that exhibit the Standard gaits and characteristics. Horses that exhibit Unacceptable gaits or characteristics MUST be excused.

Please review your SHOW Rulebook for specific class and division rules.

A loose or relaxed rein is a rein with motion. A tight rein is a rein held with no slack and held tautly with no motion in the rein drawing the corners of the horse’s mouth back.