Skip to content

SHOW HIO Hosts Judges' School



By Jeffrey Howard

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The SHOW HIO kicked off its annual Judges’ Applicant School this morning on the show grounds of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.  The two-day school (February 18-19) opened with an address from SHOW HIO President Dr. Steve Mullins to the 136 applicants in attendance (a total of 172 signed up with 36 remaining having to complete their school on the makeup date).  “I want to thank each of you for coming to the 2011 SHOW Judges’ School.  Your attendance signifies that you agree with the new way we at SHOW are trying to take this industry,” said Mullins.

He continued, “As I said, 2010 judging was improved but it can and will be better.”  A change in 2011 is that SHOW will not have a Director of Judges but will now turn over the evaluation of its judges to a judging panel. Sitting on that panel in 2011 will be Steve Aymett, Billy Young, Sheryl Crawford, Richard Garnes, Tommy Hall, Carol Smithson, Connie Waldo, Deborah Williams, SHOW DQP Coordinator Tony Edwards and Mullins.

“In 2011, judges will be reviewed by the judges’ committee on the judges actual performance at each show.  Each judge will be evaluated on his or her particular performance on a particular night,” continued Mullins.  Mullins spoke to two qualities that the SHOW HIO was looking for in their judges which can’t be taught in a two-day seminar.

“Ability can be learned but it comes with experience.  SHOW has calls from show managers every year asking for judges that will come at no charge.  If you would like your name on this list please sign up.  Experience is the key,” said Mullins.  Mullins then turned his attention to is his second requirement.

“Integrity comes when one decides to do what is correct every time.  You as judges have got to put aside your personal issues and your personal paybacks and mark the cards according to how the horse is performing that particular night.  All of you can do it but you have to choose to do it every time,” continued Mullins.

Mullins thanked his committee for all of their hard work and also thanked Leigh Bennett for her work on the rulebook and Kathy Zeis for her tireless efforts on the International rulebook.  “The year 2011 is the most important year in the history of judging inside the Tennessee Walking Horse industry.  I recently talked with Dr. Gipson and he told me a couple of years ago the majority of his complaint phone calls involved bias or inadequate inspections or a sore horse showing here or there.  He now says over 70% of those phone calls deal with judging in one form or another,” said Mullins.

To conclude, Mullins finished, “I challenge each of you to do the absolute best you can do.  There are naysayers who say the judging can never be corrected as long as trainers and owners are judging.  I challenge you to prove them wrong.”

Smithson then took the podium to give the overall objectives of the new judging panel.  Smithson pointed out that the mission of the judges’ panel was to establish, implement and monitor three things; 1) criteria for licensing judges, 2) code of conduct/ethics for judges, and 3) procedures and policies to review the performance of judges and maintain the judging and apprentice programs. 

Smithson also pointed out the panel’s objectives which included providing training and education, using technology to assist in support and evaluation of judges and to assist in high but realistic expectations for SHOW judges.  “All people expect is a fair and objective evaluation of their horse versus the others in the competition,” said Smithson. 

A new classification in SHOW judges in 2011 will include a AAAA judge which will be the highest rating of a judge.  The requirement to reach AAAA status will include certification and licensing in all divisions, which includes equitation and versatility.  A judge must first be a AAA judge and meet those requirements before he or she can move to AAAA status.  Those AAAA judges must have judged five shows in his or her life to include each division of performance, pleasure, versatility and equitation.

SHOW will continue on with the traditional A (apprentice), AA and AAA judge classifications.  Outside of the A level of judge, all others are subject to continual review and renewal each year.

More Stories

  • Latest Issue WHYIR 20

    Read More
  • Latest Issue 3 1 31

    Read More
  • Walking In The Smokies stall deadline approaching

    The Walking In The Smokies Horse Show, scheduled for April 8-10, 2021, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is preparing for their first annual show and would like to send a reminder to anyone needing stalls that the deadline is March 15. Please contact Lexi Stinnett at 828-550-8520 to reserve stalls on the show grounds. Read More
  • Trainers' Show announces judges

    The Walking Horse Trainers’ Association National Trainers’ Show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. March 18-20, 2021. Judges for the three-day event will be Wayne Dean, Newton Parks and Johnny Puckett. Read More
  • USDA prepares for 2021 show season

    The USDA recently conducted their virtual HIO training course for the 2021 show season. The USDA and industry recently received the final report from the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) and some of the recommendations in that report are communicated in the new processes the USDA will implement in 2021... Read More
  • WHOA hosts virtual awards ceremony

    On Saturday. February 20th, the Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) held their National High Point awards for 2020 on their WHOA Facebook page with winners who chose to be zooming in to accept their awards... Read More
  • WHOA to host virtual awards ceremony on February 20

    The Walking Horse Owners’ Association (WHOA) will recognize their award winners from the 2020 show season during a virtual awards ceremony on Saturday, February 20, 2021. The show will be broadcast live on WHOA’s Facebook page beginning at 6 pm central time. Read More
  • FAST Spring Showcase announces judging panel

    The FAST Spring Showcase is pleased to announce that John Fikes, Newton Parks and Sam Sorrell will judge this years’ two-day event. The show will be held at Calsonic Arena in Shelbyville, Tenn. April 16-17, 2021... Read More
  • Obituary – Kimberly Woods

    Kimberly Lynn Woods, age 47 departed this life on Sunday, February 14, 2021 at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky... Read More
  • WHAA annual barn party rescheduled due to inclement weather

    There will be a lot of great items to auction as well as breeding fees to some of the top stallions in the industry and training fees for many of the top trainers. Everyone is encouraged to bring your young horses to preview for the upcoming show season. Read More