SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – Walking horse judges met recently with Dr. Doyle Meadows, CEO of SHOW, to discuss current judging practices, procedures and overall quality of judging at horse shows.  At the request of Dr. Meadows, Link Webb, President of the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association, appointed a panel of experienced judges to discuss a variety of issues concerning the judges program. 

One of the most significant topics addressed at the meeting was the lack of accountability for our judges.  It was readily agreed that a Director of Judges should be hired to evaluate our judges’ performance.  Accountability would not only penalize poor judging, but would also reward excellence in judging.  Dr. Meadows indicated an attempt would be made to secure and train judges from other breeds and disciplines.  He also pointed out those trainers who also hold judges’ licenses would not have their licenses revoked simply because they are trainers.   Meadows indicated that integrity, consistency and knowledge of both judging and the rules were more important than the occupation of the judge.  However removing as many conflicts of interest as possible will promote better public perception in our judges.  In the very near future all licensed judges with NSHC (SHOW) will have the opportunity to apply for their judge’s license.  A two-day mandatory judges’ seminar will be held in January that will address all phases of the judging program.

“We have a tremendous amount of public perception and reality to overcome relative to our judges and judging program,” says Dr. Meadows.  “Since I have been at The Celebration® and SHOW the number one complaint I have received has been the judging program.  Our judges have to be accountable, well-trained, and ultimately have the integrity for both themselves and the walking horse industry to make independent decisions.  Judges that have the morality and guts to make judgments based on the performance of the horse will be successful under the SHOW banner.  I look forward to working with our judges who are committed to this industry. We have got to hold our judges to a higher standard and that is something that no one but the judges can do.  Regardless of how hard SHOW tries to improve this program, the ultimate burden lies with the judge themselves,” Meadows concluded.

Those attending the meeting with Dr. Meadows were Link Webb, Rollie Beard, Mickey McCormick, David Landrum and Wayne Dean.