Breyer Horse Showing: How A Judge Picks A Winner

I received a question from a Golden Oak Stables’ shower asking for specifics about how a judge picks a winner when there is a large number of horses in the class as well as multiples of the same model. This is a very common question and its also a bit difficult to explain but here’s how I pick my winners!

Lets take an example Class: Original Finish Halter Warmbloods, with 37 horses in the class. They are:

2 Gem Twists- One Bay, One Chestnut

5 Keltic Salineros- Three Original Bay, One Grey, One Chestnut

4 Stablemate Jumping Horses- Two Appaloosas, Two Bay

3 Stablemate Cantering Warmbloods- Two Grey, One  Bay

3 Classic Keens-  Three Chestnut

4 Traditional Trakehners- Two Dun, Two Bay

2 Classic Jet Run- One Pinto, One Bay

4 Stablemate Dressage Horses-  Four Chestnut

10 Idocus- 3 Buckskin, 7 Bay

Now the Idocus number is probably the one that’s going to stand out most. Seven of the same model, how on earth are you going to pick the best one? Well there are ten places for this class and there are guidelines for what a judge looks for in a breed class.

Here are what judges generally look for in a Halter class:

1.Correctness of anatomy, biomechanics, conformation.
2.Breed standards including color that represents current (or historic with documentation) standards.
3.Overall appearance, finish, condition, workmanship.
4.Judge’s overall impression.

So the first thing we will be looking for is the mold that is the most correct in the ways of confirmation. Some models are flawed from the start and do not have the best confirmation and anatomy. Models like the Classic Keen and Classic Jet Run are running behind already, they don’t have the best confirmation and are a little awkward so right now they are thrown out of the running. Remembering I have only 10 placings I need to get a few more out of the way from the start, so the Traditional Trakehner is floating on the edge of being left out as is Gem Twist. On my short list are the Keltic Salineros, Idocus, Stablemate Dressage Horse, Stablemate Cantering Warmblood and the Stablemate Jumping horse.

Going to the next category, Breed Standards we have to assume that all of the horses on my short list have breeds that make sense and that have proper coloring and markings. A strange colored warmblood should have some documentation, so the Buckskin Idocus’ and the Dun Trakehners are going to need some documentation, lets assume they don’t have it and pop them out of the way.

So now we are down to overall appearence, this is where the judge takes a look and sees who stands out on the table, which model has the least amount of flaws and chooses his or her final horses. Now, we have seven Idocus’ on the table, how can we pick the best? This is where I start looking for crisp markings, rubs, seam splits and rough seams as well as color and shading. Lets two of those Idocus’ stand out to me, one for having wonderful shading and crisp markings and one for being a little semi-glossy, like a real horse would be after being all cleaned up for a show and has wonderful shading and markings. All of the Keltics are nice and have great shading and markings, they also are the nicest in breed standards to me. Rounding out my top 10 would probably be a pick from the stablemates. Choosing the best out of the 10 or so is hard, so I’d look for ones that stand out to me as being exceptional examples of the model, nice shading, markings and ones that just “Look” like a warmblood.

Its hard to put into words, but its even harder to do! Choosing 10 horses out of a class of almost 40 is difficult, hopefully this gave you a little insight!

If you have a question you’d like to see answered on here let me know, you just might be!

~Stacy

Email Stacy: Stacy@GoldenOakStables.com

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