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Performance Halter Today

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348 – May/June, 2023

By Sarah Welk Baynum

It was only sixteen short years ago that the AQHA first introduced the Performance Halter class to the horse show world. Since then, this now popular class is one that riders across disciplines enjoy competing in with their horses.

The Performance Halter class was intended for the purpose of judging form to function. For a horse to be eligible to compete in the Performance Halter classes, they are required to have a Register of Merit (ROM). There are few halter classes that have such a variety of horses in different disciplines all in one ring at the same time, but that’s exactly what the Performance Halter class is and does.

Horses from any of these different disciplines can excel in Performance Halter, making this class both unique and interesting to judge.

“It’s cool to watch horses with very different conformations, such as a cow horse, a roping horse, and a pleasure horse competing against one another. It’s interesting to then see the judges sorting through it to see who makes it to the top,” trainer and judge Ross Roark says about the class.

“All-around judges do a great job of judging this class because that’s the kind of horses they deal with,” he explains. “But it’s still interesting to see a hunt seat person judge it and place a cow horse first, for example, even though it’s not their discipline. They reward that balance and conformation as they see fit. Or, as another example, a cow horse judge noticing that while a particular horse may not be as well-muscled as some of the other horses in their class, they see the balance, charisma and correctness of that horse and place them above the type of discipline they do because that horse stood out to them.”

Catching The Judge’s Eye

Click here to read the complete article
348 – May/June, 2023

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