Horse show judges evaluate from the positive. While judges are often asked about aspects of a performance that may contribute to a win, they aren’t often given a platform to discuss the things they’d rather not see in the show pen. While we all have our own pet peeves, judges have a lot more perspective gleaned from the many hours they have spent in the middle of the arena. We spoke with four leading Halter judges about the things that irk them in Halter and what exhibitors can do to address them. Read on to meet our panel of judges, who specialize in Halter, and to discover what Halter competitors should avoid at all costs.
Meet the Experts
Steve Ferguson is an AQHA and WCHA judge whose record as a professional includes more than 70 AQHA World and Reserve World Championships and multiple All American Quarter Horse Congress Halter winners.
Tim Finkenbinder has prepared and shown numerous Halter World Champions in every major stock horse breed. He’s also the chairman of the WCHA judges committee, a member of the APHA judges committee, and a member of the AQHA show and contest committee.
JT Mitchell is an experienced judge who has judged internation-ally, including events in Mexico, Brazil, and Denmark. Mitchell has raised more than 119 World Champions across multiple stock breeds including APHA, AQHA, PHBA, ABRA, IBHA, and PTHA, and regularly donates time to APHA’s Judges Academy.
Trisha Shorten-Armstrong is a WCHA-approved judge who also holds an AQHA specialty card. She has judged at the AQHA World Show and AQHYA World Show, and her career specializing in Halter horses spans more than 30 years.
#1: Halter Fit
The Error: Exhibitors come in with a poorly fitted halter that detracts from their horses’ appearance.