Horse Judging

Placing The Class
What is horse judging? Basically, it is learning to do what judges do at a horse show - placing the class. However, there is much more to learn than just how to place the class. While judging a horse at halter, we learn about conformation, balance, structural correctness, faults and blemishes. We also learn to evaluate the whole horse. Then we place the horse with the most positives at the top of the class. This is called evaluation and decision making, two very important life skills. We also learn to evaluate all the performance classes at a horse show and place the horses accordingly. It makes watching a horse show a much more pleasant experience.

Another great skill learned in horse judging is the ability to give oral reasons. A class is designated as an oral reasons class. The contestants take notes on that class and at the end of the contest go before a judge and give an orderly explanation of why they placed the class the way they did. This is public speaking at it's best! It is a valuable life skill. You can imagine the thoughts that go through a shy nine year old youth's mind about this task, but over the years they have all been able to do it and get better each time.

The horse judging program in Johnson County was started in 1988 by Ed Bader, who is still the coach to this day. The judges are divided into two age groups: 13 and under, and 14 and up. Through hard work, trial and error, and dedication this program has grown into one of the most successful programs in the state. The team attends about 8 judgings throughout the state of Texas. These include Fort Worth, San Antonio, San Angelo and the Paint World show in Fort Worth to name a few. Johnson County teams have won all these contests at both the senior and junior levels. In addition to these judgings, Johnson County hosts it's own annual contest.

Johnson County Horse Judging is open to anyone in 4H regardless of their talents or other interests. Our senior team has won all of the national contests over the years and consistently places in the top five when they don't take the grand prize home. Nationally, the Johnson County team is recognized as the team to beat at any of the local or national contests. It is fun, educational, and offers opportunities for travelling to new places and making new friends. There are several colleges that offer scholarships to judges interested in participating in their collegiate judging programs. Several of the judging's we attend give scholarships as awards. We have many members who have won thousands of dollars in scholarship money.

You do not have to own a horse to be on the Judging Team.

Georgia Stewart, Judging team coach

For more information contact
Judging Coach/ Leader
Georgia Stewart
[email protected]

Ed Bader will remain as Advisor

First practice is September 11 at 4:30 at 324 H&O Lane in Alvarado