Getting to the Jump is Important

What the Judge is Looking For

In a hunter class the judge would like to see a horse rounding his back, bascule, and admiring the jump and surroundings. Any expert horse show judge knows this can happen only if the horse gets to the right spot.

Three options for take off

  1. too close – if your horse takes off too close they often do not jump properly. The horses often swing their legs to the side when they jump and what the judge is looking for is even knees and smooth take off.
  2. just right – This is what the judge is looking for. It is like the Goldilocks of the three take off points, “just right”. This allows the horse to rock back onto his haunches and lift up his knees evenly and bascule over the jump. This is what the judge is looking for, the correct take off spot.
  3. too far – When your horse takes off too far from the fence or ‘long spot’, it often makes the horse flat and reach for the fence.

If you can get your horse to the correct take off spot you may have a chance to be in the ribbons. If you miss your spot, it could cost you a placing. Other things which the judge is

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Getting to the right spot is important

looking for are:


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What Does a Horse Show Judge Do Exactly?

I took this video recently so you could see what a horse show judge spends their day.

Traveling, hotels and the opportunity to see some lovely horses go over jumps…

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Getting Your Horse to Stand Still While Mounting

We’ve all seen them. Those tricky devils which move just enough so you can’t get your foot into the stirrup. Here are some tips to get you back into the saddle and get riding rather than standing and waiting at the mounting block.


What do you do when your horse moves away from the mounting block

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Scoring the Hunters…. what is an 80 anyway


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The Best Form Over Fences Should Win The Class

Have you been watching a show and noticed some riders continue to win and place and others seem to do all right things but never place? Points are important and there could be a one point difference between first and second place.

Don’t throw points away

Judging hunters is not as easy as it looks, as a horse show judge some competitors lose points on simple things which can net you a first place ribbon or championship.

Number 1 thing a horse has to do?

The horse must get to each fence.  This means:

A summary of the scores

Most judges award points or score hunter rounds based on a score of 100. Remember the horse with the best form over fences should win the class.  So:

  • 90-100 Excellent – good form, gets all the spots and beautiful turnout.
  • 80-89 Good to Very Good/or an excellent horse with minor mistakes
  • 70-79 Average/or a good horse with minor mistakes –
  • 60-69 Poor or a below average performance with minor mistakes, no major faults

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    Good form, gets spots and beautiful turnout

  • 50-59 One Major Fault: Hind Knockdown, Adding astride in an In & Out
    Very bad fence
    Dropping a leg
    Trotting on course
    Cross canter – disunited canter
    Wrong Lead
  • 40-49 Serious Major Fault: Front Knockdown, Refusal, Extremely dangerous jumping
  • 30-39 Two or more serious faults
  • 10-29 Very Unsafe and dangerous; but avoids elimination
  • Elimination

I invite you to send me an email and share your experiences. You know, we all have unique experiences and sharing our stories will improve our showing abilities.

Some Judges do not award a series of points but use a ‘ladder’ system which rates one horse higher/lower than another. Either way, this will give you an idea of how some judges may judge.

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