Scoring the Hunters…. what is an 80 anyway


Scoring hunters, horse, horse riding, hunter jumper, Laura Kelland-May, Thistle Ridge Skill Builders

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

    horse show tips, What the judge is looking for in the hunter ring, hunter judge, Laura Kelland-May, Thistle Ridge Stables, Judging Hunters

    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.

About Laura

Laura Kelland-May is the founder of Thistle Ridge Skill Builders Development Program. She more than trains horses, she trains people to train their horses. In addition she is a Sr. Judge and can offer insight into What the Judge Is Looking For. Follow her here and get more tips.
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