Written by: Randy Roy

Randy Roy is a senior international judge, course designer and author. He owns and operates Hunters Glen Show Stable in King, ON, with his daughter, Ryan Roy.

Thumbnail for Ask the Judge: blocked view, replaced rails, essential items and more

There are some big trees in the ring and a horse or pony goes behind one cross-cantering, then comes into view on the right lead. How do you score the round?

I cannot judge what I cannot see, so it’s a freebie! Only the view from the back side of the tree knows for sure whether it was a clean change, a trot, a skip change, or a kick-up change.

In back-to-back classes a horse or pony has a rail down in the first class; the rider pulls up before the end of the course and then starts the second course. Is that okay?

It’s all good with me, and thank you. Why waste your horse if you like him, as I know you do? So on to the next class and hopefully a better trip.

When the jump crew puts a rail back up, do you watch to make sure it is securely in the cup, the right height, and with any bow in the rail facing down?

Yes, all of the above, as well as making sure they push the standards in so the rail is not on the edge of the cup. Often the jump crew are not experienced and the course designer is elsewhere, so it is up to you as the judge to keep an eye on things.

If a gate has not been raised to meet the rail and some riders have gone, can you have that fixed?

Unfortunately, the gate has to stay as it is for the entire class, then it can be altered before the next class.

When scoring a class numerically, you call in a score and then as the horse is leaving the ring he spooks, stumbles, or jumps sideways. What do you do?

Sorry, if I saw it I call in a corrected score, as the horse is still in the ring. This is one of the reasons it is best to wait to call in the score until after the horse has left the ring.

I know that you have to enter and exit the ring at a walk, but if a naughty or reluctant horse gets the crop and canters into the ring, then walks to proceed on course, how do you deal with that?

Sorry, that is elimination, as it is not allowed. It is the same as when a halt is called for by the in-gate and they step out of the ring at a trot or canter.

What do you find most annoying about horse shows that you judge?

There is quite a list, but going to the top would be any abuse of a horse or pony while in the ring. Right next door would be horses and riders that have no business being at the show, as they are simply not ready!

Which essential item is in your knapsack?

There is a small addiction that I have: bug spray. Bugs can be so totally annoying and distracting.