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: cross-cantering, counter cantering, judges’ booths and more

Which is worse – cross-cantering or counter-cantering around a turn?

Both are not good, but if I had to choose one, it would be counter-cantering, as that tells me that no attempt at a lead change was made.

What would you, as a judge, say is the biggest issue with the hunter and equitation divisions today?

A big question, but I would have to say in the hunter world there are too many low height divisions and in the equitation world the riders have no release.

As in dressage judging where a scribe is used, do you think that hunter and equitation judges would consider going that route?

Interesting; it would really allow you as the judge to see all of the action in the ring, as there would be no looking down to mark your card. Personally, I want to keep my own card and not have to tell someone what I want to write down, so in my opinion it is not a good idea.

Do you think the time of day when horses and ponies show has any bearing on their performance ?

Absolutely! Mine may as well not show at feeding time; by late afternoon they have had it and only want their dinner and a stall. I try to confuse them by feeding earlier and then going to the ring.

In a ride-off, can you ask a rider to add or subtract a stride in a line that they jumped in the first round?

To me it is not a good idea, especially with ponies, adults, and children’s divisions, as they are so programmed to do the right numbers that you are asking for a possible disaster. (P.S. There are plenty of other tests to use that are demanding enough.)

A lot of judge’s booths are simply not acceptable. What are your basic criteria?

Here is my priority list:

1. Whoever designs them needs to sit in them and be sure they can see everything in the ring

2. A comfortable swivel chair

3. A trash can

4. Windows that open and close (if applicable)

5. A table or stand to write on

That is all I ask – now I am ready to do my job!

Now that the judge can ask an exhibitor questions during further testing, can you share some of yours?

Here are some of my sample questions:

  • How many strides are in a 72’ line?
  • Your horse stops at the ‘out’ of an in-and-out; do you have to jump both jumps, or just the out?
  • Name three types of martingales.
  • Can a hunter show in a running martingale?
  • Name four different types of bits a hunter can wear while showing.
  • Where is the poll and the dock on your horse? Point to them.
  • Name three things that are different about a handy hunter class.
  • What is the best way to start a hunter round?
  • What is the best way to finish a hunter round?
  • What do you like most about showing?