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: exiting the ring, jogging lame, learner judges and more

At the end of an equitation round, is it okay to halt and then exit the ring?

No, as that is a way to avoid a lead and looks too abrupt. A nice transition down to a posting trot and then to a walk to the gate and exit is what I am looking for.

When horses or ponies jog back with their numbers tied to the neck on the wrong side, how do deal with that?

Well, usually I know the call-back order by the short description I have on my card; eg. bay, dee-bit, etc. I can also request that the numbers be put on the side I can see. Personally, I think it is tacky to tie the number around the neck. It should be around the rider’s waist.

A horse or pony jogs lame in the first class, you excuse them, and then they come back to jog in the second class and look okay. Do you excuse them again, or allow them to continue?

I hope that this never happens to me, but I can see it happening if they take the horse out of the ring, shake them up a bit and then come back to the ring trotting quickly – so I would say you would have to allow it.

How do you score a horse that hits a rail so hard it bounces up and out of the cup, but then lands back in the cup?

Right in front of a rail down. It would be an automatic 50.

If a rail is knocked down and ends up in the path of another fence that the competitor still has to jump, what do you do?

Hopefully you have a speedy jump crew, or else you will have to stop the rider, have the rail moved, and then they can proceed.

When a learner judge is with you, what advice do you give them and how do you handle it?

Note that I do not like to have learner judges with me at the really big shows, as I do not need any distractions; there is already too much to focus on. However, here are some things I would generally do:

1. Ask them why they want to become a judge;

2. Have them score each round and then compare them to my scores at the end of the class;

3. Ask them to defend their placings;

4. Lastly, I sign their cards and have them submit them to the federation [Equestrian Canada] for evaluation.

If a distance is set incorrectly and some of the horses go and then this is pointed out, what happens?

That is up to the course designer, the show management, and the exhibitors. If all are in agreement, the distance should be fixed and those who have gone can go again. I am totally fine with this, as it would be a lot safer and easier to judge!