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Letter To The Editor from Donna O’Keefe


Letter To The Editor,

I have recently returned from a horse show where the judging was abysmal. Park classes were judged as pleasure classes; country horses were asked to halt only one way of the ring; manners in amateur classes were completely ignored; class standards were generally ignored; and on it went.

Judging like this needs to stop. Owners pay too much money on their horses, their training, their trucking, and their show fees to have some under-qualified person stand in center ring. There are many excellent judges for show managers to hire. Likewise, as owners it is our responsibility to become knowledgeable about class standards, to really watch the classes and to speak up and out through the proper channels. Owners have become afraid of speaking out except to each other in the stands. Every rated horse show is USEF governed and should have a Confidential Show/Judges Report available for members to file after the show. We need to start filling out these reports at every show...the good and the bad. I was horrified to discover that most USEF members sitting near me were unaware of these forms, and, if they did know about them, were afraid to fill them out for fear of repercussion/retribution/reprisal. It was also interesting that when I went into the show office to ask for these forms that they had a hard time finding them, and when they did locate them there were only two forms available. Sadly, it is apparent that apathy is alive and well. Apparently most of us just want to gripe and complain, but do nothing constructive to change the things that we don't like.

USEF, UPHA, and breed organizations are there for owners as well as trainers, managers, judges. As owners we need to speak up and out not only to each other, but to the organizations that have the responsibility to represent our concerns and to govern the standards set forth in their by-laws. These organizations have the responsibility to hold shows, managers, judges, stewards to as high a standard as we hold our horses. These organizations represent all equine enthusiasts, but can only do their jobs when we do ours. So, at the next horse show (good or bad), go to the show office (or online) and ask for a USEF Members' Confidential Evaluation Form of Judges. Rate the judge and mail the form. Only then will the bad judges be scrutinized and hopefully sanctioned, the good judges be given the plaudits they deserve and the shows become better.
Donna D. O'Keefe

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