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4 ways to put your best foot forward

For riders dreaming of their big win, understanding what judges are looking for in each class is a key piece to securing their moment in the spotlight. In the August 2015 issue of the Paint Horse Journal, several APHA judges share what sets an exhibitor apart in their eyes—and here’s a hint: it has nothing to do with the amount of silver on your saddle or your horse’s pricetag. Check out their advice to make your next show a success.

  • Winning starts at home. Learning all you can about each class is a great way to be ready to step in the show pen, and reading the 2015 Official APHA Rule Book is one way to do it. You can also check out “The Game Plan” column in each issue of the Paint Horse Journal, where APHA Director of Judges Dave Dellin breaks down APHA’s most popular events. Head over to the APHA General Store to purchase the handy 12-event series PDF for only $10. 
  • Make an impression. Your show outfit doesn’t have to break the bank, but it should be appropriate for the class, clean and well fitted. Make sure your Paint partner looks the part by making sure he’s well groomed and turned out appropriately for his event.
  • Sell it. Judge Cindy Rucker of Cumming, Georgia, says an exhibitor who stands out is one who really showcases the potential of both the horse and horseman.

“The thing that impresses me the most is when they come through that gate showing their horse to me. They come through and they’re looking very business-like and serious, and they’re showing their horse to me from their first step into the arena,” Cindy said. “Come trotting in that pen and sell me that horse.”

  • Look at it from the other side. Judges want to reward exhibitors, and every time you step in the pen they are cheering for you, says judge Dave Denniston of Mead, Colorado.

“Judges want to give exhibitors credit and reward them for excellence,” Dave said. “Having said that, judges must follow the rules for each and every class, and as such, an exhibitor needs to be familiar with all the rules for any class they show.”

For the whole story, pick up a copy of the August Paint Horse Journal. Not a subscriber yet? Get in on the action by subscribing to the Paint Horse Journal. A one-year subscription for APHA members is only $30.


[Reprinting all or part of this news release is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provided back to apha.com.]

About APHA

The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.