Becoming an Approved APHA Judge

Following is information on the steps involved in becoming an APHA-approved judge, as well as the forms you need for application and references. If you have any questions about judge requirements or about completing these forms, please call the APHA. If you are in outside the United States and Canada, see “Becoming an Approved APHA International Judge.” For information on the new Apprentice Judging program, see APHA Apprentice Judging Program.
Judge Applicant Forms:
Submit your application using our NEW Online Judge Application (Preferred)
Download the Judge Application Form
Download the Restricted Halter Judge Application

Who is Eligible to Apply
  • Applicants must have been an APHA member-in-good-standing for one full year prior to applying to become a judge.
  • Applicants must be 21 years of age in order to apply.
How to Apply
  • Applicant must submit their judges application with the application fee. This fee is nonrefundable.
    • In order for an application to be considered for attendance at the Applicant Exam, it must be received in the office no later than November 20th of the year prior to the exam, thus allowing the time necessary for the file to be processed prior to the APHA Convention meeting in February.  Only files that are complete can be forwarded to the Judges Committee for consideration.
  • As soon as your application is received at the APHA office, you will be sent an open-book APHA rule book test. This test must be completed and returned before your application can be processed.
  • Judge applicants are required to submit a completed application and provide a minimum of 10 references.
    • Six of the 10 references must be from currently carded APHA or AQHA judges who have witnessed you judging.
    • The remaining four references must be from show management personnel who have hired you to judge.
    • Note: A reference may be used only once on an application, meaning that the same name cannot be used both as a judge and a management reference. Also, a husband and wife count as only one reference.
    • Applicants who are already approved AQHA judges are only required to submit a minimum of five references—three references from APHA or AQHA judges who have witnessed you judging and two references from show management personnel who have hired you to judge.
    • Urge your references to complete and return their evaluations as quickly as possible. All references must be received by APHA before your application can be submitted to the Judges Committee.
    • Periodically, the judge applicant will receive a letter stating the number and type of references still needed to complete the reference requirement. It is up to the applicant to either send in new references—indicating the type of reference being submitted—or to ask that reference letters be re-sent to names on the original list.
  • Provide a recent photo, suitable for publication, of yourself in the attire you would wear to judge a horse show. (The photo will remain with APHA.)
  • All applicants’ names will be published in the Paint Horse Journal a minimum of 30 days prior to the Judges Committee review.
  • An incomplete file cannot be presented to the Judges Committee for consideration. However, you may submit additional references at any time prior to submission of the file to the committee.
  • A statute of limitations applies to applications. A file must be complete and ready for review no later than two years from the date the applicant’s name appears in the Journal. Failure to complete the application process within this time will result in the file being declared void, and require that the application process, including repayment of the application fee, be started over.
Judges Committee Consideration
  • Once the references have been received by APHA, the judge’s file will be held until the next scheduled meeting of the Judges Committee. To be eligible for consideration, a judge applicant’s file must be ready for review one month prior to the committee’s meeting. The Judges Committee meets a minimum of twice a year—at the Convention in February and at the APHA Applicant School in April.
  • The Judges Committee reviews the completed files and selects applicants to be invited to the applicant school. Applicants should keep in mind that they are under continual review throughout the entire process. An invitation to the applicant school can be rescinded if additional unsatisfactory information is received.
  • Successful applicants will be notified of the date and location of the applicant school. The applicant must attend this school in order to become an approved APHA judge.
  • The scores earned at the applicant school will be presented to the Judges Committee at their next scheduled meeting. At that time, the committee determines if an applicant is approved for judging on a temporary status, or if the application will be denied approval.
  • If you are approved for judging status, your name will appear in the Paint Horse Journal as an approved judge. All approved judges must maintain their membership in APHA. Your name is also added to the list provided to those who are seeking the names and addresses of approved judges. The list of approved judges is also printed in the Journal each January.
How to Reapply
  • If your application is denied, you may resubmit an application one year from the date of denial. A second filing fee must be paid at that time. If you are invited to the applicant school and fail to make a passing grade, you may re-apply immediately. Reapplying will require an apprentice applicant to apprentice with four additional judges and a regular applicant to submit new references. If you fail to pass the second time, you must wait one year to reapply.

For more information, contact APHA Senior Director of Judges, shows & Education, David Dellin by phone at (817) 718-4223 or by e-mail at ddellin@apha.com.