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American Quarter Horse Association Executive Committee Discusses Hunter Under Saddle Judging

AQHA Press Release

The topic of hunter under saddle was discussed during the Executive Committee meeting held June 15-17, in Amarillo. As you know, there have been various workshops, seminars, and other educational venues, in which the judging of the Hunter Under Saddle class has been discussed. The judging of the hunter under saddle class has been mentioned in several issues of the Judges' Update sent out by Alex Ross, AQHA Executive Director of Judges. Additionally, hunter under saddle will be held in the 2004-2005 judges' conference.

A letter has been sent to all approved judges advising them to judge by the Hunter Under Saddle rules listed in the “2004 AQHA Official Handbook of Rules and Regulations.”

The letter states:

“Unfortunately, we continue to receive complaints from owners and exhibitors of hunter under saddle horses that some judges are not judging by the rules. The majority of the complaints we are fielding deal with horses, which consistently carry their head too low and/or behind the vertical, and are still placing or even many times winning. We are also hearing that judges sometimes do not penalize horses demonstrating excessive slowness at the canter and the rider's failure to maintain light contact with the horse's mouth. This process must stop or we will address this issue directly with those of you who do not judge by the rules.

“In AQHA’s “Official Handbook of Rules & Regulations,” rule 464(a) describes the proper movement and head carriage for the hunter under saddle horse. It specifically states that, “the poll should be level with, or slightly above the withers, to allow proper impulsion behind. The head position should be slightly in front of, or on the vertical.” Additionally, rules 464 (e) (5,8,9and 11) and rules 464(f) (1 and 2) are in place to ensure that horses are penalized or disqualified which do not conform to the rules of the class. If you are uncomfortable with your ability to judge this class, you should attend the first session of the 2004/2005 judges conferences where we will be covering hunter under saddle.

“We are committed to seeing that this class is judged by the above-mentioned rules. The only way exhibitors can compete on an equitable playing field is when they know they are being judged according to the written rules.”

AQHA wanted to provide this information to hunter under saddle competitors so they can refer to their “AQHA Handbooks” to read how they will be judged. If you have any questions about this, please contact AQHA at 806-376-4811.