the distinct privilege of handling ringmaster duties for Anne M.
Johnson a classy and talented horseshow judge at the Eastern Classic
Arabian Show June 10-12, 2005 in Batavia, NY. Her graciousness,
humor and knowledge led to a successful show and to this interview.
Anne has an extensive background with judging, consulting and
training. From the information she has provided (listed below) you
can tell she is in a class all her own. She has a Bachelors degree
at the University of Wisconsin, double majors: Animal Science and
Journalism. Graduate study, University of Minnesota, Animal Breeding
and Genetics. Seminars from 1982 to present by American Horse Shows
Association, International Arabian Horse Association, National
Reining Horse Association, National Reined Cow Horse Association,
Color Breed Council, International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse
She has been a American Horse Shows Association judge since 1984 and
registered as a judge in Arabian, National Show Horse, Western and
Western Seat Divisions. Judged prestigious class A and regional
championships throughout the United States and Canada and National
Championships in the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Israel, and
New Zealand. Among the first judges to reach Level 1 status with the
International Arabian Horse Association; special certification in
reining and stock seat equitation. Andalusian and Miniature Horse
judging cards; judged large all breed championship shows.
Some of the major shows she has judged are listed below - she has
definitely seen the world:
Eastern Class Arabian Show, Batavia, New York, 2005
Region XII Working Cow Horse Championships, Columbia, MS 2004
Region XI Championships, Springfield, IL 2004
Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, Scottsdale, AZ, 2003
Region XVII Championships, Vancouver, BC, 2003
Morgan Grand Nationals, Oklahoma City, OK, 2003
U.S. Arabian and Half Arabian National Championships, 2002, 1999,
Region XII Working Cow Horse Championships, Baton Rouge, LA, 2002
New York State Horse Breeders Show, New York, 2002
Region XV Championships, Lexington, VA, 2001
Pacific Slope Championships and Cal-Bred Futurities, Santa Barbara,
District 7 National Show Horse Championships, Santa Barbara, CA,
Breeders Cup Championships, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2000
Michigan High School Championship Horse Show, Detroit, MI, 2004,
2001, 1999, 1996
Eastern Canadian Breeders Championships, London, Ontario, 1998
New Zealand Arabian National Championships, Cambridge, New Zealand,
Brazilian Arabian Breeders Cup and Yearling National Championships,
Sao Paulo, 1997
Region II Arabian and Half Arabian Championships, Santa Barbara, CA,
East Coast Championships, Harrisburg, PA 1996
Region VIII Arabian and Half Arabian Championships, Wichita, KS 1995
Israeli Arabian National Championships, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1994
Region VI Arabian and Half Arabian Championships, Billings, MT, 1994
Region III Arabian and Half Arabian Championships, Reno, NV, 1993
Plus more than 200 Arabian shows in: Alaska, Arkansas, California,
Florida, Illinois, and Iowa Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan,
Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New
York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania,
South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, British
Columbia, Ontario and Winnipeg.
Now onto the interview, I asked Anne a few questions - here's your
chance to meet
her up close and personal:
ML: When did
you get started with horses?
Saw and rode my first horse when I was
four. Begged my parents for one from then on. They thought it was a
passing fancy and did not buy me a horse until I was 13 and
physically able to handle it myself. But in the meantime, they made
sure I rode every horse possible which actually turned out to be a
better experience for me riding that many horses. They were not into
horses but became very much involved when I started showing...some
of the best times we ever had together. I am adopted and when I was
about 40, a brother I had never met found me. His son was into
Arabian horses and we were at the same horse show one time...of
course, not knowing about our connection. But the passion for horses
does seem to run in the family!
ML: Did your
family have horses?
Anne Johnson: My parents
grew up on farms in southern Minnesota and had work and buggy
Do you own horses now? If yes, what are their breeds and names?
Anne Johnson: I own two horses. A purebred Arabian mare that
I bred and brought with me from Minnesota to Texas. JC
Sierra...showed her at halter and western pleasure on a limited
basis because I was training and showing so many outside horses, it
didn't make sense to show her much. Loves trail riding and now I use
her as a lesson horse. A three year old Arabian Quarter Horse cross
filly, Bonita San Olena. Her sire is an excellent son of Doc O'Lena
and he, Pauli Olena, was exported to Germany. Bonita's dam, is a
wonderful pure Polish mare imported from Poland....she raced at
Santa Anita. I've trained Bonita for the past year and half and now
she is with reining trainer, John O'Hara here in Aubrey, Texas
getting ready for next year's Half Arabian Reining Futurity in
Scottsdale with an estimated purse of $100,000. Incredible horse.
Do you show in another breed besides Arabian?
Anne Johnson: I have students that show in the hunter jumper
circuits with Thoroughbreds and pony hunters, Quarter Horses,
Paints, Apps, and even some barrel horses. And they win!
How did you get started in judging and training?
Anne Johnson: I started judging in 1983. I was showing a lot
and there were very few good women judges. I was determined to
become one of the top rated judges. I left a secure position on the
College of Agriculture faculty at the University of Wisconsin to
start my own business....largely equine consulting at the time. And
I transitioned into training. Still do as an instructor and
clinician. I teach people how to train and ride
horses....horsemanship. I moved to Texas two years ago from MN and
basically started over with my business here....not an easy thing to
do. This is major league horse country with some of the best
What are your dreams and goals for the future?
Anne Johnson: I already do national and international clinics
and seminars and I want to keep developing that area. I love
teaching and judging, which I will continue also on a national and
Bonita San Olena is wonderful and I want to take her as far as she
can go in reining and then move into working cow horse competition.
It's so much fun! The horses have been good to me. They taken me all
over the world through judging. They have given me the opportunity
for lifetime friendships I treasure. And countless hours of
enjoyment and learning.
Haven't you always wanted to ask a judge a question on show
etiquette, riding styles such as Reining, Working Cow, Western,
English, etc.? If you answered yes to that question, Anne has agreed
to answer your questions monthly - this is a once in a lifetime
offer - she has been all over the world and surely her answers will
benefit amateurs and professionals alike.
If you have a question in regard to showing that you would like to
ask Anne Johnson, please go to the ASK THE
JUDGE section of the website.