Listed below is an archive
of questions by Equine Extra viewers and Peter Cameron's answers.
FRANK GALOVIC ASKS:
1. OF ALL THE SHOWS YOU HAVE JUDGED
WHICH ONE DID YOU ENJOY THE MOST?
2. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT
FRAME OF WESTERN HORSES?
In response to your first question, there are two shows that stick in my
mind as the ones that I enjoyed the most. I enjoyed all my shows except a
couple but these two were special. The first one being the 1985 Star World
Show where they had a million dollars in prize money. It was a very relaxed
show with good horses. One of the fun classes was the “egg and spoon class”
that had (30) entries with an entry fee of $100.00. The class paid out
$50,000 with the winner getting $25,000.00. The 2nd show was the 1994
Scottsdale Show that I judged with Judy Wright-Stowe and Jim Brown. We all
got along real well and had a great time. We judged the Working Division
which was: Reining, Working Cow Horse, Trail, Western Pleasure and some
2. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT FRAME OF WESTERN HORSES?
I have judged every breed of Western Pleasure Horses and when presented
properly the Arabian is by far the best. We in the Arabian Division have to
stop trying to copy the Quarter Horse which is a terrible mistake as they
have the worst Western Pleasure classes of any breed. Don’t blame the horses
or the trainers - blame the Judges. Most of our pleasure horses in every
breed could not get out of a bushel basket if they were in it all day.
What’s wrong with a Western Pleasure horse if he has his head higher than
his withers, at least he could see were he was going. We let our horses go
so slow they all look like they are lame.
Dear Mr. Cameron,
It is an honor to have the opportunity to ask you questions. Your
reputation is legendary and I regret that I never had the opportunity to
show under you!
When judging a halter horse what conformation faults are you more
willing to forgive and what conformation faults do you penalize heavily?
WHEN JUDGING A HALTER HORSE WITH CONFORMATION FAULTS ARE YOU MORE WILLING TO
FORGIVE AND WHAT CONFORMATION FAULTS DO YOU PENALIZE HEAVILY?
I am willing to forgive a little:
Toeing in, long back and mutton withers. Serious faults: Back at the Knees or
Calf-kneed; Short Pasterns, Short thick neck, Straight shoulder and Small feet.
I always hated the completely flat croup. I liked a little apple rump. The
horses with the flat croup could never move any good.
GINA B ASKS:
WHEN JUDGING HALTER CLASSES DO YOU
THINK THE CLASS SPECIFICATIONS SHOULD HAVE THE EMPHASIS ON CONFORMATION FIRST
AND TYPE SECOND?
They used to drill into us at the Judging schools that type was first and by
far the most important thing. It was always in the rule book that type was
1st and conformation was 2nd. But they never said how far apart they were. I
never told anybody but I always judged conformation first and then type.
What good is a typey horse with calf knees for example. They had similar
problems with Palominos. They wanted color first and then conformation. We
had a lot of nice colored ugly Palominos for awhile.
ELLEN TOWNE ASKS:
1. WHEN THE CLASS ENTERS THE RING IN
A PERFORMANCE CLASS, HOW MUCH DOES THAT FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE HORSE WEIGH IN
YOUR FINAL DECISION?
In response to your first question, first impressions are very important.
First impressions is 2 seconds long. So make sure you are properly attired,
etc. (ex., Good Shaped Western Hat). Make sure your horse enters the arena
at the proper gait. Don’t be afraid to be the first one in, show the judge
that you have the confidence to be the 1st in the gate. I always stood at
the in-gate to get that first impression and also to see that everything was
legal on you and your horse. For instance, if you came in and forgot to take
off a dropped noseband, I would stop you and take it off. Most judges would
not do this and use it as an excuse not to pin you. I did it for (2)
reasons. First, to encourage people not to discourage and the second, reason
you could be my best horse.
2. I AM ALSO SOMEWHAT CONFUSED BY SOME OF THE
JUDGING RESULTS I SEE IN HALTER CLASSES. I HAVE SEEN INSTANCES WHEN 3 OR 5
JUDGES ARE USED, THAT MAKE NO SENSE TO ME. IF THEY ARE JUDGING TO A
STANDARD, HOW CAN JUDGE A AND B HAVE A HORSE MARKED #1, JUDGE C HAS IT #5
AND JUDGE D & E HAVE IT 10TH?
I was also confused a number of times when I was judging with 2 or 4 other
judges. I would wonder if we were judging the same class. I have found that
a lot of judges get lost in a large class. They would spend more time
writing then they would be looking. A lot of judges, not all of them, are
intimidated by the Professional Handlers and a lot of them judged the
handlers not the horses. I saw favors being paid back all the time in all
JAMES WRIGHT ASKS:
COULD YOU PERHAPS MAKE SOME SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT CHANGES CAN BE MADE IN
THE WAY CARDS ARE GIVEN TO JUDGES AND A BETTER TRAINING SYSTEM FOR OUR
JUDGES ONCE THEY RECEIVE THEIR CARDS?
I always said that you could give our rulebook to a non-horsey person, let
them study it for a week and that person could write and pass our Judging
test. You are either going to be a good judge or not. You are going to be an
Honest judge or not. There is no judging school that can make a poor judge
into a good judge. The school can only help you in certain areas. You cannot
run a Judging School by only showing videos, charts and pictures. It is not
the same as looking at live horses. We have to get them to look at live
classes in all divisions not just Halter classes.
WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO SHARE SOME OF THE EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD AS A
JUDGE IN RECOGNIZING AN ABUSED HORSE IN BOTH HALTER AND PERFORMANCE CLASSES AND
WHAT IF ANY ACTION YOU TOOK?
When I first started judging Arabians, I was shocked at the way they were
shown. I could not believe the stress and abuse that was put on some of
these horses both in Halter and Performance. In the Halter classes our
Arabian Horses are and were abused more than any other breed. Not by our
Youth and Amateurs but mostly by the Professionals. I have excused a lot of
Handlers who hit their horses after I had given them a warning. I often had
the announcer make the statement that even if they threatened to hit the
horse they would be excused. I stopped a class at one of the Scottsdale
Shows that I judged and made them wipe off all the grease that they had on
the horses face. Again, the judges have to have the guts to enforce the
rules. Abuse is not limited to Halter Horses. I excused a Park Horse at the
1973 Nationals because of blood on his sides from the spurs of the rider.
Even the way the people ride Park Horses its abuse, bouncing up and down on
FOR SENDING IN YOUR QUESTIONS, IT’S GREAT SPEAKING WITH ALL OF YOU.
PLEASE KEEP SENDING ME YOUR QUESTIONS
- Peter Cameron -
OF ANSWERS TO JANUARY QUESTIONS -
CAROL BENNETT ASKS:
Thank you for continuing to share your
expertise with us
Carol Bennett, Raleigh, NC
1.) What do you think of
pellum bits in Arabian Hunter classes over simple snaffles, all else
being equal, i.e. on the bit and rounded?
order, I prefer the snaffle, pelham and then the kimberwick. I wish we would
outlaw the kimberwick from the Arabian Division. It is a nice picture when you
see a Hunter going in a snaffle.
2.) Have you noticed areas of the U.S. where Arabians are becoming more
popular in all breed competitions, such as dressage and open hunters? If so,
where, and do you see it increasing?
we are seeing it more often in all areas today, especially in California,
Washington and along the East Coast, also very much here in Ontario where I am
from. We have to get our Arabians out into the open shows to show people what
they can do. It’s also a lot cheaper to show.
3.) How important is height in PB Arabian Halter classes? Does a 14.2 Arab
have a harder time placing or winning because of size?
pinned a lot of small Arabians Champions but I am sorry to say that this does
not always happen even if they deserve it. For some reason, there are judges who
think that bigger is always better. The best cutting, working cowhorses and
reining horses are between 14.2 and 15 hands.
4.) Do you remember the group of Arabians that toured the US in the early
50’s? They looked hugs, definitely not ponies. Who were they? They were handled
and cared for like royalty. I heard they were repossessed to pay for their keep
while on tour. Are any of those royal Arabians known in our bloodlines now?
remember the group of horses that toured but I don’t recall what happened to
CRIS GARDNER ASKS:
Dear Mr. Cameron –
In your reply to "Charles" you state that
Arabian Horses are more abused than any other breed - having seen what a
few gaited breeds go thru, I am wondering what makes you have that
are right. Other gaited breeds go through abuse as well as
the Arabians. What I was referring to mainly was out
breeding classes. In all the time that I judged Walking
Horses, Saddle Horses and Morgans in their breeding classes,
I never saw any whip marks on their horses nor did I ever
see them jerking on their heads. I did see lots of marks on
our Arabians and lots of head abuse. In my time, I excused a
lot from their class. Our classes are better than they used
to be. Maybe it is not done as much in the ring but it is
still being done and jerking on their heads is abuse. When
you see a handler move towards the horse and the horse drops
to his knees, he is not taking a bow. Only a small
percentage of the handlers are doing this but it gives
everybody a bad name.
PATTY/TIFFANY ADAMS ASKS:
Hi Mr. Cameron,
I would like to say we had the extreme honor of showing
under you in 94 (?) show year in Raleigh, NC. It was
pleasurable to say the least, especially
since our daughter was only 10 years old and we were very
new to showing. It was nice to show under a judge that was
honest and placed the horse not the trainer.
Thank you so much, we learned more from showing under you.
There just aren't any judges out there that compare to your
Patty & Tiffany Adams
1.) When you are judging CEP and EP what are the
traits that you look for, especially in JOTR classes?
The CEP class is an ideal class for Arabians. The Arabian is
more suited to this class than an English Pleasure Horse.
The main problem I see is that the closer they get to the
Nationals the higher they are going. The main things that I
looked for was a horse that looked like a happy horse and
that looked like a pleasure to ride performing the gaits
properly as per the rulebook. One of the things that bugs me
about some judges is that at the loose rein walk they seem
to ignore it, to me it was very important. I used to make
them reverse at the loose rein, that told me a lot about the
horse. A lot of riders would throw the curb away and keep
the snaffle tight. Manners in this class are very important
to me, especially in the Junior classes. Then again, manners
were always important to me in every class.
2.) What qualities do you look for in the Country
Division that sets it apart from the English Classes?
Again, the CEP horse has to be a well mannered happy horse
with a quiet mouth. A quiet mouth does not mean a mouth that
is clamped shut all the time. I like to see the ears moving
back and forth which tells me the horse is listening to the
rider. The horse is not paying attention if the ears are
forward all the time. The English Pleasure Horse classes
have gone down the tube in our shows. Other than the
Regionals and Nationals, we are lucky to get two in a class.
All they do is qualify and then go to the Nationals.
3.) What do you think about extremely long tails,
especially when the horse steps on it? Is it better in your
opinion to shorten that tail a little as to not interfere
with the horses performance?
I have been against tails that drag on the ground for a long
time in all classes. In my opinion, you should never see a
Hunter or Western Horse with a tail dragging on the ground.
I have seen several horses lose classes because they stepped
on their tails when they were asked to back up and shot
forward. One of my friends had this happen at the Nationals
and I am sure she would have won the Championship.
I had the pleasure of attending the IAHA judges school
when it was held in Minnesota some years ago and you were the judge for
the Sahara Sands show. Never did get to thanking you for having us come
down into the arena to see what judging was like from your level. And
you were very good to come over to the rail after each class to explain
why you had placed the class as you did. It was a great experience and
one (judges school) that I'd recommend for anyone who owns or shows
their own horse. It places a whole new look on the showing situation.
I'm getting ready to start showing my own horse(s) in reining and
working cowhorse classes.
Just wanted to know your
opinion on judging for those classes. Currently we have the regular
panel of western judges. I was excited when it looked like the cutting
judges would be judging working cowhorse. Would we do better to have
specialized judges for the cowhorse classes?
judges have come a long way in judging the reining classes
under the latest system. We do, however, still need
specialized judges in the working cowhorse classes as our
Arabian judges do not see enough of these classes. I was
fortunate enough to have judged these classes in the Quarter
Horse, Paint and Appaloosa shows as well as in the Arabian
Shows. We have several Arabian judges who are more than
capable of judging this class but they are also always
showing in these classes. I am still in favor of bringing in
specialized judges for the reining and working cowhorse at
the Nationals. There has to be more time spent on training
our judges in these 2 classes with live horses - not in a
classroom with videos.
ELLEN TOWNE ASKS:
Dear Mr. Cameron
I am sure you are aware of all the turmoil
surrounding the David Boggs Incident and the decision rendered by the
I am in full agreement that anyone who has
altered horses should receive the maximum penalties allowed.
What I do find very disturbing is that all
of the focus seems to be on David Boggs. No one seems to be addressing
the multitude of problems that has gotten us to the desperate point we
From my point of view, the cheating, abuse
and drugging that has become common place, is a result of three
particular problems. 1.) The years of IAHA’s failure to recognize and
react to problems and not stringently enforcing the existing rules. 2.)
Allowing active trainers to be judges. 3.) The continuance of the
Delegate System of voting as it currently stands.
I have not participated in showing in IAHA
recognized shows for years because of the very reasons I stated. I
firmly believe that these areas must be addressed before there can
actually be any significant change.
I was wondering if you had any thoughts or
comments you would like to share with us regarding this matter.
are absolutely right! There are a lot of others that are
doing it and have not been caught. The sad part is that the
owners know what is going on and they could sure help to
stop it. But I guess it’s win at any cost. Mr. Brown is
after David Boggs whether he is guilty or not. Ginger is
against the rules and look how many people use it with most
of the judges looking the other way. Michael Byatt is on a
great crusade against ginger - I guess he never used it.
When I was judging, if I was certain that a horse was
gingered, I would not use him. If they came to me after and
asked why I did not use their horse, I would tell them I did
not like the way he traveled. End of discussion!
Hello Mr. Cameron
In recent years we have experienced
declines in show attendance, breeding, transfers and IAHA memberships.
What seems to be quite strange is that we are suffering from over
crowded conditions at the Nationals. This brings the following questions
1.) Do you have an idea what has caused the
increased attendance at the Nationals while all other areas are on the
2.) In order to curb attendance at the
Nationals, there have been changes in the rules to make qualifying more
difficult. Do you feel that this will cause more of the average Arabian
owners with limited finances to drop out of showing quality horses at
the National level?
shows are so much smaller because of the cost to show and the politics
that still go on.
- END OF ANSWERS TO FEBRUARY QUESTIONS -
SUSAN MARSH ASKS:
1. Are you still doing clinics and speaking at even
2. What inspired you to become a judge?
In response to your first question I retired from clinics in 1997. I conduct
speaking engagements in the U.S. and Canada. This is no charge to the club or
association only for my expenses.
In response to question number two, In 1953, I took my Paint and Quarter Horses
to a show in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. While at the show, an announcement was
made stating the show judge was in a auto accident. All of the trainers and I,
placed our names in a hat - my name was selected and I judged the show, I had a
great time and that started my career in horseshow judging.
FRANK GALOVIC ASKS:
1. What do you think of the performance requirement for Halter Champions? Rules
should be a lot stricter.
2. How would you have judged Magnum Psyche at the 1998 Nationals knowing that
the horse had neck surgery?
In response to you first question, I feel either a Championship or Reserve
Championship, with more than 2 horses in the class, should be the requirement
for Halter Champions.
If I knew Magnum Psyche had neck surgery he would of been placed last. I would
of walked over and touched his neck so the crowd could see something was wrong.
Arabian people do more than any other breed to “change” the beauty of the
Arabian horse. In 1973 at the U.S. National Arabian Championships, I was judging
the Park Horse Championship class. I disqualified a horse named “Cooter” (not
sure on the spelling) because he was dripping blood from being spurred.
TRACY WALKER ASKS:
1. Where was the 1st Arabian Show you judged?
2. How many breed cards did you hold throughout your career?
3. At the US Nationals this year - what were your thoughts on the PB Stallion
In response to your first question, my 1st Arabian Show was in 1960 at Buffalo,
N.Y., I judged the Fort Erie Arabian Show. Mr. Norman Dunn (California) was the
other judge at the show.
In response to question number two, I held (23) judging cards at any given time
throughout my judging career.
In response to question
three, I did not see the class, therefore, I cannot comment.
I recently returned from a class A show where I competed in
Hunter pleasure and Show Hack. its been about ten years
since I competed in these divisions and I was wondering what
your view is of the latest trends. I was under the
impression that a hunter pleasure horse should be a forward
light moving horse that is under control, balanced and
covers the ground naturally and gracefully with an easy
going trot. Is this not the case anymore. All the horses
that pinned were traveling in kimberwicks with their noses
on their chests at a tremendous speed at all gaits
(borderline dangerous in my opinion) and all produced a
country pleasure or at least high knee type trot, not the
flat kneed stretched trot that I was used to. I found the
same in Show Hack. it seems the rule for top hat and tails
after 6pm has been dropped and I can see why now. its
because the judge wouldn't know whether it was a country/english
pleasure class or show hack. Do you think that there needs
to be more education in the Show Hack judging or am I just
dreaming back to yesteryear when a show hack was penalized
for traveling like a park horse and that extended and
collected gaits were performed similar to that of a dressage
horse? Will there be a swing back as judges get more
educated or should I retire what I thought was my show hack
horse simply to the dressage ring? What sort of horse and
movement do you like to see in a show hack and a hunter.
Thanx for your comments.
Nice to hear from you I always enjoyed judging you and your
I think you had better consider retiring your horse as it
looks like the judging of these two classes is not going to
change in the near future.
The Judging Schools are going to have to spend more time on
these two classes as they are two of our most popular
classes. I see pictures of winners coming out of the ring
and they are going as high as English Pleasure horses.
The Hunter Pleasure horse must be a low frame easy moving
horse. I like to call them daisy cutters as they should not
be wasting energy at any gait. These are horses that are
supposed to be riding to the Hunt where they will jump 35 or
more fences and then ride back home. This horse should look
the part of a Hunter as if he could go over fences not
looking and traveling like an English Pleasure horse.
Most of these horses are
traveling too fast with their noses on their chests. If this
type of horse galloped to a fence, he would not see it until
he was 3 feet from the fence. I have been asking for years
to get rid of the kimberwicks and look like a Hunter.
Finally, most of our judges need more education in these two
Dear Mr. Cameron
Thank you for making yourself available to answer our
questions. Out of all the classes at a show which ones do
you enjoy judging the most and which ones do you enjoy the
least and why.
I am asked this question a lot. I enjoyed the Performance
Classes best of all, especially the Working Classes such as
Reining and Working Cow Horse. I did enjoy the Breeding
Classes as long as they were good ones. In the early years,
the Driving Classes would scare me as we usually had a wreck
but they did improve. I always enjoyed judging any of the
Youth Classes including the Lead Line and the Stick Horses
which most of the judges hated.
Dear Mr. Cameron:
My husband is an Arabian
trainer and speaks of you as a "legend". He is a great
admirer of yours. I would like to know why you would like to
see the Kimberwick outlawed. Look forward to seeing your
Leigh Anne Meyer
If you were to go to an Open Hunter Show, you would never
see a kimberwick bit. It is considered an improper bit for a
Hunter. It is legal in our breed and I have pinned a lot of
horses wearing this bit because of the fact that it is
legal. The ideal Hunter looks best in a snaffle or a pelham.
When adults come into the ring with a kimberwick, they are
telling me that they need a curb but can't handle two reins.
I’m so glad we found you! We sure miss you standing Center
My question may be one that has been rehashed many times but
I think there may be something I am missing. I have always
greatly enjoyed participating in Halter classes. We only
have 3 horses and we do all of our own training and showing.
We always start our horses in halter and show them from
yearlings and normally continue to show them at halter, even
after they have established their performance careers.
It’s getting to a point where you are viewed by some as a
second class citizen because you enjoy halter. I’m not
speaking of enjoying seeing some of the terrified horses I
see in the ring today but our horses enjoy showing at
halter. They enter the ring with a look at me attitude and
show they are glad to be alive. There also seems to be a
perception by many, that the way our horses are made to set
up, hides faults from the judges. I can understand how some
faults may be hidden to an average person but if a judge is
competent, how are faults being hidden from them? If a judge
is uncomfortable about the way a horse is set up they can
ask you to reset the horse. Are the majority of judges
Thanks Peter. It’s great to
be able to have the opportunity to ask your opinion. I hope
everything is going well for you. You are deeply missed!
I'm glad to hear that you enjoy showing in the Breeding
Classes. These classes can and should be fun to show in as
long as you and your horse are enjoying them as well. There
are a lot of Halter horses that are not enjoying these
classes, as you well know. The judge has a big part also if
these classes are to be fun.
You can hide some faults the we show our horses and I hope
that most judges are not fooled but I am sure some of them
are, along with being intimidated by some of our top
I used to like to see all of my Breeding horses shown to me
relaxed at some time during the class.