The Judge Is Always Right

Judging is an opinionated profession.

Now, we’re talking about evaluation of production, be it horses, cows, dogs or ears of corn. Problem with judging is that everybody wants to win, and there can only be one
first place. Remainder of the entries must be ranked lower. Since entering our initial chicken judging 43 years ago, we’ve been hooked on looking at and ranking livestock.

From those high school events to judging on the college level, spending much time working out for five teams, we’ve traveled throughout the country evaluating horses.  Considerable additional training has been required to keep up on the industry.

Yet, the fact remains the same: it is one person’s opinion. That’s the reason for a show. If everybody agreed which one was best, there would only need to be one  competition. Fortunately, that’s not the case, and shows continue.

Just because a horse wins today doesn’t mean it’ll win tomorrow or maybe ever again. Frequently, horses are shown on the same day in several divisions, sometimes with the same opponents, and it’s probable that the second or third time into the ring, that same horse under the same judge will not place like it did earlier.

Horses look different under changing conditions, and definitely with different handlers. Most of the breed shows we work have more than one judge, sometimes as many as six. In major events, placings are added together with the winner having the   highest total. In most shows, each exhibitor gets points from each judge.

In certain performance classes, one judge cannot see the entire group at the same time. A perfect example of this came in Seguin, Texas, where we placed a black and white stallion first, and the other judges placed him last. The horse had bucked behind our back, and we didn’t have a clue; he was the best when we saw him.

Some judges get worried when they don’t place a class like another judge. We don’t, and frequently our card isn’t marked exactly like those we’re working with. That’s not bad, that’s good. Each official has his definite, prejudiced opinion for his placing.

Every judge is right. They were paid for their opinion, and each made it. Nobody can   legitimately say they are wrong, although people sometimes try.

We always evaluate every horse thoroughly and rank each according to which we think is the best of those before us. Showing is winning and losing. Every winner is going to also be a loser at some time, under somebody’s differing, discriminating opinion.

What matters most though is following Jesus’ advice in Matthew 7:2: “The standard you use in  judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” Yet, only one judge   counts as Jesus indicated in John 12:31: “The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out.”