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On The Rail

078. Inside Horse Show Judging: Expert Insights from APHA, AQHA, and NSBA


This is the one you have asked for! In this episode of On the Rail Podcast, we dive into judging with Sandy Jirkovsky (APHA Director of Judges), John Pipkin (AQHA Director of Show Officials), and Bill Kaven (NSBA Judges). This highly anticipated episode offers a spicy follow-up to our discussions on hunter under saddle and western pleasure. Our expert guests unpack the intricate processes, standards, and challenges of judging, providing listeners with a rare glimpse of what happens in the center of the pen.


From the heart of controversy to the forefront of excellence, this episode promises insider insights into the critical balance of fairness, expertise, and the sometimes blurred lines between personal preference and the letter of the law. This episode is a must-listen for anyone passionate about the direction our industry is heading, offering insights that promise to spark conversation and debate.


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We briefly introduce the episode's focus and guests - Sandy Jirkovsky, APHA Director of Judges, John Pipkin, AQHA Director of Show Officials, and Bill Kaven, NSBA Judges.

Judging Process Overview:

We dive into our three guest's role in their association.

Preparing for Judging:

Discussion on how judges prepare for shows.

Challenges in Judging:

Explores the complexities and responsibilities of judging.

Ensuring Fairness and Accuracy:

How organizations ensure judges adhere to standards and their associations rulebooks.

Personal Preferences vs. Rulebook:

We discuss balancing personal biases with official standards.





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