I took Sky out to our first show of 2016 to get back into the swing of things before the season properly begins. I got up at 6am, fed her and cleaned her up and then loaded everything into the horse box. We arrived at the show in good time and it was surprisingly a very stress free experience (for once) getting prepared for the competition.
There was only really one class that was suitable for us to enter and this was the purebred/partbred class. I was excited to get a chance to use my new Arab show halter that I bought myself for Christmas but I was unsure if Sky would behave OK in it so I made sure I had my bridle on hand in case I would need to swap into it.
We entered the ring and there were two other horses in the class (I think they were both partbreds of some form). I was pleased with how she went and was turned out, she looked good and didn’t put a hoof wrong! We were however, placed 3rd (aka last). She handed me my rosette and congratulated me but provided me with no feedback.
This is where things got interesting (or more accurately, frustrating). Before leaving the ring I decided to ask the judge for some feedback as I always strive to learn at shows, especially when placed down the line as it is often the case that either me, or the horse, could improve something for next time. This was not the case this time. After asking the judge politely for some feedback her response was “No, there’s nothing you could really improve. She moved really well and was presented well, I just don’t like Arabs”. I was rather taken aback but this blatant prejudism, thanked her and left the ring.
I was annoyed by her feedback though. I have no problem with being poorly placed but when the only reason was that the judge does not like a whole breed I think this takes the biscuit. It showed a lack of professionalism and consideration for the effort and time put into getting to the show. In my opinion a judge should be fair and consider a horse in an unbiased light, comparing them to either the breed standards or judged using the same criteria for all horses in the class. All horses should stand a fair chance upon entering the ring rather than being discredited due to their breed alone!
Sadly, this kind of prejudism is seen in the showing world too often and I myself seem to encounter it a lot whilst trying to compete my Arab. Judges should be fair and objective when making decisions, after all, everyone in the class are paying the same entry fees to be there! On the bright side though, Sky behaved perfectly in her new show halter, the show organiser found out,apologised, and completely agreed that the situation was wrong, and we also met a lovely woman who was also an Arab enthusiast who was really nice to chat to so the day was not a complete disappointment!
Ps. Below is our beautiful show halter set made by a lovely woman called Kim Antill!