One of our readers
recently sent in this question:
Where do the judges want a horses' headset?
So, we interviewed three judges...
Charlie Cole: I look for a headset as close
to level as possible. When I judge (the western horse), I look at movement
and consistency in gaits and performance. Head position is really secondary
to me. A horses' conformation has alot to do with a horses head position.
A level topline is where most horses are most balanced and will move
Jim & Renae Dudley: If the horse is performing
the correct gait, with the correct cadence and traveling at a speed
that is consistent with the class, the head is not a strong issue. Unless,
it is extreme. Extreme being uncharacteristic for the breed or event,
or so low or high that the horse looks totally unnatural. I think that
it is reasonable to say, use reason. If the horse appears comfortable,
and is performing according to the standards of the event, then the
head is acceptable. Personal preference will allow a judge to use the
headset to make placings after considering the quality of movement exhibited
throughout the performance.
To answer your question about the horses head position... for the Hunt
Seat Horse, I judge and only want to see what the competition's rules
say. Hunter Under Saddle; The horses head posistion should be level
with or slightly above the withers. The horse should have his head position
out beyond, or on, the verticle. I will penalize a horse that does not
conform. For me, this position of the horse's head is a main influence
to the horses balance and will influence his movement. Also the horse's
conformation and breed or disipline can influence the head position.
That's why I love to judge a horse as an indivual, not as looking for
a horse that is molded in a certain frame!! I want to see the horse
balanced, moving correctly, and happy in all Hunter classes, Pleasure
Driving, Hunt Seat Equitation, Hunter Hack, Working Hunter, Hunt Seat
Equitation over Fences, and Hunter Under Saddle!
PHJ: Our Thanks to Charlie Cole, Jim Dudley
and Lynn Palm for their time and insights, we wish you all the best!
Check out their websites: High
Point Performance Horses, Jim
Dudley Quarter Horses and LynnPalm.com