Horse Show Judge Names Pet Peeves


Liza Applebaum is a popular Southern California trainer with a barn full of junior and amateur adult hunt-seat riders. But she’s also a USEF judge. Recently she took a break from her judging duties at a show to talk about two of her pet peeves. So, what rankles the otherwise good-natured official?
“One thing that really bugs me,” she says, “are the riders that hold up the entire show, making the other competitors and me wait. And then when they finally get into the arena, they’re terrible.”
It’s as if their lack of preparedness and self-discipline—both of which would’ve probably gotten them to the backgate in a timely manner—was ultimately reflected in their dismal performance. But there’s one other tactic that bothers Applebaum.
She offers that, “Riders who spank their horse with a crop before they come into the arena,” are making a bad first impression.
Although a judge is evaluating the performances inside the confines of the show arena, they can’t help but be impressed both positively and negatively by what they see elsewhere. Competitors should remember that judges often have a bird’s eye view of what’s occurring in the warm-up arena and at the backgate.


  1. My show pet peeves are:
    People who have to have somebody else lead their horse into the pen.
    Girls with extremely low rise jeans.
    People who yell at their kids while they’re riding in a class.
    People riding one horse in every single class.
    Amatuers who borrow horses to show.


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