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Barbra Schulte

How the Judge Views Runs




How the Judge Views Runs ““ from a World-Champion’s Perspective

{Interview by Barbra Schulte with Phil and Mary Ann Rapp…}


Barbra: Phil, when you’re judging a non-pro class what are some of the top credit-earning behaviors you’re looking for in a run? In other words, what do you like to see?

Phil: That’s a real good question. What I like to see is confidence first and foremost. You also want to see everything come together smoothly. What you don’t want to see is haggard cuts and herky-jerky motions. Instead, you want to see everything smooth and coming together as easily as possible. You want to have it look… (and I know you’re asking about the non-professional division), but you want it to look “˜professional’. You want to see the rider drive up there and cut their cow and put their hand down so they’re not reining.  You know, moving the reins to the left and the horse’s head goes to the right or vice versa.

And so I just look for everything to go smooth and easy, you know? Much like a good sports play, if you will. When the play works well, the offense seems to move in unison, and then it looks like, “Wow, it looks almost too easy!” And that’s what I look for. Knowing full well that only happens every so often, but that’s what we all shoot for.

Barbra: And when you said you are looking for confidence, are you talking about confidence in the horse, or the rider being confident? What are you referring to when you use that word?

Phil:  Well, I want to see both the horse and rider confident. You don’t want to watch the non-pro and horse walk into the show-ring, and then see the horse look over his shoulder (you know, throw its head up like, “Who’s this rider?”). You want to see the horse and rider have an idea of who each other are. Also, I want to see the rider walk through there and not be (I hate to say the word) panicked,  but that word comes to mind a lot. You know, when they’re cutting their cattle and you can see them stricken with, “What do I do?!” And they’re looking for their trainer to tell them what to do, or they’re looking for assistance.

And we all need help, I still get coached from the side sometimes and we all have mental breakdowns (if you will), and we need that extra little bit of advice. But you want to see the person kinda walk in there, have an idea of what cattle are there, what’s been cut, what’s not been cut, and try to walk up there and cut in a smooth and efficient manner.

And so that’s where I want to see a look of confidence. You know, they don’t have to look like Austin Shepherd in the Futurity finals running through there to cut a cow, but I sure don’t want to see them looking scared to death!


[Interview by Barbra Schulte & published in Performance Horse Digest, Volume 6, Issue 1.]


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