CHAPTER THREE – JUDGES
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I. Principles of IPHF Judging
The International Paso Horse Federation, being a competition oriented association, is heavily dependent on the expertise and integrity of the judges within the Federation. Competition judges within this system bear the weight of maintaining the IPHF Breed Standard. Maintaining this standard in the show ring is the single most important investment that any individual can contribute to the livelihood of the Paso Horses. In the absence of educated, objective, and consistent judgment, competition becomes nothing more than an exhibition. Due to the dependence of the breed on the judges, and the judging systems they use, it is imperative that all judges within the Federation understand their responsibility, and assume that responsibility to their fullest capacity for the benefit of the Paso Horse. The Federation uses a conferring judging system or the F1/F2 system as used in Confepaso. These systems are used based on the principle that opposing decisions on the placement of a horse only undermine the authority of the judge and the validity of the competition. The Federation understands that while judging is a somewhat subjective process, the proper use of the IPHF Breed Standard between judging systems will clearly identify a realistic judgment. Consistent judgments increase credibility, educates the public, and glorifies the qualities of the breed.

The Federation also believes in the fundamental right of participants to understand their placements and the scores they receive. Lastly, and of the greatest significance, is the Federation’s understanding of the need for consistent peer review for continuous education of judges. Accountability is paramount at every level of this association to insure appropriate management practices occur. Peer review for the purposes of quality assurance and continued education is the hallmark of all specialized knowledge based professions. IPHF considers judging to be a particularly important position requiring specialized knowledge and has therefore adopted the peer review system as a mechanism to maintain the best quality competitions available to the Paso Fino breed. Being a judge within this Federation is a privilege, not a right, bestowed on qualified individuals by the IPHF Judges Committee. The following sections discuss the Federations appointment procedures for judges and the procedures and responsibilities related to the IPHF judging system.

II. Qualifications
Following are the minimum qualification for appointment of an IPHF judge:
A. Applicant must be thirty (30) to seventy-five (75) years of age. 3
B. Application forms must be completed and submitted with the
appropriate fee paid.
C. Applicant must hold a judge’s certification card from a Confepaso affiliated association.
D. Applicant must have five (5) years judging experience, have judged at least ten (10) competitions sponsored by at least three (3) different Confepaso affiliated organizations. Different regions or clubs within one association qualify as different organizations.
E. Applicant must be a member in good standing with the association from which they received their judge’s certification.
F. Applicant must be a member in good standing with the International Paso Horse Federation.
G. Applicant must supply five (5) references from competition managements where the applicant has officiated.
H. Applicant must complete an IPHF Judging Clinic which includes a qualifying examination.
I. Applicant must be able and willing to express rational for placements.
J. Applicant must be able and willing to participate in Judges Committee Meetings for the purposes of Peer Review and continuing education.

III. Nomination Process
A. The Federation Judges Committee, in collaboration with the Show Committee, will supervise the nomination and invitation process used to certify judges for the IPHF. When these committees send an invitation to a particular judge, that invitation will also be forwarded to that judge’s certifying association as notification of IPHF’s intent to communicate with that judge. In the event that a judge does not wish to be considered for certification with IPHF they may decline that nomination by communicating with the Chairman of the IPHF Judges Committee. Should an applicant not meet the qualifications outlined previously they may not be re-nominated for two (2) years.
B. The Federation will provide public notice of all nominations. After the application process is completed the Judges Committee will vote on the nomination of each applicant and notify them in writing of their approval or disapproval.
C. Designation as an IPHF judge is revocable by the Judges Committee with or without notice and formal hearing. All revocation procedures by the Committee are ultimately reviewed by the Executive Committee of the IPHF. The Executive Committee is not required to provide public notice of the decision making process regarding revocation, nor are they required to provide formal hearing in the event revocation of judging privileges is required.

IV. Conflicts of Interest
It is the responsibility of every judge to prevent any conflict of interest between the objectives of IPHF and the judge’s own personal, business, or pecuniary interests. Judges are to refrain from using their official status in any way for their own benefit. Should a conflict of interest arise, the judge is expected to either withdraw their personal interest from that conflicting transaction or resign from their judge’s position with the IPHF. The only exception to the use of their official IPHF status toward their own benefit is as follows: In as much as the judges within the Federation will be considered experts on certain aspects of the Paso Horse, judges are allowed to list and describe their official status on resumes, accept compensation for expert evaluations of horses, conduct educational clinics for compensation, board/train horses for compensation, perform appraisals for compensation and participate with compensation in any public relations activity that promotes the breed. If any judge is identified as having a documented conflict of interest at the time of judging a particular event, that conflict is subject to review by the IPHF Judges Committee. There are certain areas of obvious conflict of interest for judges and they are as follows:
A. A judge may not personally exhibit, compete, or otherwise conduct business related to any horse which the judge owns in part or fully during the time the judge is acting as an official and/or on the grounds of the event which he officiated within the same event or set of events.
B. A judge may not officiate the competition of any horse or rider for which the judge has received any type of compensation/remuneration within the last thirty (30) days prior to that competition.
C. The judge may not serve as show management during an event the judge is officiating.
D. The judge may not officiate over a horse that is owned by any member of their immediate family. This includes immediate family by marriage (brother in law, sister in law).
E. The judge may not officiate over any rider who is a member of their immediate family, or immediate family by marriage. There are many conflicts of interest that may arise for responsible, discerning judges. Should a conflict arise without the opportunity for prevention, an officiating judge is to disqualify himself from that segment of the competition to prevent suspension. Should a judge be involved in any transaction that may be considered a conflict of interest the judge must immediately address that issue with the Chairman of the Judges Committee prior to the threat of permanent suspension. Any horse recognized as a source of a conflict of interest may be withdrawn from competition without penalty.

V. General Responsibilities
Every IPHF Judge is expected to read and understand the Federation rulebook. All judges must be prepared to communicate with each other during the conferring process and document placements in terms of specifics related to the criteria rather than generalizations. IPHF judges must remain open to constructive criticism as well as complements, and be willing to remain involved in the peer review process. They are expected to maintain a professional demeanor at all times, in and out of the competition ring, and to serve as a leader within the Federation by virtue of their judge’s position. Judges must maintain a current membership in IPHF as specified in the membership rules of this organization. If membership expires and is not renewed within thirty (30) days of expiration that membership is considered delinquent. If a judge’s membership remains delinquent for a period of six (6) months from the delinquent date that judge will be removed from the list of approved judges and will be required to repeat the nomination process prior to being reinstated on the list of IPHF judges. After removal from the approved list, the nomination process cannot be initiated for one (1) year.

VI. Competition Responsibilities
A. Judges for the International Paso Horse Federation are required to judge IPHF approved events in accordance with all the rules, regulations, directives, and guidelines issued by the Federation.
B. A judge invited to officiate over a Federation competition is an employee of the competition management. The judge is required to collaborate with show management to produce an efficient, fluid venue. As competition managers are usually familiar with the facilities, as well as the preferences of the competitors in their area, judges should be prepared to openly discuss any special needs related to that particular venue for the purposes of producing the best possible competition in every location.
C. Judges will be compensated by the IPHF competition management for officiating according to an agreed upon judging fee and travel expenses. Show management is responsible for all correspondence related to and including judging contracts, class schedules, and travel arrangements.
D. A signed contract with show management is a legal and binding acceptance of a judging assignment. Judges are expected to meet their obligations related to contracts in all circumstances other than serious illness or acts of God. If for any reason a judge is unable to fulfill a contract it is imperative that show management is notified as soon as possible. Additionally, the judge must file a written explanation with IPHF Judges Committee specifying why their obligations under contract were not fulfilled and the date/time/and method used to notify show management of their inability to officiate.
E. Judges are to notify show management upon arrival in the city in which they are to officiate to confirm arrival and to confirm accommodations.
F. Judges will be provided with a schedule for the competition and are expected to arrive on the competition grounds at least 30 minutes prior to the commencement of the competition.
G. Judges are to dress appropriately for their position as a show official. Men will wear suits. Women will wear slacks or pant suits, blouses and /or vests. All judges are required to wear the traditional Paso white hat with a black band.
H. Judges are not allowed to visit stables, practice areas, or other common areas other than those required for basic sustenance prior to or during an assignment.
I. Judges are not allowed to inspect any horse/ tack/ or rider prior to his or her admission into the competition arena.
J. A judge may not re-judge a class, or make changes to the judge’s card after placements have been calculated. If a judge believes a clerical error has occurred, it is imperative that the judge address that issue with show management and make any corrections required to the judges card as soon as possible and no longer than one hour after the last class of the day. It is entirely reasonable and appropriate for a judge to request a short break in the competition to examine and correct any error that may have occurred.
K. All judges have the authority and responsibility to maintain control of the proceedings in the arena at all times while they are judging a class. In the event that any threat occurs regarding competitors, their horses, show officials, or spectators it is perfectly within the rights of a judge to cease judging the event until such time as they perceive there is no longer a threat present. Judges are encouraged to be mindful of any danger that threatens a facility or the safety of the spectators. If a judge continues to proceed through a competition even though a threat is present, it should not be assumed that the spectators will have knowledge and understanding of that same threat. It must be assumed that the spectators will not evacuate an arena regardless of the presence of any threat as long as a judge continues the proceedings in the arena.

VII. Judging Procedures
The International Paso Horse Federation has adopted the conferring judging system and the F1/F2 system as used in Confepaso. All Federation competitions will have one decision. The Federation believes these systems allow the judges to better evaluate the horse, limiting the incidence of errors, increasing the opportunity for education, and providing a consistent opinion understandable for competitors and spectators alike. Each judge will evaluate the competitor individually, after which they will discuss there evaluations and request additional maneuvers from the competitor as warranted to achieve agreement on a decision.
A. PREPISTA – Check in Area.
All of the horses that will compete in a IPHF sanctioned show, must go through the prepista to be checked for soundness and to make sure that the horses comply with the tack and attire rules. A horse must be considered sound by the veterinarian and farrier of the show. A horse with no tail bone or dead tail will not be allowed to compete. Horses may be shown without shoes and/or fully shod. The horse must have all shoes of the same weight and material. Judges have the option of requesting the competition veterinarian to the arena at any time during competition. Judges have the option of halting competition for the closer inspection of a horse at any time during the competition. Judges have the option of disqualifying, excusing, and allowing a participant to be dismissed at any time during the competition.
B. Warm Up Time.
Once the horses have passed the inspection of the veterinarian and the farrier, only the rider and one handler are allowed inside the warm up area. The rider may work their horse within the boundaries of the warm up area at his/her discretion before entering the competition.
C. Judging Phases.
There are at least four (4) phases of judging in every class:
Phase 1 – Every horse will come into the arena counterclockwise in the specified gait for entry in that division. Every horse will proceed around the arena at the rail according to the gait specifications. The horse will be introduced to the spectators by announcing its genetic line (mother and father) owner of horse, name of breeder, name of owner and name of rider. Once all of the horses are in the arena, and introduced; the gate will be closed and the judges will begin their initial evaluation. The horses will be asked to perform in both directions of the arena at the different speeds of the gait required by the division. The judges will then ask all of the horses for at least one sounding board. Then the judges have the option to give a horse(s) an additional test or pass over the sounding board to confirm whether or not the horse should be considered to continue the competition.
Phase 2 - After the judge has had adequate time evaluating the competing horses to arrive at a list of finalists, the judges will confer regarding an agreed upon list of finalists and excuse all other horses.
Phase 3 – The judges will then work the finalists together again and will utilize any of the individual tests available as specified in competition rules. The judges have the freedom to use any of the tests in any random order. The judges must be consistent or have announced the order of the tests to be used.
Phase 4 – Should additional testing or rail work be required to come to a decision the judges may ask for additional tests.

VIII. Placements
Placements for a regular class include first (1st) through sixth (6th) place. The judges shall decide the placement of horses in a class and state their decision on the “Judge’s Card” issued by the Federation for this purpose. Judges Cards will include procedures called for by the Federation Rulebook for each individual class. The judges, through their placement of horses, are in a position to influence the direction of the breed. It is their primary responsibility as judges to contribute to the preservation of the breed standard and to discourage any tampering with the naturalness of the breed. Judges are required to explain their decisions. If, in the opinion of the judges, six (6) horses and an alternate in a particular class are not performing as required, the judges are not required to place six (6) horses and an alternate. If the judge elects not to place six (6) horses and an alternate, he/she must excuse those horses not performing as required and place any remaining horses starting with first. The judges have the right to leave a placement vacant. One of the judges will be able to clarify the reason for leaving a placement vacant when the judge explains the rational behind the decision. The judges decide among themselves who is going to speak on the microphone. The class sheets will be posted for all exhibitors by the end of the day following the competition day.

IX. Disqualification and Excusal – Examples
The situations provided in A and B below provide examples only and are not to be construed as being all inclusive.
A. Examples of Grounds for Disqualification of an Entrant from a Class.
1. Inappropriate tack, horse shoes, and/or uniform.
2. Inappropriate conduct of the rider or the horse in the arena.
3. Lack of soundness, lameness, and/or visible symptoms of illness of the horse.*
4. Soring and/or signs of any wounds that may be related to training techniques.*
5. Unsafe behavior of a horse or rider in the arena.
Judges may request a show veterinarian to the arena at any point in the competition. All disqualifications related to (3) and (4) above may not be protested.
B. Examples of Grounds for Being Excused from a Class.
1. A horse that has met all requirements but has not scored high enough for placement.
2. Failure to perform the required gaits at any time during the competition while being judged.
3. Failure to meet the IPHF Breed Standard.
4. Failure to follow all rules and regulations of the Federation.

X. Evaluation Procedures
The behavior of all judges, in and out of the show ring, must be exemplary. A judge shall evaluate horses honestly, fairly, and impartially based on the IPHF Breed Standard. A judge must exhibit the highest standard of integrity at all times and avoid decisions arrived at by influence, bias, or ignorance. Competent judging is dependent on education, experience, and understanding of the fine points of the breed standard. Judges must remain ever vigilant in their service to the Paso breed, the competition participants, and their own conscience. A judge’s position on the list of approved IPHF Judges is subject to continual peer review by the IPHF Judges Committee, and is revocable by that committee with or without formal hearing, subject only to ultimate review by the Executive committee, with or without formal hearing.
The IPHF Judges Committee will be performing an ongoing evaluation process regarding every judge. Continuous videotaping will occur at every show. A member of the Judges Committee, in collaboration with the show management, has the authority to intervene in the best interest of the competition should any occurrences be observed from outside the arena that are detrimental to the maintenance of the integrity of the IPHF system. This intervention is for the sole purpose of maintaining the rules and Breed Standard of the Federation. The power of Peer Intervention is not taken lightly, and will be exercised judiciously with the utmost decorum in order to maintain the validity of the competition. Any video produced for the purposes of the Judging Committee are the property of that committee, and may be requested for use by a participant filing a complaint within the Federation BUT may/or may not be admissible as determined by the Judges Committee Chairman at the time of the request. Letters of recommendation may be submitted by show management to the IPHF Judges Committee in combination with the monitoring videos to voice any positive and negative issues related to the judging at that particular venue. This is an open option to show management and/or may be requested by a judge should that judge feel that additional information will be beneficial to the Judges Committee.
Every two (2) years the IPHF Judges Committee will submit a letter of evaluation to each judge and their certifying Confepaso affiliated association summarizing the evaluation of that judge for that time period.
All judges will be held accountable based on this peer evaluation system.
All information, letters, videos collected by the Judges Committee are strictly confidential. That committee has the authority to recommend particular judges for specific competitions in an effort to assist show management. However, members of that committee do not have the option of disclosing specific information related to an evaluation of a judge.
Evaluations may include but are not limited to the following categories:
A. Ability to manage the show ring – the judge’s manner of controlling the process in the arena so that thorough evaluation of each competitor is facilitated.
B. The ability to select the horses who meet the requirements of each division according to the IPHF Rules.
C. The ability to evaluate gait.
D. The judge’s ability to select horses based on the merits of the horse and performance at that time, without prejudice or bias based on past experiences with that horse.
E. The judge’s ability to document placement with appropriate rational and explain that rational, if necessary.
F. The judge’s willingness to communicate and collaborate with other judges during the conferring process.
G. The judge’s ability to collaborate with show management regarding administrative issues related to competitions.

XI. Guest Judging Regulations
IPHF and its affiliates reserve the right to invite certified judges from Confepaso or any of its affiliated countries to any IPHF competitions. A guest judge will have five (5) opportunities to participate as a guest judge, before they are expected to become certified by IPHF.

XII. Sanctions and Suspension Terms for IPHF Judges

XIII. Complaint Process
Any Federation member may file a complaint with the IPHF Judges Committee if they feel that a judge has violated any rule of the Federation; see General Competition Rules for competitors. On receipt of a complaint, the Judges Committee will evaluate the complaint for validity and communicate the disposition of the complaint to the person filing the complaint. If there is suspicion that the complaint may have validity, it will be forwarded to the Internal Judges Conduct Subcommittee. That committee will take all actions necessary to collect and evaluate every source of information related to the incident. If necessary, the person filing the complaint must be available for interview, as well as the judge involved. The Internal Judges Conduct Subcommittee will then notify everyone involved in the complaint process, as well as the IPHF Executive Committee, as to the outcome of that investigation. If a judge is found to be in violation of the rules and sanctioned accordingly, public notice will be provided regarding suspension and the certifying Confepaso affiliated association will be notified of that suspension. IPHF is responsible for all of the judges it accepts as officials of their competitions and makes sure that all of the judges obey the rules set by IPHF, Confepaso and ATTA (American Trote and Trocha Association).

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE PDF VERSION OF JUDGES' RULES
 
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