What are some of the basics of horse judging?

The basics of judging horses involve critically evaluating the conformation of a horse for a suitable purpose or the ability of a horse to perform certain requirements for a class. The basics in judging horses at halter include evaluating:
1. Balance = how the horse is put together, the most important criterion
2. Structure/Travel = front and hind legs
3. Muscling = quantity and quality of muscle
4. Quality = visible blemishes, coat condition
5. Breed/Sex Characteristics = femininity/masculinity, breed type.
Performance classes vary depending on the criteria of the class. For example, in a Western Pleasure class, the basic requirements are walk, jog, lope, and back. The judge will be evaluating the horse’s ability to perform these movements. The judge will be looking for correctness, consistency, and way of moving. In a Working Hunter class, each fence is a part of the basic requirements of the class.
Many Cooperative Extension publications are available from the participating states that explain more on horse judging. Please view these for more information.
Horse Judging Manual
Evaluating Skeletal Structure of Horses
Evaluating Conformation of Horses