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What Do You Think?

Ask the Judge - Jan/Feb/March 2008


I see in the November/December issue of the Domestic Rabbits there is a discussion under Roger Hasenpflug's column concerning a proposal to change the way judges are trained and licensed. Could you discuss the current method of training judges, specifically concerning the marked breeds? It seems there is much more involved in judging these because of the added factors of using the markings for placement. Do the judges get extra training or need additional time in their Judge's Endorsement Procedure working with the marked breeds? Most of the judges I have watched seem to understand the Dutch, but I have seen instances where the judge does not pose them correctly or they stretch them out when examining the undercut. I will also comment that about 1/3 of them do not examine for proper ring color. Has there ever been a discussion about having levels of licenses depending on difficulty of judging the different breeds? This is very common in judging horses, the newer judges are allowed to judge the lower levels of competition and have certain requirements and need experience before they are qualified to judge the more difficult levels.
From Keith McNinch:
Let the market continue to determine which judges are selected for certain shows, whereby experienced fancy judges are used for the marked breeds.  There may be a need to qualify judges for Fancy and Commercial experience, but the proposed additional training of judges will add cost to the system and will further reduce the quantity of judges available for the large number of shows held.   Many shows have a difficult time paying the fees and actual expenses needed by judges that have to travel far distances to the shows.   Many areas do not have the quantity and quality of marked breeds to allow adequate training of the local prospective judges.
Although the concept of training is great, additional training may not provide a workable solution when the judge has not personally raised the breed he may be deficient on.   It will be only until the cost structure of shows and judging changes to reward the proposed additional training.  The current system will always be blamed for the inefficiency of its judges, but the costs of further refinement will be much greater than anticipated.   Those judges that do not pursue additional training will need to be content with working the local shows where the proposed training is not required.
From Kevin Hooper:
This is a difficult question, but one I believe needs consideration.  The current system provides the basic training on each breed.  You only get more training on Dutch if you end up working with more judges who judge them.  Otherwise, if you want to learn more about a breed and how to judge them, once again I would suggest going to some of the best breeders.  Most of them will take the time to show you some things which are not spelled out in the Standard, but are important to the breeders.
I like the idea of an apprenticeship.  I would suggest having an applicant work multiple shows with more than one judge, maybe even up to three judges.  The hard part is how does the ARBA choose which judges which can have an apprentice?  Some judges are good on some breeds, some on others, some on none.  In the politically correct world some live in this is not an easy task.
The different levels of judging is a worthy idea!  I could see a beginning judge only being allowed to work certain breeds or being limited as to how many in a breed they could judge.  The problem here is that makes it difficult for the show sponsor in hiring judges, but a worthy idea none the less!

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