Anne Johnson

By Marylou A. Yuskiewicz

Anne Johnson
9868 Vail Eton
Pilot Point, Texas 76258

I had the distinct privilege of handling ringmaster duties for Anne M. Johnson a classy and talented horseshow judge at the Eastern Classic Arabian Show June 10-12, 2005 in Batavia, NY. Her graciousness, humor and knowledge led to a successful show and to this interview.

Anne has an extensive background with judging, consulting and training. From the information she has provided (listed below) you can tell she is in a class all her own. She has a Bachelors degree at the University of Wisconsin, double majors: Animal Science and Journalism. Graduate study, University of Minnesota, Animal Breeding and Genetics. Seminars from 1982 to present by American Horse Shows Association, International Arabian Horse Association, National Reining Horse Association, National Reined Cow Horse Association, Color Breed Council, International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association.

She has been a American Horse Shows Association judge since 1984 and registered as a judge in Arabian, National Show Horse, Western and Western Seat Divisions. Judged prestigious class A and regional championships throughout the United States and Canada and National Championships in the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Israel, and New Zealand. Among the first judges to reach Level 1 status with the International Arabian Horse Association; special certification in reining and stock seat equitation. Andalusian and Miniature Horse judging cards; judged large all breed championship shows.

Some of the major shows she has judged are listed below - she has definitely seen the world: 

Eastern Class Arabian Show, Batavia, New York, 2005
Region XII Working Cow Horse Championships, Columbia, MS 2004
Region XI Championships, Springfield, IL 2004
Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, Scottsdale, AZ, 2003
Region XVII Championships, Vancouver, BC, 2003
Morgan Grand Nationals, Oklahoma City, OK, 2003
U.S. Arabian and Half Arabian National Championships, 2002, 1999, 1993
Region XII Working Cow Horse Championships, Baton Rouge, LA, 2002
New York State Horse Breeders Show, New York, 2002
Region XV Championships, Lexington, VA, 2001
Pacific Slope Championships and Cal-Bred Futurities, Santa Barbara, CA, 2000
District 7 National Show Horse Championships, Santa Barbara, CA, 2000
Breeders Cup Championships, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2000
Michigan High School Championship Horse Show, Detroit, MI, 2004, 2001, 1999, 1996
Eastern Canadian Breeders Championships, London, Ontario, 1998
New Zealand Arabian National Championships, Cambridge, New Zealand, 1997
Brazilian Arabian Breeders Cup and Yearling National Championships, Sao Paulo, 1997
Region II Arabian and Half Arabian Championships, Santa Barbara, CA, 1996
East Coast Championships, Harrisburg, PA 1996
Region VIII Arabian and Half Arabian Championships, Wichita, KS 1995
Israeli Arabian National Championships, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1994
Region VI Arabian and Half Arabian Championships, Billings, MT, 1994
Region III Arabian and Half Arabian Championships, Reno, NV, 1993

Plus more than 200 Arabian shows in: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, and Iowa Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, British Columbia, Ontario and Winnipeg.

Now onto the interview, I asked Anne a few questions - here's your chance to meet her up close and personal:

ML: When did you get started with horses?

Anne Johnson:
Saw and rode my first horse when I was four. Begged my parents for one from then on. They thought it was a passing fancy and did not buy me a horse until I was 13 and physically able to handle it myself. But in the meantime, they made sure I rode every horse possible which actually turned out to be a better experience for me riding that many horses. They were not into horses but became very much involved when I started showing...some of the best times we ever had together. I am adopted and when I was about 40, a brother I had never met found me. His son was into Arabian horses and we were at the same horse show one time...of course, not knowing about our connection. But the passion for horses does seem to run in the family!

ML: Did your family have horses?

Anne Johnson:
My parents grew up on farms in southern Minnesota and had work and buggy horses, too!

ML: Do you own horses now? If yes, what are their breeds and names?

Anne Johnson: I own two horses. A purebred Arabian mare that I bred and brought with me from Minnesota to Texas. JC Sierra...showed her at halter and western pleasure on a limited basis because I was training and showing so many outside horses, it didn't make sense to show her much. Loves trail riding and now I use her as a lesson horse. A three year old Arabian Quarter Horse cross filly, Bonita San Olena. Her sire is an excellent son of Doc O'Lena and he, Pauli Olena, was exported to Germany. Bonita's dam, is a wonderful pure Polish mare imported from Poland....she raced at Santa Anita. I've trained Bonita for the past year and half and now she is with reining trainer, John O'Hara here in Aubrey, Texas getting ready for next year's Half Arabian Reining Futurity in Scottsdale with an estimated purse of $100,000. Incredible horse.

ML: Do you show in another breed besides Arabian?

Anne Johnson: I have students that show in the hunter jumper circuits with Thoroughbreds and pony hunters, Quarter Horses, Paints, Apps, and even some barrel horses. And they win!

ML: How did you get started in judging and training?

Anne Johnson: I started judging in 1983. I was showing a lot and there were very few good women judges. I was determined to become one of the top rated judges. I left a secure position on the College of Agriculture faculty at the University of Wisconsin to start my own business....largely equine consulting at the time. And I transitioned into training. Still do as an instructor and clinician. I teach people how to train and ride horses....horsemanship. I moved to Texas two years ago from MN and basically started over with my business here....not an easy thing to do. This is major league horse country with some of the best professionals anywhere. 

ML: What are your dreams and goals for the future?

Anne Johnson: I already do national and international clinics and seminars and I want to keep developing that area. I love teaching and judging, which I will continue also on a national and international basis.

Bonita San Olena is wonderful and I want to take her as far as she can go in reining and then move into working cow horse competition. It's so much fun! The horses have been good to me. They taken me all over the world through judging. They have given me the opportunity for lifetime friendships I treasure. And countless hours of enjoyment and learning.

Haven't you always wanted to ask a judge a question on show etiquette, riding styles such as Reining, Working Cow, Western, English, etc.? If you answered yes to that question, Anne has agreed to answer your questions monthly - this is a once in a lifetime offer - she has been all over the world and surely her answers will benefit amateurs and professionals alike.

If you have a question in regard to showing that you would like to ask Anne Johnson, please go to the ASK THE JUDGE section of the website.





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