Peter Cameron
QUESTION & ANSWER ARCHIVE

Listed below is an archive of questions by Equine Extra viewers and Peter Cameron's answers.

JANUARY 2000

FRANK GALOVIC ASKS:

1. OF ALL THE SHOWS YOU HAVE JUDGED WHICH ONE DID YOU ENJOY THE MOST? 

2. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT FRAME OF WESTERN HORSES?

PETER CAMERON:

Hello again Frank

In response to your first question, there are two shows that stick in my mind as the ones that I enjoyed the most. I enjoyed all my shows except a couple but these two were special. The first one being the 1985 Star World Show where they had a million dollars in prize money. It was a very relaxed show with good horses. One of the fun classes was the “egg and spoon class” that had (30) entries with an entry fee of $100.00. The class paid out $50,000 with the winner getting $25,000.00. The 2nd show was the 1994 Scottsdale Show that I judged with Judy Wright-Stowe and Jim Brown. We all got along real well and had a great time. We judged the Working Division which was: Reining, Working Cow Horse, Trail, Western Pleasure and some Halter classes. 

2. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT FRAME OF WESTERN HORSES? 

I have judged every breed of Western Pleasure Horses and when presented properly the Arabian is by far the best. We in the Arabian Division have to stop trying to copy the Quarter Horse which is a terrible mistake as they have the worst Western Pleasure classes of any breed. Don’t blame the horses or the trainers - blame the Judges. Most of our pleasure horses in every breed could not get out of a bushel basket if they were in it all day. What’s wrong with a Western Pleasure horse if he has his head higher than his withers, at least he could see were he was going. We let our horses go so slow they all look like they are lame. 
Peter Cameron

Dear Mr. Cameron,

It is an honor to have the opportunity to ask you questions. Your
reputation is legendary and I regret that I never had the opportunity to
show under you!

When judging a halter horse what conformation faults are you more
willing to forgive and what conformation faults do you penalize heavily?

Thank you,

Tanique Chapin

PETER CAMERON

Hi Tanique

WHEN JUDGING A HALTER HORSE WITH CONFORMATION FAULTS ARE YOU MORE WILLING TO FORGIVE AND WHAT CONFORMATION FAULTS DO YOU PENALIZE HEAVILY?

I am willing to forgive a little: Toeing in, long back and mutton withers. Serious faults: Back at the Knees or Calf-kneed; Short Pasterns, Short thick neck, Straight shoulder and Small feet. I always hated the completely flat croup. I liked a little apple rump. The horses with the flat croup could never move any good. 
Peter Cameron

GINA B ASKS:

WHEN JUDGING HALTER CLASSES DO YOU THINK THE CLASS SPECIFICATIONS SHOULD HAVE THE EMPHASIS ON CONFORMATION FIRST AND TYPE SECOND? 

PETER CAMERON

Hi Gina

They used to drill into us at the Judging schools that type was first and by far the most important thing. It was always in the rule book that type was 1st and conformation was 2nd. But they never said how far apart they were. I never told anybody but I always judged conformation first and then type. What good is a typey horse with calf knees for example. They had similar problems with Palominos. They wanted color first and then conformation. We had a lot of nice colored ugly Palominos for awhile. 
Peter Cameron

ELLEN TOWNE ASKS:

1. WHEN THE CLASS ENTERS THE RING IN A PERFORMANCE CLASS, HOW MUCH DOES THAT FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE HORSE WEIGH IN YOUR FINAL DECISION? 

PETER CAMERON

Hi Ellen

In response to your first question, first impressions are very important. First impressions is 2 seconds long. So make sure you are properly attired, etc. (ex., Good Shaped Western Hat). Make sure your horse enters the arena at the proper gait. Don’t be afraid to be the first one in, show the judge that you have the confidence to be the 1st in the gate. I always stood at the in-gate to get that first impression and also to see that everything was legal on you and your horse. For instance, if you came in and forgot to take off a dropped noseband, I would stop you and take it off. Most judges would not do this and use it as an excuse not to pin you. I did it for (2) reasons. First, to encourage people not to discourage and the second, reason you could be my best horse. 

2. I AM ALSO SOMEWHAT CONFUSED BY SOME OF THE JUDGING RESULTS I SEE IN HALTER CLASSES. I HAVE SEEN INSTANCES WHEN 3 OR 5 JUDGES ARE USED, THAT MAKE NO SENSE TO ME. IF THEY ARE JUDGING TO A STANDARD, HOW CAN JUDGE A AND B HAVE A HORSE MARKED #1, JUDGE C HAS IT #5 AND JUDGE D & E HAVE IT 10TH? 

PETER CAMERON

I was also confused a number of times when I was judging with 2 or 4 other judges. I would wonder if we were judging the same class. I have found that a lot of judges get lost in a large class. They would spend more time writing then they would be looking. A lot of judges, not all of them, are intimidated by the Professional Handlers and a lot of them judged the handlers not the horses. I saw favors being paid back all the time in all breeds. 
Peter Cameron

JAMES WRIGHT ASKS:

COULD YOU PERHAPS MAKE SOME SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT CHANGES CAN BE MADE IN THE WAY CARDS ARE GIVEN TO JUDGES AND A BETTER TRAINING SYSTEM FOR OUR JUDGES ONCE THEY RECEIVE THEIR CARDS? 

PETER CAMERON

Hi James

I always said that you could give our rulebook to a non-horsey person, let them study it for a week and that person could write and pass our Judging test. You are either going to be a good judge or not. You are going to be an Honest judge or not. There is no judging school that can make a poor judge into a good judge. The school can only help you in certain areas. You cannot run a Judging School by only showing videos, charts and pictures. It is not the same as looking at live horses. We have to get them to look at live classes in all divisions not just Halter classes. 
Peter Cameron

CHARLES ASKS:

WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO SHARE SOME OF THE EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD AS A JUDGE IN RECOGNIZING AN ABUSED HORSE IN BOTH HALTER AND PERFORMANCE CLASSES AND WHAT IF ANY ACTION YOU TOOK? 

PETER CAMERON

Hi Charles

When I first started judging Arabians, I was shocked at the way they were shown. I could not believe the stress and abuse that was put on some of these horses both in Halter and Performance. In the Halter classes our Arabian Horses are and were abused more than any other breed. Not by our Youth and Amateurs but mostly by the Professionals. I have excused a lot of Handlers who hit their horses after I had given them a warning. I often had the announcer make the statement that even if they threatened to hit the horse they would be excused. I stopped a class at one of the Scottsdale Shows that I judged and made them wipe off all the grease that they had on the horses face. Again, the judges have to have the guts to enforce the rules. Abuse is not limited to Halter Horses. I excused a Park Horse at the 1973 Nationals because of blood on his sides from the spurs of the rider. Even the way the people ride Park Horses its abuse, bouncing up and down on their kidneys.
Peter Cameron

THANK YOU FOR SENDING IN YOUR QUESTIONS, IT’S GREAT SPEAKING WITH ALL OF YOU. PLEASE KEEP SENDING ME YOUR QUESTIONS 
- Peter Cameron -

- END OF ANSWERS TO JANUARY QUESTIONS -

CAROL BENNETT ASKS:

Dear Peter,

Thank you for continuing to share your expertise with us

Thank you.

Carol Bennett, Raleigh, NC

1.)  What do you think of pellum bits in Arabian Hunter classes over simple snaffles, all else being equal, i.e. on the bit and rounded?

PETER CAMERON:

In order, I prefer the snaffle, pelham and then the kimberwick. I wish we would outlaw the kimberwick from the Arabian Division. It is a nice picture when you see a Hunter going in a snaffle.

2.)  Have you noticed areas of the U.S. where Arabians are becoming more popular in all breed competitions, such as dressage and open hunters? If so, where, and do you see it increasing?

PETER CAMERON:

I think we are seeing it more often in all areas today, especially in California, Washington and along the East Coast, also very much here in Ontario where I am from. We have to get our Arabians out into the open shows to show people what they can do. It’s also a lot cheaper to show.

3.)  How important is height in PB Arabian Halter classes? Does a 14.2 Arab have a harder time placing or winning because of size?

PETER CAMERON:

I have pinned a lot of small Arabians Champions but I am sorry to say that this does not always happen even if they deserve it. For some reason, there are judges who think that bigger is always better. The best cutting, working cowhorses and reining horses are between 14.2 and 15 hands.

4.)  Do you remember the group of Arabians that toured the US in the early 50’s? They looked hugs, definitely not ponies. Who were they? They were handled and cared for like royalty. I heard they were repossessed to pay for their keep while on tour. Are any of those royal Arabians known in our bloodlines now?

PETER CAMERON:

I remember the group of horses that toured but I don’t recall what happened to them.
Peter Cameron

CRIS GARDNER ASKS:

Dear Mr. Cameron –

In your reply to "Charles" you state that Arabian Horses are more abused than any other breed - having seen what a few gaited breeds go thru, I am wondering what makes you have that opinion?

Cris Gardner

PETER CAMERON:

You are right. Other gaited breeds go through abuse as well as the Arabians. What I was referring to mainly was out breeding classes. In all the time that I judged Walking Horses, Saddle Horses and Morgans in their breeding classes, I never saw any whip marks on their horses nor did I ever see them jerking on their heads. I did see lots of marks on our Arabians and lots of head abuse. In my time, I excused a lot from their class. Our classes are better than they used to be. Maybe it is not done as much in the ring but it is still being done and jerking on their heads is abuse. When you see a handler move towards the horse and the horse drops to his knees, he is not taking a bow. Only a small percentage of the handlers are doing this but it gives everybody a bad name.
Peter Cameron

PATTY/TIFFANY ADAMS ASKS:

Hi Mr. Cameron,

I would like to say we had the extreme honor of showing under you in 94 (?) show year in Raleigh, NC. It was pleasurable to say the least, especially
since our daughter was only 10 years old and we were very new to showing. It was nice to show under a judge that was honest and placed the horse not the trainer.

Thank you so much, we learned more from showing under you. There just aren't any judges out there that compare to your "style"!!!

Thank you,
Patty & Tiffany Adams

1.)  When you are judging CEP and EP what are the traits that you look for, especially in JOTR classes?

PETER CAMERON:

The CEP class is an ideal class for Arabians. The Arabian is more suited to this class than an English Pleasure Horse. The main problem I see is that the closer they get to the Nationals the higher they are going. The main things that I looked for was a horse that looked like a happy horse and that looked like a pleasure to ride performing the gaits properly as per the rulebook. One of the things that bugs me about some judges is that at the loose rein walk they seem to ignore it, to me it was very important. I used to make them reverse at the loose rein, that told me a lot about the horse. A lot of riders would throw the curb away and keep the snaffle tight. Manners in this class are very important to me, especially in the Junior classes. Then again, manners were always important to me in every class.

2.)  What qualities do you look for in the Country Division that sets it apart from the English Classes?

PETER CAMERON:

Again, the CEP horse has to be a well mannered happy horse with a quiet mouth. A quiet mouth does not mean a mouth that is clamped shut all the time. I like to see the ears moving back and forth which tells me the horse is listening to the rider. The horse is not paying attention if the ears are forward all the time. The English Pleasure Horse classes have gone down the tube in our shows. Other than the Regionals and Nationals, we are lucky to get two in a class. All they do is qualify and then go to the Nationals.

3.)  What do you think about extremely long tails, especially when the horse steps on it? Is it better in your opinion to shorten that tail a little as to not interfere with the horses performance?

PETER CAMERON:

I have been against tails that drag on the ground for a long time in all classes. In my opinion, you should never see a Hunter or Western Horse with a tail dragging on the ground. I have seen several horses lose classes because they stepped on their tails when they were asked to back up and shot forward. One of my friends had this happen at the Nationals and I am sure she would have won the Championship.
Peter Cameron

SUSAN ASKS:

Mr. Cameron

I had the pleasure of attending the IAHA judges school when it was held in Minnesota some years ago and you were the judge for the Sahara Sands show. Never did get to thanking you for having us come down into the arena to see what judging was like from your level. And you were very good to come over to the rail after each class to explain why you had placed the class as you did. It was a great experience and one (judges school) that I'd recommend for anyone who owns or shows their own horse. It places a whole new look on the showing situation. I'm getting ready to start showing my own horse(s) in reining and working cowhorse classes.

Just wanted to know your opinion on judging for those classes. Currently we have the regular panel of western judges. I was excited when it looked like the cutting judges would be judging working cowhorse. Would we do better to have specialized judges for the cowhorse classes?

PETER CAMERON:

Our judges have come a long way in judging the reining classes under the latest system. We do, however, still need specialized judges in the working cowhorse classes as our Arabian judges do not see enough of these classes. I was fortunate enough to have judged these classes in the Quarter Horse, Paint and Appaloosa shows as well as in the Arabian Shows. We have several Arabian judges who are more than capable of judging this class but they are also always showing in these classes. I am still in favor of bringing in specialized judges for the reining and working cowhorse at the Nationals. There has to be more time spent on training our judges in these 2 classes with live horses - not in a classroom with videos.
Peter Cameron

ELLEN TOWNE ASKS:

Dear Mr. Cameron

I am sure you are aware of all the turmoil surrounding the David Boggs Incident and the decision rendered by the EPRB.

I am in full agreement that anyone who has altered horses should receive the maximum penalties allowed.

What I do find very disturbing is that all of the focus seems to be on David Boggs. No one seems to be addressing the multitude of problems that has gotten us to the desperate point we have reached.

From my point of view, the cheating, abuse and drugging that has become common place, is a result of three particular problems. 1.) The years of IAHA’s failure to recognize and react to problems and not stringently enforcing the existing rules. 2.) Allowing active trainers to be judges. 3.) The continuance of the Delegate System of voting as it currently stands.

I have not participated in showing in IAHA recognized shows for years because of the very reasons I stated. I firmly believe that these areas must be addressed before there can actually be any significant change.

I was wondering if you had any thoughts or comments you would like to share with us regarding this matter.

Ellen Towne

PETER CAMERON:

You are absolutely right! There are a lot of others that are doing it and have not been caught. The sad part is that the owners know what is going on and they could sure help to stop it. But I guess it’s win at any cost. Mr. Brown is after David Boggs whether he is guilty or not. Ginger is against the rules and look how many people use it with most of the judges looking the other way. Michael Byatt is on a great crusade against ginger - I guess he never used it.

When I was judging, if I was certain that a horse was gingered, I would not use him. If they came to me after and asked why I did not use their horse, I would tell them I did not like the way he traveled. End of discussion!
Peter Cameron

Hello Mr. Cameron

In recent years we have experienced declines in show attendance, breeding, transfers and IAHA memberships. What seems to be quite strange is that we are suffering from over crowded conditions at the Nationals. This brings the following questions to mind:

1.) Do you have an idea what has caused the increased attendance at the Nationals while all other areas are on the decline?

2.) In order to curb attendance at the Nationals, there have been changes in the rules to make qualifying more difficult. Do you feel that this will cause more of the average Arabian owners with limited finances to drop out of showing quality horses at the National level?

PETER CAMERON:
The shows are so much smaller because of the cost to show and the politics that still go on.
Peter Cameron

- END OF ANSWERS TO FEBRUARY QUESTIONS -

SUSAN MARSH ASKS: 

1. Are you still doing clinics and speaking at even
2. What inspired you to become a judge? 

PETER CAMERON:

Hello Susan

In response to your first question I retired from clinics in 1997. I conduct speaking engagements in the U.S. and Canada. This is no charge to the club or association only for my expenses. 

In response to question number two, In 1953, I took my Paint and Quarter Horses to a show in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. While at the show, an announcement was made stating the show judge was in a auto accident. All of the trainers and I, placed our names in a hat - my name was selected and I judged the show, I had a great time and that started my career in horseshow judging. 
Peter Cameron

FRANK GALOVIC ASKS: 

1. What do you think of the performance requirement for Halter Champions? Rules should be a lot stricter. 

2. How would you have judged Magnum Psyche at the 1998 Nationals knowing that the horse had neck surgery? 

PETER CAMERON:

Hello Frank

In response to you first question, I feel either a Championship or Reserve Championship, with more than 2 horses in the class, should be the requirement for Halter Champions. 

If I knew Magnum Psyche had neck surgery he would of been placed last. I would of walked over and touched his neck so the crowd could see something was wrong. Arabian people do more than any other breed to “change” the beauty of the Arabian horse. In 1973 at the U.S. National Arabian Championships, I was judging the Park Horse Championship class. I disqualified a horse named “Cooter” (not sure on the spelling) because he was dripping blood from being spurred. 
Peter Cameron

TRACY WALKER ASKS: 

1. Where was the 1st Arabian Show you judged? 

2. How many breed cards did you hold throughout your career? 

3. At the US Nationals this year - what were your thoughts on the PB Stallion Champion?? 

PETER CAMERON:

Hello Tracy

In response to your first question, my 1st Arabian Show was in 1960 at Buffalo, N.Y., I judged the Fort Erie Arabian Show. Mr. Norman Dunn (California) was the other judge at the show.

In response to question number two, I held (23) judging cards at any given time throughout my judging career.

In response to question three, I did not see the class, therefore, I cannot comment.
Peter Cameron

Dear Peter: 

I recently returned from a class A show where I competed in Hunter pleasure and Show Hack. its been about ten years since I competed in these divisions and I was wondering what your view is of the latest trends. I was under the impression that a hunter pleasure horse should be a forward light moving horse that is under control, balanced and covers the ground naturally and gracefully with an easy going trot. Is this not the case anymore. All the horses that pinned were traveling in kimberwicks with their noses on their chests at a tremendous speed at all gaits (borderline dangerous in my opinion) and all produced a country pleasure or at least high knee type trot, not the flat kneed stretched trot that I was used to. I found the same in Show Hack. it seems the rule for top hat and tails after 6pm has been dropped and I can see why now. its because the judge wouldn't know whether it was a country/english pleasure class or show hack. Do you think that there needs to be more education in the Show Hack judging or am I just dreaming back to yesteryear when a show hack was penalized for traveling like a park horse and that extended and collected gaits were performed similar to that of a dressage horse? Will there be a swing back as judges get more educated or should I retire what I thought was my show hack horse simply to the dressage ring? What sort of horse and movement do you like to see in a show hack and a hunter. Thanx for your comments. 
Pip Sumsion

PETER CAMERON:

Pip:

Nice to hear from you I always enjoyed judging you and your horse. 
I think you had better consider retiring your horse as it looks like the judging of these two classes is not going to change in the near future.
 
The Judging Schools are going to have to spend more time on these two classes as they are two of our most popular classes. I see pictures of winners coming out of the ring and they are going as high as English Pleasure horses. 

The Hunter Pleasure horse must be a low frame easy moving horse. I like to call them daisy cutters as they should not be wasting energy at any gait. These are horses that are supposed to be riding to the Hunt where they will jump 35 or more fences and then ride back home. This horse should look the part of a Hunter as if he could go over fences not looking and traveling like an English Pleasure horse. 

Most of these horses are traveling too fast with their noses on their chests. If this type of horse galloped to a fence, he would not see it until he was 3 feet from the fence. I have been asking for years to get rid of the kimberwicks and look like a Hunter. 

Finally, most of our judges need more education in these two classes.
Peter Cameron

Dear Mr. Cameron 

Thank you for making yourself available to answer our questions. Out of all the classes at a show which ones do you enjoy judging the most and which ones do you enjoy the least and why. 

Donna

PETER CAMERON:

Donna:

I am asked this question a lot. I enjoyed the Performance Classes best of all, especially the Working Classes such as Reining and Working Cow Horse. I did enjoy the Breeding Classes as long as they were good ones. In the early years, the Driving Classes would scare me as we usually had a wreck but they did improve. I always enjoyed judging any of the Youth Classes including the Lead Line and the Stick Horses which most of the judges hated.
Peter Cameron

Dear Mr. Cameron: 

My husband is an Arabian trainer and speaks of you as a "legend". He is a great admirer of yours. I would like to know why you would like to see the Kimberwick outlawed. Look forward to seeing your response.
 
Leigh Anne Meyer

PETER CAMERON:

Leigh Anne:

If you were to go to an Open Hunter Show, you would never see a kimberwick bit. It is considered an improper bit for a Hunter. It is legal in our breed and I have pinned a lot of horses wearing this bit because of the fact that it is legal. The ideal Hunter looks best in a snaffle or a pelham. When adults come into the ring with a kimberwick, they are telling me that they need a curb but can't handle two reins.
Peter Cameron

Hi Peter 

I’m so glad we found you! We sure miss you standing Center Ring.
My question may be one that has been rehashed many times but I think there may be something I am missing. I have always greatly enjoyed participating in Halter classes. We only have 3 horses and we do all of our own training and showing. We always start our horses in halter and show them from yearlings and normally continue to show them at halter, even after they have established their performance careers. 

It’s getting to a point where you are viewed by some as a second class citizen because you enjoy halter. I’m not speaking of enjoying seeing some of the terrified horses I see in the ring today but our horses enjoy showing at halter. They enter the ring with a look at me attitude and show they are glad to be alive. There also seems to be a perception by many, that the way our horses are made to set up, hides faults from the judges. I can understand how some faults may be hidden to an average person but if a judge is competent, how are faults being hidden from them? If a judge is uncomfortable about the way a horse is set up they can ask you to reset the horse. Are the majority of judges really fooled? 

Thanks Peter. It’s great to be able to have the opportunity to ask your opinion. I hope everything is going well for you. You are deeply missed! 

Barb Munson

PETER CAMERON:

Barb:

I'm glad to hear that you enjoy showing in the Breeding Classes. These classes can and should be fun to show in as long as you and your horse are enjoying them as well. There are a lot of Halter horses that are not enjoying these classes, as you well know. The judge has a big part also if these classes are to be fun.

You can hide some faults the we show our horses and I hope that most judges are not fooled but I am sure some of them are, along with being intimidated by some of our top trainers.

I used to like to see all of my Breeding horses shown to me relaxed at some time during the class.
Peter Cameron



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