MFTHBA Takes the First Step in Improving Judge Education Program
Late in 2019, the MFTHBA hired a consultant to assist in the development of an improved education program for MFTHBA judges. This past weekend, the first step in that process was implemented.
Anna Johnson was hired to assist the MFTHBA Judges Committee in developing the program with a focus on providing more educational resources for current and potential judges, increasing the consistency of our judging and ultimately increasing the number of available carded judges.
“Anna brings an outside perspective and new ideas to how we can improve our overall judge certification and training program,” shared MFTHBA President, Mark Mackie.
Ms. Johnson was a member of the William Woods University team that won the Senior National Championship in 2016. In the same competition, she placed second overall individually. In 2017, she became an assistant coach for the judging team and in 2018 completed an internship working under the Arabian Youth Association helping run the U.S. Nationals judging and hippology contests. Prior to graduating from William Woods University, she worked with the Director of Equestrian Studies, Jennie Petterson, to create an Introductory Workbook for Competitive Horse Judging. Ms. Johnson is currently carded as a judge in several other equine organizations.
Last year, Mr. Mackie and members of the MFTHBA Judges Committee reached out to Professor Petterson regarding the MFTHBA’s desire to improve its judge education program. After initial conversations about the Association’s long term goals, she connected Mr. Mackie and Ms. Johnson.
Ms. Johnson met with the MFTHBA Board of Directors in November and presented a proposal to start the process of developing a more robust judge education program. The Board approved hiring Ms. Johnson to serve as a consultant to the Judges Committee to assist with the development of training materials for an overall judge education program and to serve as the clinic manager for a clinic to be hosted early in 2020.
This past Saturday, the MFTHBA hosted the first step in implementing an improved judge education program. The all-day clinic had a modest $25 fee, making it affordable for those interesting in attending.
“In-person clinics are an important part of our judge education process,” shared Mr. Mackie. “They are just one part in what we hope will become a larger program to support potential and current judges in honing their skills at judging the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse.”
The Judges Committee also made it a priority to make the requirements to get a judge’s card more rigorous. “At the request of the Judges Committee, the Board approved a Rule Book change in December that nearly doubled the requirement for apprenticing classes,” shared Karen Graddy, MFTHBA Judges Committee Co-Chairman. “In addition, the committee is now requiring applicants to complete a closed-book three-part test and to complete an interview process to even be eligible to receive an apprentice card.”
Utilizing the facilities at William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri, the initial clinic far exceeded the expectations of the Judges Committee. The committee set a goal of having a dozen auditors and five people complete the clinic and their initial test. Instead, the clinic had 50 participants and auditors. Of the 20 people that registered for the clinic as a participant, 16 completed all the requirements including their testing and interviews.
Moving forward, Ms. Johnson and the MFTHBA Judges Committee will continue to work on creating more educational materials including videos and written materials. There are also plans for additional clinics.