For many years W.J. and der Merwe, of Middleburg, Cape, toyed with the idea of a society to protect both the Judge and exhibitor. Eventually, the opportunity was given by the Riding Horse Breeders’ Society of S. A. to form a Judges’ Association within its framework and
protection. To the President of the Riding Horse Breeders’ Society, C.M. van den Heever, of Richmond, Cape, without whose enthusiastic support at the time nothing could have been achieved, the Judges’ Association tenders its thanks.
The Riding Horse Judges’ Association was founded at an inaugural meeting at Middelburg, Cape, on 27 August 1965, and a Founding Council was elected, consisting of W.J. van der Merwe (President), C.M. van den Heever (Vice-President), Cecily Norden (Hon. Secretary), P. Mc. A. Murdoch, R.P. Sieberhagen, G.D. van Schalkwyk and M. du Plessis.
The aim of the Association is to create a body of Horse Judges which is beyond reproach and which will lift the exhibition of show horses on to a high level of integrity. Each Judge is constantly reminded of his duty to the whole, and the entire Association is bound together
by mutual respect and loyalty to a common ideal.
In addition, the Association is responsible for Short Courses in judging and Examinations of a high standard, both practical and theoretical, which are held in alternative years. The lecturers and examiners can cope efficiently with 100 students at Short Courses and 30 students at Examinations, who present themselves repeatedly and with enthusiasm for nine practical examinations and eight written papers of standard duration.
Symposiums are held where problems in judging are discussed by Judges and exhibitors. Lectures and demonstrations are given on a variety of occasions to a variety of audiences, both adult and juvenile. Problems from Show Societies and exhibitors are handled constantly, in addition to providing Judges to suit special requirements throughout the
country. Films are shown and Refresher Courses planned. All these services are largely free and the Association functions successfully only due to the public-spiritedness of our council, lectures, examiners, and Judges who give their services freely and without recompense for the furtherance of the ideals of the Judges’ Association. Financial backing is supplied by the Riding Horse Breeders’ Society and its affiliated Saddle Horse, Boerperd and Palomino Societies, without whose benevolence the Judges’ Association could not operate.
One of the most significant developments lately has been the inauguration of the Riding Horse Stewards’ Association (1977) which is affiliated to the Judges’ Association. The other is the research, development and implementation of the new Three Judge System and the Hi-Low Tabulation method which has revolutionised judging at the Championship Shows in
(From Norden, C (1980), Showing Horses in South Africa)