Virginia Region Pony Clubs

Sportsmanship ~ Horsemanship ~ Leadership ~ Stewardship

First Time AHMJ

There is very little you need to know to be a first time Assistant Horse Management Judge (AHMJ). We LOVE the horse savvy individual, but almost anyone can easily be trained up if you have a love of children and ponies. We “buddy up” new folk with experienced sorts. The ONE big thing is the “dress code”. We want to be safe, and we want to also set a good example for the competitors. So we want to follow the same unmounted dress code they have to follow.


Proper unmounted footwear is that which covers the ankle and is not all cloth. This can be paddock boots, western boots, “Wellies”, work boots, riding sneakers, etc. NOT flip flops, sandals, regular shoes that do not cover the ankle, or tall all cloth gym shoes. The idea is to provide some protection in a shoe that will not be pulled off if a horse steps on us. A sturdy sole is a good idea as most “foot incidents” have been found to be objects penetrating the sole. Think nails.


For the rest of the dress code, a shirt that covers the point of the shoulder. E.g. not sleeveless and no tank tops. No loopy/dangly jewelry. And I probably do not have to worry on this much except maybe for the current members that come to do HM, but no “short shorts”. Khaki shorts look VERY nice, but jeans are just fine. When you get to the point that you are doing turnout inspections (don’t worry – it will take a while to get to that point) I like to see khaki type pants and a nicer shirt. We want to show respect to the competitors that have worked so hard to prepare their ponies and themselves. Larry Byers (past USPC President) used to come in formal hunt attire, top hat, red top coat and tails, but that may be just a little over the top.


That pretty well covers the minimum that you have to do to prepare to be an AHMJ.


If you want to do a little more… read the HM Rulebook and the discipline rulebook. They are available for free download from the USPC Rulebook website or from the USPC Bookstore. They may look intimidating, but there is not that much of the content that you have to be up on, especially in the discipline rulebook. In the HM Rulebook, read Part 1 and maybe scan thru the appendix on Required Equipment. In the Discipline rulebooks most of the stuff is “ring related” and we do not need to worry on that. Look for the few pages about tack, bits, and dress that is specific to the discipline.


As I said above, we will buddy you up with an experienced person, so as not to test your comfort zone. HM is not “rocket science”. Anyone that gets along well with the best young people in the world can have a lot of fun at it!


Do not be afraid to ask questions of your HMO or the chief. They love to talk to people.


Virginia Region Pony Clubs is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

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