Naturally Gaited Judging Clinic and Show :


On March 2-5, 2006, Amik Run Equestrian Center, Morriston, Florida, will be hosting the 2006 Independent Judges Association (IJA) clinic and the Gaited Spring Spectacular Horse Show. The IJA was founded in 1998 as a subset of Friends of Sound Horses (FOSH) to provide a source of trained and qualified pleasure horse judges to preside at open, saddle club, and gaited breed shows. 

The clinic is open to all current IJA judges as well as those persons interested in becoming apprentices to pursue their IJA license, show managers interested in attracting naturally gaited horses to their events, and any individual who wants to audit the clinic just to learn more about naturally gaited horses. The apprentice judges will work with licensed IJA judges in both a classroom and show environment. The apprentice judges, as well as show managers and auditors, will receive training on recognizing correct and natural gaits, the different divisions for gaited horses, and other principles of training and exhibiting naturally gaited horses. In addition, show managers will receive guidance on how to attract naturally gaited horses to their shows. This clinic will offer something for everyone interested in naturally gaited horses.

On March 4, 2006, and as part of the clinic, the Gaited Spring Spectacular Horse show will be held at Amik Run Equestrian Center. This show is open to all gaited breeds and offers Versatility, Halter, Trail and Country Pleasure, English, Western and other classes. The show will serve as a schooling show to educate both the judges and exhibitors. For judges and apprentices, it will provide the opportunity to supplement the classroom knowledge with practical experience. For exhibitors, it gives the opportunity to compete in a show setting with more flexible and permissible rules than a formal sanctioned horse show. The added advantage of this schooling show format will be that the presiding judge will share with the exhibitors his or her reasons for placing or "tying" a class and one-on-one feedback on how they can improve their riding. 

The hallmark of the IJA is integrity. Judges must meet the personal and professional standards outlined in the IJA rule book. Laurie Wolf, who obtained her IJA license during 2005 stated, "One of the best things about the IJA is the full commitment to eliminating as much as possible the subjectivity too often found in horse shows and replacing it with an objective, fair, and measurable standard common to all judges that can be depended upon by exhibitors, spectators and show management." Wolf further mentioned that "it is an exciting time to be part of FOSH and IJA because the demand for and the pool of exhibitors seeking shows offering classes for naturally gaited and sound horses, particularly in Florida, is skyrocketing." This is evidenced by the fact that Amik Run Equestrian Center, Dixie Plantation Equestrian Events, and the North Florida Arabian Club have already sanctioned their shows with FOSH using IJA judges. The Florida Foxtrotter Association will also be sanctioning their 2006 Florida Gaited Classic show with FOSH. If you are interested in attending the IJA clinic as a judge, apprentice, show manager, or auditor, please contact the Director of Judges at If you are interested in attending the Gaited Spring Spectacular Show as an exhibitor or vendor, please contact Jim Russell at For more information on the IJA program, please visit the FOSH website at

FOSH is a national leader in the promotion of natural, sound gaited horses and in the fight against abuse and soring of Tennessee Walking Horses. For more information about FOSH or to become a member, please visit or call 1-800-651-7993.

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