Randy Roy is a senior international judge, course designer and author. He answers a variety of competitors’ questions in his column.

When a hunter division is combined, do you give bonus points to a horse that has to jump the higher height?

No, not really, but if I have equal performances I might be inclined to reward the horse having to jump the higher height.

A rider starts the hunter course with a grand tour of the ring at a trot, and then picks up the wrong lead, breaks back to trot, does a circle, and then departs at the canter. How do you score that?

This is a false start that I would consider a major fault. The rider should have fixed the lead, then gone on to the jump. No more circles.

At the end of a course, what are you looking for?

A prompt exit. I already have you scored and in the order, so no big tours of the ring. The next one is waiting and the show must go on!

In a handy class, what are some of the more notable things you have judged?

Here are a few interesting ones:

1. Rider is asked to drop a rail from a fence and walk his horse over it.

2. Stop at a mailbox, open it, and pick up some mail.

3. Walk through water (the liverpool or water jump).

4. Open a gate, walk through, and then close it.

If it is not a handy class, do you mind if a rider does tight turns or shortcuts to the jumps?

I am definitely not looking for that. Use the whole ring!

If a rail is broken and replaced, does it have to be the same colour?

Yes, it has to match the jump. It can be taken from another jump that is not being used in that class. Personally, I think it is no big deal; horses are colour-blind and any colour of pole could work, really.

In an under-saddle class in a rated division, would you pin an unbraided horse ahead of a braided one?

If the horse is the superior mover, then yes, but I do feel that they should be braided and if they were close as movers, it would be the tie-breaker.

Do you take points off for an unbraided tail?

Not usually – but sometimes I think how I would look with a shirt and tie minus the jacket!

When you have a long wait, do you ever go back over your order and change it?

Never second-guess your first decision; it is the right one – stick to it.

Are you bothered by loud applause for a really bad round?

Yes, and I say to myself ‘what are you thinking?’ That is not to be rewarded.

Do you allow someone to approach you about their performance without the steward?

Often you have no control, so you have to say sorry, but you are not at liberty to discuss a performance without the steward present.

Do you walk the derby course?

I always do. I want to get a feel for the course and the routes the riders will take. I also walk the options so that I can see the most efficient route and whether a line is steady or forward and how the in-and-out will ride. Then I know exactly what I am looking for in the course. I also like to check out the high options and how inviting (or unfriendly) they might be.

Randy Roy is a senior international judge and course designer. He is the author of nine books, including Heads Up! An Everyday Guide For You and Your Horse. He owns and operates Hunters Glen show stable in King, ON, with his daughter, Ryan Roy. If you would like Randy to answer your questions in this column, please send your query to editor@e1a45567e7.nxcli.net.