AOA judge training program

Show judge training

True to the motto "standstill is a step back", an AOA judge training took place from June 12–14. This time we were fortunate to spend the training weekend with Jude Anderson and Alan Cousin. Their wonderful farm Pucarais located in McMinnville, Oregon, in the very western part of the United States. Jude and Al are Australians who emigrated to America a few years ago. Their warm and welcoming hospitality has enriched the training weekend. Jude is Senior Judge and Judge Trainer, and – together with Wade Gease, Jill MacLeod and Dr. Brett Kayson – was a training instructor. The "Clinic", as the Americans call the training, focused on so-called "oral reasons". Oral reasons are the arguments which determine the ranking in the ring. It is important to clearly state why number 1 placed first and why, for example, the third is ranked higher than the fourth. Therefore, not only is it important that the judge elaborates on differences between alpaca qualities quickly and correctly, but also formulates them reasonably. And as if that was not hard enough, we were also filmed while judging. Such recordings are a good method to refine one’s formulations and observe one's behavior in the show ring. It is never easy to see oneself in action: Body language, posture, movements, slips of the tongue, stuttering – all are recorded for analysis and critique afterwards. But it is exactly these difficult and challenging moments that makes the "Clinic" so valuable. That is the reason why the training weekend was so well attended. For example, Peter Kennedy from Australia and Nick Harrington-Smith from England came a long way – the other end of the world – to attend the nerve-racking training. It is only through constructive criticism and a constant will to improve yourself that one can really become a better judge. I like the "clinics" in the USA very much and I am always happy to see new alpaca farms and expand my knowledge about alpacas.

Darby Vannier (AOA CEO) has recently posted a short report about the judge training program and the training weekend in June on the AOA website. I highly recommend this article – it is really worth reading it. The largest, most respected show system in the World. The largest, most respected show system in the World