EXPERIENCE, knowledge and a love of horses are key skills for a horse judge and no one can doubt the experience and passion of 79-year-young Billie Maundrell from the East Moreton Branch of the Stock Horses Association.
Billie was in town to judge at the stock horse challenge on the weekend.
Billie's passion for the sport, riding and judging is as strong today as it was when she started riding at the age of 13.
"I registered my first IFIS stock horse back in 1972," Billie said.
"But I have been riding a lot longer than that.
"I remember riding from Bulimba when I was 13, catching the ferry across the Brisbane River and then riding to the Brisbane Royal Show just to compete and riding with my good clothes on and a set of overalls over the top."
Now, many years later, Billie holds judging certificates for stock horse, EFA saddle, miniature pony and Arab just to name a few.
"I just love this sport."
In 1972 Billie was one of the top 10 cutting horse riders in Australia.
When asked what she looked for in a horse, she was very quick to say: type, build, temperament and the ability to work for the rider.
"All these features play a role in getting a good horse but there are stages to go through and you must know the background of the horse," Billie said.
"At two years old they're good for pony club and riding comps. At four they have a little more maturity and you can place them in most events. At six they have the experience.
"In saying all that, we have 21-year-old horses with four-year-old riders who ride by themselves and that is what I love to see."
Billie said when she was judging she looked for what the horse and rider could do but also for features such as the movement of the horse with the rider.
Is the horse a pleasure to ride and would she take it home herself?
Billie now lives at Aspley, where she still rides, trains and coaches students.
"At the moment we are all walking on air as one of my students, 16-year-old Sara Small, has just won the Junior Judging Competition at the Royal Show in Sydney over the weekend. We are just so proud."
Billie is a committee member and judge for the East Moreton Branch, which held the Super Horse and Youth Challenge and Champion Show last weekend at the Caboolture Showground.