Joy Redman here
I have always wanted to get the answer to this question. when Larry and I first starting attending the show arena in early 90's
the breeding animals were often in a run off at the end of the show and also during some classes. the stallion breeding class especially and there was great attention in this event....my question is why would the run off necessarily make a judge decide who was the winner? I heard it was to see what horse broke gait...was this the deciding factor in who won the class. I don't see it much today.
In my opinion a run off is used to compare subtle qualities such as length of stride, ease of movement and correct travel (straight line movement, no dog tracking, rope walking etc.) I have never used it to see who broke gait because to me all horses will break gait. I place more importance on the horse’s transitions through their gaits than I do when they will break. To sum it up a run off is used to compare horses with very close qualities, and not necessarily will the fastest horse win the run off.
I hope this answers your question and I thank you for the opportunity to speak to you in this forum.