I don't how the dog show circuit works but I do know how the horse circuit works. I used to show paint horses in the American Paint Horse Club circuit throughout high school. I had 5 or 6 different horses throughout my show career and 3 different trainers. The APHA and AQHA is very political IMO. I could take my horse in a western pleasure class and get nothing, then my trainer would take her in a class and win. The horse was dead on for both of us, yet he won with her and I didn't even place. I really think it depends on the integrity of the judge as to whether or not they judge the animal based on it's confirmation or on how it moves or if they base it on who's leading it or riding it. I've seen it go both ways. To this day, whenever my dad and I have a weanling that is good enough to go to a futurity, we always call up a trainer and ask if he'll lead him/her in the ring. And it usually costs about $100 just to hand the horse to the trainer on the way into the class and take it back on the way out. In Halter classes, it definitely makes a difference on who is handling the horse. Sad but true for the horse show circuit.