The Virginia Tech Horse Judging Team completed a successful spring competition season with a win at the American Paint Horse Association's Spring Intercollegiate Horse Judging Sweepstakes in Fort Worth, Texas.
Thirty-two teams representing 21 universities across the country competed in the senior college contest. The two teams representing Virginia Tech placed first and third. Teams were awarded prizes based on their placement in four main categories: halter, performance, reasons, and overall.
The 2010 Virginia Tech Horse Judging Team members are
- Amanda Bowen, of Jarrettsville, Md., a junior majoring in animal and poultry sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
- Alicia Chisholm of Frederick, Md., a sophomore majoring in animal and poultry sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
- Ashley Clark of Leesburg, Va., a junior majoring in animal and poultry sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
- Maggie Dupler of Midlothian, Va., a senior majoring in English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences;
- Emily Grabarek of Chesterfield, Va., a junior majoring in animal and poultry sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
- Ashley Graham of Martinsville, Va., a junior majoring in animal and poultry sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
- Tracey Maier of Chesapeake, Va., a junior majoring in business in the Pamplin College of Business;
- Kathleen O’Laughlin of Forest Hill, Md., a sophomore majoring in animal and poultry sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
- Alli Salinger of Gettysburg, Pa., a senior majoring in biological sciences in the College of Science; and
- Meagan Snoots of Mclean, Va., a junior majoring in animal and poultry sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
All team members are students in the Applied Equine Evaluation course taught by Julia McCann, instructor of animal and poultry sciences and coach of the judging team.
Both Virginia Tech teams placed in the top five in each category: first and third in halter, third and fourth in performance, and second and third in reasons – just two points out of first place, behind Kansas State University.
Virginia Tech students also fared well individually out of the 169 total contestants. Dupler placed first in performance, sixth in reasons, and fourth overall; Graham was ninth in halter and seventh overall; O’Laughlin placed third in performance and 10th overall; and Chisholm placed first in halter. In only their second contest, Snoots and Grabarek placed third and fourth in reasons, respectively, followed by Maier in seventh place. In addition, Maier, Chisholm, and Bowen finished in the top 20 overall to complete a great team effort.
“This team has come such a long way since January,” said McCann. “To have two teams place top three overall in a national contest of this magnitude is phenomenal. No other university had two teams place in the top 10 of the entire contest. I am so proud of them.”
Prior to the contest, the team traveled to multiple Virginia quarter horse shows and to farms in Virginia and Tennessee to practice placing classes as well as preparing numerous sets of reasons. “Coming from predominately English riding backgrounds, these young women did their homework, learning about the world of stock horse halter and western performance before heading west,” said McCann.
In a horse judging competition, each contestant observes and evaluates several classes of horses based on the horses’ physical attributes and performance as compared to the breed standard. Each class consists of four horses. In addition, contestants must memorize and present two-minute oral reasons to an official, describing why they placed the class as they did. Each team is composed of five students, and the top four scores are combined for a team score.
In each category, the top 10 individuals received ribbons, and high point individuals received a gift certificate and plaque. The top five teams also received ribbons in each category.
Other teams that scored in the top five were Kansas State University in second place, Texas A&M in fourth place, and Oklahoma State University in fifth.