This is the forth year the girls have been a part of the Jim Wells County Horse Judging Team. Our team has lost and gained members, but this year started out with some pretty great kids. We had purchased some great training dvds last year, and began last fall meeting and practicing quite a bit.
Morgan was particularly excited about this year after attending Horse Judging Camp at Texas A&M last summer. The girls practiced and practiced writing and memorizing reasons so they would be ready for competition.
We decided to add a nice, warm embroidered vest and khakis this year for a more professional look. Jennifer and I almost cried the first time we saw our kids come out looking so sharp in their team uniform!
The team began the season in January with a small competition in Conroe. Morgan and Taylor didn’t go to this one because we had already made plans to visit Nashville during that time.
But when we got home, we were fired up for our first competition at the Fort Worth Stock Show. We’d never been to this competition, and it wasn’t until we were there that we realized it was “senior” competition. I couldn’t have been prouder of our teams as they really ranked amazingly well with some of the best senior competitors in Texas. While we didn’t get any ribbons, we gained a lot of experience and confidence as the kids had to give three sets of reasons!! I’ll have to add a photo as I didn’t have my camera with me on the trip, and haven’t gotten photos from Coach Jen yet. 🙂
So on to San Antonio Stock show and Rodeo next. We had big hopes for this show since Morgan placed second in the Jr division last year. But alas, the show proved to be a challenge with a different set of judges than we were familiar with. Again, I was super-proud of the effort, and while they didn’t get any ribbons, they still placed pretty stinkin good. Pictures to be added after I get Coach Jen’s copied!
Just a weekend after that we went to College Station to attend the first ever Brazos County Horse Judging Competition. Anyone who has been around horse judging much knows that Brazos has a top-ranked program with access to A&M’s resources, coaches, teaching materials, etc. We were excited to judge at the A&M complex where the District competition is held since the kids were familiar with the arena and we knew the horses and riders would be great quality. I really love the opportunity that the smaller/county competitions offer to place and win awards as opposed to the stock-show settings because it gives the kids a chance to boost their confidence when they win. I was a little disappointed that more of our team mates decided not to go, but we did well with one junior team and Morgan judging as the only senior as an individual. Our team placed third overall, and each of our three juniors all placed and received some pretty cool-looking ribbons and plaques as individuals as well. Morgan placed in senior reasons, which was a great accomplishment as well!
I’m so happy that Taylor’s best friend has joined our team this year. Kaitlyn and Taylor have really enjoyed traveling, competing, and making some great memories together. Besides that, Kaitlyn has gotten some pretty high scores for her first year on the team- she got third place overall junior at College Station!! Way to go Kaitlyn!!
Morgan and Shelby, two of our senior team, qualified at district along with Iliana to go to State this year. Can’t wait to see how they do!
After Brazos came Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo horse judging competition. It’s a really great show and the kids enjoy it a lot.
Our team didn’t place in the top ten, but did amazing and our individuals scores were really good too.
District competition was at College Station as always, in March. Taylor decided she wanted to attend the 4-H District Fashion show that she qualified for that was on the same day instead, so I went with her to that.
We ended up one junior team of three and one senior team of three. Of course they all won first because there was no other competitors from our district, but some amazing scores overall. Our senior team will advance to State competition in Lubbock in June. Can’t wait to see how they do!
All in all, our horse judging season was a great one. This is such a worthwhile endeavor, as it takes so much dedication to spend hours in competitions watching and thinking and preparing to talk in front of judging. These kids have just done such an outstanding job learning to speak and interact and make decisions. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be involved in such a complex and intense, yet fun and rewarding program.
Morgan, Taylor and Kaitlyn have registered to attend Texas A&M Horse Judging Camp this summer, so I’ll update on State and Camp later this summer!