Hokies earn top honors at Congress Horse judging contest

Hokies earned top honors in the Senior Limited Collegiate Horse Competition, one of the largest horse judging competitions in the country, which was held Oct. 15, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio.

The Congress Horse Judging Contest challenges competitors to place 11 different classes including three conformation classes and eight performance classes. Each class is made up of four high-quality horses. The performance classes included western pleasure, reining, western riding, hunter under saddle, hunter hack, equitation, trail, and new to the contest this year, the ranch horse pleasure class.

All American Quarter Horse Judging Contest

Pictured (left to right): Ashley Owens of Lebanon, Virginia; Hannah McDonald, assistant coach of Cross Junction, Virginia; Hanna Bartnick of Roanoke, Virginia; Rachel Bell of Blacksburg, Virginia; and Rachel Owens of Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Winning the individual halter/conformation horse judging competition was Rachel Owens. Teammate Rachel Bell finished fifth in halter judging. Hanna Bartnick was only one point out of first place in judging performance classes and finished second. The reasons competition comprised of scores for oral presentations to explain the students’ decisions for class placings highlighted three Hokies in the top rankings. Hanna Bartnick was first, Rachel Bell was second, and Rachel Owens was seventh high individual in the reasons.  Overall, Hanna Barnick placed second and Rachel Bell was seventh high individual in the contest.

The Congress contest was the culmination of work that started last spring for the Hokies. The students traveled to Tennessee and Texas to judge top horses and meet industry leaders who generously shared their time and expertise. The team members are grateful to these supportive professionals, the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences, which sponsors the activity, and the Pat Stuart funds for making the training and contest travel possible. The team is coached by Julia S. McCann with the assistance of undergraduate Hannah McDonald.

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