Front, from left: Hannah McDonald, Stevie Williams, Kerri Houser, Harleigh Humphries, Hanna Bartnick. Rear, from left: Ashley Owens, Rachel Owens, and Rachel Bell.
After preparing throughout the spring semester and traveling to Tennessee and Texas to learn the skills and insight to judging stock horses, the Virginia Tech Horse Judging Team had a very successful spring season.
After an incredible few days in Texas visiting with many of the top leaders in the horse industry and evaluating millions of dollars worth of horses, the Hokie team competed against 13 universities in the Southwestern Spring Horse Judging Contest in Gainesville, Texas, on April 15, 2015. The Hokie team of five students placed third overall among 26 horse-judging teams from the top horse programs in the country!
The Virginia Tech Horse Judging Team applied its knowledge of five different performance events and stock horse conformation judging to take home first place in conformation judging followed by Mississippi State University and Texas A&M University. The Hokies team members defended their class places in the reasons competition and finished third, right behind Colorado State and Texas A&M with only a six-point spread between the three schools. Virginia Tech was followed by New Mexico State and Oklahoma State to round out the top five teams in the contest.
Leading the senior team efforts was Hannah McDonald, who placed seventh in halter and reasons to help her earn a sixth-place finish overall among the 150 individuals. Hanna Bartnick placed fifth in halter, and Rachel Owens placed second in reasons and tenth overall individually. Rachel Bell was ninth in halter judging, and Ashley Owens and Kerri Houser rounded out the team effort for the Hokies.
The Senior Limited contest required only two sets of reasons and is designed to give novice horse judges an entrance contest. Harleigh Humphries and Stevie Williams garnered awards in the Limited Division. Harleigh was the second-highest individual overall in the contest, and Stevie finished first in the reasons competition of the Limited Division!
With the strong team finish, the Virginia Tech Horse Judging Team looks forward to the fall judging season and to competing at the Ohio Quarter Horse Congress Contest in October. The team is appreciative of all the excellent horsemen who shared their time and horses to help them reach this pinnacle in the national horse judging competition. The team also appreciates the support of the animal and poultry sciences department, the Alphin-Stewart endowment funds, and the faculty that accommodate these hard working students when absences are unavoidable. The team is coached by Julia McCann, who admires the individual pursuit of excellence among each of the members and the team effort to make the experience rewarding on many levels.