Alum Wins National Equestrian Title

A May 2002 graduate of William Woods University has won a national equestrian title.

Julie Pickering was named the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) Youth of the Year at the Morgan Grand National Horse Show held this month in Oklahoma City, Okla. Sixteen accomplished equestrians from across the country vied for this year’s title.

The Youth of the Year Contest is a competition that evaluates a youth’s all-around horsemanship skills and knowledge. The equally weighted, four-phase event includes a horsemanship pattern, an oral presentation on a selected topic, judging and placing eight classes, including providing oral reasons on two of those placings, and a 250-question written test.

The written test covered a variety of topics, including Morgan horse history, horse show rules, veterinary science, breeding and genetics and much more. Pickering won the written test and the judging portion of the contest on her way to being named Youth of the Year. She rode her own Morgan horse, Minerals Country Playboy, for the horsemanship pattern.

Contestants must qualify for the national competition by placing first or second in the senior division at contests held at the local, state or regional level. Pickering qualified for the AMHA Youth of the Year competition at the Indiana Morgan Classic.

Contestants must also hold the Sherman level of American Morgan Horse Association Youth (AMHAY) Horsemastership. Sherman is the third of five increasingly demanding levels of horsemanship testing available in the AMHAY program.

Pickering graduated from William Woods with a bachelor of science in equestrian science. Currently, she is the riding instructor for Peeper Ranch in Lenexa, Kan.

While at William Woods, Pickering was active in C.I.R.C.L.E.S., a program for at-risk children that helps them learn responsibility and care for others by working with horses. Because of her overall grade point average of 3.9, she was accepted into the Alpha Chi Academic Honorary. She was also active and held leadership positions in the Chi Omega social sorority and the Hunter/Jumper Show Team on campus.

Pickering has obtained the highest level in the AMHAY Horsemastership program, the Justin Morgan level. She is currently a board member of the Missouri Horse Shows Association.

As the 2002 AMHA Youth of the Year, Pickering will have the opportunity to represent the Morgan breed while traveling abroad to the country of her choice for one month. This prize is sponsored by the Cynthia Elaine Epperson Trust Fund.

While visiting a foreign land she will learn about the horse industry in the host country and also promote the Morgan and act as an ambassador of the breed. Pickering is considering Australia, Brazil, New Zealand or Sweden for her ambassadorship.

In addition to the trip abroad, Pickering received a Youth of the Year trophy and cooler (embroidered blanket for a horse). For winning the written test portion of the contest she received a W. Dayton Sumner Memorial Plaque and for winning the judging portion of the contest, a leather judging book and plaque.

Pickering believes that her equestrian education at William Woods gave her a tremendous advantage in preparing for the contest.