Horse-crazy youths from the area will congregate at the William Woods University stables on Feb. 21 for an afternoon of horse-judging and fun as part of the second annual WWU 4-H and FFA Judging Clinic.
The clinic will be run by the WWU Western Club, Intercollegiate Judging Team and current western applied riding students. It offers participants the opportunity to gain knowledge about judging different breeds, such as Arabians, Morgans, Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds, and disciplines such as hunt seat, western and saddle seat.
Designed specifically for 4-H and FFA horse-judging competitors, participants will not only practice-judge eight classes (four halter classes and four performance classes), but will also receive examples and explanations of ideal conformation and performance before trying their hand at judging.
The schedule will begin at noon with an introduction from Jennie Petterson, clinical instructor of equestrian science, followed by a demonstration on systems for judging halter horses. Different presentations will continue throughout the day, which will wrap up around 4 p.m. with a question and answer session.
Approximately 45 WWU-owned horses will be featured in this event; more than 40 students will be needed to make it all run smoothly. As student coordinator, Kristen Asher, afreshman from Deckerville, Mich., will be leading them.
“It’s my first year here, so I’ve never been involved in this event before and don’t know exactly what to expect, but I’d like to see a huge turnout,” said Asher, who spent the past few weeks researching the FFA chapters in Missouri.
“I really want the participants to learn a lot about each breed and discipline and to get a truly diverse experience.”
Freshman Amanda Seitter of Peculiar, Mo., has a job of her own. The Western Show Team will be sponsoring a clothing swap/sale during the clinic, featuring different types of riding attire and gear, and Seitter will be heading up this project.
“I think I’ll learn a lot about dealing with a lot of different people. I’ll have to keep everything organized, which I don’t usually have a problem with but it will be my first experience running a sale like this. I’ve been to a lot of them, but never been in charge of one,” said Seitter.
Seitter hopes this sale will become a tradition along with the annual judging clinic.
“I would like a lot of people to come, and I’d like to continue it every year and have it be large, well-attended event. Once we really get it going, students could remember to bring sale items back from winter break,” said Seitter.
Both Asher and Seitter are recipients of the Theresa and Bernie Vonderschmitt Scholarship, an honor based on accomplishments and potential in the equestrian field. The scholarship asks students to develop yearly goals outside of the realm of class. Asher and Seitter are using these projects to achieve their respective goals.
While Asher and Seitter have their jobs, other students are acting as handlers and riders for the horses, speakers, photographers and even videographers—Petterson plans to video tape the clinic so that she can make it available to 4-H and FFA groups that were unable to attend.
According to Petterson, this clinic is a win-win situation for all involved.
“It not only provides a valuable opportunity for the participants, but putting on this event is a wonderful opportunity for our students to teach the skills they learn in school,” said Petterson. “They get to put their knowledge into action and there is no better way to confirm that you’ve learned something than to teach it to someone else.”