The Laramie County Community College horse judging team was named Reserve World Champions within the junior college division in Oklahoma City last week at the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) World Championship Show.
The team consisted of Samantha Gagas, Kylie Gregory, Sarah Murch, Keylee Sayler, Dani Stearns and Ruth Uptain. With a combined score of 2526, they were only 18 points from the World Champion Team, and would have been within the top three teams had they competed in the university division. The team was also second in the halter and performance divisions, and third in oral reasons.
"I hope you will share my pride in these young people’s accomplishment, and will congratulate them on representing Laramie County Community College at an elite level in intercollegiate competition," said Will Golden, horse judging coach and equine instructor.
Keylee Sayler: High Individual Overall
First in Halter
Third in Performance
Fifth in Oral Reasons
Samantha Gagas: Sixth High Individual Overall
Seventh in Halter
Eighth in Performance
Kylie Gregory: Twelfth Overall
Ninth in Performance
Ruth Uptain: Thirteenth Overall
Tenth in Performance
So far this has been the most successful season for a horse judging team at LCCC since 1998. The team also placed second at its season opener in Fort Worth, the APHA (American Paint Horse Association) Spring Intercollegiate Judging Sweepstakes, where Samantha Gagas was High Individual Overall, and was third at their second national competition, the All American Quarter Horses Congress in Columbus, OH.
Collegiate horse judging competitions allow students to hone their critical thinking skills by forcing them to make decisions under pressure based on a set of criteria for each class. Students are then required to defend their decisions to industry professionals in short extemporaneous speeches known as oral reasons. During the course of the competition they place 12 classes: four halter classes where they evaluate the conformation of a group of horses, and eight performance classes where horses are evaluated in motion (e.g. western pleasure, jumping, reining). They then give between 4 and 6 sets of oral reasons during the second half of the contest, defending their decisions in a selected number of classes.
Involvement in a judging program builds intellectual and emotional maturity in students by teaching them to make difficult decisions, and then stand by those choices while providing an explanation of their decision making process under pressure. It pushes students to communicate effectively, critically think, collaborate with one another during the process of learning, and to learn responsibly by standing on their own and taking responsibility for their decisions.