Sibley's Quinley takes state 4-H horse-judging title

GALVA — Only five points separated the top six finishers in the 2018 Illinois 4-H State Horse Judging Contest held April 28 at Black Hawk College in Galva.

Ford County 4-H member Katie Quinley, 16, of Sibley, earned 386 out of 400 points in the contest to take the title. Just two points behind, 13-year-old Hannah Maher of Knox County earned second place.

During the contest, 4-H club members evaluated six classes of horses, placing four horses in each class from best to worst with regard to conformation, breed characteristics and structural smoothness. The placings were then compared with an official placing of the classes. Points were deducted from the participants’ scores for any error in the order. Those points, referred to as “cuts,” are higher for pairs of horses a judge feels are more obvious and less for pairs deemed to be more similar to each other.

Both Quinley and Maher earned perfect scores by matching the judge’s placings in three classes.

Also from Ford County, Shelbie Butler placed fifth in the senior division with 382 points.

In addition to live placings, advanced youth must verbally defend their placings from two classes in the oral reasoning division. Those scores are added to the class placings to determine championships.

Youth who do not wish to compete in the reasoning division competed separately for top awards. Although youth in this division do not give oral reasons, they are required to answer questions about each of the classes they scored. Amelia Burgin of Vermilion County placed ninth in this category.

The state 4-H contest was facilitated by Black Hawk college’s equine science students. The top youth in the reasons division will advance to a second round of judging this summer that will determine which members will comprise the state 4-H horse judging team advancing to national competition. The national team is supported by the Illinois 4-H Foundation.

“In addition to the obvious benefit of learning about horses, horse judging also provides the opportunity for 4-H’ers to learn life skills, such as objective reasoning, critical thinking, decision making and public speaking, in addition to honing their powers of observation,” said Debra Hagstrom, University of Illinois Extension equine specialist.

Events such as horse judging are “the keys to success,” said one participant’s parent. “When you offer an event within their passion, most 4-H’ers show a side that many parents don’t often see.”

Categories (3):News, Agriculture, Education
Location (3):Local, Ford County, Sibley

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