Wylie’s Horse Judging Team won the State Championship of the FFA Career Development competition in Lubbock this past spring and will compete at Nationals in Indianapolis in October.
Team members are Hannah Harbison, Hannah Drummond, Reagan Frazier and Teal Bohannan.
“We definitely didn’t expect to win state, Hannah Harbison said. “That was a really awesome experience. We found out that we won on the bus. We were screaming and happy.”
The girls competed all year in various Horse Judging competitions at places like Lubbock, San Angelo, Cisco and Clarendon. The team did well at the contests but had never won, although Teal won first place individually at Clarendon.
The girls got their first team win at the area competition at Tarleton State and got their second at the state competition in Lubbock. Teal finished 2nd individually at state.
Horse Judging requires the girls to individually evaluate horses based on their muscle, how they move, etc. The girls cannot talk to each other or compare notes. They each receive a score based on how closely their evaluations compare to the evaluations of the judges.
“We judge the horses on balance and how they are structured,” Reagan said. “We judge the way they move and how they respond to a rider. You just recognize what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Hannah Hammond, who is an accomplished barrel racer, said horse judging is much different than other horse competitions.
“It’s very, very different,” she said. “The rodeo is all about performance, but this is about structure and all about the animal itself. We judge it by structure, balance and how it looks.”
Teal said people often ask her what is different about one horse over another.
“Sometimes you have to have an eye for it,” she said. “Since I’ve been doing it so long, I know what to look for. It’s a learning process.”
The team members all share of a love for horses and all share a connection to Shockey Stables, where they met. They are competitive with each other when it comes to who scores the highest but have developed a bond.
“We definitely have some chemistry,” Teal said. “It’s nice. It’s nice to have a good laugh before a contest. Contest can be pretty stressful.”
Hannah Harbison agreed.
“We’ve known each other a long time,” she said. “It’s cool to be on a team together. We’ve all grown really close.”
Being on the Horse Judging team has given them an opportunity to be around horses and to learn some new skills, they say.
“I like it because it’s horses,” Hannah Harbison said. “It gives you a keen sense of being able to pick out certain characteristics of the animal and the quality of the animal.”
“It’s an amazing experience,” she said. “You learn so much – social skills and learning more about horses. I’ve loved horses all my life.”
The girls are already working with adviser Dustin Moore to prepare for the National competition, which will be in October.
“Nationals is a whole new ball game,” Hannah Hammond said. “There are a lot of new things that we’ve never done before. We are going to practice a lot over the summer and do our best to prepare.”
Congratulations to the girls and good luck at Nationals.