On Saturday, October 17, 2020 students from the Sycamore High School FFA team competed in the State Horse Judging Contest (Reasons Division) and finished second in the State of Illinois. It was an early morning for the students as they filed into the ag shop at SHS for the contest. The contest was held virtually, and each student had their own computer to judge photos and videos of horses from.
To do well in the contest, students had to learn all of the ways and reasons a horse could be judged, depending on what class the horse was in.
“We had to judge different classes of a horse’s conformation, different riding classes, and how the horse moves. The reasons category [was explaining] why one horse was better than the other,” stated junior Heidi Wood.
At State, the team placed second over all, while individually, Heidi Wood took fourth, Samantha Lind took fifth, Jesse Mantzke took seventh, and Myranda Wilbur took twenty-fifth. This was the first year the students participated in the State competition, and they were advised by Courtney Weidenmann, FFA advisor and agriculture teacher at Sycamore High School.
“[Wiedenmann] judged in college and won competitions in college. We went off of what we knew when we were riding, and Miss Weidenmann helped us refine exactly what we needed to look for,” stated senior Samatha Lind.
The students met and practiced three times a week, going over the rules, memorizing all of the penalties, and working on sets of reasons. “We had a lot of practice and what to look for more in depth,” said senior Jesse Mantzke.
Junior Myranda Wilbur stated, “During practices a lot of times [Wiedenmann] would show us a class [of horse] and we would write our… reasons and we would memorize… [and] recite them back to Miss Weidenmann.”
While the students placed second overall this year, they have high hopes of coming back even stronger next year to claim first place at State.
From the District and community, congratulations to our SHS FFA team!