Animal science department hosts annual youth horse judging camp

KSU Youth Horse Camp students practice horse judging and oral reasoning skills. (Madison Jahnke | Collegian Media Group) Photo credit: Madison Jahnke

Kansas State’s animal sciences and industry department hosted its annual youth horse judging camp Monday and Tuesday, giving students an opportunity to enhance their evaluation and horse judging skills.

Sponsored by the KSU Intercollegiate Horse Judging Team, the camps are divided into two separate sections; beginner and advanced. According to the camps’ registration form, the advanced camp is designed “for youth with some experience judging horses and who would like to enhance their evaluation and oral reasons skills.” Some of the class topics covered included horsemanship/equitation, ranch riding and hunter-under-saddle.

The two-day camp, which took place in Weber Hall, featured full-day agendas involving lessons that focused on various types of classes that would be used at horse shows and competitions, as well as one-on-one interaction and activities with the coaches and members of the KSU Intercollegiate Horse Judging Team.

While individual coaching and mentorship is implemented to improve horse judging skills, practical life skills are also being exercised throughout the camp’s duration.

Rachel Sorensen, assistant horse judging coach and graduate student in animal science, said goals for the youth going into the camp are “to improve public speaking skills, self-confidence and decision-making ability.”

Outside of the classroom, students got the opportunity to view live horses in Weber Arena to further practice their horse judging and oral reason skills.

The camp concluded with a pizza and ice cream party in which awards titled “Work Horse” and “Most Improvement” were given out by group leaders to campers. Additionally, information about scholarships and competitions were explained to students who hope to pursue a future in livestock judging at the collegiate level.

James Lattimer, assistant professor of animal science and coach of the KSU Intercollegiate Horse Judging Team, said the youth camps have been going on since the mid-1990’s. After explaining that there are not many opportunities for horse judging, as there is an emphasis on other types of livestock evaluation, Dr. Lattimer said, “there is definitely a need for the youth camps — to start the kids off right.”