Quar­ter Horse Congress more than just a show

Record Observer - - NEWS - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

COLUM­BUS, OHIO — Se­nior

4-H’ers Jen­nifer Gan­non, 18, of Ruths­burg, and Adri­anna Disil­ve­stro, 17, of Eas­ton, both mem­bers of the Pony Ex­press 4-H Club in Queen Anne’s County, were mem­bers of the Mary­land 4-H Horse Judg­ing Team to com­pete at the 52nd An­nual All-amer­i­can Quar­ter Horse Congress Youth and Col­le­giate Horse Judg­ing com­pe­ti­tions on Oct. 16 and Oct. 17 in Colum­bus, Ohio.

Both Jen­nifer and Adri­anna had com­peted at Congress be­fore. Jen­nifer was a mem­ber of the 2017 Mary­land 4-H Hip­pol­ogy Team that placed in the Top 5 out of more than 20 teams from around the na­tion. Adri­anna was a mem­ber of the Delaware QHA Na­tional Youth Ac­tiv­ity Tour­na­ment Team in 2016, com­pet­ing in Bar­rel Rac­ing.

Jen­nifer’s com­pet­ing in 4-H Hip­pol­ogy last year spurred her on to try some­thing dif­fer­ent this year, be­com­ing a mem­ber of the state 4-H Horse Judg­ing team. Put sim­ply, Hip­pol­ogy is like “It’s Aca­demic” on equine top­ics. The Hip­pol­ogy team is judged on four dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories re­lated to equine, one of those horse judg­ing. Each cat­e­gory is scored in­di­vid­u­ally and to­taled to get a team score. Last year, Jen­nifer placed fourth as an in­di­vid­ual in the horse judg­ing cat­e­gory out of more than

100 other 4-H com­peti­tors. She wanted to try out for the 4-H state horse judg­ing team to see how that ex­pe­ri­ence might go.

Jen­nifer said, “Do­ing horse judg­ing we spent a lot more time watch­ing/judg­ing horses than we ever did in Hip­pol­ogy. It was horses two days non-stop! We cer­tainly went into more depth in learn­ing about judg­ing horses in dif­fer­ent classes. In the Hip­pol­ogy 4-H judg­ing, we didn’t have to give rea­sons, we just placed them and turned our cards in to be eval­u­ated. This time, rea­sons were re­quired for all classes we judged.”

Jen­nifer said she feels, based on her ex­pe­ri­ences, that she will stay in­volved in some as­pect of the horse in­dus­try all of her life.

Adri­anna was en­cour­aged by Jen­nifer to try out this year for the horse judg­ing team too. Of the ex­pe­ri­ence, Adri­anna, who is cur­rently serv­ing as Pony Ex­press club pres­i­dent, said, “I learned so much. It opened my eyes to all the pos­si­bil­i­ties that ex­ist in the horse in­dus­try. I was amazed at the amount of top qual­ity horses that were at the AAQHC. I got to see a por­tion of Congress that’s not me per­form­ing in the horse show ring. Re­gard­less of what you com­pete in at Congress, it can be in­tim­i­dat­ing, and hum­bling at the same time. Be­ing on the horse judg­ing team al­lowed me to step back from rid­ing and see show­ing horses from a dif­fer­ent view — try­ing to be a judge and learn­ing what to look for. It gave me a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive, that’s for sure! The ex­pe­ri­ence will def­i­nitely make me a bet­ter rider.”

Be­sides bar­rel rac­ing, Adri­anna has done Event­ing, and other types of horse jump­ing. She’s look­ing for­ward to com­pet­ing in “Ranch Rid­ing” classes (which have been grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity in re­cent years).

Jen­nifer and Adri­anna were joined by se­nior 4-H’ers Cheyanne Van Echo of Fred­er­ick County, and Les­ley Porter­field of Calvert County. The four-mem­ber team was coached by Mary­land 4-H equine spe­cial­ist Re­becca Gun­der­son, who is also a “carded horse show judge.”

With 22 teams com­pet­ing in the 4-H divi­sion, Mary­land placed ninth over­all as a team, ninth in rea­sons as a team, 10th in per­for­mance class judg­ing and 10th in hal­ter class judg­ing, plac­ing the team in the Top 10 at this year’s Congress.

There is also a Horse Bowl com­pe­ti­tion and a Pub­lic Speak­ing com­pe­ti­tion. All of th­ese com­pe­ti­tions are co­or­di­nated by Dr. Kim­berly Coles through Ohio State Univer­sity. The in­di­vid­ual Chair­men for each are: Horse Judg­ing — Dr. Dave Mcdon­ald and Don Rec­chiuti Sr.; Hip­pol­ogy and Horse Bowl — Ruth Som­nitz; and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions (Pub­lic Speak­ing) — Kris­tine Nagey.

Coles said, “We had over 350 youth par­tic­i­pate in all th­ese com­pe­ti­tions from 25 states.”

Th­ese com­pe­ti­tions are in­tended to pro­mote cit­i­zen­ship skills as well to en­cour­age youth at the 4-H, FFA and col­le­giate lev­els to con­sider pro­fes­sions in the equine in­dus­try. The Al­lamer­i­can Quar­ter Horse Congress is the largest sin­gle breed horse show in the world. This year it be­gan on Oct. 2 and fin­ished up on Oct. 28. But again, there are many more com­pet­i­tive events that take place there each year that are not in the show ring.

CON­TRIBUTED PHOTO

Se­nior 4-H’ers Adri­anna Disil­ve­stro, 17, of Eas­ton, left, and Jen­nifer Gan­non, 18, of Ruths­burg, at the 52nd an­nual All-amer­i­can Quar­ter Horse Congress in Colum­bus, Ohio, where they were mem­bers of the Mary­land 4-H Horse Judg­ing Team. The team placed ninth over­all, judg­ing nine dif­fer­ent eques­trian per­for­mance and three dif­fer­ent hal­ter classes.

CON­TRIBUTED PHOTO

The 2018 Mary­land 4-H Horse Judg­ing Team shown here at the52nd an­nual All-amer­i­can Quar­ter Horse Congress in Colum­bus, Ohio. The Horse Judg­ing team placed ninth over­all among22 teams from around the na­tion. From the left, team­mates Cheyanne Van Echo of Fred­er­ick County, Les­ley Porter­field of Calvert County, Coach Re­becca Gun­der­son, Jen­nifer Gan­non of Ruths­burg, and Adri­anna Disil­ve­stro of Eas­ton. Jen­nifer and Adri­anna are both mem­bers of the Pony Ex­press 4-H Club in Queen Anne’s County.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

Dot­tie Gan­non, left, stands be­side her daugh­ter, Jen­nifer Gan­non, 18, of Ruths­burg, fol­low­ing Jen­nifer’s medal­ing at the 51st an­nual All-amer­i­can Quar­ter Horse Congress 4-H Hip­pol­ogy Con­test held in Colum­bus, Ohio.in 2017, Jen­nifer was the only mem­ber of the Hip­pol­ogy team from the Eastern Shore. This year, Jen­nifer went as a mem­ber of the Mary­land 4-H Horse Judg­ing team, which won three medals in that com­pe­ti­tion.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

Se­nior 4-H’ers Jen­nifer Gan­non, 18, of Ruths­burg, and Adri­anna Disil­ve­stro of Eas­ton were among the col­le­giate (left side) and 4-H stu­dent (right side) horse judges fill­ing the stands Tues­day, Oct. 16, in­side the Coli­seum at the All-amer­i­can Quar­ter Horse Congress in Colum­bus, Ohio. Here they were judg­ing West­ern Trail Rid­ing, among other eques­trian rid­ing and hal­ter dis­ci­plines.

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