Beyond the Jacket with the Bridgeport FFA: Showing our Hippology Knowledge

By Miyah Swiger on April 07, 2023 from Beneath the Jacket? via

Bright and early on Saturday, April 1four members of the Bridgeport FFA Chapter competed in the WV State 4H and FFA Horse Judging Competition at the WVU Horse Farm in Reedsville WV. The following four members had been practicing for the past month: Miyah Swiger, Zachary Nicholson, Gracie Burdette, and Payton Evans. Their coach, Sierra Wean and FFA Advisor, Justin Arnold, had been staying with them after school every Tuesday and Thursday until 6 p.m. throughout March to prepare them for the competition.  
Miss. Wean says that’s she has grown up around horses and competed in horse judging herself when she was in high school. She has Horses of her own and has also been barrel racing for ten years. Mr. Arnold, and the members agreed that they couldn’t have had a better coach to prepare them for this experience. 
The team did start practicing late in the season, but with only eight practices, Mr. Arnold and Miss. Wean both agreed that “the team has gone above and beyond” to prepare for the competition, and that “They are [ the members] more prepared than they ever imagined them to be.”  

Each of the 19 teams competing in the event had to judge a total of six classes of horses.    The students judged the horses based on their overall balance, structure, the way the rider road them and the gait the horse was in, or the way the horse moves. Each team consisted of four members, and at the end of the competition, their scores were combined to get their final placing. The team also competed in the Hippologyportion where they were tested on their knowledge of horses with a series of questions.
The team doesn’t know where they placed in the judging portion, but they got 5th in the hippology portion! With this being all of the members first time competing, they learned a lot about the horse judging experience. Even though the team didn’t bring home first place, they have built an unforgettable bond throughout this past month and plan to take on the competition again next year. 

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