Two 4-H teens tied for top honors in the Illinois 4-H State 4-H Horse Judging Contest held April 8 at Black Hawk College in Galva. Haylee Ishmael of Shelby County and Calista Pontnack of Morgan County each scored 422 to win the reasons division of the contest. Other top finishers in the reasons division included Sarah Korthals, Henry County, third; Brenna Berns of Carroll County, fourth; Hallie Horsman of Shelby County, fifth; and Rylee McKinney of Shelby County, sixth.
Contestants in the reasons division must be at least 14 years of age and provide oral reasons for their placements in two classes, one halter class and one performance class.
In the non-reasons division, Regan Bartels of Sangamon County edged out Ruthie Ruhl of Logan County by one point to take first place. Other finishers included Kennedy Lindsey of McLean County, third; Desiree Reid of Mercer County, fourth; Hannah Maher of Knox County, fifth; Vanessa Bucher of Mercer County, sixth; Kylee Furbeck of Sangamon County, tied for seventh; Emma Jimenez, tied for seventh; Zoe Peterson of Henry County, ninth; and Kristi Moody of Marion County, tenth.
Forty-three 4-H members participated in the contest organized by University of Illinois Extension Equine Specialist Debra Hagstrom.
“In addition to the obvious benefit of learning about horses, horse judging also provides the opportunity for 4-Hers to learn life skills, such as objective reasoning, critical thinking, decision making, and public speaking, in addition to honing their powers of observation,” Hagstrom said.
The event was facilitated by Black Hawk college equine science students. The top youth in the reasons division will advance to a second round of judging which will determine the state’s horse judging team which will advance to national competition.