TAVARES – Lake County’s 4-H horse judging teams are making a name for themselves.
Megan Brew, Livestock and Natural Resources Agent with the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Science Extension in Lake County coached seven local 4-H members at the State 4-H Horse Judging Competition in Gainesville on April 12.
Lake County’s 4-H teams judged eight sets of horses and gave reasons on four sets. In horse judging, youth evaluate classes of four horses on their confirmation movement and riding suitability. Team members earn points based on how close their placing comes to the actual official’s.
Lake County’s two teams were the only in Florida without prior state level experience, and yet the teams earned the right to represent the state at the Eastern Regionals this July in Raleigh, N.C.
“Horse judging is a mentally taxing sport in which youth must make quick and decisive decisions under pressure and then concisely and eloquently explain their decisions,” said Brew. “It takes a good deal of preparation, hard work and talent to do well in this contest.”
Horse judging youth programs are influential on the development of communication, decision making, problem solving, self-discipline, self-motivation, teamwork and organization in children, Brew said, leading to a skillset associated with workforce preparedness.
“Lake County 4-H has begun to develop a statewide reputation of excellence in competitive judging,” said Brew. “I am lucky to be in a county that values our kids as much as Lake County does.”