I remember walking into Congress and thinking that the horses there were amazing. Boy, was I wrong! The horses in OKC were by far the highest quality, most talented, best trained individuals I have ever seen. Every horse we walked past was absolutely stunning. The halter horses had huge stifles, the reiners were deeper stopping, the ropers had beautiful manes and were as fast as can be, even the pleasure horses were the creme de la creme! It was such a blessing to be part of this huge production and see the high caliber these horses were performing at.
In judging, we usually rate each maneuver on a scale with 0 being a completely average run. When I typically judge horses, most are very average quality or slightly above average or below. Here, it was rare for me to give a horse a 0, they were that good! It was amazing to see a good quality mover with a high degree of difficulty…it was a judge’s dream!!
Before the actual contest, my team and I flew in a couple days before so that we could ogle, ahem, practice, and see these beautiful horses do what they do best. It was such an honor to see Snap, Crackle, Pop (2015 AQHA Superhorse) and to see the finals of nearly every discipline, including parareining! If anyone is interested in going to an AQHA breed show, Worlds should definitely be on the top of the list.
After we practiced, enjoyed food from Texas Roadhouse and Sonic, and laughed in the company of great friends, it was time for the actual competition. Let me just say now, this day was even more exhausting than last time! On top of that, I practiced so much more than I did for Congress so I had pressure on myself to do well. Unfortunately, everyone else was also in that boat. Long story short, I did not do as well as I hoped, but I am still glad that I was able to compete.
Giving 6 sets of reasons, which is basically “strongly saying” a 2-minute speech on why you placed the class the way you did, was exhausting! It was hard for me to remember every class and set I was giving. I often found myself saying, “I placed the tie-down roping…” even if it wasn’t tie down! It was definitely a mental challenge.
But the actual judging portion was also intense, too! We judged 12 classes, like usual, with 4 halter and 8 performance. I am always blown away with judging because I always feel like its harder than it needs to be. For instance, judging random classes as practice the days before the contest was infinitely easier than in the contest. My coach always preps us and says that they try to make the classes sortable, but…do they really? While comparing my placings with other students from other schools, or my teammates, heck even my coach, there was some variation. To me, that means that something is not right! But, I am just a little voice in a huge world full of judging…
All in all, I am very thankful I was able to spend a week out in Oklahoma judging amazing horses and learning a lot about the sport and about myself. I wish that I could spend more time on the judging team but I cherish the time I had.