September 03, 2013

SIU hosts FFA horse judging sectionals Sept. 10

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale will host the Illinois FFA horse judging sectionals on Sept. 10 at the University’s Equine Center.

Organizers expect 80 to 100 FFA members from throughout Southern Illinois to attend the event; the Equine Center is about three miles southwest of the main campus at 2194 Union Hill Road, Carbondale. 

The competition serves as a qualifier for students seeking to advance to the FFA horse judging state finals later in the academic year.

The College of Agricultural Sciences’ Collegiate FFA SIU Chapter is organizing and running the competition.  SIU Carbondale student volunteers will handle the horses and assist with judging the students.

Students evaluate horses in four sets, each with four horses in it.  Two of the sets are halter, with the horses presented to the students standing still and walking or trotting in a straight line.  Students evaluate the horses’ overall physical conformation in those sets.  The other two sets are performance classes, and require the students to evaluate the horses’ movement and suitability to the activity.

Stephanie Speiser, a senior lecturer in animal science, food and nutrition, said the event serves a dual purpose of providing a venue for high school FFA students and also an opportunity for SIU Carbondale students to interact with the community.

“Our students are good representatives of the University,” she said.  “And an event like this gives them a chance to work with high school students with similar interests.  It’s really a win-win event.”

The SIU Carbondale Equine Center is part of University Farms and the College of Agricultural Sciences.