haha! That just makes me laugh, me? an adult!
Anyway, let me back up. As you may have noticed mention of, I am the proud coach of a 4-H Horse judging team. While I use the word "coach" lightly, because my "kids" probably know as much, if not more than I do, they have to have a coach and I am technically that person. I have basically served as a point person in the development, organization, and coordination of the 4-H Equine Team and subsequent 4-H Horse Judging Team. The "kids" or 4-Hers as it were, range in age from 14-17. 3 of them come from families that own their own farms and all of the kids have qualified for and competed in the 4-H Southern Regional Championship Horse Shows (in case you didn't grow up in 4-H, Regionals is a big deal). All of that is to say that my kids are awesome and despite my lacking as a coach, I think they will do wonderfully at the competition.
The brief overview of the 4-H Horse Judging Competition goes like this:
The kids must judge approximately 8-10 classes. These classes are made up of both halter and performance classes. These can range from quarter horses, arabians, saddlebreds, draft horses, ponies, paso finos, reining, hunter hack, saddleseat, horsemanship, western pleasure... you get the point. "Fair Game" runs the gammat and the kids have to be prepared to judge a diverse range of classes. On 4 of these classes, the kids must provide oral reasons. These reasons are given one-on-one with a "professional" judge a few hours after the class takes place and the kids may not use any notes. After the competition, the kids are judged 1/2 on their correct actual placings of the 8-10 classes and 1/2 on the reasons they give for those placings. The kids are judged on an individual and team level and the top individuals and top team coach will go on to the Regional competition.
This is the first time that 3 of my kids will ever compete in a judging competition and we have only been practicing for about a month. Thankfully a Judging "Judging" who also happens to board with one of my kids has been helping us for the last couple of weeks. She has been a life saver. She comes up with great activities for helping the kids practice giving oral reasons. She also gives great feedback and knows how the judges will be judging the kids. She was priceless in helping us.
The competition is on Saturday. I have a coaches meeting on Friday night and the competition will last ALL DAY Saturday. I was asked to stay over night in the hotel with one of the kids because there was no adult to stay in her room. I looked around trying to figure out who could serve as the extra adult then realized that, apparently, I AM the adult. Haha! Saturday is also my 24th birthday and because the competition is not too terribly far from my parents' house, they plan to come watch the competition and see me on my birthday. I am looking forward to it. I am nervous for my kids but know how intelligent they are. I am really lucky to have been given such a mature and talented group of 4-Hers. Wish us luck. I hope to share pictures and good results with you next week!
To meet my team and check out a bit more about 4-H Horse Judging, check out their website.