WT Sweeps Horse Judging Contests, Takes Home Two Championships


CANYON, Texas — The West Texas A&M University horse judging team won two championships at recent competitions.

The team took top honors at the National Reining Championship on Nov. 2 and 3 and the American Quarter Horse Association World Championship on Nov. 5, both in Oklahoma City.

“Winning these two premiere, year-end contests is significant and resulted from an exceptional effort and preparation by the team,” said Dr. John Pipkin, Regents professor of agriculture and director of WT’s Equine Industry Program. “Every team member represented the University so well all year, and their success brings international recognition to WT.”

The championships come on the heels of the team being named reserve champion at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress judging competition Oct. 12 in Columbus, Ohio, and being named reserve champion at the American Paint Horse Association Collegiate World Championship on Oct. 1 in Fort Worth.

At the National Reining Championship, WT topped 15 total teams to win the championship, beating Texas A&M University, its closest competitor, by 55 points. Marty Kacsh, a junior animal science / pre-vet major from Evergreen, Colorado, ranked No. 1 overall, and Anna Wilhelm, a junior equine business major from Shannon, Illinois, ranked No. 3. Jennica Dannehl, a junior equine business major from Bertrand, Nebraska, ranked No. 7, Lauren Harris, a senior equine business major from Tatum, New Mexico, ranked No. 8 and Trenton Hammerand, a junior agribusiness major from Epworth, Iowa, ranked No. 11.

At the AQHA contest, WT beat out 19 total teams, ranking No. 1 overall and in performance and reasons categories, and No. 3 in halter. Among WT’s competitors were Texas A&M, Oklahoma State University, Texas Tech University and Kansas State University.

Wilhelm ranked No. 4 overall, No. 6 in halter and No. 3 in both performance and reasons. Hammerand ranked No. 5 overall, No. 4 in reasons and No. 7 in performance. Kacsh ranked No. 6 overall, No. 2 in reasons and No. 5 in performance. Harris ranked No. 4 in performance and No. 11 overall.

Other team members include Anya Katz, a senior equine business major from Spring; Shanna Marquart, a senior equine business major from Fredericksburg; and Jillian Melendez, a senior equine business major from Boerne.

WT’s horse judging teams are one of the ways the University is responsive to regional needs, as set out in its long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $110 million.


Photo: The West Texas A&M University horse judging team recently won two major championships, including the National Reining Championship. Pictured are team members Trenton Hammerand,National Reining Horse Association representative Patti Carter, Lauryn Harris, Jennica Dannehl, Shanna Marquart, Anna Wilhelm, Anya Katz, Jillian Melendez, Marty Kacsh, Makenzie Knipe, Maggie Murphy and Coach John Pipkin.


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