WT Horse Judging team continues its legacy

WTs Equine Program and Horse Judging team.

West Texas A&M University

“WT’s Equine Program and Horse Judging team.”

One of the most prominent aspects of Texas is the livestock and horse scene. It seems that aside from the other 49 states, Texas tends to be known for livestock competitions, racing and showing, and has some of the most well-known rodeo masters that reside here. An immense contribution to West Texas A&M University happens to be the Equine program, which is a part of the Department of Agriculture Sciences. An inner look to the program is the Horse Judging team which has been sweeping the nation in recent competitions.

WT’s Equine program is a degree option in Agribusiness, providing students with technical and practical skills relating to horses and the industry. Most students in the Equine program are members of the Horse Judging team, which focuses on developing specific skills with professional training. Horse Judging, in a nutshell, is known as the “evaluation of horses in various events based upon horse industry established rules and standards to rank horses exhibited in various classes, and then communicating the rationale for those ranking decisions to an official.”

The Horse Judging team continues to have great success year after year. Dr. John Pipkin, Equine Program Director and Regents Professor of Animal Science, is the head coach of the Horse Judging team. Since 1993, Dr. Pipkin has led the team. He was hired at WT for the team and Equine program, with the responsibility of developing and overseeing all aspects, considering his experience of over 50 years.

“The entire program offers an undergraduate degree in Equine Industry and Business and graduate training in various areas,” said Dr. Pipkin. “ In addition, the Horse Judging, Equestrian and Ranch Horse teams are connected to the program and overseen by faculty within the program. Each program provides teaching, research and service to undergraduate and graduate students and the horse industry. The program oversees competitive horse-related teams – Horse Judging, Equestrian and Ranch Horse teams.”

WT’s Horse Judging team has been the most successful team in the last 25 years, with almost 140 champion or reserve champion teams and individual titles. Some events students can participate in include halter, developing a set of reasons and overall performance.

On Oct. 12, 2022, the team competed in Columbus, Ohio. It was named the reserve champion at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress judging competition. At the All-American Quarter Horse Association, WT surpassed 19 other teams to win the championship. Some of the most distinguished WT competitors were Anna Wilhelm, who ranked No. 4 overall, No. 6 in halter and No. 1 overall; Marty Kasch, who ranked No. 6 overall, No. 2 in developing a set of reasons and No. 5 in performance; Trenton Hammerand, who ranked No. 5 overall, No. 4 in developing a set of reasons and No. 7 in performance.

“The goal is always to pursue excellence by training and preparing the team members to be the best-trained judging team in the world,” said Dr. Pipkin. “The greatest part about the program is that students can bring their many interests and skills related to the amazing horse, and help them develop their skills and prepare them for a career, many of which are in the horse industry.”

As the Equine program and Horse Judging team continue to develop and grow into an exceptional part of WT, watch out for their upcoming competitions and events.