Good Year for the 2009 CU Horse Judging Team

The 2009 Clemson University Horse Judging Team has had a tremendous year of competition. For the first time ever, Clemson University brought home awards from every major national competition held in the Collegiate Horse Judging fall circuit. The CU team started the judging season in October at the All American Quarter Horse Congress, where team member Savanna Coleman (Sophomore Pre-Vet student) was 4th high individual in the Performance Division, finishing ju2009 Horse Judging Teamst out of the ribbons overall as the 16th high individual. Next, CU competed in the Arabian Nationals Horse Judging Contest, winning 3rd high team in the Performance Division, as team member Jason Wright (Senior Pre-Vet student) led the team winning 7th high individual for the Performance Division. Team member Allison Strong (Senior Equine Business student) was knocked out of the top ten by a narrow 2-point margin, winning 11th high individual in performance. Allison and Jason finished 18th and 19th, respectively, and the team had a strong 6th place finish. 

November brought on the most prestigious collegiate horse judging completion, the Quarter Horse World Championship, where team member Savanna Coleman was 9th high overall. This was a rewarding and impressive placing in this extremely competitive arena. Her oral reasons score of a 50 (perfect score) in hunter hack was the only perfect oral reasons score in that class and 1 of only 2 perfect oral reasons scores for the entire competition. Finally, CU finished the year with their strongest win of the season, a 4th place at the National Reining Horse Futurity Judging Contest. Jason Wright was 9th high individual winning him a ribbon; Allison Strong was 11th and Jessica Jones was 12th - a very consistent team indeed.

The CU team members competing at the QH Congress and World Contests were Will Altman, Savanna Coleman, Joye Dimsdale, Walt Keeshen and Jessica Morton. Members of the Arabian Nationals and NRHA Futurity team were Carly Earp, Jessica Jones, Kelsey Sleeper, Allison Strong and Jason Wright. The teams’ coach was Dr. Kristine Vernon and the assistant coach was graduate student, Sterling Davis.

The horse judging team is funded through the Creative Inquiry program of Clemson University, through private donations of supporters of these outstanding youth and through fundraising activities such as the Summers End Horse Show held each year in August. For more information about the horse judging team, contact the team coach and program coordinator, Dr. Kristine Vernon, at 864.656.4028 or