These girls know more about horses than just about anybody in the country.
Certainly, they’re four of the most knowledgeable young horse enthusiasts in the state of Kansas.
The 4-H horse project members from Marshall and Riley counties joined efforts to make a winning team.
Brook Staten, Catherine Kee, Chessa Parker and Rachel McPherson worked together to win the Horse Quiz Bowl and Hippology competitions during the Kansas 4-H Panorama earlier this year.
That accomplishment at Rock Springs Ranch, south of Junction City, earned the young horsewomen, coached by Justine Staten, opportunity for national competition.
Knowledge about horses verified while making home state proud, the Kansas 4-H Team ranked high among stringent contenders during the recent All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio.
“Our girls represented Kansas quite well,” recognized Coach Staten, who also serves as executive director of the Kansas Horse Council, headquartered in Manhattan.
Kansas placed seventh in both national divisions. There were 17 teams in the Quiz Bowl category and 26 teams in the Hippology contest.
“The competition experience serves as a life skills builder on so many levels,” Staten acknowledged.
Exactly what is a Horse Quiz Bowl? More questionably, what in the world is Hippology; that’s not even a word? Well, let’s get it straight from the young horsewomen.
According to Brook Staten, “Hippology is the study of all things equine from anatomy, physiology, genetics, reproduction, behavior, and the list goes on.”
That competition is divided into three phases including written exam, identification and problem solving.
“Each member contributes some aspect to the oral presentation of the solution to the horse problem situation,” Brook said.
“The Horse Quiz Bowl is a team versus team timed and buzzer event,” Catherine Kee explained.
A round consists of 16 questions, with the first contestant sounding a buzzer given opportunity to answer the question. If an incorrect response is made, the opposing team gets a chance at getting the point.
“All teams go through a double elimination, and the team with the most points after 32 questions wins,” Catherine said.
“We had the option of splitting up the competition and doing only Hippology in Columbus and Quiz Bowl in Denver,” explained Rachel McPherson. “But, due to the added expense, we opted to challenge ourselves and make it a one stop shop.”
Obviously, lots of training and coaching were required in advance to become state champions and such a proud representation for the state.
“We reviewed a large inventory of reference materials that questions could be pulled from,” Catherine pointed out.
“Study was done independently and as a group,” Brook added. “We learned to react to the information as though it was second nature.”
Of course, getting to Ohio and back, comfortable accommodations on the road, meals and entry fees were a major expense for the team.
The young horsewomen spoke before several groups explaining what the contests were all about seeking travel assistance before the national events.
“We initiated fund raising efforts to help with these costs, and are so appreciative of the generous financial support given us and our Kansas team,” Chessa appreciated.
“This was truly a big opportunity to represent Kansas 4-H on the national level,” she insisted.
“The education and experiences we’ve gained is a springboard for helping us determine our future career paths,” Rachel admitted.
“As you can see, these girls put a lot of work into competing in the state events and representing Kansas so well at the Congress,” Coach Staten said.
“We are so proud of the hard work each one of them has put into these competitions,” Staten credited. “They will be leaders of tomorrow not only working through involvement with horses, but with all of life’s endeavors.”