Boulder, Colo., teen tops all At National Youth Horse Judging Contest

-Boulder County 4-H Horse Judging Team
Pictured is Lydia Groshong with her High Individual Overall saddle.
Courtesy photo

Competing for the third time at the U.S. Arabian & Half-Arabian National Championship Show Youth Judging Contest, Boulder, Colo. resident Lydia Groshong earned the title of High Overall Individual of the entire contest. Contestants from 4-H, FFA, Arabian Horse Association and collegiate teams from across the U.S. and Canada competed in the day-long contest split into three divisions totaling 26 teams and over 100 individuals. The contest was held on Oct. 25, 2019, during the national championship show held at Tulsa Expo Square, Tulsa, Okla. Groshong not only won the Junior AHA division which included a $500 scholarship from AHA and a national championship jacket, but her scores were high enough to merit the title of High Overall Individual of all three divisions, earning her a high point saddle.

She was also named the overall winner in the reasons category for the third year in a row, followed closely by teammate Jessica Jacobucci. After placing 10 classes of Arabians and Half-Arabians, each contestant was asked to orally defend their placing of select classes with a set of memorized “reasons” which are judged on accuracy, terminology and presentation.

Groshong was a member of the Colorado Arabian Horse Club/Region VIII Arabian Youth Horse Judging Team along with other members Amy D’Epagnier of Brighton, Colo., Madalyn Gabel of Lafayette, Colo. and Jessica Jacobucci of Brighton. The team finished second in halter, first in reasons and third overall. Full contest results are available on the AHA website:

The team is coached by Rachel LeClere of Firestone, Colo. and Kendra McConnell of Longmont, Colo. Both coaches were successful as youth at the U.S. Arabian & Half-Arabian National Championship Youth Judging Contest many times as well as other national level competitions such as Scottsdale Arabian Show, Paint World Show, All American Quarter Horse Congress, Quarter Horse Youth World Show and the 4-H National Roundup. They also coach the Boulder County 4-H Youth Horse Judging Team.

Competitive horse judging offers an exciting and challenging opportunity for youth to further their knowledge of horses. Team members learn to evaluate horse conformation and performance, while developing skills such as critical thinking, public speaking and team building. Contestants are scored based on how close their placings of mock classes of four horses are to the official panel. They are then asked to deliver a 2 minute, memorized oral defense of their placing of certain classes.

The Boulder County 4-H Horse Judging Team will host a kickoff for the spring season on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at 6 p.m. in the upstairs room of the Clover Building at the Boulder County Fairgrounds. Anyone is welcome to attend and learn more about the team and competitive horse judging. Enrollment in the 4-H horse project is not required. For more information, find the team on Facebook @Boulder County Horse Judging or email