Boulder County 4-H Youth Horse Judging Team named state champions |

Boulder County 4-H Youth Horse Judging Team named state champions

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The Boulder County 4-H Youth Horse Judging Team dominated the state competition June 19, 2019, held at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, and were named overall state champions.

This honor earns them the privilege of representing Colorado 4-H at various national competitions, including the national 4-H competition Western National Roundup on Jan. 10, 2020, in Denver held in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show.

Teams from counties across Colorado competed in the day-long contest and the Boulder County 4-H Senior Team came out on top in three of the four categories: Halter, Performance, Reasons and Overall. The Boulder County 4-H Senior Team members included Amy D’Epagnier of Brighton, Colo., Lydia Groshong of Boulder, Colo., Jessica Jacobucci of Brighton, Colo., and Madeline Williams of Hudson, Colo. D’Epagnier was fourth in halter, seventh in performance and seventh overall. Groshong was 10th in halter, third in performance, first in reasons and fourth overall. Jacobucci was ninth in performance and Williams was first in halter, 10th in performance, fourth in performance and third overall. The team was second in the halter team division and first in performance earning them the overall state championship.

Boulder County 4-H was also represented by two other senior teams consisting of Madalyn Gabel of Lafayette, Colo., Katelyn Matthies of Longmont, Colo., Moriah McQueen of Berthoud, Colo., Mary Rzepiennik of Longmont, Colo., Emma Thomas of Longmont, Colo., and Lily Thomas of Longmont, Colo. Gabel was ninth in halter, Matthies was eighth in performance and Thomas was fourth in performance, 10th in reasons and fifth overall. McQueen was seventh in halter, second in performance, third in reasons and earned Reserve High Individual Overall. Among the three teams, Boulder County boasted five of the top 10 overall individuals who all received scholarships courtesy of the CSU Animal Sciences Department.

All state champion team members were awarded championship buckles and plaques. This state championship marks the 10th win for the program since 2000, the last coming in 2017. The Colorado State 4-H Conference is organized in collaboration among the Colorado State 4-H office, county agents and the State 4-H Officer Team. More information:

Further, Madeline Williams also competed with the Boulder County 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl team who earned Reserve High Team honors and Jessica Jacobucci won the state championship title in Horse Demonstration and Illustrated Talk.

The team is coached by Rachel LeClere of Firestone, Colo., and Kendra McConnell of Longmont, Colo. Both coaches were successful as youth at the Colorado State 4-H Conference many times as well as other national level competitions such as the U.S. Arabian & Half-Arabian National Championship Youth Judging Contest, Scottsdale Arabian Show, Paint World, Quarter Horse Congress, Quarter Horse Youth World and 4-H National Roundup. They also coach the Colorado Arabian Horse Club/Region VIII 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 2020 spring season in January 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

To support travel expenses, the team will host a Benefit Horse Show in the indoor arena at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont, Colo., on Saturday, July 27, 2019. It is an Open and 4-H Show where any age horses and riders are welcome. Visit our Facebook page or email us ( to learn how to support these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. ❖


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