December 2011

San Antonio Stock Show Horse Show Contests


Young horse enthusiasts will have the chance to enter the first-ever Horse Skill-A-Thon at the 2012 San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo. The Horse Skill-A-Thon is a brand new contest designed for students to showcase their knowledge of horses and the horse industry.

4,000 students already participate in a variety of educational contests at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo (S.A.L.E.), but the horse contest will be a new twist on competitive events. Patterned after the popular livestock Skill-A-Thons, the Horse contest will offer an opportunity for young people to display their knowledge, skill and talent

S.A.L.E. Horse Show Director Katie Reynolds commented “This new contest is very exciting because it really speaks to the heart of S.A.L.E’s mission to develop the youth of Texas while promoting agriculture and education. The Horse Skill-A-Thon is structured for students who are truly the full package; they have book smarts, they have hands-on knowledge of horses, and they can communicate well. We wanted to give them a contest to showcase their interests and strengths.”

Participants in these judging contests are not required to bring an animal project to the show, or even own an animal. Contestants will be divided into three different age groups; junior (8-10), intermediate (11-13) and senior (14-18).

Dr. Jim Heird, Executive Professor and Coordinator at Texas A&M University, will serve as superintendent of the Horse Skill-A-Thon. Heird says this of the contest, “The Horse Skill-A-Thon will provide an excellent opportunity for the youth of Texas to do even more with their horse knowledge. It’s important to give young people the opportunity to use their skill set outside the show ring, and encourage students who may not be showing a horse. S.A.L.E. is reaching out to those young horse enthusiasts.”

The contest combines three important elements: book knowledge, hands-on experience and ability to communicate knowledge and awareness of industry issues. Participants will study materials and then apply their knowledge on the written exam. For the next phase, they will perform tasks at hands-on stations. Finally, participants will present a public speech focusing on current issues within the horse industry.

That’s not the only contest available to young horse competitors, though. S.A.L.E.’s popular Horse Judging contest attracts over 650 students annually. Open to 4-H and FFA students, judging participants evaluate two halter classes and four performance classes. No oral reasons are required, but officials do ask questions. Students aged 8-13 participate as juniors, and 14-19 compete as seniors. Points are tabulated for both individuals and as teams of four.

Substantial awards are at stake

Substantial awards are at stake during the Horse Judging contest; competitors vie for scholarships, buckles, and more. Teams travel from across Texas to participate, adding to the numbers to make it the second largest youth judging contest S.A.L.E. hosts each year.

The Horse Bowl contest is also open to 4-H and FFA students. Competitors are tested on general horse knowledge. This contest operates entirely in a verbal format as teams of youth buzz in to answer questions. The fast-paced, lively environment showcases quick-thinking students with knowledge ranging from nutrition to reproduction and conformation.

The first Horse Skill-A-Thon will take place on February 18, and all interested students are encouraged to enter. The Horse Judging contest will be February 16, and the Horse Bowl will be February 17. Horse Judging and Horse Bowl are open to 4-H and FFA students. Additional information, entry forms, and the entry process can be found at

This year the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo committed over $9 million to education. This amount represents scholarships, grants, endowments, junior livestock auctions, Calf Scramble program, and show premiums paid to youth in the state of Texas. This brings the total amount that the organization has committed since inception to $113 million.

The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo is a volunteer organization that emphasizes agriculture and education to develop the youth of Texas. For complete information on the 2012 Stock Show & Rodeo, visit