On November 8, besting seventeen teams from around the country, the Illinois 4-H State Hippology team took home the champion team trophies at Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup in Louisville, KY. Maddie Henderson of Clinton County is a member of the champion team, along with Emily Shilling (Edwards Co.), Josa Comstock (McHenry Co.) and Lauren Cisna (Knox Co.). This outstanding team was coached by 4-H alumnus Dana (Daugherty) Taylor (Macon Co.)
Hippology is a 4-H knowledge contest in which horse crazy 4-Hers showcase their knowledge of all things horse in several phases or testing styles. In the Eastern National 4-H Roundup contest this group of exceptional individuals demonstrated their mastery of horse judging, a 150 question written exam, a 50 question picture identification test, a 150 question stations (skillathon) phase and both an impromptu and prepared oral team problem. This group of dedicated and hardworking young ladies first had to qualify at the regional level last March to be eligible for the state competition. Then at the state competition this past April they had to place in the top spots. Since June they have had weekly teleconference practices and homework assignments in addition to two face-to-face intensive practices in preparation for Eastern Nationals.
The team warmed up on the national stage at the All American Quarter Horse Congress Hippology Contest in Columbus OH in October. Without Maddie who had a high school band obligation, the three person team was at a disadvantage in that competition. Nevertheless, their efforts paid off and they came home with many individual and team awards. The team placed third overall, as well as third in both the written exam and stations phases. They also placed seventh in the team problem phase. Individually, Lauren was tied for fifth in the written phase. Emily, just four points out of the top spot, placed fourth in stations with Lauren just two points out of the top ten there. Josa tied for third in the judging phase. In overall individual standings, Emily earned sixth place while Lauren earned ninth place. Josa finished in the top twenty out of more than seventy-five competitors.
With the full team of four together at Eastern Nationals last weekend they were excited to see what they could accomplish. In the written exam phase, which includes the slides, Emily and Maddie tied for sixth place and Josa finished just out of the top ten. As a team, they ranked third in written. In judging, again Josa turned in a great performance and tied for the reserve champion red while Emily finished one point out of the top ten. Combining their judging scores put them in eighth place as a team for that phase. The girls were definitely on their game for stations. Emily earned the champion blue ribbon, Maddie took third place and Josa tied for fourth. That put Illinois solidly in the top spot in the stations phase. The team also hit it out of the park on the team problems earning first place blues by an easy margin. Overall, Emily was reserve champion high individual with Josa placing fourth, Maddie earning ninth and Lauren finishing in the top twenty out of more than seventy entrants. The team thought they had done well but all of them were thrilled to walk away with the champion trophies overall when winners were announce at the awards breakfast.