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OSU Horse Judging Team captures world championship

The Oklahoma State University Horse Judging Team took top honors at the 2015 AQHA World Championship in Oklahoma City on Nov. 18, the fourth time in 11 years the team has won the world champion title.

STILLWATER, Okla. – The Oklahoma State University Horse Judging Team took top honors at the 2015 AQHA World Championship in Oklahoma City on Nov. 18, the fourth time in 11 years the team has won the world champion title.

Coach Steven Cooper, an associate professor of equine studies in the department of animal science, said the students on the team exemplify OSU’s tradition of excellence and helped make “America’s Brightest Orange” shine even brighter.

“After the awards, I told them what I thought made this win possible – their unparalleled attitude and work ethic and the passion and drive of our assistant coach, Sarah Schobert,” he said. “Sarah, an OSU animal science graduate student from Roanoke, Virginia, spent countless hours working with and mentoring team members.”

(From left) Coach Steven Cooper, Coach Sarah Schobert, Laura Kerschen, Marissa Chapa, Hope Onstot, Kathryn Rodman, Faith Onstot, Laura Winfield, Kamry Martin, Jeron Rotert and Clint Rusk, animal science department head. (Photo by K.C. Montgomery)

The OSU squad placed first in halter, second in performance, first in reasons and first overall in besting the field at the 2015 AQHA World Championship. The performances of team members Hope and Faith Onstot, Marissa Chapa and Laura Kerschen shone particularly bright.

Hope Onstot, of Granger, Texas, earned high individual overall honors for the competition, ranking fifth in halter, second in performance and third in reasons.

Faith Onstot, of Granger, Texas, finished as the sixth high individual overall, earning second place finishes in both halter and reasons.

Chapa, of Maple Park, Illinois, garnered seventh high individual overall honors, taking 10th place in halter and seventh in reasons.

Kerschen, of Pomona, Missouri, ranked ninth in halter and eighth in reasons.

Other OSU Horse Judging Team members included Kathryn Rodman of Boonville, Missouri, and Oklahomans Kamry Martin of Norman, Jeron Rotert of Tulsa and Laura Winfield of Jenks.

“This team is truly special,” Schobert said. “The night before the contest I told them how proud I was of each of them for the time, commitment and drive they put in, and that no matter what happened, I was honored to have the opportunity to coach this group.”

Clint Rusk, OSU animal science department head, believes judging teams can help prepare students for success, not only in their academic activities but after they graduate and pursue their career goals.

“Judging team participation is an excellent way to develop and enhance leadership skills such as decision making, critical thinking and public speaking, all of which are highly valued in both the public and private sectors,” he said. “We are thrilled our OSU Horse Judging Team just won the AQHA World Horse Judging Contest for the second time in four years. It showcases the commitment to excellence by all involved.”

Additional information about academic programs and judging team opportunities in the OSU Department of Animal Science is available at http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/ online.

The American Quarter Horse Association’s World Championship is considered the preeminent horse judging event. Based in Amarillo, Texas, AQHA is an international organization dedicated to the preservation, improvement and record-keeping of the American Quarter Horse.

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