Published on 05/20/21

4-H'ers compete for individual and team recognition, Master 4-H’er status in spring livestock judging contests

By Heather Shultz

Spring is the season when Georgia 4-H’ers participate in annual competitions that test the skills they have developed throughout the school year.

In April and May, 4-H statewide competitions included poultry judging, horse judging and hippology contests. 

Georgia 4-H State Poultry Judging Contest

On April 30, 55 youth participated in the 2021 Georgia 4-H State Poultry Judging Contest, sponsored by Mike Giles and Carla Abshire and hosted by Georgia 4-H and the University of Georgia Department of Poultry Science.

This evaluation competition is a major event for the Georgia 4-H Poultry Program, a culmination of many months — and sometimes years — of hard work. The event provides the opportunity for youth to learn and understand the standards used in poultry and egg production and the importance of marketing to the public and how to apply those learned skills in a realistic decision-making process. This program is dedicated to teaching Georgia youth animal husbandry as well as life skills such as critical thinking skills, teamwork and oral communication skills.

“The poultry judging events this year, while not yet fully back to normal, provided a great opportunity for us to interact with Georgia youth interested in poultry,” said Casey Ritz, UGA Extension coordinator and poultry science professor.

Senior participants, from ninth through 12th grades, gathered at the Oglethorpe County Livestock Facility in Lexington, Georgia, to evaluate poultry classes, including nine classes on egg and carcass grading, as well as classes based on egg-laying productivity. Participants had to provide oral justification for their evaluation decisions, and the senior high individual and first place team earned Georgia Master 4-H’er status.

The winning team will represent Georgia 4-H at the National 4-H Poultry Judging Contest in Louisville, Kentucky, in November. 

2021 Georgia 4-H State Poultry Judging Contest winners

First Place Team — Ethan James, Nathan Phillips, Jarrett Hancock and Sara Hancock, Irwin County

Second Place Team — Clayton Adams, Sophia Merka, Alyssa Goldman and Elise Sparks, Madison County

Third Place Team — Lauren Wixson, Amelia Lee, Ruby Witt and Timothy Lord, Ben Hill County

Senior High Individual —  Ethan James, Irwin County

Georgia 4-H 2021 State Hippology Competition and State Horse Judging Contest

The 2021 Georgia 4-H hippology and horse judging contests were held virtually on May 1, with 53 youth participating in the hippology contest and 48 youth participating in horse judging.  

The equine program is dedicated to teaching 4-H youth equine husbandry, and the hippology contest provides 4-H’ers with an opportunity for horse project members to use their horse project knowledge, advancing their knowledge, abilities and confidence.

“This is my favorite 4-H horse program contest because of all the phases that comprise it,” said Kari Turner, UGA Cooperative Extension equine specialist. “It builds a lot of different life skills and allows the individual strengths of each team member to contribute to the team as a whole. Everyone is able to play a big role in the team's success.”

The 4-H Horse Judging program develops self-motivation, self-esteem and responsibility in students, who strengthen their communication and leadership skills in an environment which allows contribution to group effort, encourages teamwork and promotes acceptance of differences.

“I could not be more proud of the agents, coaches and youth that forged ahead to pursue excellence in this virtual horse judging contest this year,” said Julia McCann, UGA Extension equine specialist.  “Along with an outstanding set of Georgia horses and riders, the contest featured an array of nationally competitive horses and riders that hailed from Florida to Indiana. Several Georgia contestants impressed the reasoning judges listening from Texas, Oklahoma and Georgia with their knowledge and confident oral delivery skills that will support further development of their communication skills for life.”  

The primary objective of the hippology contest is to provide a friendly but competitive opportunity for 4-H youth to demonstrate the breadth of their knowledge and understanding of equine science and management, specifically the practical application of this knowledge and skills developed from other project activities such as quiz bowl, horse judging, speaking and demonstrations, and the general horse program. The hippology competition is comprised of four phases including examination, station, judging and team problem.   

The main components of the horse judging contest are placing a class of horses — either conformation halter or performance classes— and oral justification of placing decisions. The contest scores the youth on their ability to place several classes of four horses correctly, with the official placing from a panel of industry experts. 4-H’ers are awarded higher scores for accuracy, confidence and organization to create a clear picture of the horses and justify their placing decisions. Team competition helps youth develop social skills as they become comfortable with working alongside others toward a common goal. 

Winners of the hippology and horse judging contests earned Georgia Master 4-H’er status and will be honored at Georgia State 4-H Congress in July in Atlanta, Georgia. The overall first and second placed teams in the horse judging and hippology contests earned the honor of representing Georgia in the Southern Regional 4-H Horse Championship contest held in Perry, Georgia, the first week in August. In addition, the Morgan County Senior Team will have the opportunity to represent Georgia at the Western National Round Up in Denver, Colorado, in January 2022.

2021 Georgia 4-H State Hippology Competition winners

Senior Individuals

Examination Phase — Raven Cooper, Oglethorpe County

Station Phase — Emma Bayer, Cobb County

Judging Phase — Anthea Shelton, Coweta County

Senior High Individual — Noel Pickel, Morgan County

Senior Teams

Examination Phase — Sara Folsom, Parker Arrington, Gabriela Luna and Anthea Shelton, Coweta County

Station Phase: Noel Pickel, Natalie Ross and Emma Rhoades, Morgan County

Judging Phase — Sara Folsom, Parker Arrington, Gabriela Luna and Anthea Shelton, Coweta County

Team Problem Phase — Emma Bayer, Savannah Bryant and Sandhya Rajesh, Cobb County

Overall Senior Team — Noel Pickel, Natalie Ross and Emma Rhoades, Morgan County

Junior Individuals

Examination Phase — Chloe Folsom, Grady County ­, Team A

Station Phase — Ansley Scheiblauer, Cobb County, Team A

Judging Phase — Avery Pruett, Coweta County

Junior High Individual — Chloe Folsom, Grady County, Team A

Junior Teams

Examination Phase — Avery Pruett, Addison Hill, Elena Williams and Claire Lummus, Coweta County

Station Phase — Ansley Scheiblauer, Josy Johnson, Torie Daniels and Finn Johnson, Cobb County, Team A

Judging Phase — Avery Pruett, Addison Hill, Elena Williams and Claire Lummus, Coweta County

Team Problem Phase — Ansley Scheiblauer, Josy Johnson, Torie Daniels and Finn Johnson, Cobb County, Team A

Overall Senior Team — Avery Pruett, Addison Hill, Elena Williams and Claire Lummus, Coweta County

2021 Georgia 4-H State Horse Judging Contest winners

Senior Teams

First Place Team — Noel Pickel, Natalie Ross and Emma Rhoades, Morgan County

Second Place Team — Gabriela Luna, Parker Arrington and Sara Folsom, Coweta County

Third Place Team — Epiphany Short, Kerry Barrett and Katharine Barrett, Forsyth County

Fourth Place Team — Savannah Fields, Austin Collins and Cole Corley, Jones County.

Senior High Individual — Noel Pickel, Morgan County

Junior Teams

First Place Team ­— Avery Pruett, Addison Hill, Elena Williams and Claire Lummus, Coweta County.

Second Place Team — Ansley Scheiblauer, Josy Johnson, Karma Kilfoyle and Torie Daniels, Cobb County, Team A

Third Place Team — Adeline Wright, Emily McBrayer, Chloe Folsom and Keleigh Pearce, Grady County

Fourth Place Team — Addilyn Henerson, Finn Johnson, Phebe Burroughs-Thebault and Summer Burroughs-Thebault, Cobb County, Team B 

Fifth Place Team — Ella Hardin, Madelynne Hardin and Harrison Aldridge, Bartow County

Junior High Individual — Avery Pruett, Coweta County


Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 242,000 people annually through UGA Extension offices and 4-H facilities. For more information, visit or contact your local Extension office.

Heather Shultz is a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist.

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