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UW Horse Judging Team Finishes Season Among Nation’s Best

March 2, 2018
three men and four women posing in a row outside
Members of the UW horse judging team, from left are Sam Rothrock, Chesterfield, Mo.; Tanner McClure, Riverside, Calif.; Jory Goetz, Fruita, Colo.; teaching assistant Julia Wickerath, Ellensberg, Wash.; Rayne Benson, Laramie; Robin Ferguson, Gordon, Neb.; and Coach Lacey Lindsay. (UW Photo)

One strong finish after another, the University of Wyoming horse judging team completed its season last fall in the top five at the All American Quarter Horse Congress and the National Reining Horse Association Futurity. The team also was top 10 at the All American Quarter Horse World Show.

“The team works hard, traveling in Wyoming and Colorado, with practices and workouts inside and outside the classroom at horse shows and seminars,” UW horse judging team Coach Jennifer Ingwerson-Niemann says.

With Ingwerson-Niemann on maternity leave last fall, coaching was taken up by Laramie native Lacey Lindsay, a UW graduate who earned a degree in animal science production. Lindsay was a member of the highly successful 2011 horse judging team and now works as an independent contractor for horse shows.

“The UW horse judging team is appreciative of the department and community support that helps our program provide this experience for current and future students,” Ingwerson-Niemann says. “Not only do they get to see the nation’s top horses, they develop leadership and skills outside the classroom, and are exposed to careers in the industry.”

The team had a fifth-high finish at the National Reining Horse Association Futurity collegiate contest in Oklahoma City, Okla., Nov. 28-29. It was UW’s best performance ever at that competition. Team members completed a written rule book exam on the first day and scored live horses on day two. The team’s top individual was Tanner McClure, of Riverside, Calif., who placed 15th overall. McClure joined the team with no previous experience.

The All American Quarter Horse World Show, also called “the best of the best,” was Nov. 12 in Oklahoma City, where the judging team earned eighth overall, seventh in halter (standing), seventh in performance (riding) and ninth in reasons. Rayne Benson, of Laramie, placed 14th out of 66 competitors.

At the All American Quarter Horse Congress Oct. 18 in Columbus, Ohio, the UW team earned fifth overall, fifth in halter class, sixth in performance and sixth in reasons. Robin Ferguson, of Gordon, Neb., was the ninth-highest individual, and Benson received 15th out of 66 competitors.

Lindsay notes the season’s results brought attention to Wyoming, placing among the top clubs in the nation out of 23 schools, many of which recruit heavily and have the depth of two teams.

“The horse judging team is grateful for funding from the Riley Endowment, founded by Mel and Isa Riley, and the UW Department of Animal Science,” Lindsay says.

Additional funding comes from events such as hosting judging clinics, participating in a team holiday meat sale, a tailgate cookout and a football game day raffle to cover other expenses.

For more information about the UW horse judging team, call Ingwerson-Niemann at (307) 766-4373 or email

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