Pageant Prep; Studying Equine Knowledge

This blog was written by guest blogger Amanda (Summers) Hensen. Amanda is a Candidate for Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at Midwestern University and she was the Miss Rodeo Colorado First Runner Up for 2015.

Studying for a rodeo queen pageant can be one of the most daunting tasks when preparing miss-rodeo-colorado-photofor the competition. No matter which title, be it big or small, any question is fair game for the judges to ask. After all, it is supposed to imitate the questions fans and the general public could ask you at any time. For me, the best way to study was to separate my time into different categories. One of the most difficult topics to study for most queens is equine knowledge. There are so many diseases, vaccinations, and terms to know. Never fear – here are a few tips to help you narrow down your studying and conquer our favorite topic: the horse.

First off, remember a judge knows you do not know everything. The best thing to do is know the basics about the major horse topics and answer the question as completely as possible, as with any interview question. While there are a few judges that will ask you about an off-the-wall equine condition only veterinarians would know the answer to, a majority of these questions are to see your basic knowledge, and of course how you think on your feet. Try to focus on horse topics that relate to rodeo: things that impact American Quarter Horses (such as HYPP), current disease outbreaks (EHV-1), vaccinations and their importance for travel (Tetanus, WEE, EEE, etc.), and common injuries and body parts they impact (suspensory ligament tears). (If you do not know about some of these things, here is your chance to go look them up!)

For the younger audience, 4-H and FFA are a great way to start, as they will teach you horse-judgingmuch of your basic horse knowledge. Horse bowl and hippology are great ways to learn information, such as which side is the horse’s “near side” or “number of teeth in a female horse”. The more exposure you can have to this information, the better off you will be.

For those of us not so fortunate to be under the age of 18 or have a program nearby, some of the best resources are at your fingertips – just be careful of the validity of the source. The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care is an educational magazine that also has an informational email newsletter (for those of us who tend to let the magazines pile up in the corner). The newsletter is free and the group is partnered with the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), so the information is legitimate! The the-horsenewsletters have articles featuring the latest equine current events, disease outbreaks, and basic knowledge. Just go to to sign up!

Also, be sure to follow your favorite equine organizations and publications on social media and websites, especially if magazines are not good study tools for you! Be sure to cover your bases with the major organizations: Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), Rodeo News, Horse Illustrated, etc. However, be sure to look for the “hidden diamond” resources, such as Facebook pages for your rodeo, major rodeos (National Finals Rodeo, National Western Stock Show, etc.), your stock contractors, and your state and national rodeo queen pages.

One of the best written resources to use is The Horse by J. Warren Evans et. al (ISBN 0-7167-1811-1). This book is a “one-stop-shop” for any horse owner, as it talks about major equine issues in easy to understand language and includes pages of pictures to help further your understanding. From equine reproductive physiology to parasites and nutrition to behavior, this book has it all!

Finally, my last bit of knowledge is to spend a few days shadowing a veterinarian. By the-horsefinding a veterinarian willing to let you see his or her average day, you will get to see things you never imagined – life as an equine veterinarian is never boring! Not only will you have a better understanding of the horse with hands-on experience, but you might also find a new love and a potential career! Out of all the recommendations I listed, I believe building a relationship with your veterinarian is the most important, and these relationships you build will last a lifetime!

Overall, I think the best thing to do when preparing for a rodeo queen pageant is immersing yourself in the horse world, because you will pick up on valuable knowledge just from learning to speak the lingo and everything you need to know to be the best horse owner you can be! Final words of advice: study smarter, not harder; don’t procrastinate on studying for your interviews, and never forget your passion for the horse, rodeo, and queening. Best of luck to you in studying for your competition!

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