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Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on May 15th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 10 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 10

Santa Maria FFA horse judging team takes state title


With the California championship tucked firmly under their saddles, the Santa Maria High School light-horse judging team is headed to Kentucky for FFA Nationals.

The high school’s FFA chapter hasn’t won the state horse judging championship since 1977. According to FFA team advisor, Caroline Sherry, what makes the team’s feat on May 4 in San Luis Obispo even more impressive is “these kids beat what I like to call ‘real horse kids.’”

Sherry spoke about the team during the most recent Santa Maria Joint Union High School District board meeting on May 8.

Who knew you could be judged on how you judge? Well, in the case of Yessica Hernandez, Noe Perez, Valerie Cañas, and Giselle Sanchez-Zuno—the Santa Maria High School FFA light-horse judging team—they judge horses better than any other team in the state.

“These kids came to me three years ago with no horse experience and most of them had never even seen a horse. I’m not kidding,” Sherry told board members.

Noe Perez, Valerie Cañas, Yessica Hernandez, and Giselle Sanchez-Zuno are the non-horse kids who make up Santa Maria High’s horse judging team. Perez received the most points out of students from 32 teams.

Sherry said he was just 30 points away from a perfect score and the closest student to him was 19 points behind.

“There were 124 contestants and Noe smoked them,” Sherry said at the meeting.

The team judged horses standing at halter and in performance, and explained their selections to judges. They head to Louisville, Ky., for nationals in October.