A Descriptive Analysis of Collegiate Horse Judging Alumni and Perceived Career Fulfillment in the Agricultural Industry
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The purpose of this study is to collect data from former collegiate horse judging participants by describing characteristics and experiences shared while competing at the collegiate level. The attributes under examination include essential skills developed, equine industry experience, current career information, career satisfaction level, demographics, and current job fulfillment in the equine industry. The overall motivation behind the study is to provide greater validation for the support of collegiate horse judging programs and to convey an awareness of its value. In recent years, several collegiate horse judging programs have been cut from universities, which may create future challenges in equine industry employment and experiential learning opportunities for students. It is well recognized that universities often value the opportunity for their students to showcase skills by competing to bring recognition to the college. However, there is a cost associated with these programs that seldom offers direct returns like other activities. This study sampled past collegiate horse judging participants willing to discuss their judging experiences and career status. As a result, the study found a positive reflection in all objectives. Findings reported that 84% of the population have a current career that involves the equine or agriculture industry. Also, it presents that horse judging participant graduates report positive career satisfaction. Collegiate horse judging program participants said they gained workforce readiness skills through participating in the program. Additionally, the results recognized that over 90% developed networking abilities from being a part of the collegiate horse judging program. Moreover, the study acknowledges there is personal achievement resulting from being a champion or reserve champion individual relating to obtaining a career within the equine industry. The overall positive descriptions, existing principles of participating in collegiate horse judging programs, and descriptive attributes on careers resulting from this study could provide greater validation for the support of collegiate horse judging programs. This conveys awareness of its value to universities, educators, coaches, parents, and students. Finally, it provides support that horse judging programs are an indicator of student achievement and future success.