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Gray Middle continues its ‘rein’ at state championships

Gray Middle School successfully defended its 2012 championship at this year’s Middle School Horse Evaluation Career Development Event (CDE).

The FFA members at Gray Middle competed against 27 other teams at the Horse CDE state championships held on Jan. 18 at the Okeechobee County Agri-Civic Center. Team members included Breann Ellis, Jillian Philips, Katie Strickland and Morghan Neuhofer. Philips placed third overall in the competition. The advisor is Casey Ferguson.

Gray Middle continues its ‘rein’ at state championships Horse Judging is one of the most difficult and arduous of Career Development Events (CDE). It measures students’ knowledge on every aspect of horses, their breeds, uses and conformation of same. At the national competition, competitors performed live horse judging in four halter classes and four performance classes. Each competitor then presented four sets of oral reasons to live judges, justifying their placement. These speeches were written, memorized and performed in a set amount of time based on the student’s memory of each

 class and their corresponding placements. These are the longest and most numerous oral reasoning requirements of all FFA CDEs.


The Florida FFA Association is a premier youth, leadership organization with more than 15,000 middle and high school student members — as part of more than 300 local FFA chapters across the state. FFA members participate in nearly 50 leadership and career development events each year. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.

“Each day I am so thankful to teach such motivated and talented young people,” said Casey Ferguson, Gray Middle School FFA Advisor. “This horse judging team worked hard to learn the material and applied what they learned to become state champions. I am very proud of their accomplishment!”