Horse Bowl and Hippology Contest tests of young people’s equine knowledge

By Elizabeth Biernacki, Staff Reporter

Students from around the state came to test their equine knowledge at SIU on March 30.

The Horse Bowl and Hippology Contest events had 15 teams and over 100 participants.

Members of 4-H ranging from 8 to 18 years old completed a written test, the hippology portion, before going into the Horse Bowl competition.


The Horse Bowl is like an academic bowl where any topic relating to horses is fair game.

“There is a health category, a breed category, a tack and equipment category, so anything that has to do with horses can be asked,” Stephanie Speiser, a senior lecturer in equine science and co-organizer of the event, said.

According to the Illinois 4-H Horse Hippology Contest site, the categories can include horse anatomy, breeds, colors, history, equine activities and more.

Throughout the day, students from varying teams came and tested their knowledge or these topics for the chance to advance to the state competition in Champaign, Illinois later this April.

“They are [hard questions]. [The judges] want to see who knows the most, so it is very tough,” Speiser said.

In fact, many of the students have been competing in the competition for many years, often studying for hours a day for the months leading up to the competition.

Eliza Engelhardt, a freshman at Christ Our Rock Lutheran High School, said she’s been studying since January.


“I have studied so much,” Engelhardt said. “I didn’t have school yesterday, so I studied all day.”

This was Engelhardt’s fourth year competing in total and second year competing. She took home first for both intermediate hippology and senior Horse Bowl. Her entire team, Marion County, took second place for the senior division.

“We get our group together and we study, have our meetings and if we do well today and we do advance to state then we will get our group together again and keep working towards a goal,” Vicki Moody, coach of Marion County, said.

The Horse Bowl would not have happened without the help of SIU students who volunteered to be scorekeepers and judges.

“We welcome all help because it takes a lot of volunteers to host a contest like this,” Speiser said.

Having the college students who have knowledge in equine science is the best help for the event, Speiser said. They are unbiased while judging and keeping scores. The event is also a great time for possible future students to see the university and network.

Speiser said teams that advanced to the state level will have the chance to advance to the national level.

“Once you go to nationals you cannot compete at a state level anymore, so the winning team at state, this is their last year to compete in Illinois, that’s as high as it gets,” Speiser said.

Staff reporter Elizabeth Biernacki can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @EBiernacki_DE.

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