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Students who participate in the Horse Evaluation Career Development Event (CDE) gain new insights into equine science by evaluating and ranking horses based on breed characteristics, conformation and performance. Participants defend their decisions through oral reasons in front of a panel of judges.


In this team CDE, students solve problems related to everything from the nutrition and reproduction of horses to the tack/equipment and feed used to care for horses. Participants strengthen their leadership, observation, analysis, critical thinking and communication skills while also developing and exercising a competitive team spirit and building an awareness of career opportunities within the equine industry.

Student contestants evaluate halter classes which include Quarter Horse, Conformation Hunter, Appaloosa, Arabian, Paint and Morgan; or they evaluate performance classes which may include Western Pleasure, Western Riding (Pattern One), reining, English Pleasure (Saddle Seat), Hunter Under Saddle (Hunt Seat), and Hunter Hack. Members give oral reasons explaining their placing of specific classes.

Expectations at Convention for Horse Evaluation
  • Official Dress required but students can wear warm clothing over the top while judging 

  • Official dress will be scored at the time of reasons

  • Students will remain in assigned groups

What SHOULD students bring? (Tools/equipment/materials)
  • Two pencils

  • Clean clipboards - Advisors are to ensure integrity of the clipboards prior to dropping their FFA members at the event location.

What can students NOT BRING for themselves? 
  • A steno, notebook or any paper materials

  • A calculator


What will get a student/team disqualified? 
  • Using cell phones and/or smart watches during the event

  • Sharing answers with other participants

  • Talking to other participants during the event

  • Using any paper materials not provided by the event


What will be provided by the event?
  • Seating

  • Any required printed materials

  • Steno 6x9" notebook

  • Scantron sheet


For your specific questions contact:


Dennis (BJ) Bjorklund

Minnesota FFA CDE Coordinator


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