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THE EFFECTS OF A JUDGING TRAINING EXPERIENCE ON COMMUNICATION APPREHENSION AND SELF-EFFICACY The purpose of this study was to measure the effects that a horse judging training experience has on an individual’s communication apprehension (CA) and self-efficacy (SE). Findings from this study could be helpful to coaches and members of horse judging teams, as both coaches and participants strive to reduce CA to potentially improve their team’s performance and confidence. This study assessed CA and SE in students in a horse judging training program and measured the level of potential improvement of CA and SE as a result of their training. Participants involved in this study were students at West Texas A&M University who were members of the WTAMU horse judging team. This was a multi-year study from 2014 to 2016, with the numbers students participating ranging from 6 to 15 per year, including both males and females. A pre/post-test survey system was utilized, where students were asked to score themselves based on how they perceive themselves on CA and SE before and after a summer judging training experience where students were trained on horse judging and oral communication skills. Participants were emailed the survey instrument containing the 10-question General Self-Efficacy Scale (GSE) used to measure SE and the Personal Report of Communication Apprehension (PRCA-24) used to measure CA. Feedback over the judging training experience was given by the
WTAMU horse judging coach. Participants were administered both survey tools after they had completed the summer judging training experience. Survey results were then analyzed to measure CA and SE per the PRCA-24 and GSE scoring systems Overall CA scores for cohorts 1, 2, and 3 (years 2014, 2015, and 2016, respectively) lowered a full level from pre and post-test, from moderate to low, after a judging training experience. From the feedback, coaching, and experience given through a summer judging training session, participants appeared to be more confident in different social and communication situations, with an overall lower CA score at the end of the study. Within all cohorts, Public Speaking in cohort 2 reported the only statistically significant result between pre and post-test (P = 0.025). A summer judging training program did appear to change participants CA between pre and post-test, although it was not statistically significant. This could be due to small sample sizes, and that many participants had a fairly low level of CA coming into the study due to past experiences with horse judging. When evaluating SE, cohort 1 and cohort 2 overall mean GSE scores did not improve throughout the judging training experience, indicating there could be a slight decrease in the groups SE. Cohort 3 seemed to improve their SE throughout the judging training experience with a decrease in mean GSE score between pre and post-test. As CA and SE change within a group, one does not appear to directly affect the other. Overall, improvement in CA was observed within all groups throughout this judging training experience, but improvement from all groups was not observed with SE.

YOUTH AND/OR COLLEGIATE JUDGING TRAINING RELATED TO PROFESSIONAL JUDGE’S CERTIFICATIONS The purpose of this study was to determine the value of receiving judging training as a youth and/or collegiate in preparing applicants seeking to obtain their professional judge’s certification. There are significant resources invested by numerous equine associations in youth and collegiate judging programs and contests or competitions. Several equine associations have expressed strong interest in assessing the value of these youth and/or collegiate judging programs as they relate to preparing candidates to obtain their professional judge’s certification. A pilot study was used in conjunction with another project. Participants in the pilot study were 226 individuals that are certified professional horse show judges with the Pinto Horse Association of America (PtHA). A total of 92 completed survey responses were used in the pilot study (41.0% response rate). Participants in the primary study were certified professional horse show judges with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), American Paint Horse Association (APHA) and National Reining Horse Association (NRHA). Two different surveys were distributed, one survey to AQHA and APHA judges and another to NRHA judges. Both surveys contained the same questions about how a judging training experience may have impacted their testing for their
professional judge’s certification. Per AQHA and APHA request, the survey sent to their judges contained 3 additional questions related to scoring systems currently used for each
association but were not used in this study. Of the AQHA and APHA judges contacted, a total of 129 completed survey responses were collected. Of the 245 NRHA judges that were emailed surveys, 71 responses were recorded (29.7% response rate). In the pilot and primary study, surveys were sent via email using the Qualtrics Survey System. Results were collected through the Qualtrics Survey System and survey responses were evaluated to determine how judging training programs may affect preparedness in obtaining a professional judge’s certification. AQHA/APHA and NRHA survey responses indicated there was value from going through an in-depth and challenging youth and/or collegiate program. Results from the pilot study were concurrent with all results from each survey in the primary study. Current judges stated they strongly encourage individuals hoping to become a certified judge to participate in a youth and/or collegiate judging program. From the overall positive results of each survey, it can be inferred that participating in youth and/or collegiate judging programs could help future judges become more prepared for the lengthy and in-depth training and testing process that it takes to become a certified judge.



communication apprehension, horse judging, self-efficacy, judge’s certification, American Paint Horse Association, American Quarter Horse Association, collegiate judging program, National Reining Horse Association, professional judging certification, youth judging program


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