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AgriLife academy takes horse judging into virtual reality

AgriLife academy takes horse judging into virtual reality

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VR horse judging

The Virtual Horse Judging Academy will utilize virtual reality headsets to help participants step into the virtual horse-judging ring during the program.

A unique opportunity for future horse judges to learn from anywhere will begin with the Virtual Horse Judging Academy being offered by Texas A&M AgriLife.

Utilizing a virtual reality headset to present a lifelike experience, participants will step into the virtual horse-judging ring during this immersive 12-week experience, said Jennifer Zoller, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horse specialist in the Texas A&M Department of Animal Science, Bryan-College Station.

The course fee is $450 and is limited to 20 seats. Each participant will be sent a virtual reality headset upon registration.

The course includes weekly webinars, access to instructors for question-and-answer sessions, online learning materials and select content presented in virtual reality.

“Horse judging is about evaluating the ability of a horse to perform certain requirements,” Zoller said.

This course allows participants to learn in a realistic setting, with the headsets giving each participant a unique perspective, she said. Additionally, they will practice time management, similar to what will be expected in a contest setting.

The course also will cover industry rules and standards, justifying placings, oral reasons and calculating scores using official placings and cuts.

Past students have enjoyed speaking with an actual official during the course, Zoller said. This experience provides unique insights into how other judges think.

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