A course offered in March, 2021, through Texas A&M AgriLife will use virtual reality goggles to teach students about horse judging. • Photo courtesy of Texas A&M AgriLife.

Texas A&M Offers Virtual Reality Judging Course

A judging course featuring virtual reality headsets will be offered next month by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

Called the Virtual Horse Judging Academy, the course will start March 8 and include weekly webinars, access to instructors for question-and-answer sessions, online learning materials, feedback on student-submitted video reasons, and select content presented in virtual reality.

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

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

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

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