Most people know that typically the lucky lady that captures the Congress Queen title is either first or second on the written exam. For this reason, studying as frequently as possible is so important and after all, the Congress Queen should be well educated on the industry she represents. One piece of advice that I have is rather than sitting down for 3.5 hours on Saturday to study the rulebook, study a half hour each day of the week. This will help you retain the information much better. Unlike a typical college exam, the rulebook test is pure memorization. Unless you are blessed with a photographic memory, it is not possible to memorize the necessary details by just reading through the rulebook. Personally, I highly recommend notecards and recording at least parts of the rulebook. Especially if you drive a lot! I drove a lot and I would always listen to the rulebook every time I was in the car. This is especially good for parts that you are struggling to remember. This is the only part of the contest you have full control over because it is your knowledge and no one is judging you so to speak! This is where the largest point spreads in the contest are made. With the interview and the horsemanship the point gaps are a lot closer!
I will also stress the importance of the interview because it is just as important as the test to prepare for! At Congress I walked into the interview room confident because I knew there was not a question that I could not answer. What is special about the interview is that you do not have to have a ton of answers because the same answer can be used for a lot of different questions. For instance, if a question in the interview room is different than one you have practiced, think of answers you have used in the past that work for that question too! I feel mock interviews are the best way to prepare. It is not nearly as beneficial to attempt to prepare for the interview alone because you will not be alone when you walk into the room at Congress with the three judge panel. You have to practice actually saying the answers to someone instead of just thinking the answers in your head. Also, know everything that you put on your application/bio that you sent in and be prepared to answer anything on it. The judges will use this during the interview, so make sure you save a copy before you send your application in.
Ideally, for the horsemanship I recommend using a horse that you are comfortable on. I know this is not always possible, but if you are able to ride your horse before Congress or even show in a novice class, that would be great! It really helps to eliminate the nerves when you enter Celeste. Luckily, I had a great friendship with the owners of the horse I used and I was not nervous at all when I went in for the queen’s horsemanship.
Most importantly, my greatest piece of advice is to enjoy the experience! Of course preparing for the Congress Queen contest is important, but it is also important to not get too wrapped up in it. Before you compete for Congress Queen, you represent your state and your state quarter horse association. Make sure to really embrace your time as a state titleholder! I loved every second I spent as the 2014 OQHA Queen! Once you are at Congress, if you are stressed or a nervous wreck, the judges will see that. Of course, you should have some nerves as you have put a lot of preparation into something you care about, but make sure not to lose the joy! As my mom always told me since my leadline days, “Smile with your eyes!”
Best of Luck,
Carly L. Kidner
All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen 2014