4-H Horse Opportunities

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When many individuals think of 4-H, they picture animals and farms. The primary goal of 4-H is to provide opportunities for youth to develop life and leadership skills, no matter what project area they select.
Horse is a major animal related program offered through 4-H, both in NC and nationally. The Brookford Equestrians 4-H Club provides youth the opportunity to participate in 4-H, learn about horses, and participate in horse related contests. The club is for youth ages 6 and older and meets monthly at the Brookford Community Center. Youth from Brookford Equestrians have been working for months to learn horse facts and sharpen their knowledge in horse science to prepare for Horse Bowl Contests. The hours of studying and practice sessions resulted in a third place finish at the State Horse Bowl contest that was recently held on the campus of NCSU. The team qualified for the state contest after being undefeated and winning the district Horse Bowl contest earlier in the year. Horse Bowl team members are: Maliha Shabeldeen, Morgan Correll, Kenzie Lee, Lauren Williams, and Claire Boger. Cindy Boger is the team coach and 4-H club leader.
The Horse Bowl contest is similar to quiz bowl with students working in a team of 4-5 youth to answer horse questions. The contest encourages self- initiative, since youth need to be committed to studying material on their own outside of practice sessions. Brookford Equestrian members participated in the junior division, but high scoring senior NC 4-H members have the chance to participate on the state horse bowl team that will be advance to several national contests later in the year.
Hippology is another knowledge based contest offered along with the Horse Bowl contest. Hippology involves a written test based on horse knowledge with identification of breeds, equipment, and feed. The Brookford Equestrians team placed 2nd in state in Hippology, with Lauren Williams earning the 4th place junior individual award for Hippology.
Competitions like horse bowl, hippology, project books and presentations allow youth to expand their horse knowledge without owning a horse. For families who have a horse, activities such as 4-H Horse Camp and Horse Shows let youth participate with their horse. Horse Camp will be held June 12-17 at Millstone 4-H Camp in Ellerbe. Youth attend and bring their own horse and participate in horseback riding and showing activities, along with traditional camp activities. The cost for Horse Camp is $420 and registration materials can be found at www.nc4h.org. Unlike most other 4-H competitive activities, horse camp is open to any interested youth and 4-H membership is not required to attend.
4-H is not limited to agriculture and animal science. Major program areas in 4-H include leadership and life skill development, healthy living, and STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Catawba County offers general and special interest 4-H clubs with other clubs focusing on robotics, science, crafts, sewing, and shooting sports. Special interest clubs can be based on most any topic.
For additional information about the 4-H Horse program or other 4-H opportunities, contact Donna Mull, Catawba County 4-H Agent, at 828-465-8240 or donna_mull@ncsu.edu. 4-H is a volunteer-led youth development program offered by Cooperative Extension for youth ages 5-18.

Horse Bowl 3-16

Picture: 4-H’ers Win Horse Bowl – Members of Brookford Equestrian 4-H Club were declared winners in the junior division of the South Central Horse Bowl contests. The team advanced to the state contests where they earned the 3rd place award. Team members are (back row, left to right); Lauren Williams, Cindy Boger, coach, Claire Boger, and Maliha Shabeldeen. Front: Kenzie Lee (left) and Morgan Correll (right). The team also earned 2nd place in the state hippology contest. The state horse bowl and hippology contests was held at NCSU in early March.