4-H Corner, Jan. 24

Published 8:34 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017

You don’t need to own a horse to be a 4-H horse expert

By Kim Ragland, Ph.D.

Boyle County Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development

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    Once upon a time, lots of kids had horses or the chance to ride the horses of their friends, but the world has changed and now very few Boyle County youth have the pleasure of owning or riding a horse or pony. But that doesn’t mean they love horses any less. So 4-H offers many “horseless” opportunities for young horse lovers and a really good one is coming up on February 4.

    On Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Madison County Extension Office, youth will have the chance to show off their horse knowledge and hang out with other horse lovers from many counties in our area.  The District 4 4-H Horse Contest Day will introduce youth from 17 counties to hippology, horse judging, and Horse Bowl through mock contests. Plus you’ll learn about how you can participate in horse photography, crafts, and communications contests that let you learn and share about horses.

    These are all competitions youth with or without horses can participate in at the state and sometimes even the national level.  You don’t need a horse, just an interest in horses to be successful in these events.

    Hippology is an individual and team competition that tests your knowledge of horse breeds, colors, feeds, anatomy, etc. Youth take written exams and identify pictures, tools, hays, and so forth to earn their scores.

    Horse judging involves evaluating four horses in a class and placing them from best to worst using your knowledge of conformation and breed standards. This too is both an individual and team contest.

    Horse Bowl is similar to Quick Recall in Academic Team competitions. Three or four youth make up a team and buzz in with their answers to questions about all things horse from bones in the hoof to famous race winners.

    All three of these contests have state competitions in June and the winners may go on to compete in the Southern Regional 4-H Horse Championship in Georgia in July and the Eastern National 4-H Roundup in Louisville in November. What a great opportunity to learn, travel, and see many horses while meeting other horse lovers from across America.

    And if you think maybe you don’t know enough to participate, not to worry! We have a Boyle County 4-H Horse Club led by trained and certified Horse Volunteers where you can learn what you need to be competitive while feeding your passion for all things equine.

    In addition, Kentucky 4-H has contests for horse photography, horse crafts, and horse speeches and demonstrations during our state 4-H Horse Contests, June 15-16, in Lexington. Wouldn’t it be fun to visit horse farms to take photos for your horse photography entries? How about entering those horse drawings you’ve done in the crafts division? You might like to talk about different color patterns of horses using your Breyer horse collection. What a great demonstration that would be!

    So whether you own a horse or not, if you love horses, the 4-H Horse Program has something for you. If you’d like to attend the D4 4-H Horse Contest Day on Feb. 4, contact our office at (859) 236-4484 or go to marycatherine.rowland@uky.edu to sign up.

    And make plans to attend our next Boyle County 4-H Horse Club meeting on Monday night, Feb. 6, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Boyle County Extension Office. It’s just that easy to become part of the world of horses through 4-H.

    For more information about Boyle County 4-H Communications Contest, please friend us on Facebook (Boyle Cty Extension), visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/boyle.extension), follow us on Twitter (@BoyleCtyExtensi), visit our website ces.ca.uky.edu/boyle/4HYouthDevelopment), call us 236-4484 or email cesboyle@uky.edu.