The horse bug bites early; I know I started riding lessons at the age of five. Too often, youth are not given opportunities to develop true horsemanship skills until they become adults or have a horse of their own. Georgia 4-H’s Horse Project aims to provide opportunities to bridge the gap and delve deeper into horsemanship and a love of learning. The Horse Project is open to ages nine and up, and is multifaceted. It is comprised of Horse Clubs, Horse Quiz Bowl, Horse Judging, Hippology and State level competitions. Additionally, these programs are often led by volunteers who have a passion for teaching the next generation of equestrians.
Though not all counties offer every portion of the Horse Project, there are always ways to get involved. Contact your local Extension office to learn more about local opportunities and visit the Georgia 4-H Horse Project website for more information.
Horse Clubs may look different from county to county, but the purpose is very much the same, develop horsemanship skills and culture a welcoming environment around something we are passionate about, horses! Horse Clubs can be seen doing activities such as dressage patterns on foot, traveling to local barns, group trail rides, learning to clean tack, and much more. Horse Clubs form the base of the Horse Project and are a great starting point for youth interested in joining the program.
Horse Quiz Bowl
Horse Quiz Bowl is a knowledge-based, team competition about… you guessed it, horses! Teams learn about equine topics from digestive systems and feeds to breeds and colors. County teams practice and compete at the state level in January of each year. There are buzzers, fun trivia, and team comradery. This is a great activity for youth who love trivia, horses, and competing on a team with friends.
Horse Judging teams learn to judge groups of horses based on conformation, movement, and performance. Individuals must learn about proper conformation, breed standards, and professionalism in order to compete. Teams show off their hard work by competing at State Contest each year in the Spring.
Hippology is Quiz Bowl on another level. This competition combines trivia, hands-on knowledge and horse judging skills all wrapped up into one. This is another wonderful opportunity to work as a team and develop real, practical horsemanship skills.
All parts of the horse project have the opportunity to compete at the state level. Horse Clubs have the ability to attend the Georgia State 4-H Horse Show in the summer. There are divisions based on discipline and age. The state show also offers educational classes such as drawing and speech. There really is a class for everyone at state!
Brooklyne Wassel, Pike County Extension Coordinator & Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent