4-H horse program offers competition, education

LENOIR, NC (May 16, 2022 by Sarah Kocher) – For horse-lovers, 4-H offers a variety of hands-on programs tailored to youth ages 5-18. One element of this program is competitive events, and others are education and artistic expression. On April 30, six Caldwell County 4-H members competed at the West District 4-H Horse Show.

In short stirrup showmanship, Skye Sutherland placed first on True Martini and Maggie Osborne placed second on Prom Queen. In long stirrup showmanship, Ella Osborne placed first on She’s Not Shy.

In short stirrup hunter hack, Sutherland placed first and Maggie Osborne placed third, and in long stirrup hunter hack, Ella Osborne also placed third.

In the rookie hunter division, Whitley Main placed second on Sunshine in the without cross rails class and fourth in hunter under saddle. Then in the other hunter under saddle classes, Sutherland and Maggie Osborne placed first and third respectively, and Ella Osborne placed third.

Brooklyn Arney bonds with horse Fabio at the West District 4-H Horse Show on April 30, 2022. The pair participated in Cloverbud classes at the show.

During equitation classes, which are also for English riders, Main placed fifth in her class. Maggie Osborne placed first. Sutherland placed third, and Ella Osborne picked up another third-place ribbon.

Two 4-H members also showed in games classes. Lindsay Church competed in Texas barrels and the traditional barrel race in her first district show on horse Fabio. Brooklyn Arney, another first-time competitor who also rode Fabio, completed the Cloverbud barrel race. Cloverbuds are youth ages 5-7 in 4-H, who do not show competitively, but participate as beginners.

The 4-H West District includes the following counties: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, and Yancey. Youth from other counties could also compete at the horse show to qualify for the NC State 4-H Horse Show in July.

Lindsay Church rounds her second barrel during competition on horse Fabio during the West District 4-H Horse Show on April 30, 2022.

Three Caldwell County 4-H members – Sutherland and the Osborne sisters – plan to compete at the 2022 show in Raleigh.

There are several other upcoming 4-H events for youth in Caldwell County who are interested in horses. They can be new to horses, 4-H or both.

First, youth ages 5-18 can join the Saddle 4-H Club. It meets the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. At this time, there are no club dues to join, and enrollment can be completed at v2.4honline.com.

Parents and guardians can also register youth ages 5-14 for a local 4-H horsemanship camp taking place this summer on July 26-28, which is Tuesday through Thursday. The camp will be from 9 a.m. to noon each day. Participants do not need to have riding experience or special clothes or equipment, and riding time will be included. The fee for the camp is $45, and more information, including registration details, is available at go.ncsu.edu/summer-exploring.

Skye Sutherland rides horse True Martini during a class at the West District 4-H Horse Show on April 30, 2022.

Lastly, the West District 4-H Horse Program will host its annual Horsemanship Clinic for both youth who have horses of their own and those who do not at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher on Monday, June 20 through Wednesday, June 22.

The district horsemanship clinic is designed for youth to increase their horsemanship knowledge and riding skills. Youth will receive professional instruction and have lots of opportunity to participate in horse activities, a picnic, social time, and recreation for $80. The unmounted or “two-footed” clinic experience is a new addition to the event and allows youth without horses to participate for two days for a $30 fee. Youth will still gain hands-on experience with horses as a “two-footed” participant.

Three $100 scholarships are available to youth in the district and interested families should contact Caldwell County 4-H Agent Sarah Kocher to receive the application or clinic registration packet.
To learn more about how youth can participate in 4-H horse programs, contact 4-H Agent Sarah Kocher at sarah_kocher@ncsu.edu or 828-757-1258. Caldwell County 4-H is a proud member agency of United Way.

Sarah Kocher is the 4-H Youth Development Agent with Caldwell County Cooperative Extension. The Caldwell County Cooperative Extension Center, 120 Hospital Ave. NE #1 in Lenoir, provides access to resources of N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University through educational programs and publications.

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