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Seminole County 4-H Horse Program

The Purpose of the Horse Program

The Florida 4-H Horse Program’s purpose is to provide young people an opportunity to participate in a variety of activities designed to enhance citizenship, sportsmanship, horsemanship, character, discipline, and responsibility. The Seminole County 4-H Horse Program focuses on developing adolescents’ understanding of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) through equine science topics while engaging in hands on learning.

Through our horse program youth learn: horse health and care, barn management, anatomy of a horse, tack identification and maintenance, record book keeping, public speaking and sportsmanship. Youth also build lasting friendships with club members and trust in youth/adult partnerships with their club leader. Youth in 4-H participate in leadership activities and experiential learning opportunities. In addition, youth participating in 4-H have the ability to compete in 4-H horse shows at the county, area, state, and regional level. Finally, youth have the opportunity to apply for 4-H scholarships, attend the University of Florida’s Horsemanship School, and compete in horse public speaking, demonstrations, and quiz bowl competitions.

This past year Seminole County 4-H had approximately 50 riders participate in our annual horse teaching clinic. The clinic is a two day educational event for youth and adults to sharpen their horsemanship skills in the ring while being educated by carded judges. This year Seminole County 4-H offered 20 classes ranging from hunter, ranch, showmanship, and dressage. In early April, approximately 45 riders competed at the Seminole County Horse Show and in early May our riders competed at the Area D Horse Show. We currently have 13 youth preparing to compete at the Florida 4-H State Horse Show in Tampa, Florida.

Out of the Horse’s Mouth

One requirement of all 4-H members in the horse program is completing one demonstration or speech on their project. 4-H members annually demonstrate or speak at the club level on various equine topics such as: health, barn management, choosing tack, nutrition, etc. 4-H members also have the opportunity to give their speech or demonstration at the county and district level. This year Jacquelyn Griffith from the Hoofing It 4-H Club traveled to the University of Florida where she competed in the senior horse demonstration. Jacquelyn placed 2nd in the state and qualified for regionals with her demonstration titled, “Hidden Holes Hurting Horses”. Jacquelyn has been a member of the Hoofing It 4-H Club for the past 7 years. She hopes to have a career in the horse industry when she graduates from college. Congratulations Jacquelyn and good luck at regionals.

Summer Horsemanship School

Each summer Seminole County 4-H participates in the University of Florida 4-H Horsemanship School. This year Seminole County sent 7 girls to the week-long horsemanship school at the University of Florida’s Horse Teaching Unit. Our 4-H members received concentrated instruction in English Horsemanship with their own horse. Participants spent approximately 6 hours each day with their horse training with the major emphasis on horsemanship, trail riding, and showmanship at halter. Additionally, youth completed educational seminars on horse related topics and took field trips to various equine facilities including the Ocala Breeders Sale and the University of Florida’s Horse Research Center. In addition to the intensive horse training and educational experiences, youth got to experience first-hand college life. Youth were educated on the admissions process to UF, toured the University of Florida and stayed for the weeklong camp in the dorms on campus.

For more information about Seminole County 4-H please visit our website at http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/departments-services/leisure-services/extension-services/4-h-youth-development/

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