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Youth watching horse trot by them

Equine Science Campers Rise to the Challenge

During the summer seven youth looking to enhance their horse knowledge attended a two day St. Johns County Equine Science 4-H Camp. The word equine is from the Latin word “equinus” meaning hoofed mammal having slender legs, a flat coat  and with a narrow mane along the back of the neck.  At this camp youth were able to learn about many factors that contribute to a horses anatomy, behavior and health.

Horse anatomy

Youth coloring the muscle groups on a horse pictureThe first day of the Equine Science Camp consisted of many different class study activities.  The campers learned how muscles affect the way a horse moves. Each youth created a outline of all the basic muscles in a horses body and colored them to show the difference in each muscle.  Youth also learned about the many coat colors and characteristics of a horse.  Model horses were painted and youth were able to show off their artistic talents.

Horse Judging

One of the most important activities youth participated in was a mock horse judging contest.  The youth learned how to judge the faults and strengths of a horses body structure, also known as the conformation of the horse.  Campers were given soft clay to create a horse with good confirmation to be judged. This activity gave youth the building blocks to understand what to look for in body structure and confirmation.

Horse behavior

Seven girls standing next to model wire horse that they have created a disgestive track forHorse behavior and body language were discussed and viewed in a video.  This gave youth the knowledge on how to recognize aggressive horse behavior. Youth also learned about the intricate digestive track and how important foliage is to maintain a healthy horse .  Youth created the parts of a horses digestive track and then placed it inside a life size model horse made of wire mesh.

Hands on activities

On the second day of Equine Science Camp youth visited a local barn to experience hands on activities. Campers learned how to make an organic fly spray and how that affected flies compared to store bought fly spray.  It is important to groom your  horse daily to make sure it is healthy.  A hands on grooming activity gave the youth a chance to check a horse for injuries, fungus and any signs of health problems. Campers were also able to distinguish the different gaits of a horse while watching a lunging demonstration in a round pen. Colored leg wraps were added to show the movement of each leg.

The St. Johns County 4-H Horse Program encourages youth to learn what makes the horse such an amazing animal!  For more information please contact the St. Johns county 4-H Office at 904-209-0430.

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