Philosophy of Missouri 4-H Horsemanship Program
“For nearly 90 years, 4-H has been building community and character. Now more than ever, young people need support from parents, friends, educators, and community leaders to be persons of character...to display the traits of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship”, says Dr. Jo Turner, director of Missouri 4-H Programs. 4-H horsemanship is one of the many programs used to help young people develop character, self-esteem and subject matter skills.
The traits of character mentioned above are key to a successful 4-H horsemanship experience, it is the job of the 4-H horsemanship project leader to help instill these character traits as well as to help the member learn subject matter skills and develop self esteem as they progress through the various learning experiences you organize for them.
The difference between 4-H and many other horse related opportunities that young people have is that 4-H is centered on youth development and the various competitions available to young people focus on youth development first, with “winning” a very distant second goal.
In 1927, the 4-H pledge was adopted. Recently, 4-H Youth Specialist, Carol Gehrs wrote a special adaptation of the pledge to help young people understand the connection between 4-H and good character:
I pledge my head to clearer thinking
*Be open minded
*Do what is right, even if no one else is doing it
*Pursue excellence in everything
*Take responsibility for my own actions
My heart to greater loyalty
*Be a person of high integrity
*Tell the truth in all times and in all places
*Keep my word
*Be the kind of friend I would like to have
My hands to larger service
*Volunteer in the community
*Protect my neighbor, the environment and our natural resources
*Promote good citizenship
And my health to better living
*Show concern to others
*Be kind, considerate, and compassionate
*Treat people fairly
*Respect myself and those in authority
For my club, my community, my county and my world.
Resources for all project levels
Discipline specific and training resources
- 4-H Dressage
- Plan and record your progress in the intermediate level dressage project
- 4-H Learning to Jump
- Starts with a foundation of proper riding techniques, then learn the basics of how to jump in an easy-to-understand sequence of exercises.
- 4-H Trail Riding
- Learn about the pleasure and potential competition opportunities of trail ridding
- 4-H Draft Horses
- Learn about draft horse care, feeding, harnessing, hitching, showing, and much more.
- 4-H Horse Training: How to talk to your horse
- Understand horse behavior and how to use it to create a good relationship between horse and horseman.
- 4-H Horse Safety and You: How to work with and around a horse safely
- Foundational guide for all 4-H'ers and their parents to acquaint them with the safety issues involved with a 4-H horse project.
- 4-H Dressage
Horseless Horse and Horse Knowledge (HS140) is for all who want to learn about horses, including those without their own horse or pony. Horse Riding (HS141) introduces basic riding skills and styles. Because a member’s knowledge might be at a different level from his or her riding skills, a member may sign up for both units 140 and 141, and unit 140 will not be counted against his or her project total count.
HS140 Horseless Horse and Horse Knowledge
Resources for all levels
- Learn about horse behavior
- Discover basic horse safety
- Equine anatomy
- Feeds and nutrition
- Genetic and reproduction
- Care and costs of horses
Horse judging resources
Horse knowledge resources
- Horse Nutrition
Explore digestion, nutrients, feedstuffs, rationing, and poison plant identification to protect the health of your horse
- Equine Reproduction and Genetics
Increase knowledge of horse reproduction and career options in the horse industry.
- Beginning Horse Management
The basics of caring for a horse, learning to ride, and showmanship are covered.
- The 4-H Horse Project (PDF)
Basic introduction to the 4-H Horse project
- Horse Nutrition
HS141 Horse Riding
Policies and procedures
Missouri 4-H Equine Tour
The 2017 tour, May 22-28, will be exploring the horse industry in Oklahoma and Texas. The tour is open to Missouri 4-H teens, ages 14-18.
MFA Saddle Award
The MFA Saddle Award is awarded annually to a Missouri 4-H member aged 14 years and older participating in the Missouri 4-H horsemanship program. The award is structured to recognize youth who demonstrates knowledge and skills in horsemanship and horse science, the ability to share the knowledge and skills with other members and the commitment to better their community.
Tennessee Walking Horse Award
Any 4-H member enrolled in a horse project can participate. All participants must be a member of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeder’s and Exhibitors Association. All 4-H members must be using a registered Tennessee Walking Horse as their project animal for that year.
4-H exhibits and competitions are part of the fun of the Missouri State Fair. You won’t want to miss this special event; visit the 4-H building to see the projects of our 4-H youth or catch the judging competitions. Whatever your niche, there is something for everyone. Bring the family! The Missouri State Fair is located at the intersection of Highways 50 and 65, and less than 20 miles south of I-70, Sedalia is roughly an hour from Kansas City, Columbia and Jefferson City
Hippology State Contest
Hippology is an activity that can enhance learning for 4-H members by letting them exhibit their knowledge and understanding of equine science and husbandry in a competitive setting. The term "Hippology" comes from the Greek "hippo", meaning horse, and "ology", meaning "the study of". The primary objective of the Hippology Contest is to provide an opportunity for youth enrolled in a 4-H Horsemanship and Horseless Horse projects to demonstrate their depth and breadth of their horse knowledge in competitive setting where attitudes of friendship and fairness prevail.
National horse contests
Horse Public Speaking & Demo Contest
Youth share their knowledge and compete for opportunities to represent Missouri 4-H at National Contests held in November. There are no pre-qualifiers for this state event — any 4-Her may enter.
State Horse Bowl Contest
The primary objective of Horse Bowl contests is to provide an opportunity for youth enrolled in 4-H horse projects to demonstrate their knowledge of equine related subject matter in a competitive setting where attitudes of friendliness and fairness prevail. It is also hoped that these contests will provide an educational experience for both participants and spectators.
State Horse Judging Contest
This event is open to all 4-Hers. There is no limit on the number of members a county may pre-enter in the contest; however, youth must pre-enter if they wish to participate. The contest's registration cost is $20 per individual and no fee for parents or leaders. Pre-entered youth will receive an information email with maps, details, etc. Contact your county office for more information and for the registration deadline, as each county varies.