If you say “That’s a horse of a different color” to a group of 4-H members, they’re likely to tell you what breed the horse is based on those colorings.
In 4-H, learning about horses means much more than learning to ride. Through 4-H, young people with a passion for horses can participate in educational contests related to the equine industry regardless of whether they even own a horse. These educational programs enhance members’ knowledge of horse health, breed characteristics, management, and feeding.
“The primary objective of these contests is to provide an opportunity for youth to demonstrate their knowledge of equine-related subject matter in a competitive setting where attitudes of friendliness and fairness prevail,” said Debra Hagstrom, University of Illinois Extension equine specialist.
The State 4-H Horse Judging Contest will be held Saturday, April 8 at Black Hawk College. Registration begins at 11 a.m., with the contest following at noon. Youth will judge six classes of horses, at least two being halter classes. Youth 14 years of age and older may also choose to participate in oral reasons following the classes. For those not participating in the oral reasons class, one question class will be required. AQHA Ranch Riding has been added to the list of possible performance classes to be judged. Top-placing youth will be invited to participate in an invitational judging contest where the national team will be determined.
The contest is open to all 4-H members; one does not need to own a horse or be enrolled in a horse project to participate. Participants must bring signed horse judging cards with them to registration. The cards require an Extension staff signature and are available from the local office.