The 4-H Horse and Pony project continues to be of high interest for youth from all of Wisconsin. Over 250 WI 4-H Horse and Pony project youth participated at the WI State Horse Education Days held May 5th & 6th , 2017 at UW Marathon in Wausau. UW Equine Extension Specialist Liv Sandberg, UW 4H Ag/Animal Science Youth Development Specialist Pam Hobson, and the WI 4H Horse Association host the annual Education Day competitions, including three State level contests for the youth; the Communications competitions, Horse bowl competition, and the Hippology (study of horses) competition.
Friday evening begins with a flurry of action as youth check in and complete a final practice prior to competing in one or more of the Communications contests. This year showed record breaking attendance with 87 entries, doubled the number of entries from 2014. Youth may participate in the following competitions; public speaking, individual and/or team demonstration, and interpretive reading with the top three seniors from the public speaking and demonstration contests receiving an opportunity to advance to Regionals held during Quarter Horse Congress in Ohio or 4H Eastern Nationals in Kentucky.
Saturday brings more excitement as teams and individuals compete in the Horse bowl contest and/or the Hippology contest. Fifty nine county teams compete in the double elimination horse bowl format, in one of three age divisions. Top honors for the beginner age division went to Ozaukee county, with Sheboygan capturing reserve honors and the Pierce county team receiving third place. Ozaukee county also excelled in the intermediate division receiving 1st place, followed by Pierce A and Pierce B, taking 2nd and 3rd places respectively. Waukesha county fought to grab Grand from the Fond da Lac county team in the senior division with Dane county team members receiving 3rd place; all three senior horse bowl teams will be given the opportunity to advance to QH Congress or 4-H EN.
The Hippology contest was also held Saturday with 203 individuals competing, the highest number of entries in the past 10 years. Individual high point awards were presented for all age divisions, and seniors who complete the final judging phase of Hippology, will be eligible as a county team to advance as well.
It is rewarding and encouraging to see youth continue to be interested and active in educational projects offered by 4-H as these projects aid in the development of soft skills such as speaking, leadership, teamwork, discipline, as well as advancement of knowledge.
Results for all contests held during Education Days can be found on the 4H Horse Association website via the State 4H website: http://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/wi4haganimalscience/horse-bowl-hippology-speaking-demo-contests/