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Opportunities for Youth: 4-H Horse Project

May 9, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about opportunities for youth in the 4-H Horse project. Hello, I'm Amy Myers, and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Dr. Dean Jousan, Mississippi State University Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist.

Dean, now that the livestock shows have come to an end, what can 4-H-ers do with other animals, such as horses?

Dean Jousan: Well, Amy, there's a lot of opportunities for youth to really get involved with their horses. And really, it's something that they can be involved with throughout the year on both the north and the south ends of the state. Just about any weekend, there's some type of an open horse show and even some youth horse show circuits within the state where youth can get out and participate.

But today, we're going to focus on opportunities that youth can be involved with in the 4H shows.

Amy Myers:  How does someone get involved in 4H, particularly the horse project?

Dean Jousan: The best thing to do is to go to your local extension office and set up a meeting or just stop by and talk to the extension agent who has livestock and horse responsibilities. If you visit with that person, they should be able to give you lots of information about things you can do with your horse, and also even some educational things that you can do related to the horse project.

Amy Myers:  So, after signing up in 4H, if a young person has a horse, what types of classes can 4H-ers participate in?

Dean Jousan: The door is pretty wide open here. We have some of the types of classes that you would think of, when you think about maybe a typical horse show. You've got your speed events. We've got a lot of ranch classes, which are really, really, really popular. We've got a lot of classes that involve youth working with cattle and goats and other types of livestock. We've got our western type riding classes, our hunter classes. Those are some of the classes that are on the ground and also where they jump fences. We offer a couple of dressage classes, saddle and [inaudible 00:02:01] classes, and even classes for miniature horses. So we pretty much have the gambit of any type of horse you have, and we've got some type of class for it to be able to be shown in.

Amy Myers: Okay. So, besides showing a horse, what else can 4H-ers do in the horse project?

Dean Jousan: Well, one thing that I like to emphasize are the educational aspects of any of our projects. We think about our horse project, we've got six key educational contests. Those include horse judging, horse quiz bowl, [inaudible 00:02:32] and then we have three horse communication contests. We have a horse public speaking contest, a horse individual presentation contest, and a horse team presentation contest. So all the things that the young person learns about their horse through the horse project, they can apply to these educational contests and try to represent their county at state competitions and maybe even going further.

There's also some other opportunities for youth to be involved in horse art and horse photography. So even if you don't own a horse, but you're into photography, or into art, designing furniture, designing all types of stuff, as long as the horse is the subject of the piece you're making, you can be involved with that, as well. So there's lots of opportunities for youth to really get involved in the horse project all around.

Amy Myers: Are there opportunities for youth to advance to further competition with their horses, or even in educational contests after the state horse show?

Dean Jousan: There sure are. At the state show at the end of June this year, we will select 70 horses that will represent Mississippi at the 2019 Southern Regional 4H Horse Championships in Perry, Georgia. This is the only regional 4H horse show in the country. So for the owners of those 70 horses, that's quite an achievement to be able to represent Mississippi to compete there.

We can also send our top two senior educational contest teams and the six core contests that I described a bit earlier, to the regional show for competition. And then the senior winning team or individual of those six contests will represent Mississippi in the 2020 Western National 4H Roundup in Denver, Colorado. So there's great opportunities to represent Mississippi at a regional and a national level.

Amy Myers: Okay. Where can someone go to learn more about the 4-H horse program?

Dean Jousan: The best place to go is and then go to the 4-H link. From there, you'll follow the link to 4-H Livestock program, and then Youth Livestock. And under related materials, you can find all sorts of information about the 4-H horse program.

Amy Myers: Today we've been speaking with Dean Jousan, 4-H Livestock Specialist. I'm Amy Myers, and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.


Department: Ctr 4-H Youth Development

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