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Horse Tales Statewide 4-H Program

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March 18, 2019

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

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about Horse Tails statewide 4-H program. Hello, I'm Amy Myers, and welcome to Farm & Family. Today we're speaking with Doctor Clay Cavinder, Mississippi State University Extension horse specialist. Clay, what is the 4-H Horse Tails statewide program all about?

Clay Cavinder: Horse Tails is an educational and entertaining 20 to 30 minute discussion in the classroom pretty much designed to be a gateway to discuss various 4-H programs with elementary aged kids. It just uses the horse as a tool for education and entertainment.

Amy Myers: Who can be involved in this program?

Clay Cavinder: This is a program that pretty much I designed to be like third, fourth, fifth grade age kids, but it's at a level that I would say even second graders or sixth, seventh graders might really see some benefit from. The various components of it are designed to engage the student, and just be kind of a fun, educational thing to get in front of the student, and then be able to tell them more about what all that 4-H has to offer and the benefits of 4-H.

Amy Myers: There's many purposes to this statewide 4-H program. What are some of the purposes behind it?

Clay Cavinder: The real intent of why I designed it was to help to improve, and increase enrollment for 4-H programs across the board, not just for horses, but 4-H offers so many things, and I hear so many times that people and parents, students and parents, they don't know about 4-H very well. They don't know the depth of what we have to offer, so the whole purpose was to just use the horse because most people like horses, they like hearing about them, and teachers like education obviously, so this was just a way to get in front of the students, engage them a little bit, and then be able to talk to them all about the various things of 4-H ... If they don't like horses they can always ... They'll be interested in things like shooting sports, or robotics, or numerous other things of 4-H.

Amy Myers: Right, and 4-H even offers computer science, and actually other science based activities as well, right?

Clay Cavinder: Exactly, and so no matter the audience there's going to be something that 4-H can offer them to pique their interest.

Amy Myers: This is for extension 4-H agents, but 4-H volunteers can also implement this program as well, right?

Clay Cavinder: So, I put it together in a way that no matter what the major interest level or education level of the agent, whether they're a beef person, or whether they're an FCS agent, it doesn't matter. The materials put together in a way that they can easily read about the horse topic that they want to discuss with the students, there's power points they can use, there's hands on tools that they can use, and a manual that I created so that anybody can do it. So, if a volunteer wants to do it they can do it. They can get the material, go into the classroom, and discuss the topic that they choose.

Amy Myers: Awesome. So, it kind of provides a packet, in a way, with all of the instructions and the materials kind of like teaching the teacher?

Clay Cavinder: Absolutely. So, the manual has various topics: six to seven different topics, describes what they are, has questions to help the presenter engage the student, and even power points if they want to use that. They've got hand on suggestions, like I said, that they can use that just kind of gives an entertaining component to the presentation.

Amy Myers: Do you want to maybe go into a little bit about what they'll learn about the horse?

Clay Cavinder: You bet. So, the various topics that we have are little things like colors and markings, various breeds, things like what can horses do. What do horses eat, and so for instance, we're doing one on March 28th in Saltillo for a little over 200 third graders, and the people there actually requested we actually bring horses to campus. So, they'll be an in the classroom component that we'll talk about what can horses do, and talk about the athletic events that horses do, and then they'll be able to go outside and actually meet the horses, and be able to see horses hands on.

Amy Myers: Well, that will be very interesting. So, if a teacher wants this program done, or if a volunteer wants to do this program, or an agent wants to implement it, what should they do?

Clay Cavinder: If the teachers are out there listening, and think that this was something they'd want to use, the first thing would be to contact their county office, 4-H office, and talk to whoever's the agent of that county. If that's not a possibility they can always contact me directly, and we'll come do the program for them too.

Amy Myers: To do that you could go to, and click on agriculture, and then livestock, and then equine programs.

Clay Cavinder: Right, or they can just contact me directly at

Amy Myers: Today we've been speaking with Clay Cavinder, Mississippi State University Extension horse specialist. I'm Amy Myers, and this has been Farm & Family. Have a great day.

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

Department: Ctr 4-H Youth Development

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