Activity and Event Rules
The Idaho 4-H program offers several equine-related educational contests enabling youth to demonstrate their knowledge, communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills. To provide continuity at the club, county, district and state levels, a clear consistent set of contest rules were established following National 4-H standards.
This most recent contest addition, designed for teams (3-4 members), consists of four phases.
- Written — measures a wide array of equine-related knowledge
- Station — series of tables with hands-on activities related to everyday situations
- Judging — place two halter and two performance classes (often held in conjunction with the host site’s Horse Judging contest)
- Team Problem — the group receives a real-world situation, and provided 15 minutes to develop a proposed solution, which they then deliver to a panel of judges.
Each match involves two teams (4-5 members per team), providing rapid responses to a wide array of horse-related questions to earn points. The first half of each match (one-on-one) poses questions to a designated member of each team; during the second half (open) any eligible contestant can respond. Contests use a double-elimination format to determine final placings for all participating teams.
Individuals or teams (3-4 members per team) evaluate classes consisting of four horses/riders, ranking them from most desirable to least desirable confirmation or performance. Contests typically have 3-4 halter and 3-4 performance classes. After placing all classes, youth typically give 1-2 sets of oral reasons, explaining to a judge why they placed that class in a particular order. Youth build communication and decision making skills.
Through the process of researching information, organizing it in a logical sequence and delivering it to others via demonstrations, illustrated talks and/or speeches, Idaho 4-H empowers youth with potentially the greatest life skill — effective communication. Working independently or in partnership with another member, they expand their equine-related knowledge, gain confidence, and enhance self-esteem.
Currently, each district has adopted their own set of 4-H Horse Show rules. Members and volunteers should contact their local University of Idaho Extension office to obtain the most recent version of rules used in their respective county.