Youth must be:
- Current 4-H members in a horse project. Contact your UI Extension county office to enroll
- Age 8-18 as of Jan. 1 of current 4-H year. (The 4-H year runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30)
- Select one of the two options below:
- Horse: Whether personally owned or leased, provide the primary care, feeding and management of their project horse(s) at least 90 days before exhibiting — counties may require submission of identification records.
- Non-Horse: Designed for youth who don’t have access to a horse, but want to learn more about them.
Note: Cloverbuds (age 5-7) may not participate in any 4-H activities, events or meetings where they personally handle, ride, drive or exhibit a horse/equine. Individuals violating this university policy become personally liable for injuries, claims, lawsuits, etc. that might arise.
Leasing is an option for youth who do not own a horse. The member, their parent(s) and the horse’s owner should prepare a written lease (see Sample Lease Agreement PDF). Be sure to include member access to the horse during the entire duration, including exhibit dates, to avoid potential frustration and disappointment. A copy of the lease must be submitted to the member’s respective University of Idaho Extension office.
Optional Focus Areas
While all youth need to learn about appropriate, responsible and safe handling, management and training of horses, ponies and/or mules, they can branch out from there. Youth can pursue interests in:
- Working Ranch Horse
Typically Western or English attire/tack is used; check with the local Extension office for specific event rules. Members should have safe, clean, workmanlike attire and equipment — expensive clothing and tack are not required. For personal safety, two items are required:
- Hard-sole shoes/boots: Must be worn at all times when working around horses.
- Helmets: Extensive research reveals that ASTM-SEI equestrian helmets significantly reduce serious/fatal head injuries. Therefore, whenever Idaho 4-H members participate in any 4-H activity (including club practices) where mounted on, or riding in a vehicle being pulled by an equine (horse, pony, mule, etc.), they must wear an ASTM-SEI approved equestrian helmet.
Appropriate parental involvement helps strengthen family bonds. Besides transporting members and their horse(s) to and from activities, parents may be asked to assist in various roles. For safety and liability reasons, all members and parents must follow certified volunteer and Extension personnel directions.