Philosophy of Missouri 4-H Horsemanship Program

"For nearly 90 years, 4-H has been building community and character. Now more than ever, young people need support from parents, friends, educators, and community leaders to be persons of display the traits of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship", says Dr. Jo Turner, former director of Missouri 4-H Programs. 4-H horsemanship is one of the many programs used to help young people develop character, self-esteem and subject matter skills.

The traits of character mentioned above are key to a successful 4-H horsemanship experience, it is the job of the 4-H horsemanship project leader to help instill these character traits as well as to help the member learn subject matter skills and develop self esteem as they progress through the various learning experiences you organize for them.

The difference between 4-H and many other horse related opportunities that young people have is that 4-H is centered on youth development and the various competitions available to young people focus on youth development first, with "winning" a very distant second goal.

In 1927, the 4-H pledge was adopted. 4-H Youth Specialist Carol Gehrs wrote a special adaptation of the pledge to help young people understand the connection between 4-H and good character:

I pledge my head to clearer thinking
*Be open minded
*Do what is right, even if no one else is doing it
*Pursue excellence in everything
*Take responsibility for my own actions

My heart to greater loyalty
*Be a person of high integrity
*Tell the truth in all times and in all places
*Keep my word
*Be the kind of friend I would like to have

My hands to larger service
*Volunteer in the community
*Protect my neighbor, the environment and our natural resources
*Promote good citizenship

And my health to better living
*Show concern to others
*Be kind, considerate, and compassionate
*Treat people fairly
*Respect myself and those in authority

For my club, my community, my county and my world.

Missouri 4-H Horse Show Guide

Horseless Horse and Horse Knowledge (HS140) is for all who want to learn about horses, including those without their own horse or pony. Horse Riding (HS141) introduces basic riding skills and styles. Because a member's knowledge might be at a different level from his or her riding skills, a member may sign up for both units 140 and 141, and unit 140 will not be counted against his or her project total count.

HS140 Horseless Horse and Horse Knowledge

Resources for all levels

Horse 1

  • Learn about horse behavior
  • Discover basic horse safety


Horse 2

  • Equine anatomy
  • Feeds and nutrition


Horse 3

  • Genetic and reproduction
  • Care and costs of horses


Horse judging resources

Horse knowledge resources

HS141 Horse Riding

Horse 4

  • Tack and tools of to work with horses
  • Basic riding


Horse 5

  • Horsemanship skills
  • Getting Ready to show


Missouri 4-H Equine Tour

The 2017 tour, May 22-28, will be exploring the horse industry in Oklahoma and Texas. The tour is open to Missouri 4-H teens, ages 14-18.


MFA Saddle Award

The MFA Saddle Award is awarded annually to a Missouri 4-H member aged 14 years and older participating in the Missouri 4-H horsemanship program. The award is structured to recognize youth who demonstrates knowledge and skills in horsemanship and horse science, the ability to share the knowledge and skills with other members and the commitment to better their community.


State Fair

4-H exhibits and competitions are part of the fun of the Missouri State Fair. You won't want to miss this special event; visit the 4-H building to see the projects of our 4-H youth or catch the judging competitions. Whatever your niche, there is something for everyone. Bring the family! The Missouri State Fair is located at the intersection of Highways 50 and 65, and less than 20 miles south of I-70, Sedalia is roughly an hour from Kansas City, Columbia and Jefferson City.


Hippology State Contest

Hippology is an activity that can enhance learning for 4-H members by letting them exhibit their knowledge and understanding of equine science and husbandry in a competitive setting. The term "Hippology" comes from the Greek "hippo", meaning horse, and "ology", meaning "the study of". The primary objective of the Hippology Contest is to provide an opportunity for youth enrolled in a 4-H Horsemanship and Horseless Horse projects to demonstrate their depth and breadth of their horse knowledge in competitive setting where attitudes of friendship and fairness prevail.


National horse contests


State Horse Bowl Contest

The primary objective of Horse Bowl contests is to provide an opportunity for youth enrolled in 4-H horse projects to demonstrate their knowledge of equine related subject matter in a competitive setting where attitudes of friendliness and fairness prevail. It is also hoped that these contests will provide an educational experience for both participants and spectators.


State Horse Judging Contest

This event is open to all 4-Hers. There is no limit on the number of members a county may pre-enter in the contest; however, youth must pre-enter if they wish to participate. The contest's registration cost is $20 per individual and no fee for parents or leaders. Pre-entered youth will receive an information email with maps, details, etc. Contact your county office for more information and for the registration deadline, as each county varies.