Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County 4-H Youth Development Horse Program has recently announced the addition of several new events and opportunities for youth in the Horse Program.
With the help of Julie Covert, a volunteer from Busti, additional classes for Miniature Horses will be added to the horse show schedule this year. Previously, "Minis" were only shown in driving classes in the local 4-H shows.
Covert and her daughter Corinne, who competed at the State Fair, noted there were many classes which Chautauqua County did not offer. Covert investigated the cost of the equipment necessary to add the Mini classes and the volunteer time required for a full mini program to excel and made a proposal to the 4-H Horse Program Youth Development Advisory Committee. The committee welcomed the new opportunities. Additional classes will include Minis being shown "in hand" by being led through obstacle courses and over jumps. A clinic will be held in the spring to further educate Mini owners and Mini class participants in how and what will be expected in these new events.
Corrine Covert participated with her Mini, Princess, in miniature horse pleasure driving at the 2013 New York State Fair.
Many Chautauqua County 4-H Hunt Seat riders are interested in jumping but it had not been formally instructed or added to the 4-H Horse Program opportunities list. Only a few riders have participated because it takes skill in riding and proper form to take a horse over a jump safely, and volunteer support for such a program was not available. Julie Logan a volunteer from Mayville, has recently joined the Horse Committee and will lead the Hunter /Jumper Division of the Chautauqua County 4-H Horse Program. Coming from Colorado, Julie brings experience as a former trainer of jumping horses and a participant in Hunter- Pace events. She and her daughter, Cassidy, regularly take part in events sponsored by the Erie Hunt Club.
This year the Chautauqua County 4-H Horse Program will start a 4-H Horse Cloverbud Program. Cloverbud members are in kindergarten through third grade and ages 5 to 8.. Kasey Fanara from Jamestown and Marie Milliman from Fredonia, will volunteer in this program. The Cloverbud Horse program introduces basic horse knowledge to the participants through fun activities and exposure to the safe handling of a horse. This year, Cloverbuds will be able to participate in a Walk-Halt Class which involves the child taking the horse through a pattern of walking, stopping, and backing, while having an adult spotter for safety. The Cloverbud program leaders are based out of the Chautauqua County Junior Trail Riders 4-H Club but are offering Cloverbud opportunities through the county through the Chautauqua County Junior Buds.
"It is exciting to be able to increase the types of events our 4-H Horse Program is able to offer our young horse enthusiasts. It is through the dedication and commitment of volunteers that our programs continue to flourish." commented Emily Kidd, Chautauqua County 4-H Issues Leader. "It was only about a decade ago that Dressage events were introduced in Chautauqua County and now we have our riders bringing home top awards from the State Fair and open horse shows. Adding more events and programs at the request of the 4-Hers themselves and parents demonstrates the growth and diversity in the Horse Program and reflects an increase in the local horse industry itself."
The 4-H Horse program is open to any horse enthusiasts age 5-19. It is not necessary to own a horse to be a member. There are many educational programs about horses which are held during the year, Horse Shows, trail rides, and other events which are "horse" in nature allowing horse owners and non-horse owners opportunities to expand their love of the horse.
The 4-H Youth Development Program is one of many programs offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County (CCE-Chautauqua). CCE-Chautauqua is a community based educational organization, affiliated with Cornell University, Chautauqua County Government, the NYS SUNY system, and the federal government through the United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. For more information, call 664-9502 or visit www.cce.cornell.edu/chautauqua.