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Cooperative Extension: 4-H Youth Leadership

Horse Project

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About the 4-H Horse Project

The 4-H Horse Project, whether pursued independently or through a club, offers youth aged 5-18 the chance to develop life skills while working with horses. Additional opportunities include Horse Evaluation, Horse Quiz Bowl, Hippology, Record Books, and the State Horse Show. Members can join through their local county program.

The South Carolina 4-H Horse Program is invaluable for youth development, offering a unique combination of hands-on learning and life skill acquisition. By engaging in this program, participants not only gain practical knowledge about horse care, riding, and management, but also develop critical life skills such as responsibility, discipline, and time management. The program fosters teamwork and leadership through group activities and competitions, while promoting goal setting and perseverance as youth work towards personal and competitive achievements. Additionally, the educational components, such as Horse Evaluation and Hippology, enhance problem-solving abilities and critical thinking. The South Carolina 4-H Horse Program cultivates well-rounded individuals prepared for various future challenges, both within and beyond the equine world.

4-H Horse Facebook Page

show ribbons
girl riding horse
boy brushing horse
horse sticking out its tongue

Project Objectives

  • Develop skills such as decision making, communication, team building, self-confidence, and leadership

  • To teach horse industry knowledge and good horsemanship in a friendly competitive atmosphere.

  • Learn valuable skills in record keeping, financial management, and written communication.

  • Gain valuable life lessons by caring and providing for their 4-H horses


Horse Evaluation

  • Acquire a better knowledge of horses and develop skills in the selection of horses, while learning the basic principles of animal science.

  • Learn to identify breeds of horses, evaluate conformation and performance.

  • Learn how to make individual decisions and support them with oral statements, which develops skills of decision making, critical thinking, and problem solving.

  • Develop leadership abilities, build character, assume citizenship responsibilities, and develop skills, knowledge, and attitudes for lifelong use.

Teams may consist of three or four members. All teams with four members will compete, but the member receiving the lowest overall score will be dropped from the final tally for the team total. This individual will still be eligible for individual prizes. Teams consisting of three members will have no score dropped, and all members’ scores will count for individual and team awards. Individuals can compete if a county does not have enough participants to make an entire team.

Horse Quiz Bowl

Teams of either four or five members within the same age division from one county compete against each other answering questions in a game show format. Play consists of double elimination tournament-style matches where two teams compete at a time. Participants compete with their team to answer questions on anatomy, conformation, feed and nutrition.


The primary objective of the Hippology Contest is to provide, in a friendly but competitive setting, an opportunity for youth enrolled in 4-H to demonstrate the breadth of their knowledge and understanding of equine science and management, and in particular the practical application of this knowledge and skill. This activity will provide the 4-H horse project members the opportunity to utilize knowledge and skills developed from other project activities such as Quiz Bowl, horse judging, speaking and demonstrations and general horse program.

Counties are invited to send teams of three to four members. In teams in which there are four members, all will compete, but the lowest score within each section will be removed so that only the three highest scores will count towards the team total. All team members’ scores will be considered in making all individual awards. Teams consisting of three members will have no alternate and all members’ score will count in determining individual and team awards.

Horse Show

The annual South Carolina 4-H Horse Show is a multi-discipline show (Dressage, Hunter, Western, Ranch Horse and Speed.) The State 4-H Horse Show provides an opportunity for members to exhibit their project and receive input on their accomplishments.

Southern Regional Horse Championship

The 2023 Southern Regional Horse Championship will be held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, GA on August 2-6. This five-day event is a great opportunity for qualifying horse enthusiasts from specified southern states to compete in both educational and riding competitions with their peers. Check back for more information.

Boys holding prize ribbons

Horse program participants group photo

Two girls with their horses and prize ribbons

Upcoming Horse Events

4-H Agriculture & Animals
4-H Agriculture & Animals | 275-B Lehotsky Hall Clemson, SC 29634