Starting your own 4-H Club
Maybe you have a local 4-H Club in your area or maybe you don’t! If not, why don’t you start one? It’s pretty easy to get parental volunteers, especially if they have kids who are nuts about horses, and what kid isn’t? Of course, there are a few things you should know before you get started, so I have attempted to list all the information I could think of to help you get started.
There are county extensions that apply to horse clubs, so get in contact with your County Extension Agent before you go any further. How? By calling the personnel office of your county and asking someone to put you in touch with the local Agent. This person may be an Ag agent, a 4-H agent, or even the county secretary. The important thing is that you have someone who is willing to keep in close contact with your 4-H volunteer leader and members of the Horse Club you are forming. A good relationship between the two is the deciding factor as to whether your new group is a successful endeavor.
There are registration forms, applications, and of course, skill workbooks to determine the eligibility of each interested person. For example, is your child a beginner, a novice rider, intermediate or experienced. Your County Extension Agent must sign all the paperwork you require to ensure eligibility of each rider, and is the last thing you will see on your documents. This signature ensures that all the information supplied is as accurate as possible. Whomever you have selected as the leader of the Club will usually work closely with the Agent on all matters.
There are tons of horse lovers who have excellent knowledge and experience when it comes to horses, and these are the people you most want to recruit. Some of them have worked with kids, but many may have not, however. Giving them the chance to learn how to communicate with kids by offering youth development training is a great way for both the adults and the kids to get to know one another. On the other side of the coin, you may have people volunteering who have experience working with kids, but none at all about horses. They should be willing to learn equine knowledge as they go along.
Follow the Basic Rules
The rules for any 4-H club are few, but there are still some that have to be adhered to if the rider wants to participate in any state 4-H Horse Show. For example, the rider must have their own horse, (or lease one) and they have to have finished their Novice Horseman handbook, and be enrolled as a current member of the 4-H Club. It is at the county discretion as to whether any other requirements are needed. Some members may need to volunteer at a local fundraiser, participate in a community service project, or even do a riding demonstration for other members. All in all, it is pretty basic stuff, and most of the members really enjoy it!
4-H horse clubs are a great way to get kids involved in their community, learn how to socialize with others, participate in various programs, and serve to make their lives fuller. It’s definitely not hard to get kids to sign up for a 4-H horse program because fortunately, this is a subject hundreds of kids enjoy! If you have kids, one of the best things you can do to enrich their lives is to sign them up, or start a horse club in your area.