University of Nevada Cooperative Extension 4-H members represented Nevada well in three competitions at the 2014 Western National Roundup in Denver, Colo., placing in the top 10 in three competitions. The group of 11 teens, split into two teams of four and one team of three, competed against teams and individuals from 30 other states and Alberta, Canada.
"This group of kids was really fun, and eager to learn and try new challenges put before them," Erin Lehman, an adult 4-H volunteer who traveled with the team, said. "They were a smart, well-educated group, looking to make the most of their experience in Denver."
Nicole Waite, Kameo Lillibridge and Bronwyn Boydon from Washoe County placed ninth in the hippology contest, which tests participants' overall equine knowledge. Misty Kollen, Sabrina Wiltfong, Rosa Glotfelty and Megan Campbell, also from Washoe County, placed seventh in the halter horse judging contest and 10th in the reasons horse judging contest. Brittany Partee and Blake Duncan from Humboldt County, and Clay Mulder and Trey McGowan from Churchill County competed in the livestock judging contests.
To participate at the national level, Nevada 4-H students between ages 14 and 19 needed to place in the top four at the state level in the same contest they would compete in at the national level.
To place in the national hippology contest, the students needed to know about horse anatomy and internal processes, horse breeds, feed types and tools of the trade. They also had to solve a group problem, such as what to do with a mare ready to foal. And, they had to rate four horses in two breeds based on how well the horses' body builds met the breeds' standards.
"Hippology involves the whole horse industry," Jessica Ponte, Nevada state 4-H activities coordinator, said. "The students had to know more about the horse world than just breeding standards."
To place in the horse judging contests, the students had to know about horse breeds. The students judged eight classes: four performance classes and four halter classes. Each class had four horses from a specific breed. For the performance classes, the teams ranked the horses based on how they responded to their riders and how well they performed tasks such as obstacle-course running and jump-clearing. For the halter classes, the teams ranked the horses based on how their physical builds and movement compared to the breed's standard. Results were based on how well the ratings matched the ratings of the professional judges. For the reasons contest, the students explained their ratings for two performance classes and two halter classes to the judges.
"We got the chance to judge some of the greatest horses I have ever seen, and explain our reasoning to national judges," team member Megan Campbell said. "I surprised myself on how I did as an individual."
Livestock judging worked the same as horse judging, only with various other animals, such as pigs and sheep. The event also offered contests in other areas, such as public speaking and parliamentary procedure, as well as workshops in skills such as communication, team building and leadership.
Cooperative Extension's 4-H Youth Development Education Program teaches leadership, citizenship and life skills to nearly 50,000 Nevada youth ages 5 to 19 each year, through activities such as practicing robotics and raising animals, with an emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education.
For more information about Nevada's 4-H Program, visit http://www.unce.unr.edu/4H.