On the weekend of May 17-19, the Franklin County Fairgrounds will be bustling with trailers arriving with horses of all colors, sizes, abilities and disciplines.
4H members and their families from the Franklin, Clinton, and Essex County 4H Horse Programs will be participating in a 37- year spring tradition known as Horse Camp.
Youth will be brushing up and learning new skills in English and western riding, ranch riding, trail, miniature horsemanship, and showmanship and adding to their knowledge about the health and safety of their equine partners. They will be seen working their horses in the main ring, in the indoor arena, over trail obstacles, and maneuvering miniature horses over jumps.
Over 60 youth ranging in age from 5-19 will be taking lessons from professional horse trainers, skilled equestrians, and several 4H alumni. The list of instructors includes Michael Dunn, a professional horseman and judge from Germantown, NY, and Scott Loomis, a professional trainer from Waddington. There will also be many dedicated volunteers instructing showmanship skills, trail obstacle training, barn safety, hoof care, equine massage, equine health and saddle fitting.
The New York Agricultural and Horse Breeding Development Fund will be sponsoring a special Standardbred harness race on Sunday afternoon at 1 pm. Horse campers will be treated to a visit to the race horse barns where they will learn about racing, harnesses and racing equipment, how race horses are trained and how to become a harness race driver. During the afternoon, local race horse owners and trainers will compete in two training races. The winners of each race will be presented with a special blue blanket called a “cooler” with the embroidered logo “Franklin Co. 4H Training Race 2019”.
4H youth who participate in Horse Camp must have been enrolled in a 4H horse club during the program year and must have completed a Riding Level Evaluation testing their riding ability and safety on and around their horse. 4H youth, and all youth under the age of 18 in New York State, are required to wear an equestrian helmet when riding off their parent’s property. 4H youth are also required to wear a riding boot with a discernible heel.
If you have a child between the ages of 5 and 19 who would like to become involved with the 4H Horse program, contact the Cornell Cooperative Extension office at (518) 483-7403 or visit their website.
Photo from 4H horse camp provided.