Well it looks like spring is finally here. Most people are out planting flowers and the trees now have beautiful green leaves. If you take a look around many of us are flocking to the parks to enjoy the great outdoors. This is a time that most people get geared up for the beach, boating, camping, hiking, and even horseback riding. Walking through Bonita Lakes Park, you will notice that many of the trails are designed for horses and are used quite often. While riding for the simple enjoyment of the outdoors is great, the 4-H Horse Program offers many other great opportunities.

Young people ages 8-18 who own a horse have the opportunity to participate in the 4-H Horse Shows. This year our Southeast District Horse Show will be held July 5-8 in Hattiesburg. Exhibitors who qualify at the district show are able to participate in the State 4-H Horse Show held July 10-15 in Jackson. However, in order to participate in these shows, youth must be 4-H members and must own their horse by May 1, 2006. They also must complete the 4-H Horse Ethics class.

If many of you are like me and don’t own a horse you are probably wondering if there is any way you can still be involved. Well guess what … there is! 4-H has a number of horse events for ages 8-18 that don’t require you to own a horse.

Horse Judging has become a popular contest. During this contest you and three other team members will rank classes of horses and give oral reasons to a judge to defend your placing.

If you know a lot about the horse industry and are a good talker, you might want to try out the 4-H Horse Public Speaking. You can pick out any topic you would like to talk about related to horses.

There is also a 4-H Horse Bowl competition. This is a quiz bowl that you will compete with a four-person team against other teams across the state. All the questions that you will answer pertain to horses and the horse industry.

Are you a big picture fanatic? Well, we also have horse photography contest where you can enter photos of horses that you have taken since August 1, 2006.

Perhaps you are the artist of the family. Then you can try the Horse Art Contest that lets you express your creativity and love for the horses at the same time. This contest also has multiple medium categories as well.

So, if you have love for the horse industry the 4-H Horse program is for you whether you have a horse or not. If you would like to join the time is now. For more information you can call the Lauderdale County 4-H Office at (601) 482-9764.

— Tracy Robertson is a 4-H Youth Agent

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