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4-H Horse Projects

Program Contact: Kate McCloskey, 4-H Program Coordinator
(509) 477-2165 •

The Spokane County 4-H Horse Program is designed for youth with interest in horses and horse events. This program provides experiences to help them develop leadership, citizenship, self-esteem, social skills, and to become contributing members of society. All while becoming better horse men and women!

The 4-H Horse Program is EDUCATIONAL, ACTIVITY-ORIENTED, AND FUN for those who become involved. Youth must be 8 years old and in 3rd grade as of October 1 of the current year to be active with horses. Youth ages 5-7 may still participate in educational events and activities, but they may not have contact with horses due to risk.

The 4-H Horse Program includes opportunities for youth who own/have access to horses as well as those who do not, but still want to learn about the science of equine care and management. Activities can include everything from educational and fun club meetings to trail rides, and from horse shows and overnight camps to service projects. Club members hold club offices, give public speeches and demonstrations, do service projects, and spend time with their favorite friends, both human and equine.

Adult volunteers are the backbone of our organization. There is a governing body called the 4-H Horse Project Executive Committee that has a traditional President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Points and Rules. This group meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 6:30pm except for the month of September. The 4-H Horse Project Committee Meeting is also the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Each 4-H Horse club is required to send a club representative to hear about upcoming events, activities, or needs with the committee. All committees are volunteer-led.

Riding Events:

The following are activities you do need to own or lease a horse, and the horse must be certified with 4-H as a project or activity horse. Youth must still be 8 as of October 1st of the current year.

Horse Shows:

The 4-H Horse Shows are competitive activities in the 4-H horse program. Contests help youth measure progress in knowledge and skill in horsemanship. They also provide opportunities to learn social skills and have fun.

Disciplines Offered:

  • Performance
  • Western Games
  • Jumping
  • Dressage
  • Harness/Driving
  • Green Horse
  • Mini




There are two to choose from or you can go to both. Camperships are available to each camp if finances are an issue. Check with the 4-H office for requirements to apply. All camps are great and offer different things to do with your horse and family.

Happy Trails Horse Camp (HT)

Happy Trails is a family-friendly, 5 day overnight camp that traditionally happens in the last full week of June each year. HT searches for excellent clinicians to make learning fun and safe. The day is split into four classes: Trail, arena, mini, and educational/free. The goal is to have your child comfortable on the trail with their horse, gain horsemanship skills, and learn new equine and science related skills. In addition, youth and adults gain great leadership and mentorship roles. Parents are able to ride in the classes with their children at the discretion of the clinicians and committee.

South Horse Camp (SC)

South Horse camp is a family-friendly 4 day overnight camp traditionally held in mid-July at the Spokane County Fairgrounds. This camp emphasizes performance, showmanship and gaming, with lots of other fun disciplines. This is also a great camp for mentorships of older 4-Hers to younger or inexperienced ones. Parents are able to ride in the evenings.


4-H Beginning Horsemanship

This program is developed for beginning riders, to help them prepare and ride horses safely. This program also includes important information about the horse’s senses and social behavior. The program is devoted to provide beginning riders with the skills and knowledge to handle and ride horses safely and competently.

4-H Spring Clinic

Spring Clinic is a three day event packed with classes about all kinds of different riding disciplines. Clinics are taught by local industry professionals, with classes available for beginner riders and more experienced youth.

Other Events:

Competitive Trail

The Competitive Trails is an annual event that traditional happened the 1st weekend in October at the Spokane River State Park. The purpose of the Competitive Trail Riding is: stimulate greater interest in the breeding and use of good saddle horses possessed of stamina, hardiness and quality to make good mounts for trail use. Demonstrate the value of type and soundness and proper selection of horses for a long trip. Learn and demonstrate the proper selection of training and conditioning horses for a long trip. Train and demonstrate the best methods of caring for horses during and after long rides without the use of artificial methods or stimulants.

4-H Educational Events:

The following are activities you do not need to own a horse. Youth must still be 8yrs as of October 1st of the current year. Youth that are under 5-8 years can do activities that don’t involve horses.


A competitive event where youth get the opportunity to blend equine science and husbandry with horse judging, public speaking, and more! This event is all about encouraging youth to expand their horse knowledge, while gaining important life skills like team work and public speaking. Youth can qualify for State & Nationals in this competition!



Horse Bowl

Horse Bowl is a knowledge bowl-type competition where youth are quizzed on everything from equine science & health to tack to breeds of horses! Youth can qualify for State & Nationals in this competition!

Horse Judging

A competitive event where youth test their knowledge of horse conformation and usability. Youth judge equine classes such as Halter, Western Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle, and much more! They are scored on how close their placings are to the professional judge’s official scores for the class.

Groom Squad

Youth work as a team in this competition to get their assigned horse as clean as possible before they complete a Showmanship pattern with it. While one member of the team is showing, another is taking a Equine Science written test. This event gives youth the opportunity to learn about best grooming practices, exhibiting a horse to their best ability, and gain knowledge about horse husbandry & health!


Youth can participate in a variety of Public Presentations while in 4-H. Horse Project specifically has events for:

Presentations – A prepared demonstration, Illustrated Talk, or Power Point (individual or team 2 or more)

  • A Demonstration teaches by doing. A member uses step by step directions and usually produces an end product.
  • An Illustrated Talk uses visual aides to show how something is done rather than producing an end product. Uses flip charts, posters, etc.
  • A Power Point is a computer slide show that guides you and the judges through your presentation.

Public Speaking – A speech (Individual) This is a prepared event where you give a speech. You will use a microphone.

Impromptus – A speech given after briefly reading a given article. Youth choose an article, have 30 mins to read and prepare their presentation on it, and then give a speech that varies between 1-10 minutes depending on the age group.

Tack Swap:

Tack Swap is a fundraiser sponsored by Spokane County 4-H Horse Project Committee. It is our ONLY fundraiser for the year. The money raised is used to sponsor educational clinics, awards and other benefits for the 4-H members.

Consignments for the sale are taken on Friday and the sale is all day Saturday. People bring saddles, bridles, halters, buckets, bits, clothing, boots – just about any horse related items. Local tack supply businesses also sell new tack and supplies. The vendors pay a fee for space. The consignment fee is $1.00 and 15% of the selling price. The sale starts on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m.

The Tack Swap is held at the Fairgrounds. An area is available to County 4-H clubs (not just horse clubs) to use as BOOTHS to raise money or just to advertise their clubs. Clubs may not sell anything that would compete with our vendors or our consignment items. Clubs also need to bring their own tables for set-up. The Tack Swap is usually held the first part of March. Watch for it! It’s a fun day for shopping for those much needed tack items at greatly reduced prices.