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4-H Horse Project

Program Contact: Jenny W. Loyd, 4-H Program Coordinator
(509) 574-1600 •

The 4-H Horse Project can be an exciting and worthwhile experience for both youth and their horse. Youth must have reached their 8th birthday by October 1st of the current 4-H year to be eligible for large animal projects.  Cloverbuds (youth ages 5-7) are welcome to participate in the Horseless Horse project.

Youth may show their horse in a variety of classes: showmanship, English equitation, Western equitation, trail, dressage, driving, and jumping. Western Gaming events include Barrels, Figure Eight Stake Race, Key Race, Pole Bending, and Flag Races. Youth can show a young horse in Ground Training, and some counties offer First Year Under Saddle, In-Hand Trail, or Ranch Horse classes. In addition to showing a horse, youth may take part in judging, hippology, horse bowl, presentations, and public speaking contests.


  • Develop an appreciation of horseback riding as a healthy and wholesome form of recreation
  • Promote greater love for animals and a human attitude toward them
  • Develop an animal care ethic
  • Develop understanding of the responsibilities of taking care of equine
  • Learn skills in horsemanship and an understanding of horse behavior, competition etiquette, and sportsmanship

Japanese exchange student in front of a horse.

4-H Horse Curriculum

Available through the Extension office or online.

Level 1: Giddy Up and Go

Level 1: Giddy Up and Go is perfect for youth who may or may not have a horse or pony of their own but want to learn about horses. They will learn the basics of horse behavior, breeds, and safety around horses through a variety of activities, including teaching others.

Level 2: Head, Heart and Hooves

With Level 2: Head, Heart, and Hooves, youth will learn more about acquiring and raising a horse including selecting a horse, horse nutrition and care, equine teeth and bones, judging, including giving oral reasons and much more.

Level 3: Stable Relationships

Level 3: Stable Relationships encourages youth to explore horse diseases and health care, pasture management, providing appropriate shelter and building a financial plan.

Level 4: Riding the Range

Level 4: Riding the Range teaches youth nine basic riding skills and ten horsemanship skills, training techniques, trail riding and selection and use of tack.

Level 5: Jumping to New Heights

With Level 5: Jumping to New Heights, youth learn more advanced riding skills, the Quarter System, horse showmanship, ethics and leadership.

Horse Helper’s Guide

The Helper’s Guide will assist you in getting everyone involved at group meetings using any of the 17 featured group activities.

Horses and Horsemanship

A practical and thorough guide to horses that covers breeds, judging, showing, western horsemanship, grooming, training, equipment, & safety.

Horse Science

In depth scientific examination of horses that covers horse behavior, anatomy, reproduction, feed nutrients, health & sanitation, disease, and parasites.

Washington 4-H Records, Forms, and Guides

For youth members

PNW587 – The 4-H Horse Project

This manual covers all aspects of the 4-H Horse Project, including selecting, handling, and caring for your horse; facilities, tack, and equipment; and different types of riding, driving, and games.

EM2790E – 4-H Horse Advancement Program Member Guide

This program measures general 4-H knowledge, horsemanship, selecting and judging, equine science, leadership, and personal development.

EM4842E – Beginning Horsemanship

This handbook is written for beginning riders, to help them prepare and ride horses safely. It also includes important information about the horse’s senses and social behavior. Use this handbook in conjunction with the Washington 4-H Horse Advancement program to provide beginning riders with the skills and
knowledge to handle and ride horses safely and competently.

EM4849E – Equestrian Helmet Safety

Tips for promoting helmet use and community education. Written for local clubs and organizations. Includes sample brochures and posters.

PNW229 – 4-H Driving Manual

PNW488 – Hunt Seat Manual

For 4-H’ers and those with a desire to develop their hunt seat equitation and jumping skills, this manual provides clear drawings and understandable directions.

PNW608 – 4-H Dressage Manual

This publication briefly introduces the concept of dressage, terminology, levels of competition, how to ride a test, how the test will be judged, and equipment and general rules used in competitions.

EM4715E – Horses are Fun, The 4-H Horseless Horse Project

Member Manual. Teaches about horses, breeds, markings, coat colors, gaits, grooming, managing, animal health and safety, equipment, good horsemanship, and how to ride.

C0233E – 4-H Horse Certificate

A 2-part form used to certify identification and ownership of 4-H project horses. Includes place to draw horse identifiable markings, instructions, and signature lines.

C0856E – Individual Horse Record

Form that record horse’s identifiable markings, and health, hoof care, and training records.

C0858E – Horse Production Breeding Record

Used to record expenses, mare and stallion information, and breeding management.

For adult helpers and club leaders

EM4869 – 4-H Horse Advancement Program Leader Guide

This 4-H Advancement Program is designed as a checklist for leaders to build the competency and confidence of 4-H Horse members.

EM4849E – Equestrian Helmet Safety

Tips for promoting helmet use and community education. Written for local clubs and organizations. Includes sample brochures and posters.

PNW575 – Horse Judging Manual

State 4-H Horse Project Resources
Title "Horse Project" on a tan background with a green flourish on the left and a photo of a horse and foal to the right

Helpful Resources

Activity Ideas

Livestock E-Quiz

This website was created by the University of Illinois Extension to help you learn more  about beef, dairy, horses, poultry, sheep, swine, forage, and meats.

4-H Horse Activity Page – University of Tennessee Extension (PDF)

Washington Specific Reference Material

C0015 – Light Horse Chart

This poster (17″ by 22″) clearly identifies all the parts of a horse.

EB1612E – Feeding the Performance Horse

Other Reference Material

Getting Started in 4-H – Horse & Rider

American Youth Horse Council

We believe youth who engage with horses grow in leadership and life skills.

By empowering adults who teach youth about horses, and connecting them with resources, we are fostering a thriving horse industry.

4-H Blog Post – “Native American Heritage Month:  The Voice of Animal Nation” by Tashina Red Hawk

4-H Blog Post – “4-H Alumni Feature:  Jumping to New Heights Through 4-H”

Kits, Projects, and Activities from National 4-H

EQUESTrian Deck Bundle (Decks 1-7)

EQUESTrian Trivia Cards feature useful information hidden in a fun game! Perfect for mounted lessons, club meetings, and car rides, this deck contains 100 researched questions on a wide variety of practical horse knowledge. The varying levels of cerebral challenge will pique your interest no matter your age or experience level. Decks are usable independent of one another.

EQUESTrian Deck 1

EQUESTrian Deck 2

EQUESTrian Deck 3

EQUESTrian Deck 4

EQUESTrian Deck 5

EQUESTrian Deck 6

EQUESTrian Deck 7

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