The South Carolina 4-H Horse Program has made a habit of bringing home top-five national awards, and that theme continued at this year’s contest in Louisville, Ky.
Two top-five overall finishes at the 2021 Eastern National 4-H Horse Round-Up at the Kentucky Fair & Expo Center on Nov. 6-7 marked the 14th and 15th top-five national awards during the past seven years for the South Carolina squad.
This year’s team included Aliza Allison (Lexington County), Chloe Margeson (Greenville County), Ethan Willie (Lexington County) and Langley Vernon (Anderson County).
The 2021 event marked the first national 4-H contest for horses since COVID-19 began, so while the Sandlappers competed in the event in person, the pandemic did affect their preparations.
“They attended the state contest in-person, but they studied from then on virtually — they did all their practices virtually — so it was a little different this year because normally we study in person a lot,” South Carolina 4-H Youth Development Specialist Katie Shaw said. “Also, the kids typically have months to prepare; this time they had a relatively short time in terms of getting a team ready for a national contest.”
The Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup provides a place for youth to compete nationally while encouraging teamwork and self-confidence and focusing on the 4-H Mission Mandates: Science, Engineering, Technology, Mathematics, Healthy Living and Citizenship.
Shaw and the team thanked Lexington County 4-H Agent Erika Hwang for her assistance in coaching and chaperoning the team.
“In my time with the horse program, this marks our 15th top-five national title that we have come home with,” Shaw said. “For me, it’s almost like, ‘Woah, look at that. The program is continuing to have kids and be represented on the national level.’”
In addition to the team accolades, Allison also captured the title of Reserve Champion Overall Individual Hippology Contest Winner. Hippology is the study of horses.
“(Aliza) didn’t just have to be a teammate and have a team effort; she was outstanding just on her own,” Shaw said.
Allison said participating in the event not only taught her how to work hard toward achieving her goals, but also connected her with supportive friends.
“I’m grateful for 4-H for equipping me with the skills and confidence to be successful on a national level,” she said. “Over my six years of participating in this contest, I’ve been able to grow as a person and leader.”
— 1st Place Team Problem Phase Winner
— 4th Overall Team Hippology Contest Winner
— 4th Place Team Station Phase Winner
— 5th Place Team Written Exam Phase Winner
— 9th Place Team Judging Phase Winner
— Aliza Allison, Reserve Champion Overall Individual Hippology Contest Winner, 1st Place Individual Written Exam Phase Winner, 6th Place Individual Station Phase Winner, 8th Place Individual Judging Phase Winner
— Langley Vernon, 9th Place Individual Station Phase Winner
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