While this year’s South Carolina 4-H Horse Project dealt with more than a few challenges, the team members chosen to represent the state were able to get a leg up on the competition at the National Virtual 4-H Invitational.
And the added obstacles did not slow the Sandlappers down, as they were honored as Overall National Horse Classic High Point State Team based on total points won, and Aliza Allison, of Lexington, was recognized as Overall National Horse Classic High Point Individual.
The team also captured the top spot in individual events for: Reserve Champion Horse Bowl, Horse Bowl High Individual (Allison), Hippology Exam Phase Team, Hippology High Individual (Hartley Grant, Anderson), Champion Hippology Team and Champion Team Demonstration.
Typically divided into two national events — east and west — the competitions were combined and went virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning the S.C. team members competed against 387 youth representing 29 states from the safety of their own homes.
“We were very thankful that this contest was able to happen,” S.C. 4-H horse program coordinator Katie Shaw said. “The team spent many nights — they were practicing about twice a week for three or four months — to prepare for this. So, these kids have really put in the time and work, probably even more than they had in the past because we had to do everything virtually. It was impressive that they were able to transition easily to a virtual setting in a contest they’re used to having in person.”
Among the events, Horse Bowl is a quiz bowl contest in which members answer questions on horse-related topics as fast as they can by buzzing in and then gain or lose points based on their answers. Allison, Rebekah Floyd (Greenwood), Grant and Langley Vernon (Anderson) made the state proud by bringing home the top prize.
Hippology is a multi-phase test that asks similar questions to Horse Bowl. The contest is composed of the following phases: exam, stations, team problem and horse judging. Allison, Grant, Chloe Johnson (Anderson) and Vernon (Anderson) captured two team phase wins, as well as the top team and individual honors.
Finally, Team Presentation Contest requires two-member teams to create a horse-related presentation or demonstration, which are judged against other presentations based on the subject quality, presentation style and overall presenting skills. Arizona Bowers (Anderson) and Claire McAtee (Anderson) gave a presentation on “The Great Frontier,” which described everything a cowboy would need to pack to be ready for a cattle drive, and earned the contest’s top prize.
“They had to give that presentation virtually; they had to do it live on Zoom,” Shaw said. “That was a new experience for them, as well, and we’re happy that they were successful in doing something a new way. Overall, South Carolina 4-H would just like to thank everyone who made this national virtual contest possible and helped our teams to success.”
More information about the S.C. 4-H Horse project is available at www.clemson.edu/4h/horse.
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