Serious About Horsing Around

This year was the 100th anniversary of 4H Canada and the Whitehorse Spirit Riders 4H Club are have come to the end of another fantastic year of horse fun.

There are many 4H clubs across Canada, and in the Yukon there are three: in Whitehorse, Watson Lake, and Haines Junction – and 4H is growing.

Each different club focuses on how to raise a certain animal or takes on a certain project. Our 4H club in Whitehorse is a horse club. We’re called the Whitehorse Spirit Riders 4H Club.

Whitehorse 4H members will be performing with their horses for the crowd at the annual Cowley Lake Farm Fair On Sept. 29. At the fair, the 4H members will demonstrate their drill team exercises and do bareback jumping, tricks, driving, liberty training and many other things the members have accomplished with their horses using determination, leadership and trust.

Across Canada, 4H is an agriculture group that teaches kids from age nine to 21 about agriculture in their community, how to speak comfortably in public, and how to run a business meeting. With 4H, kids can achieve their goals; learn team-building skills; and most of all experience the amazing connection between human and horse.

Other factors of 4H are leadership and team building. The club members work as a team to accomplish goals, instruct each other and run the club with confidence. Each club has adult leaders to help guide and support the club.

Our Whitehorse leaders are Joie McBryan, Carolyn Campbell, and Judy Linton.

As a club we learn and develop skills with, and about, our horses. During the summer we have meetings with our horses and we learn and practice skills as a team. In the winter we focus on theory about horses and agriculture.

In August the 4H clubs from Whitehorse, Watson Lake, and Haines Junction all got together and had a 4H Yukon camp in Watson Lake. We had instructors teaching us barrel racing, vaulting and canoeing. We learned and practiced so much during our four-day camp and then hosted a dinner and performance for the town of Watson Lake to celebrate the 100th anniversary of 4H.

At the end of each 4H year each member is evaluated at the clubs achievement day. Each year you must be able to present your horse to the leaders to ensure the horse is in good health and that you have succeeded in caring for your horse during the 4H year. You also have to hand in your record book that includes your progress and management of your horse. Also on achievement day members can chose to challenge their rider level. There are seven rider levels that you must complete, a ridden and in-hand pattern – each pattern includes different manoeuvres and skills that members try to accomplish during the 4H year.

I have now been in 4H for five years and passed my level-four rider this year.

The Whitehorse Spirit Riders 4H Club will be performing at the Cowley Lake Farm Fair on Sunday, Sept. 29 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The farm is located at kilometre 11 on the Carcross Road.

For more information about the 4H Clubs in Whitehorse, Watson Lake, and Haines Junction contact by email at [email protected]

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