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Horse & Pony

January 13, 2021
4-H Horse


Horse & Pony


The objectives of the Wells County 4-H Horse & Pony program are:

  1. To develop leadership, initiative, self-reliance, sportsmanship, and other desirable character traits.
  2. To develop an appreciation of horse well-being and proper horsemanship.
  3. To experience the pride and the responsibilities of owning a horse or pony.
  4. To learn good horsemanship and an understanding of proper management for breeding, raising and training horses and ponies.
  5. To provide an opportunity to observe and learn through participation and observation.
  6. To accept constructive criticisms and learn new ways of training and caring for animals.
  7. To provide an opportunity for educational experiences through county, area, and state functions.



Youth may participate in a variety of Horse & Pony activities that may include the following:


Club meetings will normally start in November and continue through July. These meetings are informational in style and may include speakers, videos, member demonstrations and group activities.

Outdoor workshops will normally start in May and continue up to the 4-H Fair. These workshops will be more hands-on with members bringing their animal and participating under the supervision of adult leaders.


Fund Raising

The 4-H Club will decide what fund raising activities they will do. In previous years, some of the activities have included: operate the cookhouse during horse shows, car wash, tack auction, food sales during tack auction, open horse shows, Italian Dinner Nights, chicken BBQ.


Club Sponsored Activities

The following are the many Club Sponsored Activities that our club has to offer. “Club Sponsored” means, our members do fund raising to help pay for these activities. Any member participating in these activities are strongly encouraged to help our club out by participating in our fund raisers.


Judging Team

The judging team is a way for 4-H members to learn about the confirmations and movements of horses. They can compete at the local, area, state, and national level. Members can compete individually or on a team. (Also see Judging Contests listed in the Contest section of the Wells County 4-H Rule Book.)


Hippology, Quiz Bowl, Public Speaking & Demonstrations                                               

These are opportunities for 4-H members to learn more about all aspects of horses and ponies. A lot of research is required. Members can compete at the area, state, and national level. Members may compete individually or as a team.



Horseless Project 

Animal ownership is not required to complete the Horse project. Members may participate in many club activities and workshops. They may also be members of the Judging, Horsebowl, Hippology Teams, and also do Demonstrations and Public Speaking. Member must submit a Horse Poster. Member should complete a “General 4-H Record Sheet” with the Horse Poster Project.


Riding Activities

The following are all riding activities that may be offered throughout the riding season. Horse & Pony Leaders and the Advisory Board expect that any member / animal participating in these activities conducts themselves in a manner in which is safe for everyone. Any member / animal that is unsafe, not following rules or puts other members / animals in danger will be asked to leave.


Color Guard

The Color Guard provides 4-H’ers an opportunity to show patriotism and pride in their 4-H Club, State, Nation, Horses, and themselves. It allows them to display their horsemanship and teamwork by performing as a unit and presenting the colors in the 4-H Fair Parade.


Drill Team

Drill Team is a group of horses and riders performing choreographed maneuvers to music. Drill team is intended to entertain, show sportsmanship, horsemanship and team work as well as to teach the importance of professionalism, team preparation, execution, teamwork, and to instill pride in a job well done. It requires great discipline, commitment, dedication, and many hours of practice for a team to present just minutes of a well-manicured drill to the public.


Mid-State Team Tournament

The Team Tournament began in 1979 at the Noble County Fairgrounds in Kendallville. It was developed to encourage the various individual county 4-H members to work together as a unit to display their abilities in team competition with other counties. Tournament classes are provided for both pony and horse teams and include Showmanship, Horsemanship, English Equitation, Western Pleasure, Pole Bending, Barrels, Flags and Speed & Action. This event is usually held on the Saturday closest to the 4th of July.


Trail Rides / Camp Outs

If enough interest is expressed, some years the club has a trail ride at a park or location outside of Wells County.


Pre-Fair Camp/Clinics

A hands-on instructional session designed to teach horsemanship skills. The event will be held at the 4-H Park.


General Horse & Pony Rules

  1. See General Rules and Health Requirements in front of this book. All State and general county rules apply, unless specifically addressed in the Horse & Pony rule section. (Refer to official rule books)
  2. Certificate of vaccination (4-H 1031-W) must be shown to the leader before the horse can attend meetings or 4-H events.
  3. All 4-H Horse & Pony animals participating in 4-H activities, must exhibit a minimum Body Condition Score of three (3.0) while the preferred BCS is between 4.0 and 7.0. Animals may be body scored at any time of the year per member’s request for reference, but all animals being checked in at 4-H fair will be scored and must score a 3 or higher, anything under a 3 will be sent home.   
  4. STATE FAIR ELIGIBILITY - Participation at the State Fair is open to any member in Horse & Pony who is eligible under state fair rules. Visit their website for details – www.indianastatefair.com



      5. Members must complete the membership enrollment in 4-H Online system, identify your animals in 4-H online, complete and turn in all record and activity                 sheets and pay any state fees  by designated due dates to be eligible to compete in 4-H County Fair designated classes.

      6. Youth may become 4-H members when they enter the third grade and continue through grade 12.  These individuals may continue their 4-H membership for a           maximum of ten (10) years.  A child’s grade in school is the grade they were in on January 1st of the current year.  Children advance 1 grade/year of 4-H                 involvement regardless of academic standing.  *NOTE:  Mini 4-H Age:  Grades K-2. Also, see membership in the “4-H Rules and Policy” in the front of this rule           book.

      7. Age definition for 4-H Horse & Pony Events:

               A. For Animal Exhibit purposes at County Level:

                   (See the State Fair Handbook for age divisions for the State Fair Show)

                  Junior – Grades 3 - 5

                  Intermediate – Grades 6 – 8

                  Senior – Grades 9-12

               B. Horse Bowl & Hippology:

                  Participant’s grade is determined as of January 1, year of the event.

                  Novice – Grades 3 & 4

                  Junior – Grades 5 & 6

                  Intermediate – Grades 7 & 8

                  Senior – Grades 9 – 12

              C. Public Speaking & Demonstration Contests:

                  Participant’s grade is determined as of January 1, year of the event

                  Junior – Grades 3 – 8

                  Senior - Grades 9 – 12

              D. Judging:

                  Participant’s grade is determined as of January 1, year of the event

                  Junior – Grades 3 – 8

                  Senior - Grades 9 – 12



      8. Any 4-H Horse or Pony enrolled must be owned by the 4-H member, owned in family corporation; owned in partnership with member’s father, mother,                     brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandparent or legal guardian; or leased, subject to the approval or the written agreement by the county 4-H Horse & Pony                     Committee, 4-H Council and the Extension Educator in the county from which the enrollment is submitted.

                A. At County Level – Family members (brothers and / or sisters) and 1st year horse & pony members (non-family) may share an animal (horse or pony) if only one (1) animal is available. An exception will be made to share the animal if more than one (1) is available whereas only one sibling may enter in the regular classes and the other only enters Walk/Trot classes with the animal.  This exception was made for the safety of members.  

  1. An exception will be made to share the animal if more than one (1) is available whereas only one sibling/member may enter in the regular classes and the other only enters Walk/Trop classes, 1st Year Showmanship and In-Hand Trail classes with the animal. This exception was made for the safety of members. 
  2. Wells County members who share an animal - only one members may show said animal in each event per day excluding all walk/trot classes. 

                B. If family members are enrolling the same animal, each member must fill out and list each animal on an official enrollment form.


      9. If family members are enrolling the same horse or pony, each family must enter the animal in the 4-H Online system.

      10. The age of an animal will be computed on the basis of a calendar year starting on January 1 of the year foaled.  For example, an animal foaled any time in              2009 would be considered one year old (a yearling) on January 1, 2010, two years old on January 1, 2011, etc.  Animals five years of age and younger will              be considered junior animals. 

      11. It is recommended that horses not be ridden in 4-H events before July 1 of their two-year-old year.

      12. Halter classes for fair will be broken down as follows:

  1. Horses - Mares & Geldings will be shown in separate classes following age groups listed:
    1. 5 Years and Younger
    2. 6-10 Years Old
    3. 11-15 Years Old
    4. 16 Years and Older
  2. Ponies - Mares & Geldings will be shown in separate classes following age groups listed:
    1. 5 Years and Younger
    2. 6 Years and Older

      13. Changing or substituting of horses or ponies will not be permitted after horse enrollment form due date.  The only exception is in case of illness, injury or                   death of the animal, upon committee approval.  Replacement animals approved by the committee, may show at the County Fair with the following                             stipulations:

               A. Any three (3) animals listed on the official Horse & Pony enrollment form are eligible to compete at the county fair.

               B. If the member has more than one (1) animal listed on the official Horse & Pony enrollment form, any animal not listed on the official Horse & Pony enrollment form may enter classes during the county fair as exhibition only and will count as one of the three (3) animals allowed for entry.

              C. If only one (1) animal is listed on the official Horse & Pony enrollment and animal has permanent injury or death, the member may substitute another animal as regular entry and eligibility for points. Permanent injury will be determined by documented proof from two (2) separately licensed veterinarians at two (2) separate veterinarian practices. 



      14. All 4-H members should wear proper attire for all classes in accordance with the STATE handbook

  1. All 4-H members are required to wear a properly fitted ASTM or SEI standard F1163 (or above) certified helmet whenever mounted or driving while on the grounds of the Wells County 4-H Park. The 4-H member is responsible to see that this specified headgear is properly fitted with the approved harness fastened in place whenever mounted.  Original tags must be present in all approved helmets.  This policy will be in effect beginning with the 2003 program year and applies to all county, area, and state 4-H horse and pony events, shows and activities. 
  2. All 4-H exhibitors must wear the proper attire when showing. Long sleeve shirts with a collar or Blazer would be proper western/ English attire.  Judge reserves the right to alter attire due to weather.  
  3. Exhibitors must also wear proper footwear of western, hunt or Jodhpur boots. Drivers must wear boots or closed shoes.  Approved footwear must be worn whenever handling or riding animals.
  4. At outdoor riding events or practices, members must wear long pants and proper footwear. No spaghetti strap tank tops are permitted. 


      15. In order to exhibit at the Wells County 4-H Fair, 4-H Horse & Pony members are REQUIRED TO:

                A. Meet all enrollment or eligibility deadlines for member and animal. 

                B. Complete a 4-H record books and present it for review on or before the County due date. If the member is not available to have the book signed on                         that date, it is the member’s responsibility to have the book signed before the due date.  Member’s books must include the following in order to receive                     a Record Book Certificate that will be required to be admitted to the 4-H fair:

                            i.  Activity sheet - These are grade related activities and questions. The sheet will have ask questions related to the manual adopted by the club.                                  (See the Leaders for the current version being used).  Those manuals can be purchased or you may use the reference copy available in the                                     Entry Booth. 

                            ii. Horse Record Sheet - The member must turn in a Horse Record Sheet for each horse they are exhibiting at the fair.

                            iii. Record of Achievement – This form should be turned into the extension office during the fair

                C. While not required, it is recommended that members attend and participate in two (2) outdoor workshops with their animal. 




The safety and well-being of our 4-H youth is the utmost importance.  Although kindergarten is specified as the time when a child may begin participation in some 4-H events and activities, parents are encouraged to take into consideration their child’s physical and mental development before agreeing to let the child begin to show, work with, or care for animals. 

Each child matures at a different rate, and children in grades K-2 may still be too young to begin showing, working with, or caring for animals.

The State 4-H Youth Department at Purdue University has agreed to allow Mini/Exploring 4-H members in grades K-2, to participate in some animal projects subject to certain conditions. The conditions are specified below:


  1. Mini/Exploring 4-H members, in grades K through 2, will be allowed to show, work with or care for animal projects after their parent or legal guardian has signed a Mini/Exploring 4-H Liability Release Form. Mini/Exploring 4-H members may independently show, work with, or care for animals that weigh 300 pounds or less. Mini/Exploring 4-H members may only show, work with or care for animals over 300 pounds when they are assisted by a parent, legal guardian, or another adult designated in writing by parent or legal guardian.”  (Assisted means that the adult is in control of the animal at all times.) Mini 4-H members are not required to own the animals they participate with in Mini 4-H. All animals on exhibit should meet the regulations of the Indiana Board of Animal Health Requirements for Exhibition on Domestic Animals in Indiana and meet the vaccination requirements set by Indiana 4-H. 
  2. Mini/Exploring 4-H members exhibiting horses must wear certified helmets (see rule #15) whenever handling or mounted on their animal.
  3. The 4-H Horse & Pony Club strongly suggests that all animals be led by parents at all times. First year members must be on a lead. Mini 4-H members, after year 1 of project completion, will be evaluated by the leader as to the use of the lead. However, all members must be accompanied in the arena (at both workshops and fair show) by an adult or regular 4-H member at all times. The Mini 4-H leader's decision on lead usage is final. 
  4. Mini 4-H members are required to complete an Activity Book and Poster.
  5. In order to participate in the fair show, Mini 4-H members are required to attend and participate in two (2) outdoor workshops with their animal.
  6. Mini 4-H show is usually held during the 4-H Fair. Exhibitors will be required to haul in and out on the same day of the show. Mini members may haul in and park East of the arena at the time designated by the leader or advisory board. No mini 4-H animals will be staled unless the animal is used by a regular 4-H member that is showing the animal during the fair. 



      17. Behavior Policy (Refer to Behavior Criteria at 4-H Events & Activities in front of Rule Book).

      18. Improper behavior or language will not be tolerated.  All adults and members are expected to set good examples. Members and adults are reminded of the              electronic enrollment which they signed stating that they would abide, follow, and comply with the rules, policies, and expectations or the program and                      conduct themselves in a courteous and respectful manner by exhibiting good sportsmanship and being a positive role model.  Failing to do so will constitute              grounds for sanctions and/or dismissal or the member from the program.

     A. Members and parents are reminded that the judges are paid for their opinion. Do not confront the judge for any reason. If you have a concern about something that the judge has done, talk to show management. 

      19. Inhumane treatment or animals will not be allowed at the 4-H Park.  (Refer to Behavior Criteria at 4-H Events & Activities in front of the Rule Book).



      20. Only designated instructors and helpers shall be in the arena or designated riding area during meetings. Parents and volunteers will be allowed to help in the                    arena upon request.

      21. Only 4-H members, mini 4-H members, leaders, and instructors or designated assistants with a signed proper release form are permitted to ride in the arena             and immediate area during meetings.  All instructors must wear proper attire.

      22. No riding other member’s horses except with the leader’s permission.

      23. Riding is only permitted in the designated areas at the 4-H Park (see maps).  These areas will change during the 4-H Fair. This is for your safety and                        protection.  There are numerous groups and events at the park.  Your cooperation is needed to insure a safe park.

      24. No running your horse or pony outside of the arena.

      25. No riding double or bareback at any time unless designated by a class or instuctor.

      26. Control of your horse or pony is required at all times.

      27. Horse and Pony Leader has the authority to dismiss your horse from practice if it shows signs of illness, unsoundness, or unruliness (if it is causing a safety              problem).

      28. No riding of horses or bikes will be allowed in the barn at any time.

      29. No mounting of horses or ponies in the stalls or aisles.

      30. No washing of animals at the barn hydrants. The approved wash racks are located at the end of the horse barn for bathing.

      31. No straw is allowed for bedding.

      32. Running through or chasing each other in the barns will not be tolerated at any time.

      33. No water or shaving cream fights in the barn or around horses at any time.



      35. 4-H FAIR CLASS ENTRY

  1. Members may only show one (1) animal in each halter age/gender class. (If the member has two mares ages 6 and 8, member must choose which animal will be shown. Refer to rule 12 for age categories) Only in halter may another exhibitor show another 4-H member’s animal due to injury or illness with show managers’ approval.
  2. Members may have another 4-H member show one of their animals only in grand and reserve champion halter classes when they have two (2) animals qualifying for the class.
  3. Members may enter in one showmanship class with same animal. If exhibitor has 2 animals they may show both animals, in separate classes if available. If they place 1st with both in separate classes they must choose one for grand showmanship.
  4. A member may show two (2) animals in single entry classes (trail, western riding, reining, contesting) and may place with both animals.
  5. The same exhibitor/horse combination must choose between riding trail (western/ranch) and trail-in-hand classes. Exhibitor may enter one animal in riding trail (western/ranch) and a different animal in trail-in-hand. Example, exhibitor may enter horse 1 in western trail and ranch trail, but not trail-in-hand. The exhibitor may enter horse 2 in trail-in-hand.
  6. Any animal may only show one time in a contesting event. Exception is made for class runoff, re-rides, Champion runoffs and walk/classes. (If an animal is shared, members may both ride in barrels as long as one of the barrel classes is walk/trot.)
  7. Exhibitors entering in a walk trot class may not enter in any class that requires a lope/canter. Two (2) strides at a lope or canter is considered a disqualification. An exception will be made for members who show in JR Horse (5 & under) Walk/Trot class.
  8. Exhibiting 3 animals at the county fair:
    1. Members may exhibit 3 animals at the 4-H Fair.
    2. Members may only exhibit 2 animals in the same discipline. Example: A member may only show two horses (ponies or horse & pony) in contesting. (Disciplines include pleasure and contesting.)
    3. Members may show 3 animals in halter if all animals are stalled at the fair as long as the animals are in different age/gender classes as referenced under rule 12. See Stall Assignment rules. 
    4. Members may also only show two animals in the following classes: showmanship, trail, western riding and western reining.
  9. Walk/Trot classes are for inexperienced riders in an event or discipline and are not eligible for entry in a regular division class of the same type and are not eligible for High Point Awards. An exception will be made for members who show in JR Horse (5 & Under) Walk/Trot class. 
  10. Members & parents are reminded that the judges are paid for their opinion. Do not confront the judge for any reason. If you have a concern about something that the judge has done, talk to the show management.
  11. Riding is only permitted in the two front arenas or designated areas. Members must have parent supervision at all times unless during a fair class.


  1. Class is held at the 4-H Fair. The event is designed to demonstrate the versatility of the Animal / Rider Combination. This is a club sponsored event so all members may participate and place, but only those eligible for awards receive club sponsored awards.
  2. This event consists of 7 classes; Showmanship, English / Equitation, Western /Horsemanship, Pleasure, Pole Bending, Barrels, and Flags. Each exhibitor must show in Showmanship, 2 additional judged classes and 2 timed classes.
  3. Each exhibitor will receive 1 point for entry in a class and places 1 – 5 will be awarded points as follows: 1st place = 5 points. 2nd place = 4 points. 3rd place = 3 points. 4th place = 2 points. 5th place = 1 point. This point scale will be used regardless of how many entries are in the class.
  4. Ties will be broken on the most number of classes placed in. If additional tie breaker is needed, then the member with the most 1st places will be awarded the higher placing.  This will continue until the tie is broken going down to the next placings.
  5. Awards will be presented to the top 5 overall places in Jr. (grades 3-7) & Sr. (grades 8-12) Divisions.


  1. Stalls requests will be taken prior to fair. 
  2. Choice of stalls will be awarded on the following basis.
    1. Members (or their designated parent/adult) who participate in barn workday. (Starting in 2021 calendar year)
    2. Number of years in the Horse & Pony Club.
    3. Siblings with lesser years will be assigned stalls beside siblings already awarded stalls if desired. 
    4. If necessary for a tie breaker, date of birth determines priority
  3. Members may enroll multiple animals but only three (3) animals may be entered in the County Fair classes. (Mare and foal are considered as one animal and are allowed only one stall.)
  4. Depending on stall availability, lesser seniority members may be limited to stalling one animal at the fair.
  5. Members showing an animal only one day at the fair may be asked to haul their animal in and out on that day if we do not have stalls available.
  6. Mini members’ animals are not stalled during the Fair.
  7. All horses stalled during the fair must be exhibited.
  8. All animals that are stalled must remain in the barn until released at the designated time or all awards will be forfeited. The board may release an animal early due to safety, injury, or prior arrangement. Exception will be given when 3 animals are exhibited and stalls are not available for all animals. See the stalling rule below:


  1. If stalls are available, all 3 animals must be stalled during the duration of the county 4-H Fair.
  2. If stalls are not available for all 3 animals, lesser seniority members may be limited to stalling only 2 animals at fair. (Seniority is determined by the member’s years in Horse & Pony)
  3. Members not receiving a third stall will follow the swapping procedure listed below:


  1. Animals may be switched in the evening during the fair. Switching may only occur between 10 pm and 11 pm on those days.
  2. Trailers must enter and exit using the north drive onto Spring Street. Trailers may only use the drive behind the multipurpose building to load and unload animals.
  3. Members must check the animals out and in with the night guard or designated person on those two evenings.
  4. If the barn does not allow for all members to have their third animal stalled at the fair, all members will not be allowed to show more than 2 animals in halter during the fair. This will make it equal for all exhibiting more than 2 animals.


Club sponsored awards will be presented to qualifying members that have met the club guidelines in participation. These awards may consist of plaques, tack, trophies, ect.


  1. Attend 50% of work days scheduled throughout the year, working a minimum of 2 hours. If you cannot make half of the scheduled dates, you may also come on a non-scheduled day and work a minimum of 2 hours (for each work day). This will need to be coordinated with the advisory board or superintendent prior to the non-scheduled day.
  2. Must participate in half of the fundraisers scheduled and sell port-a-pit chicken tickets. (Minimum of 10 per member or 15 per family)
  3. Each member is to turn in a minimum of $50 sponsor money.
  4. It is strongly recommended that each member has an adult volunteer in at least 2 events in addition to volunteering at the fair.



      Awards are subject to change depending on the financial availability.



Awards are presented at the end of the year to members based on participation in the program. An awards committee will be formed to select awards to be presented. Participation system will be presented to members at the beginning of the year. 



There will be 2 awards presented in this category. These awards are chosen by the 4-H Horse & Pony Advisory Board from names submitted during the fair by Wells County 4-H Horse & Pony members, leaders and board members. Members may submit names for consideration by the board during the fair. They should be chosen on how the individual is viewed during all 4-H events. The member should display a positive attitude, respect for opponents and/or adults and display graciousness in winning or losing. 



There will be 2 awards presented in this category. These awards are chosen by the 4-H Horse & Pony Advisory Board from names submitted by the leaders. They should be chosen on how the individual has improved during all 4-H events.   



  1. Members may compete for High Point awards during the 4-H Fair. These awards are as follows:

Contesting Sr. Division Horse

Contesting Intermediate Horse

Contesting Jr. Division Horse

Contesting Sr. Division Pony

Contesting Intermediate Pony

Contesting Jr. Division Pony

Pleasure Sr. Division Horse

Pleasure Intermediate Horse

Pleasure Jr. Division Horse

Pleasure Sr. Division Pony

Pleasure Intermediate Pony

Pleasure Jr. Division Pony

  1. The scale used to calculate the scores will be:

            1st – 6 points / 2nd – 5 points / 3rd – 4 points / 4th – 3 points / 5th – 2 points. This point scale will be used regardless of how many entries are in the class.

  1. All participants receive 1 point for exhibiting in the class. (Refer to 4-H Fair Show Bill to see designated High Point classes.)
  2. Ties are broken by the number of 1st places in eligible classes. If a tie remains after the number of 1st places are considered, the number of 2nd places will be used as the tie breaker.  This will continue until the tie can be broken.




The Michael Brindle Award is presented in honor of Michael Brindle whom unexpectedly passed away in January of 2012.  Michael was a 10 year 4-H Horse & Pony member as well as a participant in 4-H Archery and Shooting Sports.  While in Horse & Pony, Michael had a passion for Showmanship and helping others.  It was not always about winning for Michael.  In fact, during his last four years of 4-H, he exhibited a horseless project rather than showing an animal at the fair.  That, however, never stopped him from volunteering wherever he could, especially behind the microphone.  Michael became known as the “Voice of Wells County 4-H Horse & Pony” as he loved to announce and provide entertainment with his endless trivia questions.  This award, while it may not always be given every year, is presented by Michael’s family in honor of his dedication and hard work for the club.  The recipient of this award can be either a member or an adult who demonstrates passion and dedication to the 4-H Horse & Pony club. 



A 5x7 plaque should be presented to all 4-H members who were enrolled and completed ten years in the horse & pony club.

Listed below are the approved areas for Horse & Pony members to ride their horse. People walking and vehicles become a concern during the fair. It is also important that an adult can monitor the rider in the event of an accident. Click on "4-H Park Riding Areas" below for diagrams.


For more information, visit the Wells County 4-H Horse and Pony website, or the  Horse Project Page of the Indiana State 4-H Website.

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