State Events

Horse School

The program was developed to:

  • Provide continuity and standardize educational information
  • Support volunteer leader efforts
  • Help train junior 4-H leaders
  • Strengthen the educational value of county or club 4-H Horse project opportunities.

Since the beginning the schools have been based on the philosophy of education in a hands-on, learn by doing environment. Participants are able to utilize lengthy riding sessions supported by line demonstrations of pertinent subject matter.

The available facilities provide a unique opportunity for the youth, parents, leaders, and instructors to be close together and concentrate on horses and horsemanship for one week. Everyone stays and eats at the youth hall dormitory at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds. There are three outdoor arenas and two indoor arenas, plus over two hundred stalls. This allows the school to do riding at night. Staying together and working close together builds a comradeship among the youth, leaders, and instructors. With the number of arenas available, the number of students per instructor is small. The school also offers adult only groups (if instructors and time allow).

When the students are not riding, they are required to attend workshops. These workshops not only cover equine related subjects, but fun topics as well, such as a western dance workshop. The school is self-supporting and there is a continuous effort to keep the cost low so the school will be available for any youth in New Mexico.

The core of the school is the instructors. Each year very competent horse people volunteer their time in order to spend a week at horse school sharing their knowledge and expertise with youth. There has continually been a waiting list to be an instructor at school.

Potential instructors are closely screened. A potential instructor not only must be a knowledgeable horse person, but also must relate to youth in a positive, enthusiastic manner.

While the focus of Horse School is horsemanship, the total program continues to target statewide issues of: (1) developing youth potential and (2) quality of life for New Mexico citizens, thereby addressing state initiatives such as leadership development, strengthening family relationships, and life skills for 4-H members. The school challenges youth, promotes enthusiasm, builds competence and confidence, and helps validate the ongoing efforts of volunteer leaders.