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Vermont 4-H Sends Delegation to National Horse Symposium

Several Vermont 4-H leaders and teens attended the 36th annual American Youth Horse Council Symposium in Connecticut, April 12-14. They included: Back row (from left): Andrea Scott, Milton; Nancy Jenny, Essex Junction; Mary Fay, Westford; Bethany Demuynck, Underhill; Cathy Leathersich, Underhill; June Banks, Richmond; Bridget Webber, East Burke; Julie Webber, East Burke; Marsha Cloutier, Barton; David Gringeri, West Haven. Front row (from left): Jen Carp, Colchester; Kaelyn Jenny, Essex Junction; Kyle Scott, Milton; Morgan Quimby, Underhill; Deb Danforth, Castelton; Kristin Quimby, Underhill; Lori Tumpowski, West Haven. (photo courtesy of UVM Extension 4-H)

Burlington--Several state 4-H leaders and teens recently returned from the American Youth Horse Council (AYHC) Symposium in Connecticut, an annual event that brings together youths and youth group leaders with an interest in everything equine for three days of presentations and horse-related activities. For two Vermont 4-H'ers, it also meant a chance to shine in a national hippology contest.

The symposium was held April 12-14 at the Hartford/Windsor Marriott Airport Hotel in Windsor and the University of Connecticut (UConn) equine facilities in Storrs. More than 50 teens from across the country representing 4-H, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Future Farmers of America, National High School Rodeo and other youth organizations participated.

They discussed animal first aid, cowboy ethics and horse judging in breakout sessions as well as watched demonstrations on dressage, competitive trail riding and the versatility of Morgan Horses. In addition they learned about body condition scoring and participated in equestrian Olympics and a Horse Smarts Roundup.

In the latter event, the teens were asked to identify horse-related items such as equipment, forages and parts of the horse, earning points for every correct answer. Jen Carp of Colchester placed second overall, only one point behind the winner, and received a $150 cash prize. Bethany Demuynck of Underhill took third and won $100. Both teens are members of the Whispering Pines 4-H Club in Jericho, led by Mary Fay, a long-time 4-H leader.

Other Vermont 4-H'ers who attended the symposium were Kaelyn Jenny, Essex Junction; David Gringeri, West Haven; Morgan Quimby, Underhill; Kyle Scott, Milton and Bridgett Webber, West Burke. They are among the more than 600 young people enrolled in the University of Vermont Extension 4-H horse project.

Adult 4-H leaders and volunteers included June Banks, Richmond; Marsha Cloutier, Barton; Deb Danforth, Castleton; Mary Fay, Westford; Nancy Jenny, Essex Junction; Cathy Leathersich, Underhill; Kristin Quimby, Underhill; Andrea Scott, Milton; Lori Tumpowski, West Haven and Julie Webber, West Burke. They participated in sessions on teaching and learning theories in horse riding instruction, being a horse show parent, feed management, communications in difficult situations and the pitfalls and rewards of live animal events, among other topics.

Prior to the event the Vermont delegation toured Lionshare Farm in Greenwich, the home of Peter Leone, a silver medalist in the 1996 Olympics, and Whitney Ridge in Higganum, an equestrian facility that specializes in training and showing American Quarter Horses. They also visited High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center in Old Lyme, a therapeutic riding center.

UConn hosted the AYHC Symposium, now in its 36th year. The 2014 symposium is planned for Minneapolis, Minn.

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