University of Vermont

Communications team Chosen for National 4-H Horse Event

At the State 4-H Horse Communications Contest, June 2 in Middlebury, four Vermont 4-H'ers earned a spot on the state horse communications team that will compete nationally. They are (left to right): Samantha Blackmore, Charlotte; Ella Haire, Hinesburg; Olivia Suker, Shrewsbury; and Elyza Bird, Benson. (photo: Wendy Sorrell/UVM Extension 4-H)

Middlebury--Four 4-H teens "talked" their way into a spot on the communications team that will represent Vermont in national competition. 

To try out for the team that will compete at the Eastern National 4-H Horse Round Up in Louisville, Kentucky, this November, the 4-H'ers were asked to prepare a team or individual demonstration or a speech to present at the State 4-H Horse Communications Contest. The competition, open to all Vermont 4-H club members ages 14 to 18, was held June 2 at the University of Vermont Extension office in Middlebury. 

The team is comprised of the first-place winners in each of the three categories. Taking first place in individual demonstration was Elyza Bird of Benson, a member of the Horsepower 4-H Club of Castleton. In her presentation, "Totally Ticked Off!," she described diseases that ticks can inflict on horses and how to keep horses safe from ticks. Demonstrations were nine to 12 minutes long with the 4-H'ers required to use charts, posters or other props. 

Shrewsbury 4-H'er Olivia Suker, also a member of the Horsepower 4-H Club, finished first in public speaking with her talk, "For the Love of Horses." In this contest, the presenters were required to give a seven- to 10-minute speech on an equine-related topic without using any props. 

In an unusual turn of events, there were no contestants in the team demonstration category, so the second and third-place winners in public speaking will make up this team and will work together to develop a 10- to 15-minute demonstration for the national competition. They are Ella Haire, Hinesburg, and Samantha Blackmore, Charlotte, both members of the Midnight Riders 4-H Club of Hinesburg. 

Ella, who placed second in public speaking, gave a talk entitled "Vallegro, The Dancing Horse." Third-place winner Sammie spoke about "The Cinderella Horse." 

For more information about the Vermont 4-H horse program, contact Wendy Sorrell, UVM Extension 4-H livestock educator, at (802) 651-8343, ext. 513, or