Riders Hone Skills at Weekend Horse Clinic
- By Wendy M. Sorrell
Tunbridge--Twenty-six youths and nine adults spent the weekend of June 1-3 at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds to work on their riding skills and take part in equine-related activities and workshops.
The 2018 Orange County 4-H/Open Horse Clinic was sponsored by University of Vermont (UVM) Extension 4-H and the Orange County 4-H Foundation and open to riders of all abilities from age eight to adult. Coordinators were Allison Smith, Orange County 4-H educator, and Lorrie Churchill, Orange County 4-H Foundation president.
The theme for the weekend was horse breeds. Youth participants were required to create a poster or display for their stall featuring this theme, which was judged as part of stable management.
Participants were assigned to a group based on their level of riding experience with the intermediate English riders broken into two groups for lessons, given the large number at this level. Amy Wood of Woodstock, a former member of both the Stone Blossoms 4-H Club and the Upwey 4-H Club, instructed the English equestrians. Holly Weglarz of Hartland, also a former member of the Upwey 4-H Club, worked with the Western riders and the beginners, a combined group of Western and English riders.
Workshop topics were saddle fitting and bits with Mikayla Deiffenbach of Strafford Saddlery; farm safety and first aid with UVM Extension 4-H educators Lindy Birch and Martha Manning; and liberty training with Melissa Ellis, West Dover. In the latter workshop participants learned how to bond and communicate with their horse to build trust for more effective training.
The youths also had an opportunity to make rope halters under the direction of Suzanne Audette, South Royalton; horse-themed tie-dye shirts with Allison Smith; and stall signs with Angela Russell, Brookfield. Central Supplies of Randolph donated wood for the signs.
Several awards were presented at the conclusion of the clinic. They were:
EQUESTRIAN AWARDS (ENGLISH):
Determination (most resolve to master a skill or accomplish a goal): Intermediate 1--Harriet Shipman, Bridgewater; Intermediate 2--Jordan Bombard, Duxbury; Advanced--Lexi Orleans, Orwell
Best team (horse and rider): Intermediate 1--Zoe Chaves, Chester; Intermediate 2-- Chloe Moulton, Washington, and Juliette Savignac, Yantic, Connecticut; Advanced--Emily Russell, Brookfield
Most Improved: Intermediate 1--Aleece Hoyt, Bridgewater, and Chloe Moulton, Washington; Intermediate 2--Maxine Savard, Montpelier; Advanced--Olivia Campbell, Randolph
Best sportsmanship: Intermediate 1--Maryann Caron, Tunbridge; Intermediate 2--Victoria Hatt, East Lyme, Connecticut; Advanced-- Madeline Hatt, East Lyme, Connecticut, and Thomas Lamson, Randolph
EQUESTRIAN AWARDS (WESTERN):
Determination: Intermediate--Kaleb Thornton, South Royalton; Advanced--Peter Thornton, South Royalton
Best team (horse and rider): Intermediate--Olivia Hatt, East Lyme, Connecticut; Advanced--Emma Brown, Montpelier
Most Improved: Intermediate--Emily Oliver, Bethel; Advanced: no award given
Sportsmanship: Intermediate--Sarah Audette, South Royalton; Advanced--Greg Bachand, Randolph
EQUESTRIAN AWARDS (BEGINNERS):
Determination: Morgan Caron, Tunbridge (English)
Best team (horse and rider): Tessa Lambert, Randolph Center (Western)
Most Improved: Connor Bombard, Duxbury (Western)
Sportsmanship: Sarah Bascom, East Randolph (Western)
In addition, all youth participants were evaluated on stable management, which included general health and cleanliness of their horse, cleanliness of their stall, condition of tack and equipment, safety awareness and their equine knowledge. Awards were given to the individuals with the highest overall scores based on two separate evaluations during the clinic.
English: Beginner--Morgan Caron, Tunbridge; Intermediate--Juliette Savignac, Yantic, Connecticut; Advanced--Madeline Hatt, East Lyme, Connecticut
Western: Beginner--Sarah Bascomb, East Randolph; Intermediate--Emily Oliver, South Royalton; Advanced--Peter Thorton, South Royalton
Connor Bombard of Duxbury received the Extra Mile Award, which he earned for his helpful, conscientious attitude, especially in workshops and activities outside the ring and his overall willingness to lend a hand at the clinic.
Three participants were singled out for the Gold Star Award, given for cheerfulness, enthusiasm and positive disposition. Recipients were Sarah Bascom, East Randolph; Zoe Chaves, Chester; and Abigail Russell, Brookfield.
The clinic also included a potluck lunch, recognition ceremony and skills showcase in which all riders demonstrated their most improved skill as they navigated a course. Greg Banchard, assisted by Peter Thorton, gave a presentation on his foal, Dreamer, as part of his senior project at Randolph Technical Career Center.