SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Members of The New York State 4-H Advanced Equine Program enjoyed an immersive industry experience in Saratoga County. The NYS 4-H Advanced Equine Program was developed in 2021 to fill the gap between young adults and equine industry professionals. New York serves as a hub for the horse community, as home to the Saratoga Race Course, a prominent horsing racing track. The NYS 4-H Horse Program encourages both understanding and knowledge of the equine industry, as well as leadership and personal development through once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and intends to grow the Advanced Equine Program to best serve our youth and equine community.
From August 10th-12th, the members of the Advanced Equine Program engaged with equine professionals in Saratoga County. Participants practiced with a polo mallet at Bloomfield Farm Polo and toured the Equine Clinic of Saratoga, an emergency equine vet clinic. The ambassadors also visited Sugar Plum Farm, a thoroughbred breeding farm, and explored the Fasig Tipton auction facility. They caught a glimpse of the Budweiser Clydesdales and watched a demonstration by professional horse trainer Molly Alger.
To conclude their visit to Saratoga, members joined the Amplify Horse Racing tours. Amplify Horse Racing, out of Kentucky, offers the most insightful, thorough, and authentic tours of both the back stretch and the racing side. Trainers, such as Bob Atras, opened their barns to discuss the racing industry, while turf management leads discussed unique career opportunities offered by the equine industry. A visit to the silk room and owners paddock gave youth an experience they will never forget. Additionally, the National Racing Museum opened their doors for participants to eat lunch and enjoy their spectacular film, highlighting the magic and beauty these horses offer to our lives.
The NYS Advanced Equine Program is sponsored by the NYS Agriculture Breeding and Development Fund and by the American Youth Horse Council. The program’s mission is to connect 4-H youth with equine interest to the equine industries in NYS. Participants are expected to join monthly zoom meetings with equine professionals, work independently on monthly projects, and attend an end-of-the-year trip. Our goal is to make this program completely free for all participants in the future.
In addition to the NYS 4-H Advanced Equine Program, NYS 4-H Horse Program offers a variety of opportunities for youth, including education-based and competition-structured programs. Educational opportunities include Horse Quiz Bowl, Horse Communications, Horse Judging, and Hippology, as well as horse showmanship opportunities in various competitions such as Gymkhana and Dressage, just to name a few. These programs give youth opportunities to develop valuable life skills, increase confidence, and make valuable lifelong friendships and connections with each other and industry professionals. Youth interested in participating in 4-H horse events get the opportunity to learn horsemanship and equine science, not just riding and showing skills.
For more information on NYS 4-H Horse programming, email Brieanna at email@example.com or at (518) 885-8995.
–Cornell Cooperative Extension Saratoga County