FREEHOLD, NJ - Four (4) 4-H horse club members will represent Monmouth County at the New Jersey State 4-H Hippology & Horse Judging Contests on April 22-23 at the Somerset County Environmental Education Center and Lord Stirling Stables in Basking Ridge. Seventy-six (76) 4-H horse club members from 12 counties (Atlantic, Burlington, Cumberland, Hunterdon, Gloucester, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, and Warren) will be competing in the two day event.

The New Jersey 4-H Hippology Project is a unique and challenging aspect of the 4-H Horse Program. This educational project allows 4-H'ers to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have acquired in the Horse Bowl and Horse Judging Projects as well as their competency in practical horse management.

Hippology combines horse judging, the technical knowledge learned in horse bowl, and the practical application of various horse related skills. 4-H members put their knowledge to use as they complete an examination phase, a station phase that includes identifying horse-related items, a judging phase, and a team problems phase that emphasizes teamwork and planning.

The State Competition uses four different phases (horse judging, examinations, stations and team problems) in which the 4-Hers express their equine learning through written quizzes, oral presentations and hands-on stations.

The 4-H Horse Judging Project provides youth with a wonderful opportunity to develop and/or improve their ability to envision the ideal horse and acknowledge undesirable characteristics associated with judging horses. This project also provides 4-H'ers with the opportunity to excel and be recognized for skills (such as verbal communication and deductive reasoning) which are not dependent upon a live horse project.

In horse judging, 4-H members make a careful study of animals measuring them individually against a commonly accepted ideal. 4-H members learn to look at a group of four horses (a class) and compare the balance and type, as well as the correctness of the structures of the horses. Generally, 4-H members also have an opportunity to give oral reasons for why they rated the classes the way they did. 4-H members who participate in horse judging become keen observers, poised and confident speakers, and learn that doing their best is a positive contribution to the team.

The following individuals comprise the Junior Division (grades 4-8) team, Shawn Hill of Freehold; Jacqueline Tanzi of Howell; Gianna Tanzi of Howell; and Emily O’ Connor of Manalapan.

The 4-H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. 4-H offers educational programs to all youth, grades K-13 (one year out of high school), on an age appropriate basis, without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability. For more information about the Monmouth County 4-H Program call the 4-H office at 732-431-7260 x7264 or visit the New Jersey 4-H website at