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girl riding a horse No matter what your interest in horses may be, there is something for everyone in the 4-H horse program! Youth involved in the 4-H horse program area learn responsibility and commitment to a project. The time invested in caring for, riding and training horses improves the quality of life for youth while at the same time teaching life and work skills such as time management, record keeping, problem solving, goal setting and many others.

Members do not need to own a horse to participate in the 4-H horse program. 4-H members will learn about horses at their local 4-H club meetings as well as at state 4-H horse workshops and events. In addition, 4-H members have fun competing in educational contests at the county, state and even national level. While 4-H is not a riding instruction program, members do sometimes ride horses as part of 4-H their activities and 4-H does sponsor horse shows.

For more information, contact your local 4-H office.

Horse Chat - What the Program has to Offer to Leaders & Members


Contests Rules & Resources

The Horse Bowl, Hippology and Horse Judging contests are held each year at both the local and state levels.  Each county or region holds these competitions in the fall or winter to select  both a junior and senior team to compete at State 4-H Horse Round Up, usually held in April.  Once selected the county teams study and practice to prepare for state competition.  Senior age 4-H members, ages 14-18, compete for one of the four slots on the State Horse Bowl, Hippology or Horse Judging team.  These state teams will represent the Massachusetts 4-H Horse Program at the Eastern National 4-H Horse Round Up in Louisville, Kentucky in November.  In addition to Horse Bowl, Hippology and Horse Judging, a Communications team is also selected at the State Visual Presentation Day.  The cost of the trip to Kentucky is funded in large part by the Massachusetts 4-H Foundation.


Horse Bowl

Horse Judging

MA 4-H Horse Roundup

Watch for 2024 dates!



Team Coach and Assistant Coach Application



Horse Show & Health Regulations

4-H members are able to exhibit their riding skills at local and state 4-H Horse Shows.


State 4-H Horse Show

2023 State 4-H Horse Show Entry Book

2023 State 4-H Show Pattern Book - 6.21.23


The Regional 4-H Horse Show

September 9 & 10, 2023 Three County Fairgrounds, Northampton         Entry Information on the website


Franklin County 4-H Horse Show

2023 Franklin County Horse Show Entry Book


Norfolk County 4-H Horse Show

Watch for details on the 2023 Show!


Big E - New England 4-H Horse Show

 Watch for the packet on the Big E site - coming soon!     

** The Eastern States Exposition is requiring all equines entering the grounds to have a Health Certificate dated within 30 days and proof of vaccination for EHV-1.** A youth applying to the New England 4-H Horse Show (Big E) needs to have on file by May 1st of the current year a Verification Form. Youth exhibiting a horse, must be 13 years old as of January 1st current year and a junior leader must be 12 years old as of January 1st current year.



       2023 MA Animal Health Rules for Fairs

       2023 New England Animal Health Rules for Fairs


Massachusetts 4-H Horse Program Policies and Forms

All volunteers running 4-H horse shows must comply with 4-H policy and procedures. 

2022 New England 4-H Horse Show Rulebook

MA Addendum to NE Horse Show Rule Book May 2022 rev

2020 NE Bit Guidelines and Rules

Policy for Offering 4-H Classes at Open Horse Shows

Release Statement for 4-H Horse Shows

Horse Program Insurance Requirement

MA 4-H Horse Verification Form - To be completed by April 10th if you plan on showing at the New England 4-H Horse Show

Horse Show Stewards Report
     Must be filled out after every 4-H Horse Show and filed with Carrie Chickering-Sears

Other Resources

2023 NE 4-H Judges List

Horse Show Planning Guide

4-H Fitting and Showmanship Manual

Biosecurity for Horses

4-H Fair and Animal Show Safety Guidelines


Horse Advisory Council

Membership for State Horse Advisory Council (HAC)

The membership list is updated each year at the Annual meeting held in January. If you are interested in representing your county at the State Horse Advisory Council meetings, please speak with your county educator.

2022-2023 State Horse Advisory Council Representatives

  • Barnstable: Jennifer Lewis
  • Berkshire: Open 
  • Bristol: Nick Barishian, Chesley Chmura
  • Essex: Nancy McCarthy
  • Franklin: Arthur Martin
  • Hampden: Penny Blomgren, Brie-Anna Massoni
  • Hampshire: Anne Blizniak, Carolyn Ritter
  • Middlesex: Suzanne Ferris, Lanea Tripp, Darlene Welch
  • Norfolk: Shari Ackerman-Morris, Nora Reardon
  • Plymouth: Priscilla Chandler, Molly Vollmer
  • Worcester: Karla Barrows
  • 4-H Staff:  Carrie Chickering-Sears


Meeting Dates for State HAC

  ** Meetings are held either by Zoom at 7:00 pm or in-person at a site to be announced prior to the meeting. 


2023 Dates

May 17, 7:00pm Zoom


For further information, please contact:

Carrie Chickering-Sears
State 4-H Animal Specialist
University of Massachusetts Amherst 
100 Venture Way, Suite 334
Hadley, MA 01035-9462