Nebraska 4-H Horse Program

Advisory Committee

The Nebraska 4-H Horse Advisory Committee serves as a group of representatives who provide guidance, solicit support, and assist in carrying out program activities in the interest of the 4-H youth development and horse program. This committee is made up of 4-H volunteer leaders and Extension personnel who are interested in promoting positive youth development and the 4-H horse program. Their input, fundraising and interaction help 4-H to provide the needed educational programs for the Nebraska 4-H Horse Program. Advisory members should act in the overall best interest of all young people and are expected to regularly attend meetings and subcommittee meetings, volunteer at State 4-H Horse events and activities and support the final recommendation and decision of the 4-H Horse Advisory Committee. The Nebraska 4-H Horse Advisory Committee operates to provide advice and support to the Youth Extension Horse Specialist, Dr. Lena Luck and Extension Assistant, Grace McCarthy.

Current Members

Lena Luck, Equine Specialist, State Office

Ashley Benes,  State Office

Melissa Mracek, Extension Educator, Engagement Zone 1

TL Meyer, Extension Educator, Engagement Zone 2

Cecelia Harshfield, leader, Engagement Zone 3

Kari Valentine, Parent, Engagement Zone 6

Cindy Wolverton, Extension Assistant, Engagement Zone 7

Shelby Sanford-Bakenhus, Trainer, Engagement Zone 7

Ann Gillentine, Leader,  Engagement Zone 8

Kate Pulec, Extension Assistant, Engagement Zone 9

Katie Krause, Extension Assistant, Engagement Zone 9

Teresa Brandt, Leader/Trainer, Engagement Zone 9

Grace McCarthy, Volunteer, Engagement Zone 9

Jessica Shipley, Parent, Engagement Zone 10



Community Engagement

Develop relationships and engage community partnerships to benefit the 4-H horse program.



Secure resources to benefit the 4-H horse program.



Establish and support policy.



Advocate for youth and Nebraska Extension.


Volunteer Recruitment

Recruit volunteers to support the program.


Committees support effective and efficient use of time and resources and provide opportunities for expanded youth development.

Sponsorship & Fundraising committee

This committee's job is not simply to raise money but is responsible for maintaining healthy relationships with our donors, shareholders, and 4-H families that donate.

Recommended 5 people to the committee.


  • Establishing fundraising plans and budgets for each of the state contests.
  • Coordinating and overseeing fundraising efforts.

Awards & Apparel committee

This committee's job is to provide fun, creative, and cost-effective ways to provide youth awards (ribbons, trophies, etc.) and apparel to be available to youth.

Recommended 3 people to the committee.


  • Designing, ordering, and organizing awards and apparel for the state contests.
  • Maintaining budgets.

Rule Book committee

This committee's job is to update the Nebraska 4-H Horse Show and Judging Guide every two years.


  • Listening to 4-H clientele and shareholders about suggestions to the rule book.
  • Researching other 4-H state horse programs.
  • Proposing changes to the larger Horse Advisory Committee
  • Reviewing the rule book before final submission.
  • Must serve on an additional committee as rulebook updates are every 2 years

Youth Activity committee

This committee's job is to provide educational, fun, and cost-effective ways to provide youth activities during contests or educational activities to further their learning.

Recommended 3 people to the committee.


  • Organizing and planning the Family Fun Night at the State Horse Show.
  • working with the Grand Island Visitors Bureau on youth activity opportunities at the State Horse Show.
  • Establishing new programming opportunities for youth.
  • Enhancing existing programming opportunities for youth.

Volunteer Relations committee

This committee's job is to build a volunteer base that is willing to help and support the equine horse program.

Recommended 3 people to the committee.


  • Reaching out to potential volunteers
  • Working with superintendents to fill volunteer positions
  • Communicating with volunteers
  • Collaborating with Awards & Fundraising committees on volunteer appreciation strategies and tactics

Committee Chair Duties

Chairs are expected to guide their committees to develop necessary work plans and meeting agendas. Chairs should report to the Horse Advisory Committee on decisions and the committee's work, guide the committee in proposing new activities and services that will further the mission and goals of the 4-H Horse program. Chairs should be proficient in Microsoft Teams, Google docs, Outlook Mail, and Excel.


All 4-H leaders, parents, and trainers regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status are eligible for membership on this committee.


  • Follow the 4-H volunteer code of conduct
  • Attend and participate in 75% of committee meetings in a calendar year (Zoom or in-person)
  • Be fair, open, and respectful to others
  • Strive to appreciate differences in approach and point of view, whether from each other and/or the community
  • Accept decisions of the majority and defend the committee's decisions to the community
  • Become acquainted with the State 4-H programs and the ways they best serve youth
  • Have an understanding of youth needs and issues
  • Open to reaching youth through a variety of programming structures
  • Serve on sub-committees
  • Be an advocate for the 4-H Horse program
  • Complete commitments in a timely fashion
  • Volunteer at a minimum of one State 4-H Horse event each year (Stampede, District Horse Show, State Horse Show, 4-H Rodeo)

Length of Membership

4-H leaders, parents, and trainers can serve up to a 3-year term on the committee before being rotated off with other prospective members to bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm for a strong youth program. A member may succeed him/herself before the maximum term but not exceed it. Extension personnel are not limited to the 3-year term due to the limited number of equine personnel in the organization (the term is unlimited until personnel would like to resign).

Time Commitment

The Nebraska 4-H Horse Advisory Committee meets an estimated 4 times a year (1 in person, all day meeting). It is expected that members are also a part of sub-committees that may meet at a higher frequency apart from the main committee (for example- a sub-committee may meet once a month). Other expectations of members are to volunteer at a minimum of one State Horse Contest (Stampede, State Horse Show, and 4-H Rodeo).

Interested in Joining?

Applications are accepted from September 1st to September 30th, 2023 by 5:00 PM CT. New committee members are selected based on location, skills, and reasoning to be on the committee. Those selected will be contacted directly.

Apply now!

For questions about this program or the information on this page, please contact: