State Horse Expo
Grand Island, Nebraska
July 13-17, 2024
The Fonner Park State 4-H Horse Expo hosts both the State 4-H Hippology Contest and the State 4-H Horse Judging Contests. These contests are designed to provide youth an opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have developed in their 4-H project in a competitive setting. The contests are held as qualifiers for corresponding national and multi-state contests, as well.
Due to schedule limitations, youth are only able to participate in one of the two contests.
The entry process for these contests is done at the same time as the State 4-H Horse Show entry process. Individual youth or teams interested in participating in the State 4-H Hippology Contest or the State 4-H Horse Judging Contest must sign up online through Showorks (same as State Horse Show entry process). All potential team members and alternates must be listed on the contest entry form. No additional team members can be added the day of the contest. Counties may enter multiple teams. All team members must be from adjacent counties. Please use a separate entry form for each team. Entry fees are $10 per contestant. Online entry form deadline will be no later than June 1st.
Rules & Regulations
State 4-H Hippology Contest
The primary objective of the 4-H Hippology Contests is to provide an opportunity for youth enrolled in 4-H horse projects to demonstrate their knowledge of equine-related subject matter in a competitive setting where attitudes of friendliness and fairness prevail. These contests will provide an educational experience for both participants and spectators.
- Junior: 10-13 years of age as of January 1 of the current year.(1-2 contestants)
- Senior: 14-18 years of age as of January 1 of the current year. (3-4 contestants)
- See General Contest Rules to determine the number of teams each county may enter at the State Contest.
- Contestants must be enrolled in the 4-H horse project in the county they represent.
- Nebraska 4-H Horse Show dress code required. Exception - no hats or head gear permitted.
- At the Fonner Park State 4-H Expo, an individual may compete in either the Judging or Hippology, not both.
- Contestants must not have participated in any post secondary (university, college, junior college, or technical school) competitive hippology contest. Neither can a contestant be a member of a post secondary team undergoing training in preparation for such an event.
- Youth who previously represented Nebraska at a national contest in the hippology contest area is not eligible for further participation at the state level.
- The winning team will have first choice of the contest they wish to compete in; reserve team will also be allowed to represent Nebraska at a different contest. Financial support for these teams will be supplied through the State 4-H Office.
Phases & Locations
- Examination Phase - Saturday
- Station Phase - Saturday
- Team Problem - Senior Division only - Saturday
- Judging Phase (Thompson Arena) - Sunday
Members may work on the exam and station phases as a team. Judging phase and questions will be done independently. Discussion within team members is NOT allowed. Each contestant will turn in a separate judging placing and question answers, scores will be averaged.
Members will work independently on ALL phases (exam, stations, judging and judging questions) independently EXCEPT for team problem.
- Examination & Identification Phase - approximately 200 points - This phase of the contest will include: a written exam that may include breed, color, color pattern, activity, proper appointments, etc. anatomy which may include external, skeletal, internal organs, parts of gastrointestinal tract, male and female reproductive organs, detailed anatomy of the foot and detailed lower limbs. Projected slides to be identified as to breed, color, color pattern, activity, proper appointments, etc. Anatomy which may include external, skeleton, internal organs, partos of the gastrointestinal tract, male and female reproductive organs, detailed anatoy of the foot and detialed lower limbs.
- Station Phase - approximately 200 points - This phase will consist of a series of stations or tables where at each, all contestants will respond to the requirements of the station. Members will be allowed 2.5 minutes at each station. Examples of stations which may be used include, but are not limited to:
- Identification of: Various types of saddles (actual or pictured) and parts of saddles
- Tack, bits, bridles, horseshoes, parts of shoes, restraints, ropes and knots
- Tools and equipment, and assembly of specific parts of various pieces of equipment
- Grains and forages used in equine rations including various forms or methods of preparation
- Internal and external parasites based on actual samples, pictures, life cycle charts and/or damage caused
- Blemishes and unsoundnesses
- Ages of equines based on teeth
- Use of pulse rate, respiration rate, temperature, dehydration, anemia, etc., to assess horse health
- Measurements such as, but not limited to, wither height, shoe size, girth, collar size, gullet width, seat length of saddle, etc. may be required
- Judging Phase - 200 points - Contestants will be required to place at least two (2) conformation classes and at least two (2) performance classes. Questions will be asked on 1 halter and 1 performance class. No oral reasons will be given. Every effort will be made to use the same horses as are being used in the judging contest, with placing to be simultaneous with contestants in the judging contest, with the same official placings and cuts as apply to the judging contest. In extreme emergencies, pictorial, video, and/or movie classes may be used, in which case they would be specially prepared for the event.
- Team Problem - Senior Division only - 200 points - All teams will be presented with the same problem(s). Each team will have equal time to discuss the problem among themselves, immediately after which they will have to present an oral solution or series of suggested procedures relative to the problem. Teams will have up to 10 mins to present. Each member of each team is encouraged to contribute to the oral presentation. Evaluation will be based on the understanding of the problem, completeness of the response, the probability of success of the solution or procedures, and the logic used in making the oral response. If notes are used during the team problem, the highest score that may be received is 25 points of the possible 50 points for that problem. If teams go over the 10-minute time limit, there will be a penalty of three points per minute over time. The official may ask questions of any or all of the team members to clarify the presentation. If notes are used during the team problem, the highest score that may be received is 25 points of the possible 50 points for that problem. If teams go over the 10-minute time limit, there will be a penalty of three points per minute over time. Examples of the possible team problems might include but are not limited to:
- Balancing a horse's ration
- Farm management recommendations for specific horse operations (i.e. breeding, training, boarding, nursery, lay-up, etc.)
- Considerations for the establishment of a new horse facility (stable to be used for a specific purpose)
- Training and conditioning programs - equipment, schedules, methods, nutrition, problem avoidance
- Teaching lessons in horse management (specific subject to be announced) to a group of 9 - 11-year-old beginner 4-Her's: where, how long, how much information, hands-on experiences, reinforcement, testing evaluation, will be considered
- Explanation of use or assembly of specific equipment
- Demonstrate skill or ability to use specific equipment
- Breeding and/or leasing contracts - specific clauses for insurance, liability, payments, care, termination, transport, etc.
- Behavior problems - causes, management of and corrections
- Recommendations for selecting, locating, and purchasing horses for specific uses
All ties overall, individual and team, will be broken using the following sequence:
- Examination scores
- Station Scores
- Judging Scores
Ties within any phase are to be broken using the overall first and then the same sequence as above. If further tie-breaking is needed, the scores at each station, in order, may be used.
All ties overall, individual and team, will be broken using the following sequence: Examination scores, Identification scores, Station scores, then Judging scores. Ties within any phase are to be broken using the overall score first and then the same sequence as above. If further tie-breaking is needed, the scores at each station, in order, may be used.
Placings will be presented to all teams based on points. The top team will receive a Champion plaque and purple ribbons; the second place team a Reserve Champion plaque/trophy and purple ribbons. All other teams will be presented with ribbons according to points earned.
The highest-placing purple ribbon team, in which all members and alternates are at least 14 years of age or older, will qualify as the Nebraska representative to the designated national or multi-state event. All national events presently require team members to be 14 years of age or older to participate. For more information, visit 4-H Horse Program National Contests & Eligibility.
- Individuals competing in the hippology contest should come prepared with a #2 pencil for all phases of the contest.
- Individuals should have a notebook for the judging portion of the contest.
- (NEMP) 4-H Horse Project Member Manual
- (4H373) 2023 Nebraska 4-H Horse Show & Judging Guide
- (AQHA) AQHA Rulebook: 2022 70th edition
- (HIH) Horse Industry Handbook and updates - American Youth Horse Council; Web: http://www.ayhc.com/shop (2021 updates will be included)
- Sample questions are available through: the University of Kentucky Horsebowl Questions Oklahoma State University HorseSmarts CD
- (IDET) Illustrated Dictionary of Equine Terms by New Horizons Equine Education Center
- (Lewis) Feeding and Care of the Horse by Lon Lewis Williams and Wilkins. Second Edition
- (Parker) Equine Science by Rick Parker. Fifth Edition
- (HS) Horse Smarts & updates - American Youth Horse Council (2021 updates will be included)
- Grains, forages, and feed preparations used in this contest will be representative of feeds utilized in horse rations.
State 4-H Horse Judging Contest
The primary objective of the 4-H Horse Judging Contests is to provide an opportunity for youth enrolled in 4-H horse projects to demonstrate their knowledge of equine-related subject matter in a competitive setting where attitudes of friendliness and fairness prevail. These contests will provide an educational experience for both participants and spectators.
- Junior: 10-13 years of age as of January 1 of the current year
- Senior: 14-18 years of age as of January 1 of the current year
- Contestants must be enrolled in the 4-H horse project in the county or EPU they represent.
- At the Fonner Park State 4-H Expo, an individual may compete in either Horse Judging or Hippology, NOT both.
- Each team consists of 3 to 4 members. Please refer to General Contest Rules to determine how many teams each county is eligible to send.
- Nebraska 4-H Horse Show dress code required. Exception-no hats or head gear permitted.
- Contestants must not have participated in any post secondary (university, college, junior college, or technical school) competitive horse judging contest. Neither can a contestant be a member of a post secondary team undergoing training in preparation for such an event.
- Youth who previously represented Nebraska at a national contest in the Horse Judging Contest is not eligible for further participation at the state level.
- A team may have 3 or 4 members. When 4 are entered, the 3 highest overall scores will make up the team totals.
- Contestants will be assigned to one of four groups, and will remain with that group throughout the entire contest.
- While the contest is in progress, there shall be no conferring between the contestants, or between contestants and anyone else except as authorized by the contest superintendent or their representatives.
- Four halter classes and four performance classes will be judged. Contestants will give oral reasons on two of the halter classes. All halter classes will be judged as sound of limb, eye, wind and mouth. Contestants will give oral reasons on two of the performance classes.
- Performance horses will be judged as seen (unsoundness to be penalized accordingly).
- The animals and showmen will be designated by numbers 1-2-3-4 and numbered from left to right as viewed from the rear.
- Horses will not be handled by the contestants, but time will be provided in halter classes for close inspection and to observe the horses at a walk and trot.
- Approximately 15 minutes will be allowed contestants to judge the classes, make observations, take notes, and fill out their cards.
- Contestants will be allowed two minutes to give their oral reasons to the judge. Contestants are not permitted to use notes while giving reasons. Contestants' placing cards will not be offered to them during their oral reasons.
- All tack and riders' attire will be considered legal. The judges shall place the classes while the contestants are working in the arena. The judges shall enter their placings on the official placing card, determine the cuts on the classes, and turn the card in so tabulations can begin while the contest is in progress. Contestants will give their oral reasons at the completion of the judging portion of the contest. At the completion of oral reasons, the judges will give the official placings, cuts, and explanations on all eight classes judged.
- Awards will be presented in Thompson Arena at approximately 6:00 p.m. Sunday.
Fifty (50) points shall constitute a perfect score on placing, and fifty (50) points shall constitute a perfect score on reasons.
Zero scores will be assigned in the following instances:
- Unmarked card
- double marked card
- unidentified card
- failure to turn in a card
Priority order for breaking ties:
- If tied for a division award in Halter or Performance, the contestant or team having the highest reason score in that division will be listed first.
- If tied for an award in reasons, the contestant or team having the highest placing score on the reasons classes will be listed first.
- If tied for individual or team overall award, the contestant or team having the highest overall reason score shall be listed first.
- If still tied for either (a) or (c) above, the contestant or team having the highest score in placing reason classes shall be listed first.
- If still tied, the contestant or team with the highest overall placing score will be listed first.
- If still tied, the contestant or team with the highest single class reasons score will be listed first.
- If contestants are still tied from above, the youngest contestant or team shall be listed first.
Description of Cuts
Cuts, as specified in the NHJTCA Handbook:
- Horses are extremely similar; no obvious reason why one should be place over the other; or both horses have numerous faults, and none supersedes the others; placing is strictly a matter of personal preference; placing varies among offical judges.
- Horses are very close, but no one horse has one or two qualitative or quantitative advantages; the majority of offical judges would not switch the pair, but half of the contestants could logically switch the pair.
- Horses are of unequal quality, but there is a logical placing in favor of one horse; eithe rone horse has several faults or several advantages; all offical judges would agree on the placing; no more than one third of contestants would be expected to switch the pair.
- Horses are not of similar quality; one horse has several decided advantages based on many points; all experts would quickly see the placing; no guesswork or personal preference required to make the placing; no more than 10% of contestants would be expected to switch the pair.
- Large number of extreme differences between the horses; placing is obvious to everyone on first, quick observtion; careful study not required for the placing; pair consists of an inferior horse vs. a consistent winner; only very inexperienced, uninformed contestants, would switch the pair.
- Horse not even comparable; difference reflective of a champion quality horse or performance vs. a horse or performance that is not of show quality.
- Largest cuts; differencees relfective of a world-class halter horse vs. an extremely poor quality or lame horse; or a world- class performance vs. a disqualified performance.
The highest placing purple ribbon senior team in which all members and alternates are 14 years of age and older will qualify as the Nebraska representative to the designated national or multi-state event. For more information, visit 4-H Horse Program National Contest & Eligibility.
Alternates will be eligible for individual award.