Level III

Level III

The 4-H member qualifying for this level should know and be using the basics covered in previous levels. 4-H'ers should demonstrate horse-handling abilities that clearly show competence gained in the performance of advanced work. Horse response and willingness to the rider's commands will have bearing on judging. At this level, youth should understand the techniques of gaits, feeding, aging a horse, and disease factors. In order to pass Level III youth will need to complete the following Level III items:


Level III Demonstrations should be 10-20 minutes in length and focus on any of the points mentioned in the Skills Test or Study Guide. Suggested demonstration topics include:

  • Fitting, grooming, and conditioning a horse for show
  • Showing a horse at halter
  • Aids for movement of horse
  • Mounting, dismounting, and seat position
  • Use of hands
  • Hoof care for horses
  • Horseman's knots
  • Bits and how they work
  • Horse safety
  • Determining age of horse by teeth
  • Changing leads
  • Cues and training for various maneuvers such as forehand turn, pivot/turn on haunches, side passage back in circle
  • Horse health care including vaccinations, parasite control, disease, etc.
  • Foot-fall patterns for various gaits
  • Basic feeding management
  • Horse rations/what to feed, how much and when to feed

*A different demonstration must be done for each horsemanship level.

Written Report

Youth will need to complete a written report of at least two pages in length. The report should focus on how the horse responded to training in preparation for the Level III Skills Test. If any difficulties were encountered in any one or more of the maneuvers, youth should tell what they were and what was done to correct them. Written reports are due on or before the day of the riding portion of the Skill Test.

Feeds Chart

Youth will need to develop a table to demonstrate balancing a ration for their horse. Youth should list feeds available, amounts, requirements, nutrients lacking or oversupplied, and costs.

Health Care Paper

Youth will need to write a paper at least two pages in length about common parasites and diseases and how to control both. Youth should set up a disease and parasite prevention program with their veterinarian and summarize the program in the paper. Youth should include dates, vaccines, de-wormers, methods of administration, etc.

Written Examination

A written examination must be completed with a minimum grade of 80%. This examination is available through youth's local Extension office and/or club leader.

Skills Test

A Skills Test demonstrating the 4-H'ers proficiency of horsemanship, horse handling, horse gaits, and care must be completed. The 4-H must complete each and every portion of the Skills Test to pass Level III. Horses used in the Level III Skills Test should be at least three years of age. Youth will need to:

  • Demonstrate confidence and knowledge when working around horses
  • Display greater mastery of riding skills than given in Level II
  • Demonstrate riding ability at various gaits starting from a standstill
  • Explain cues for and demonstrate a simple change of leads in a figure 8
  • Complete a simple change of leads on a straightaway
  • Explain cues for and demonstrate a simple pivot/turn on the haunches, turning 180 degrees each direction
  • Explain cues for and demonstrate a forehand turn, turning 180 degrees each direction
  • Explain cues for and demonstrate a side passage, at least four steps in each direction
  • Explain cues for and demonstrate backing the horse in a circle
  • Explain cues for and demonstrate a flying change of leads in a figure 8
  • Display correct and safe mounting and dismounting procedures

Once an item has been passed, it need not be repeated. However, if a member fails to pass a section of the levels test, that item must be repeated (i.e., retake the written exam, or retake the entire Skills Test). Each item may be repeated as many times as necessary for successful completion. 

Report Sheet

Once a section has been successfully completed youth and their club leader will need to complete that section of the record sheet.

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

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EMAIL: lena.luck@unl.edu
PHONE: 402-472-9098