Level IV

Level IV

4-H members qualifying at this level must know and practice all the elements involved in working and enjoying horses. Evaluation of each member's qualifications will be based upon his or her ability to demonstrate their knowledge and skill. The evaluator must be able to see the rider and horse work as a team without fear or force. Riders will be evaluated on competence shown in all phases of working with their horse, including leading, grooming, saddling, halter showing and actual riding. In order to pass Level IV youth will need to complete the following items:


Youth will need to complete a club demonstration in order to pass Level IV. Demonstration should be 10-20 minutes in length and focus on points listed or mentioned in the Skills Test and Study Guide. Suggested demonstration topics include:

  • Grooming/conditioning a horse for show
  • Showing a horse a halter
  • Aids for maneuvers of a horse
  • Use of hands
  • Hoof care for horses
  • Horseman's knots
  • Bits and how they work
  • Safety around horses
  • Determining age of horse by teeth
  • Flying change of lead
  • Training for advanced maneuvers; turns, lateral work, extension, collection, etc.
  • Emergency first aid for horses
  • Basic feeding management
  • Leg wraps and/or bandaging a horse's leg
  • How to tell if a horse is healthy or sick

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

Written Report

Youth will need to complete a written report at least two pages in length. The focus should be how the horse responded to training in preparation for the Level IV 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. Reports are due on or before the day of the Skills Test.

Skills Test

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

  • Demonstrate confidence and knowledge when working around their horse
  • Present a well-groomed and prepared horse
  • Exhibit correct showmanship skills
  • Display greater mastery of riding skills exhibited in previous levels
  • Demonstrate randomly selected maneuvers while maintaining balance and skill
  • Use suitable and properly fitting equipment for the style of riding
  • Display a first-aid kit for horses, be able to explain the proper use of the contents, and be familiar with basic health care and how to determine if a horse is healthy or sick
  • Discuss the feeding program of the horse in full, considering nutrient balance, work balance, costs to feed daily and yearly and changes made for periods such as showing, changes in season, breeding, etc.

Once a section has been passed, it need not be repeated. However, if a member fails to pass a section of the level, that entire section must be repeated (i.e., retake the entire Skills Test). Each section 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 and/or examiner 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