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4-H Horse projects and activities provide an interactive, hands-on way for youth to explore raising and showing horses while developing life skills. These projects are designed to provide you an opportunity to handle, care for, and ride horses, as well as learn about the equine industry. 4-H members may own or lease a horse for this project. Many activities do not require the member to own a horse. There are many ways you can get involved:

  • Join a club near you and enroll in a 4-H horse project.
  • Test your equine management knowledge and compete in 4-H Hippology Contests.
  • Join a team and compete in the 4-H Horse Bowl Contest.
  • Speak up and compete in the 4-H Horse Speaking Contest.
  • Practice riding and compete in a 4-H Horse Show.

Horse Lease/Ownership Form

Youth exhibiting horses at the Illinois State Fair Junior Horse Show must complete a Horse Lease/Ownership Form and submit it to the state fair by June 1. Many counties also require this ownership paper and often have an earlier deadline of May 1. If you are in the horse project and exhibiting a horse, please check with your local Extension office. DOWNLOAD FORM.

State Contests

There are several contests to test your equine skills. Check out the guidelines in the resource section below.

Regional Qualifying Contests

Only youth who qualify in a regional contest may compete in the state horse bowl and hippology contests. 

  • Hippology Regional Virtual Contest:  March 13th
  • Horse Bowl Regional Virtual Contest:  March 13th