2019 MERA/Manitoba 4-H Young Horse Development Project

22nd Annual Presentations - “The Final Four”

(October 1, 2019 – Brandon, MB) The 22nd annual presentations of the Manitoba 4-H Young Horse Development Project (YHDP) were held September 2, 2019, at the Westoba Agricultural Centre of Excellence, in Brandon, MB.

For 22 years, the project has provided a venue for senior 4-H members to demonstrate their knowledge gained through the 4-H Equine Program, as well as to showcase the stock being bred and raised on Manitoba’s equine ranches. The project wrapped up this year with the “final four” two-year-old presentations.

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For each of the 22 years, interested senior 4-H members (14 years of age by January 1 of the current year) applied to the YHD Project’s Advisory Committee. Upon selection, members were given a list of participating Manitoba Equine Ranching Association (MERA) and Saskatchewan Equine Ranching Association (SERA) ranchers from whom they could purchase a weanling. Prices were pre-set, and ranchers received half of the purchase price. The balance was placed in that year’s Project Enhancement Fund.

The YHD Project involved a two-year commitment and taught 4-H members valuable life skills about taking responsibility, setting goals, and applying the knowledge gained. Members raised and trained their horses with the objective of presenting them as a yearling “in hand”, and as a two-year-old “under saddle”. Members received payouts through their yearling presentations (1/3 of the Enhancement Fund) and through their two-year-old presentations (the remaining 2/3 of the fund); completing their project books; and by adhering to the rules and regulations. Formal placings for the presentations are irrelevant. Members receive an Enhancement Fund payout based on their individual efforts, so the experience was self-achieving.


Four 4-H members presented their two-year-old Quarter Horses “under saddle”. Each horse and rider were scored based on their individual performance over a predetermined horsemanship pattern. Scores ranged from 201.5 points to 246 points out of a possible 270 points. The members earned a share of the $1,166.67 remaining in the 2017 Enhancement Fund. As a group, they accumulated 893.5 points, averaging 223.38 points each, and will be paid $1.31/point based on their individual scores. Each member received a copy of their evaluation, a tri-coloured neck banner, and trophy cooler, sponsored by NAERIC.

Sara Renwick, 18, from Melita, MB and a former member of the Coulter Western Trailriders 4-H Club, is in her first year of Agricultural Business at Assiniboine Community College, in Brandon, MB. She says, “I chose my weanling from Greg and Faye Little’s (Little Valley Quarter Horses, Decker, MB) because he had the most bone, and the best conformation.” Although this was her first Young Horse Development Project horse, Sara says, “I have trained mature horses before, but this project offered me the opportunity to work with a young horse, and I got help from the YHD Project’s spring clinics for yearlings and two-year-olds.” Sara says, “I plan to get some experience working in Alberta and then come home to run my own farm. I will keep Docs Arockin and show him at the open shows and local fairs in the future.”  

© Reston Recorder

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