Submitted by Nonee High, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

How many of you out there reading this are kids?  Do you belong to a 4H Club or Pony Club?  What do you do with your horses?

I have been a member of the High Riders 4H Club for 4 years now.  This is a really awesome group of kids who love their horses.  We have a lot of fun together.  Our youngest member is 6.  She is a Cloverbud, kind of like being a Cub Scout.  You can be a 4Her when you are 9.  Our oldest member is 16, but you can be a member until you are 21.

The 4H year starts in October.  We had our first meeting of the year a week ago.  Each year we have a different theme and this year is going back to basics, focusing on horsemanship.  We all know about softness and release but we want to do them better.  We want to see how they apply across disciplines.  We have English and Western riders in our group, hunter/jumpers and barrel racers.  We even have a mini horse owner.  I hope we will become the best horsemen we can be!

Last year, the theme was “getting ready” for whatever we wanted to do with our horses, learning ourselves, teaching our horses.  We started the year by watching the movie “Buck” about Buck Brannaman.  We ended the year by going to a Buck Brannaman Clinic.  One of our members got to ride in the clinic while others were auditors.  Now we are practicing what we learned on our own horses.

One of our High Riders with her horse, Bug, at the Buck Brannaman Clinic.  Bug has on one Easyboot Edge with a cast on the opposite foot. The other cast came off overnight and we were glad we had the Edge with us.

Three of us with Buck.

In between the start and finish of the year, we learned about taking a horse’s vitals, getting a horse conditioned, checking a stool sample for worms, nutrition, beginning ground work, saddle fit, balancing a horse’s hooves, teeth and body, and more.

Who knew checking stool samples for worms could be so much fun?  Thanks, Dr. Walker!

Last year, I wanted to ride my pony, Nanny, competing her in jumping and endurance.  About mid-way through the 4H year, a saddle fitter came to one of our meetings.  She was very blunt with me and told me I was already too big for Nanny, that it was time to start riding Bella.  I had wanted to ride Nanny through the summer and then start with Bella this 4H year.  But I decided to listen to her and made the switch to riding Bella last summer.

Combining two of my favorite things in the costume class at the Randolph County Fair 4H Horse Show:  Soccer and horses!

We did not compete much as we were too new together.  We did get to ride a partial endurance ride, though, to learn about endurance riding.  Our local Randolph County Regional Riding Club sponsors the Ride Between the Rivers and they let two of us 4Hers ride the 2nd loop for training.  It was so much fun preparing with my friend and then actually riding that loop together, including with a sponsor, a former High Rider and friend.

Me trimming Nanny.

Training for an endurance ride.

Me at the vet check.

Me and my girls at the endurance ride.

The gang at our barn.

I am excited about this new 4H year.  We are already set to have Centered Riding lessons once a month.  We also will have horsemanship clinics, an obstacle course clinic, learn more about equine first aid, and attend more camps.  I can’t wait!

Nonee High