Niagara County 4-H'ers advance in horse contests

Niagara County 4-H'ers who competed in the 2019 New York State Hippology contest were, from left, Stephanie Kloda, Olivia Shackelford, Ashley Randall, Katelyn Schlager, Katie Widmer, Rylee Keiffer and Bailey Shockensse. Their coach, Cheryl Bish, is behind them. 

In the midst of pandemic-related closures and cancelations, many Niagara County 4-H members were saddened that to hear they would not be able to participate in many of their favorite events this summer. However, with a bit of creativity, the Region 1 hippology and communications contests were transitioned to online programs for 4-Hers from Niagara, Erie, Orleans, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Alleghany and Wyoming counties.

Six members of the Niagara County 4-H Horse Program participated in the Hippology contest, in which they completed a written test based on their knowledge of horses and were asked to judge three halter classes to decide which horse was the best suited for their specified discipline. The top 16 winners in the Junior and Senior levels will compete in the New York State Hippology contest, which has also transitioned to an online format.

In the Junior division, Michellynn Schroeder of Sanborn, 13, placed first, and Maggie Shocknesse of Ransomville, 14, placed tenth.

In the Senior division, Stephanie Kloda of Ransomville, 16, placed eighth, and Bailey Shocknesse of Ransomville, 16, placed ninth. Rylee Keiffer of North Tonawanda, 15, and Olivia Shackelford of Ransomville, 15, also competed and will move on to the state competition.

Two members of the horse program competed in the Communications contest, giving a nine-to-12-minute presentation about a horse topic of their choosing to two judges over Zoom.

Michellynn Schroeder presented “There’s a Frog in My Foot,” comparing horse anatomy to human anatomy from head to hoof. Schroeder placed second in the Junior division and will move on to the state-level communications contest, which will also be online.

Rylee Keiffer presented “Alternative Therapies for Horses,” discussing different treatments for horses outside of the regular medicines and injections. Keiffer placed eighth in the Senior division.

For more information about the 4-H horse program, contact the Niagara County Cornell Cooperative Extension at (716) 433-8839 or cceniagaracounty.org. Youths do not need to own a horse to participate in the knowledge programs. 

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