Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Western Pennsylvania
See..my one year of 4H experience was absolutely horrible. I trained a horse that was taken away from me at every show for a boy who had no interest but was forced to ride, amd everytime I got on that horse after a show of his, I had a huge fight. He's rear, crowhop, take off, etc. By the next show, I could walk him into and arena, canter a pattern, and walk back out..And then it was all lost as soon as the boy got on.
I only talked to one or two people, the one that started me riding at the 4h barn and one or two younger girls. I got into "fights" with many girls from other 4h clubs at shows because I always had the horse in training, not the finished winner. I was told how horrible a trainer I was (because all they saw was how my horse would zig zag, buck, throw a fit, etc at a show) because they didn't see the holes in training that I was fixing one by one. Drew and I were the only ones that saw the progress from one show to the next. No one noticed when my first horse stopped rearing (the one show I got to take him into instead of the boy), no one noticed when Lucky stopped kicking at anything and everything, no one noticed when Fancy stopped crowhopping and throwing her head every 5 seconds, and no one cared that even though I trotted around the barrels after cantering to them on ST that she'd never cantered at all until a month beforehand. So, depending on which 4h group it was..your horse had to either be poorly trained or finished with no bad habits to be a part of the "group".
Every horse I rode in 4h was given away or sold out from under me and I was popped onto another poorly mannered/trained horse. I never got to ride the same horse for more than 6 months.
Which..while I hated my year (and summer to prepare) of 4H, I learned a TON from it. I learned how to ignore the brats, work with different horses in public and keep others safe, and how to drop attachment to a horse I know will be taken away. That last lesson failed me with my current project (who I've decoded to keep unless she'll sell for 10k plus), and my previous lease..I offered to buy her and was told no because of my attitude from 4H. Some horses I can ride and not care about selling/having taken away, but there's the occasional mare I just can't let go of.
Soo..if she learns things, I'd keep her in it. Even if she hates it now, in a few years she'll look back and appreciate the experience it gave her so that HER child won't act like the brats that can't stand to lose. The biggest 4h event here was fair..5-8 different 4h teams showed up and we had fun shows throughout the week and friday was the all-day big show that decided who went to districts for what event. That was the day to show off your horse..even if you could only trot a pole/barrel/stakes pattern. If you had fun (like I did, because there was a time my horse could only walk a pole pattern) like I did at the shows, the whole year of people putting you down was worth it.
My suggestion to her would be to either try another 4h club, maybe get her a horse that isn't finished so she can work on things at their meets and show progress throughout the year, or find another type of group for her to do. I was always told 4H looks GREAT on a college application or resume, that's why I stuck with it (though I've never noted it anywhere).
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