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Posted: November 16, 2013 8:00 p.m.

Club members get hands-on with horses

Submitted Photo/

4-H member Anastasia Cannon, in pink, helps new horse club members and parents become familiar with one of her horses during a club meeting. The next meeting is this Tuesday at Gaither's Plantation at 5:30 p.m.

Youths are invited to learn about the job of a horse farrier with the Newton County 4-H Horse Club at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Gaither’s Plantation.

Each month the club is offering an educational opportunity for youths in grades 3-12. Horse ownership is not a requirement, and most club members either do not own a horse or are new owners.

“I just want to share a little bit about my love for horses with kids,” said volunteer 4-H leader Tim Cannon. “I don’t know everything about horses, but I can share what I know and learn along with the club when we have guest speakers,” he said.

Cannon was a 4-H’er in Rockdale County and now volunteers with his wife, Katie, as their daughters take part in 4-H activities.

Anastasia is in seventh grade and competed in the veterinary science project last year. Shae is in the sixth grade and competed in Between Meal Snacks.

The entire family enjoys being around horses, so it was a natural step for the Cannons to step up and offer a new opportunity for 4-H’ers.

Experienced riders in the 4-H horse club take part in educational competitions such as horse quiz bowl and hippology, as well as riding in the state 4-H horse show.

Last summer, club president Trent Fowler won the hunt seat division, earning his second Master 4-H honors. Aspen Dobbins, vice president, has won several prizes for 4-H horse photography.

The monthly educational events at Gaither’s Plantation will offer a way for youths interested in horses to learn some basic skills as well as meet professionals in the horse industry.

At the first meeting in October, youths were able to get hands-on with two of the Cannons’ horses, brushing and combing them as they became more familiar with the animals.

Parents asked questions about how the Cannons came to own horses and how practical it might be for their own families.

The club also volunteered two weekends at Tractor Supply Co., raising funds for national, state and local 4-H programs. The store raises money for 4-H twice a year.

Sixty percent of each fundraising campaign stays in Newton County 4-H, and the money raised in October will be used to fund horse club events as well as agricultural judging team competitions.

While judging team competitions are not hugely expensive, the costs can add up for a family with multiple youths competing on several teams. Costs generally range from $10 to $15 per youth at an event, plus meals and transportation, as well as costs for leaders and practice materials.

The Cannon family volunteered at Gaither’s prior to the first meeting, cleaning the barn that is being used for club meetings.

The entire club pitched in Nov. 2 for a workday at the barn.

Horse club members are currently collecting books for the 4-H service project. Some members will ride in the Christmas parade, while others will help hand out books alongside the 4-H float.

The December meeting will be held at Gaither’s on Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m.

Youths interested in joining can simply show up with an adult at Tuesday’s meeting at Gaither’s, but an e-mail to craftykate1@gmail.com or a call to Tim at 770-866-2223 is appreciated. (The e-mail is “craftykate” and the number one, not the letter “L.”)

Youths should bring a notebook and pen, and everyone should bring a folding chair, wear closed-toe shoes or boots, and dress appropriately for the weather, as meetings are held outdoors.

A $2 donation per child is requested to help pay for club snacks and events.

New members will be given a packet of paperwork to fill out and return. Members can be in private, public or home schools, and those from neighboring counties are also encouraged to attend the educational events.

If using GPS to find Gaither’s, please use the address 442 Davis Ford Road, Covington. From Henderson Mill Road, you will turn onto Davis Ford Road near the Bear Creek Bridge. Gaither’s is just over a half-mile on the right.

Follow the signs to the meeting, which is in a barn behind the covered pavilion.

 

Terri Kimble Fullerton is Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at tkimble@uga.edu.

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