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3 represent Georgia horse competition
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If 4-H'ers are challenged to start a revolution of responsibility, three Newton 4-H'ers are leading the revolution on studying hard and working as a team.

"This group has always taken competition seriously," said volunteer 4-H leader and coach Martha Worley. "They learn as much as they can, so they can be the best prepared to win."

"We want to win, and we don't play around," said 4-H'er Morgan Worley.

Over the course of four years together in the Newton 4-H Horse Club, three youth have amassed the knowledge and team cohesiveness necessary to win the State 4-H Hippology competition and a trip to the national event in Ohio this month.


The study of hippos? Something about snakes?

The team gets a lot of questions, even at 4-H events, because it's only been in Georgia 4-H for three years although they will compete against states where it has been around a lot longer.

It's actually a contest testing equine, or horse, knowledge.

"It's nothing like anything else," said Worley.
Hippology is a combination of knowledge needed for horse quiz bowl along with the events of horse judging and a team event.

Local 4-H'ers Worley, a senior at Eastside High dual enrolled at Perimeter, Lindsay Frost, a sophomore in home school, and Trent Worley, a sophomore at Eastminster, competed in the state competition in June.

Through years of study for other 4-H competitions, the team bonded while amassing knowledge in breeds, anatomy, saddles, farms, events, conformation and just about anything else that can loosely be attributed to horses.

Even topics like pasture weeds and how to plan a barn can show up in the competition.

While there's a book to study called the "Horse Industry Handbook," prepared by the American Youth Horse Council, it's a notebook several inches thick and doesn't include every possible topic.

Practical knowledge can also come from owning and caring for a horse.

Fowler owns his own horse, Worley leases one for show season and Frost has access to horses but has not ridden in the state show. Each has always been interested in horses and spends a lot of time with them.

"Between the three of them, they actually have more expertise because they compensate for each other... it just all comes together with this team," said their coach.

At the competition, the 4-H'ers compete individually in all categories except one.

They complete a written test with 100 questions, compete at stations on various topics to match vocabulary, and place four classes of horses.

In a judging class, four horses compete in the same challenge without much break between riders.

The 4-H'ers must memorize the pattern to be ridden, watch each performance closely and jot notes almost simultaneously in order to determine the placing.

A major challenge is that placing the classes of horses is somewhat subjective because it is based on what other judges see in the horses

The biggest advantage, both girls agreed, is that there are no oral reasons in hippology.

After the individual classes, the team joins together for a group problem.

No clue is given in advance as to the topic, so the team must simply study hard and be ready to work quickly.
They have only a few minutes to prepare their answer and plan how to present it and they are scored on understanding of the situation, completeness of the answer, probability of their answer working and the logic of their solution.

You might think the team is nervous about the competition, but think again.

"We're going to try our best and have fun," said Frost.
Each youth agreed that they expect the experience to be the biggest gain of the trip instead of the chance of winning.

Frost is flying for her first time on the way to the competition; Worley and her mother are eager to see the vendors.

"I can't wait to see the horses that will be at that high level a show," said Fowler.

If a hero is someone using his or her talents to their best ability, these three have made an art of it.

So who are their superheroes?
Fowler said he's liked Batman since he was a kid; Worley said she works and studies so much she doesn't know any character she'd identify as a hero.

"Jesus is the ultimate superhero," said Frost.