ARE YOU A horse-showing adult who’s secretly longed to take part in the fair but couldn’t because it was for 4-H youth groups only?
To be part of the hustle and bustle?
To being a horse ambassador to the flow of fairgoers who ooh and aah over all the beautiful horses?
Well now you can.
Adult classes have been added to help offset a decline of 4-H horse participants in recent years.
Sadly, low participation is a problem occurring nationwide as more and more youths are staying glued to their computers, tablets and smart phones, to which I say, “Bleh.”
Get those kids outside and participating in the physical world surrounding them.
“Showing at the fair is an opportunity to show in a fun and a low-stress environment without the expenses of larger shows,” said 4-H Barn Superintendent LaDona Wilson.
She took on the role in 2014 after long-time superintendent Judy Richmond retired.
She said some of the adults are former 4-H’ers who have aged out of the program (older than 18 and graduated from high school), but still would like to participate in the fair.
“The adults show in all the classes the 4-H’ers do, except for judging, disciplined rail and medals classes,” Wilson said.
And guess what? Adults will get a pin for participating just like the youths.
Alumni of 4-H who showed last year include Paige Swordmaker, Suzanne Heistand, Holly Cozzolino and Ciara Gentry.
One of the adults who showed last year as well is the locally well-known performance horse rider Nancy Johnson.
“Last year [Johnson] said she had a great time and really enjoyed herself,” Wilson said.
“We have a few others who have also shown in the past two years and I have been contacted already by some adults who are interested in showing this August. My goal is to fill all of our horse barns this year.”
To participate and show at the fair, adult exhibitors only pay the cost of their exhibitor bracelet (no other class fees) and are required to care for their own animal, which is stalled in the barn the full four days of the fair.
As each 4-H club is assigned its own section in a horse barn, so are the adults, forming, as it may, their own “club.”
As such they share duties such as keeping their section of the barn clean and presentable for fairgoers. Just as with 4-H’ers, participants bring their horses to the fairground the day before the fair opens and must go through the vet check just like all the other animals who come to the fair.
“I am hoping to be able to add western dressage to the fair class list this year and have been working to try to encourage the horse kids to participate in the round robin class during the fair,” Wilson said.
“We are currently revising the exhibitor guide in an effort to make it more user-friendly and easier for people to participate in the fair. I am also revising the entry forms for the horse project with the help of the fair office.”
Adult entries are accepted once the Clallam County Exhibitors Guide comes out and Wilson has confirmed how many 4-H participants she has.
After that the adults who sent in their application forms are contacted by Wilson to confirm their participation.
“Interested adults may contact me at any time,” Wilson said. “So far nobody has been turned away.”
To contact Wilson, call 360-417-0924.
Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Sunday of each month.
If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. You can also call her at 360-460-6299.