South Carolina 4-H members win second national championship
CLEMSON — South Carolina 4-H’ers took a national title for the second straight year at the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup last weekend in Louisville, Kentucky.
The national championship tests teenagers’ knowledge of equine science and management through a variety of events. Seven youth participants in the South Carolina 4-H Horse Program won team and individual awards at the event.
The national 4-H Horse Project has more than 260,000 participants, making it the largest of 4-H’s animal-related programs.
“It just shows the level of tenacity of our youth and how they are striving to continue excellence,” said Kristine Vernon, who oversees the Clemson University horse programs and South Carolina 4-H horse project.
A South Carolina team of Kristy Waldrep of Charleston, Hailey Mundell of Prosperity, Hannah Steele of Chester, Aubrey Miller of Troy and Katherine Ellig of Columbia won the National 4-H Horse Bowl Championship. The quiz bowl tests the teenagers’ knowledge in horse breeds, anatomy, health, equipment, equine management and horse industry.
The team was coached by 4-H volunteers Melissa Brundage, Bonnie Steele and Billie Miller. Waldrep was named reserve champion (second place in high individual) and Mundell placed fourth in the individual category. Mundell is a freshman biological sciences major at Clemson University.
Last year, Waldrep, Mundell, Steele and Miller won the national title in the hippology contest, which includes an exam, equipment identification stations, team problem-solving tests and horse judging.
Ashtyn Kinney of Greenwood and Hannah McKinney of Summerville also competed in a public-speaking competition at the Horse Roundup. McKinney placed eighth in the high individual public speaking category.
The Horse Bowl win comes as a second national championship and McKinney’s ranking in the speech category marks the second national top 10 for the South Carolina 4-H Horse Program in the past two years. Vernon and her program assistants, Katie Shaw and Meredith Donaldson, hope to continue the success at future events.
Thousands of South Carolina youth are active in the 4-H Horse Program, participating in more than 5,000 horse projects from the county/club level up. South Carolina 4-H is the youth-development program of Clemson Extension. More than 84,000 young people in South Carolina participate in 4-H. programs that cover animal science, agriculture, science, engineering, natural resources, leadership and much more.
There are approximately 85,000 horses in South Carolina and the economic impact of the horse industry is approximately $478 million.