2013 South Dakota State 4-H Hippology Contest

Farm Forum

Article by Andy Jensen with contributions from Mindy Hubert.

Do you love learning about breeds of horses, different types of tack, and everything in-between? South Dakota 4-H has a unique learning opportunity for youth who enjoy showing off their know how in the horse project without having to exhibit a horse. Kids can form a team and enter the State 4-H Hippology contest!

Hippology, or the study of horses, is a competition where youth are able to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in several areas of the equine industry. Counties may send two teams per age division, which has a minimum of three members, but no more than four. There are

two age divisions youth can compete in, junior, and senior. Only senior contestants, ages 14-19, are eligible to compete for the national trip award, the 2014 National Western Roundup Hippology Contest, held in Denver, Colorado. Last year the Roberts County 4-H Hippology Team represented South Dakota at the 2013 Western National Roundup and placed ninth overall.

2013 South Dakota State Hippology Contest

The 2013 South Dakota State Hippology contest will be held on Wednesday, July 24, during the South Dakota State 4-H Horse Show in Huron, S.D. Check-in for the event will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Expo Building, with the contest starting at 4:00 p.m. The judging portion will be conducted during the Horse Judging Contest. Awards will be handed out at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 25, in the South Arena located in the Open Class Beef Complex.

There are several different phases of the hippology contest.

· Examination Phase – Kids individually take a written exam which can cover any aspect of the industry from basic horse care to equine history to breed description and selection.

· Station Phase – In this phase there will be five different identification stations that will put youth’s knowledge to the test. This is also done individually. Examples of the stations are: saddle part identification; tack, bits, and bridle assembly; farrier tool identification; grain and feed rations or identification; parasite life cycle charts; blemishes versus unsoundness identification; horse health assessment using pulse and respiration rates, temperature, and capillary refill; as well as breed identification based on pictures and/or descriptions. Two minutes will be allowed per station.

· Judging Phase – Contestants judge at least two classes of horses during the Horse Judging Contest, also held on Wednesday, July 24. These classes will consist of one halter and one performance class.

· Team Problem phase – During this time teams will be presented with a problem, which could be related to reproduction, land management, behavior problems, balancing rations, establishing a new horse facility, conditioning and training programs, as well as much more. Each team will have time to develop a plan to present to the judge. Each team will be evaluated on their understanding of problem, how they responded, and their logic on explaining their suggestion or solution orally. The judge may ask questions to further clarify.

What do you need to compete in the hippology contest? Get ready to be challenged and bring a positive attitude along with a pencil! Contestants must wear a white button-up shirt, which can be long or short sleeved, boots and denim jeans. Those who participate in the English discipline are allowed to wear their English attire.


Interested youth are encouraged to contact their Horse Project Leader or 4-H Youth Program Advisor to register for the state contest. For a full list of rules and other youth in action contest held during the South Dakota 4-H Horse Show, please refer to the South Dakota 4-H Horse Show Guide at