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Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup

The 1979 National 4-H Horse Judging Contest and Horse Bowl was held in November at Harrisburg, Pennsylvlania. Twenty-four states participated in the National Horse Judging Contest which measured 4-H members' skills in halter classes and performance classes and in giving individual reasons. The top three teams in the event were from Virginia, Michigan and Ohio. The Horse Bowl event drew participation from 17 states. Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire finished first through third.

Approximately 200 4-H members from 25 states participated in the fourth annual National 4-H Horse Roundup in 1981, sponsored this year by Garan Jeans. Held on October 3-4 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in conjunction with the 25th Annual Keystone International Livestock Exposition, the event featured competition in horse judging and the horse bowl. Virginia's team emerged victorious in judging, while Illinois captured first place in the horse bowl. Individual honors went to Elizabeth Gallup, Bon Air, Virginia, winner in the reasons and conformation categories of the horse judging event, and to Lynne Dorsey, Glen Ellyn, Illinois, who ranked highest in the horse bowl. Tracy Durham, Enosburg, Vermont, scored highest in the performance category.

The 1983 National 4-H Horse Roundup, held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on November 4-6, attracted 4-H'ers from 26 states. States entered judging teams, bowl teams, demonstration teams, and public speakers. At the conclusion of the Roundup, participants were recognized at an awards breakfast. High individual scorers in each event received awards, trophies and pewter belt buckles. Major supporters of the 4-H Horse Roundup for 1983 included: American Paint Horse Association, American Quarter Horse Association, American Saddlebred Horse Association, Merck & Company, Absorbine, Fleet Street Corporation's "Young EQUUS," Farnam Companies Inc., International Arabian Horse Association, Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' and Exhibitors' Association, and American Morgan Horse Association.

In 1985 the 4-H Horse Judging Contest and Horse Bowl moved to Louisville, Kentucky where it was hosted by North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) and designated the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup.

The Winter 1989 issue of National 4-H Council Quarterly carried an article about the Eastern and Western Horse Events:

"4-H teams from Virginia and Colorado scored highest overall in horse judging, public speaking and demonstrations at the Eastern 4-H Horse Roundup and Western 4-H Horse Classic, both held in November 1988. Competing in the East at Louisville, Kentucky, were 287 young people from 24 states, while 134 youth from 19 western states competed in Denver, Colorado.

"Designed to give national recognition to outstanding 4-H members involved in horse projects, the events provide a wide range of activities. 4-H'ers test their horse judging skills, showcase their knowledge in the horse bowl, improve their public speaking skills through individual and team demonstrations and, in the Eastern event, combine specialized skills by competing in hippology, a `decathalon' of contests.

"Host for the eastern event was The North American International Livestock Exposition. The National Western Stock Show hosted the Western Classic. Organizations supporting both events were: American Paint Horse Association; American Quarter Horse Association; Churchill Downs Incorporated; The Half-Saddlebred Registry of America; Harness Horse Youth Foundation, Inc.; International Arabian Horse Association; United Professional Horsemen's Association, Inc.; and Reeves International, Inc."

The Western 4-H Horse RoundUp continued to be held in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show in Denver, eventually becoming a part of the Western National Roundup. (See the segment on Western National Roundup in this National 4-H History section of the 4-H history preservation website.)

Contemporary History

The Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup continues to be hosted by the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky. More than 330 4-H Horse Program contestants from 31 states competed in the 2011 contest, which was held November 5-6 at the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center.

Many of the young people, ages 14-19, achieve top honors in one of six contests that test horse knowledge and communication skills: Public Speaking, Individual Presentation, Team Presentation, Horse Bowl, Hippology and Horse Judging. Contestants are awarded individually and as part of a team representing their state.

For additional information on the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup, visit their website at

Compiled by National 4-H History Preservation Team.

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