4-H rule changes impact Franklin county member plans

Byline: Kate Lautenbach

Posted: April 10, 2010

The Pennsylvania 4-H rule changes for 2010 will cause its members to change riding strategies because of new class divisions and helmet laws now required of those who participate in equestrian competitions. The most controversial of the new division rules is that each rider may choose only one competition category.

Local Club Reaction

There are mixed feelings about the new division rule, especially among 4-H parents and leaders. One local Franklin County 4-H parent (who wishes to stay unidentified) says, "I think the change is a shame. You could have a talented 4-Her that could be excluded from competing in classes that they excel in… 4-H is a learning experience, entering different classes adds to this experience." The leaders of the Chambersburg Saddle Club state that they are not responsible for these rule changes but they must endorse and enforce them.

New Class Divisions

This changes is a new section that categorizes entrants into specific show divisions. These divisions are Open, Western, Contest, Saddle Seat, Hunt Seat, Driving, Miniature Horse and Therapeutic Riding. Under the new division rule, each rider may choose only one category. In previous years, 4-H members could enter in any class except changing from the English division to Western or from Western division to English.

Production Helmet Ruling

Another added rule is that all production halter class entrants must wear a helmet. The Pennsylvania Equine Extension debated the possibility of this rule for several months, and it reached a decision this winter. This rule applies to both Western and English riders. This helmet law, along with information on the new division system can be found in the Pennsylvania 4-H Horse Show Rule Book. On March 2, in a local 4-H meeting of the Chambersburg Saddle Club, members agreed that this change was for the better. The leading concern is that handling young horses is hazardous for practicing riders.

County Show Changes

The first local show that these changes impact is the Franklin County 4-H Show, Sat. June 26, with a pending location at the Chambersburg Riding Club Arena. To accommodate the new rules, local 4-H members changed their training and county show plans. A local Franklin county 4-H member (who wishes to stay unidentified) says, "I was considering entering my gelding into Contest classes, but this new rule has changed my focus back to only Western Pleasure."

Last Updated: September 25, 2011

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