Five women stand behind table displaying awards and ribbons.

4-H Hippology Program Helps Youth Build Life Skills

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Each year, North Dakota 4-H members have the opportunity to demonstrate their equine knowledge at the state hippology contest. The winning team advances to the Western National 4-H Roundup in Denver, Colorado, where they represent North Dakota on a national stage.

Hippology is the study of horses that consists of veterinary science, nutrition, horse care and general horse knowledge. The contest has four main components: horse judging, station identification, a written test and a team problem.

This winter, the Ward County hippology team represented North Dakota at the Western National 4-H Roundup and was named the overall national champion team. Members Emily Fannik of Max, Olivia Lebrun of Berthold, Anne Schauer of Carpio and Mikaela Woodruff of Edgeley also brought home individual honors. This is the second year in a row that North Dakota has won the national hippology contest. Last year, a team from Pierce County placed first.

Participants in the state and national hippology contests work hard to build their equine knowledge, but along the way, they also build skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

“These youth learn so much more than the incredible amount of equine knowledge they demonstrate at the contest,” says Paige Brummund, NDSU Extension agent and coach of the Ward County hippology team. “They gain time management skills, learn how to be professional, and practice making decisions as a group. Overall, they transform into outstanding citizens.”

Leigh Ann Skurupey, assistant director for the Center for 4-H Youth Development, adds that preparation for the contest helps youth grow skills in goal setting, communication and being open to challenge.

“The hippology contest helps foster a growth mindset and helps youth become comfortable learning how to learn,” says Skurupey. “Youth who participate in 4-H hippology contests often walk away empowered with confidence, resiliency and essential life skills to thrive and lead for a lifetime.”


North Dakota Center for 4-H Youth Development

Paige Brummund, 701-857-6444,