High school students participate in equine studies
FRANKLIN FURNACE — The Ohio University Southern Horse Park hosted an event for high school students focusing on equine studies through the Future Farmers of America (FAA) and 4-H, a youth organization administered by the Department of Agriculture that develops youth to reach full potential.
Students from Collins Career Center, Symmes Valley High School, Laurel Oaks High School, Great Oaks Vocational School and Boyd County 4-H took part in the event.
“What happens is the FAA and 4-H have invitational events in all kinds of areas. These are set up on Saturdays and kids go through the entire equine management contest where they identify, judge and complete a written test,” Randy Reed, agriculture instructor at Collins Career Center, said. “It’s going to help a lot of the local students with their skills and it will help the students here at OU by teaching them how to set up for these contests and competitions.”
OUS equine program faculty member Bradie Chapman knows that these events mean a lot for the students.
“It’s important because these are the future of the equine industry,” she said. “It gets them to see the different horses and things that they get to see as well as a chance to see the facility and a place that’s different than what they are used to.”
The students that were taking part were asked to identify different aspects of horses, judge the horses and take a written test on what they know.
“It’s so important because if they are actually going to get into the horse industry, they need to know how to pick horses and judge horses,” Mark Abell, OUS Equine instructor and professional horse show judge, said. “It’s a career decision and if they are going to be involved in this, they need to be exposed to it.
Kara Kerns a senior at Collins Career Center, wanted to get involved with horses because of her upbringing.
“I live on a farm with animals so I wanted to take it up further,” she said. “I am planning on doing a feed lot for our pigs this spring and I figured this would help with animal studies. I’m also considering opening up boarding stables for horses, but that is still in question.”
Kerns said that she has been interested in horses since she was 14, and she used to have four at the farm.
This is the first year the OUS Horse Park has put on this event, but there are plans to continue it next year, Chapman said.