Department I - 4-H
Division H - Horse

​Horse Department Superintendent - Cynthia Worth (360) 561-9715
Secretary - Molly Pestinger (360) 791-2661
Treasurer - JoAnn Sabisch (360) 480-1789
Dressage/Jumping Coordinator - Kathy Manor, (360) 357-6333

Equine Public Presentation - Superintendent: Dennese Mahoney (360) 259-4618


  1. Only members enrolled in 4-H Horse projects are eligible to exhibit in this division.
  2. Jan. 1st will be considered the birth date of all horses.
  3. Age of 4-H members: see 4-H General Rules. Note: 4-H’ers must have reached their 8th birthday by October 1st of current 4-H year to exhibit at the Fair. Cloverbuds may judge, give public presentations, assist in herdsmanship enter record book, participate in horse bowl or enter an educational display. Cloverbuds may assist with herdsmanship (water flowers, rake sawdust, etc.) as long as they do not have hands-on contact with horses (no holding horses while cleaning stalls for example).
  4. All horses must pass the veterinary check prior to fair.
  5. No stallions are allowed at the Fair.
  6. Horses exhibited in yearling, and two-year-old halter cannot be entered in riding classes. Three-year-old horses will be allowed in riding classes.
  7. Mares entered in Mare & Foal class are eligible for performance and/or western games provided the foal is weaned 30 days prior to the Thurston County Fair. No lactating mares in any 4-H riding event.
  8. A 4-H member may show a different horse in each of the following: Equitation, Halter, Western Games, Jumping, Dressage, Driving, and Trail-in Hand. NOTE: Huntseat and dressage seat may be exhibited with either equitation or dressage horse.
  9. A horse may be exhibited by more than one 4-H member providing they are not in the same age division and participating in the same discipline. They may participate in the same discipline if the 4-H members are not in the same age division. Each 4-H member must turn in a Horse Certificate. No more than two (2) exhibitors may use the same horse.
  10. 4-H members entering classes 2-5 or 9 with more than one horse must enter in Performance Showmanship (Class 1 Lot A) with each animal.  Only one horse may be shown in Championship if Exhibitor qualifies with more than one horse.  4-H members entering Western Games must also complete the Western Games Showmanship (Class 1 Lot B).
  11. Horses stabled in the barns must remain on Fairgrounds at all times as agreed upon according to the Fair schedule. All stalls will remain full. Due to age and safety conditions there may be exceptions. All exceptions must be approved by the Thurston County 4-H Horse Committee Executive Board.
  12. Horses will be fed only in the stalls. Hay bags may be used in stalls throughout the day but must be removed by 10:00 p.m.  Water is required to be available to horses at all times.
  13. All requests for replacement horses due to injury or illness will be reviewed by the Thurston County 4-H Horse Committee Executive Board in keeping with the Thurston County 4-H policies and the PNW0574 Horse Contest Guide.
  14. Whips are accepted only in the following classes: Western Games (no maximum length), Saddle Seat (maximum length 48"), Harness (maximum length 78"), Hunt Seat crop or whip (maximum length 36") and Dressage (maximum length 48").
  15. No person, other than the contestant may ride or handle a contestant’s horse during the Fair unless permission is obtained from a member of the Thurston County 4-H Horse Committee Executive Board. The exception to this is during herdsmanship duty.
  16. See 4-H General Rules for State Fair qualification.
  17. A 4-H member may draw premiums ONLY in Fitting and Showing and two other Lots (Western Games, Dressage, Jumping, Harness, and/or Trail-in-Hand). Entry cards must indicate premium classes.
  18. Exhibitor Walk/Trot: Exhibitors entered in Walk/ Trot or Walk/Jog classes cannot cross enter in canter classes including Western Games. Novice is a walk/trot, class only. Classes are for 1st year or walk/jog riders only and are ineligible for state teams.
  19. In addition to these rules, all contestants must comply with the General and 4-H Department Rules.
  20. Stall decorations and tack rooms must be in place by 9:00 p.m., Tuesday before the Fair.
  21. Tack sheds cannot exceed 10’x10’ or of equal square feet.
  22. Rule acknowledgment & waivers must be turned in prior to receiving exhibitor’s number in show office.
  23. All clothing worn must comply with the PNW Contest Guide.
  24. Horses must be in the 4-H exhibitor’s care and management 90 days prior to the Fair. By May 1st, exhibitors must submit a C0233 4-H Horse Certificate form for each animal they plan to exhibit to be eligible for Fair.
  25. EQUESTRIAN HELMETS – All Washington 4-H youths participating in all equine projects and activities must wear American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) and Safety Engineering Institute (SEI) approved headgear when riding or driving. The headgear must have a chin strap and be properly fitted. Additionally, all equestrians (including adults) are strongly encouraged to wear protective headgear at all times when riding or working around horses.
  26. Member may exhibit a project animal in the Trail-in-Hand class that is not shown in any other riding classes that requires exhibitors to canter or lope.


  1. Senior
  2. intermediate
  3. Junior
  4. Cloverbuds

Points:     Blue – 75    Red – 55    White – 25


  1. Performance Showmanship– a,b,c
  2. Western Games Showmanship - a,b,c

Points: Blue – 60 Red – 40 White –20


  1. Saddle Seat Equitation or Walking Horse Seat – a,b,c
  2. Walk/Trot Hunt Seat Equitation – a,b,c
  3. Hunt Seat Equitation – a,b,c
  4. Disciplined Rail – English – a,b
  5. Walk/Trot Dressage Seat Equitation – a,b,c
  6. Dressage Seat Equitation – a,b,c
  7. Walk/Jog Stock Seat Equitation – a, b, c
  8. Stock Seat Equitation – a,b,c
  9. Disciplined Rail – Western – a,b
  10. Walk/Jog Western Dressage Seat Equitation- a, b, c
  11. Western Dressage Seat Equitation – a, b, c
  12. Reining– a,b,c
  13. Walk/Jog Barback Equitation - a, b, c
  14. Bareback Equitation - a, b, c

Points: Blue – 60 Red – 40 White – 20


  1. Practical Horsemanship (Trail) – a,b,c

Points: Blue – 60 Red – 40 White – 20


  1. Pleasure Driving – a,b,c
  2. Reinsmanship – a,b,c
  3. Precision Driving – a,b,c

Points: Blue - 60 Red - 40 White - 20


  1. Dressage In-Hand - a, b, c
  2. Obstacle In-Hand - a, b, c
  3. In-Hand Hunter - a, b, c

Points: Blue – 60 Red – 40 White – 20

Exhibitors wishing to participate in a Jumping Event at the Thurston County Fair are required to attend and qualify at one of the clinics. The Superintendent or designee will approve the exhibitor’s knowledge and ability to ride in a safe manner and to display knowledge and ability to ride each jumping height class over each height class.


  1. Equitation Over Fences Not To Exceed 1’6" (Trot or Canter) – a,b,c
  2. Equitation Over Fences Not To Exceed 2’0" – a,b,c
  3. Equitation Over Fences Not To Exceed 2’6" – a,b,c
  4. Equitation Over Fences Not To Exceed 2’9" – a,b,c

Points: Blue – 60 Red – 40 White – 20


  1. Trail-In-Hand – a,b,c

Points: Blue – 60 Red – 40 White - 20

Exhibitors wanting to participate in Western Games events at the Thurston County Fair
are required to attend and qualify at one of the clinics or Pre-Fair. The Superintendent
or designee will approve an exhibitor’s ability to ride in a safe manner and to display
knowledge and ability to ride each gaming pattern. Cross entry with walk/trot or walk/
jog is not permitted.


  1. Key Pole Race – a,b,c
  2. Figure 8 Stake Race – a,b,c
  3. Two -Barrel Flag Race – a,b,c
  4. International Flag Race – a,b,c
  5. Pole Bending – a,b,c
  6. Texas Barrel Race – a,b,c

Points: Blue – 60 Red – 40 White – 20


  1. Mare and foal – a,b,c
  2. Gelding or mare-yearling foaled previous year – a,b,c
  3. Gelding or mare - 2 years old, foaled two years previous – a,b,c
  4. Gelding or mare - 3 years old, foaled three years previous – a,b,c

Points: Blue – 60 Red – 40 White – 20

Tests are the same as those used at State Fair. Leaders and fair office will be
advised as soon as they are announced.


  1. English Dressage – a,b,c
  2. Western Dressage – a,b,c
  3. English Dressage w/t – a,b,c
  4. Western Dressage w/j – a,b,c

Points: Blue – 10 Red – 8 White – 6


  1. Horse Knowledge Bowl – a,b,c,d

Points: Blue – 20 Red – 15 White – 5

(State Fair Bulletin #61 will be followed for rules)
A squad must be made up of all 3 senior members or all 3 intermediate members.
A separate entry form must be submitted for each groom squad team.
An intermediate and senior mixed team may compete but are not eligible to
attend State Fair and will be judged with the senior class. Rules listed in “Groom
Squad Contest - State Fair No. 61”, will be used with the exception of groom time
which will be 15 minutes.


  1. Groom Squad – a,b

Points: Blue - 60 Red- 40 White-20


  1. 4-H Equine Individuals Contest
  2. 4-H Team Demonstration Contest
  3. 4-H Equine Public Speaking Contest


  1. Open to all 4-H Seniors.
  2. Contest Lot and topic must be submitted to superintendent no later than June 1
  3. Follows all state and national contest rules.
  4. Contestant may enter in more than one lot, but will only be eligible for one state slot.