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Saranac 4-Hers show their horse knowledge

Members from two Saranac clubs, The Trail Blazers and Bits and Bridles were among the top competitors and six of them advanced to the Regional Competition to be held late in March. At Regionals, they will compete for the privilege of representing Saranac at the Sate Competition in Ithaca, where the top competitor in the Sr. age group earns a trip to the National Competition in Kentucky. The Horsebowl is a jeopardy style competition testing club members on all areas of horse knowledge. Here is a sample question: Explain the difference in the parentage of a mule and a hinny? Once the question is read, competitors race to hit their buzzers and be the first to answer correctly. Scores are calculated for individuals and teams in a Jr. level (8 - 13) and a Sr. level (14 - 18). The Trail Blazers won the title in both age divisions. Individually, Srs Taylor Wright (Bits and Bridles), Lauren Heath and CarryAnna Garrand (The Trail Blazers) advanced to Regionals. On the Jr. level, Trail Blazers Emily Heath and Olivia Chippalone advanced. Although you wont find the word hippology in Websters Collegiate Dictionary, it means the study of horses. The Hippology contest consists of four stations where 4-Hers are tested individually on their knowledge of feed and feeding, anatomy and confirmation, tack and equipment, and parasites and diseases. Competitors attempt to score a high of ten points at each station. A freeze dried horse leg was the focus of the anatomy station where points were earned by correctly identifying the parts and function of the leg. Seniors Morgan Wright (Bits and Bridles), Lauren Heath, and CarryAnna Garrand (Trail Blazers) advanced to Regionals as did Junior Emily Heath. Trail Blazers Leader, Julie Heath, wastes no time in preparing her club members for competition. She distributes a large binder full of previous Horsebowl questions to all members at the October meeting, which is the start of the 4-H year. She spends ten minutes at the end of meetings reviewing questions from the binders. She effectively uses her older members to teach the younger ones some aspect of hippology at every meeting. Members are encouraged to spend time studying on their own. A month before the first competition, Lauren Heath, a serious competitor, spends approximately a half hour daily reviewing questions and reading horse and vet books. She believes her horse knowledge benefits her in the classroom. There are many similarities between horse and human anatomy and health, she notes. She feels her experiences in 4-H are leading her to consider a career in the medical field. Over the next few weeks Saranac 4-Hers will be preparing for the next level of competition. They will also be preparing for their public presentations, which will take place the first Saturday in March. Presentation Day is one more opportunity for them to exhibit their horse knowledge and advance to higher level competition. Two years ago, Bits and Bridles member Marissa Horton won States at the Jr. level which does not have a National level competition. Last year Lauren Heath missed a trip to Nationals by one place as she finished second in the state. This year both girls will be competing in the Sr. level where the two toughest competitors could be two girls from the small town of Saranac.

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