Philosophy of Missouri 4-H Horsemanship Program

“For nearly 90 years, 4-H has been building community and character.  Now more than ever, young people need support from parents, friends, educators, and community leaders to be persons of display the traits of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship”, says Dr. Jo Turner, director of Missouri 4-H Programs.  4-H horsemanship is one of the many programs used to help young people develop character, self-esteem and subject matter skills.

The traits of character mentioned above are key to a successful 4-H horsemanship experience, it is the job of the 4-H horsemanship project leader to help instill these character traits as well as to help the member learn subject matter skills and develop self esteem as they progress through the various learning experiences you organize for them.

The difference between 4-H and many other horse related opportunities that young people have is that 4-H is centered on youth development and the various competitions available to young people focus on youth development first, with “winning” a very distant second goal.

In 1927, the 4-H pledge was adopted.  Recently, 4-H Youth Specialist, Carol Gehrs wrote a special adaptation of the pledge to help young people understand the connection between 4-H and good character:


I pledge my head to clearer thinking

*be open minded

*Do what is right, even if no one else is doing it

*Pursue excellence in everything

*Take responsibility for my own actions


My heart to greater loyalty

*Be a person of high integrity

*Tell the truth in all times and in all places

*Keep my word

*Be the kind of friend I would like to have


My hands to larger service

*Volunteer in the community

*Protect my neighbor, the environment and our natural resources

*Promote good citizenship


And my health to better living

*Show concern to others

*Be kind, considerate, and compassionate

*Treat people fairly

*Respect myself and those in authority


For my club, my community, my county and my world.