A 4H Goodbye

Last weekend\’s 4H Regionals Show was one of the highlights of my girls 4H year. There, all of their diligent work, valiant efforts and timely record book keeping (people who know my daughters kindly do not interject here) was put to the test.

\"\"Well, mostly their riding and showmanship skills, as they competed against their peers from other clubs all throughout our region.

It also marked Teenager\’s final time showing at the Regionals as this is very likely her last year as a 4H member.

\"\"I can\’t believe it\’s actually been eight years since she led her first mare through a showmanship pattern. Suzie was a retired show mare a friend had kindly gifted us to get her started in 4H. A quirky and wise mentor who taught both Teenager and her mother more than a few lessons over the years.

\"\"When we retired Suzie we bred her to a pleasure stallion, she bore a beautiful foal to dote on, and while the two of them were turned out, Teenager went on to her new project horse – Blue.

\"\"Five years later, the result of Suzie\’s breeding – Mr Clever Zippo – is Teenager\’s final year project horse, whom she competed with at the Regionals and is showing for possibly her final time this weekend at the 4H Provincials in Olds, Alberta.

\"\"She has him for sale and we hope to find a good home for him sometime before Teenager enters university studies.

\"\"The idea that she is showing the offspring of her very first horse weaves her 4H experience into a rather beautiful circle.

\"\"So many memories in those 4H summers.

\"\"Teasing Teenager was usually one of the highlights of any 4H gathering.

\"\"Poor Wee, always in tow, and no horse to ride. You couldn\’t blame her for getting a little grumpy once in a while.

\"\"Come on, Wee, we know there\’s a smile behind there. . .

\"\"This picture was taken years ago at a Regionals Show – evidently before the time of mandatory helmets – and these three girls had spent a very long day showing their horses. Which is why jumping on them and galloping around in the evening after dinner made all the sense in the world, right. Right? That\’s how they rolled then, and it was a wonderful thing to see.

\"\"Over the years, Teenager has been showing with virtually the same group of girls, some of whom are also in their final year. Like Robin, and the aptly named Oreo, from the Millarville club. We\’re hoping to see them one more ciprofloxacin and amoxicillin time this weekend.

\"\"I\’m hoping things will go well with Teenager and Zippo\’s final 4H show this weekend. He\’s a young horse and still has some learning to do, still I\’m sure Teenager has some competitive goals for the weekend.

\"\"As for me, I\’m just going to enjoy the experience of heart-in-my-throat-cheering-her-on just one more time.


3 thoughts on “A 4H Goodbye”

  1. Oh, what a beautiful story. Yes, there is a life after 4H but it’s missing something, all right. It’s hard to understand why Mums have a lump in their throats after all the late record books, snowy/slippery drives to night time meetings, highway cleanups in the wind, teenage hormones, lame horses, speech-day jitters and stomache aches, 4H On Parade, tears down the Deerfoot, wrong leads, bungled up equitation patterns and sleepless nights! I’ve been there and looking back, it was all a wonderful thing. Best of all, our involvement has given Teenager and all the other lucky kids like her a rock-solid start in life.

  2. Sitting in the grain truck (with an iPhone!!, wow) reading your article brought tears to my eyes. 4-H was one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I don’t know who I’d have been without it. I am getting involved now as an assistant leader (although I missed first meeting due to grain truck duties). I have 2 young sons and am so excited to get them involved. Nice to hear a moms perspective.

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