Ruth Tuft started in 4-H when her daughter was 9. Her daughter is now 53. Even though Ruth has turned over the 4-H project at ETRC to others she still “sticks around on-call” for the 4-H Group. When her daughter started in 4-H that there was no horse project listed. When Ruth asked about it, she was told, “We don’t have an advisor for that.” She said, “Well, I can do that” and the rest is history, so to say.
Ruth then approached the ETRC board about forming a 4-Hgroup. They agreed. The Anderson County 4-H Horse and Pony Project Group began in the fall of 1991 with six girls. 4-H Horse Shows have been held every year since, except for one year when the arena was under repair. Along with the horse show, Ruth also got the group into Horse Bowl and Hippology, Judging and the Apprciation Dinner. At first, the numbers of kids were small, but over the years, interest grew until typically about 30 kids signed up for the 4-H horse program. Several dropped out after they learned the work that was required by the program. Those who stayed cited the program for the positive lessons they learned, as well as the great fun they had riding the horses and getting to know horses.
Ronnie Asher took over the leadership of 4H 7 years ago. Under his leadership, earlier aspects such as shows, Hippology and Horse Bowl, Judging, and the Appreciation Dinner continue. The enrollment has continued to grow to most years having around 50 4Hers. The structure of the Saturday morning sessions have changed also. There are 3 sections in each Saturday meeting. All members gather in the clubhouse for a "meeting" where the "senior" members teach the "newer" members the many different aspects of a horse. After this session is completed, the "senior" members help some ETRC adults work with the kids on riding and care of the horses. These are done in the arena and in the barn. After these, the "senior" members will ride in the arena while the "newer" members remove saddles, bridles, clean hooes and brush the horse they used and finally clean the stalls. They will then either placed the horse in its stall or outside in the paddock according to the owner's instructions.
In addition to the activities mentioned, Ronnie has also involves the group in the Clover Classic in March and Regionals in June that take place at RSCC and the State competition which takes place in Murfreesboro in June. The leadership also has the 4H members active in several different fund raisers to cover the cost of State.