Youth at East Tennessee Riding Club (ETRC)

Youth activites at ETRC have been a major part of the barn for more than 27 years. The Youth group meets on Saturdays through out the school year, usually beginning the second weekend in September and continuing until the 2nd weekend of May. During the year, the kids learn to ride and care for horses and participate in western and English riding classes. They study, practice and compete in the Horse Bowl and Hippology competition, and the one show in May is the focus for the year. In the last five years, under the leadership of Ronnie Asher and other ETRC adults the focus has expanded a great deal. Jenni Goodrich, a non-ETRC parent and horse owner, is very knowledgeable about many, many aspects of horses and riding helps with instruction. Now the group has three divisions. The first division is a session in the clubhouse every Saturday in which they study and learn all about the different breeds of horse, the physical make up of horses and much, much more. The younger members participate in making presentations to present to the group and the older youth act as instructors on different topics that they are knowledgeable in for the younger and newer members. After this session, the beginners ride with the older youth helping the leaders with the instruction and teaching in the arena. Once the riding is done, the riders must remove saddle and tack, clean the horses' hoofs, groom the horse and clean the stall before putting the horse up. The horses may be placed in the stall or in the paddocks depending on the owner's preference. Only a few of the youth have their own horse; most use a horse loaned to them by a member of ETRC. As part of the loan, the youth is responsible for taking care of horse and stall during the year. After this, the youth are responsible for cleaning up the hallways and the barn around the horse's stall use by them. In addition to these items, some of the youth learn about horse judging.

In addition to the weekly schedule, the kids take part in a show that takes place the 2nd weekend of May. This is a goal for the kids from the beginning in September to May. The show is open to anyone under 18 and under and is well attended. Participants in the show come from counties in east and middle Tennessee. Participants have come from as far away as Virginia. The show is a great way to end the year, but, for some of the youth, the year is not over. These students participate in 4H Regionals at Roane State in June. Those that participate there do very well and go on to compete in State at Murfreeboro. The youth, adult chaperones and horses spend from Wednesday through Saturday at State. ETRC youth can be proud of what they achieve in both Regionals and State.

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