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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

June 4, 2024 - 8:53am --

As a 4-H volunteer and horse enthusiast, Jesse Hyatt likes to teach members in her club how to care for horses. They may have a horse, but she helps them find out if they want to invest in one.

      While working with 4-H’ers taking a horse project to show at the fair, the West End Rowdy “Ranglers adviser involves 4-H’ers taking the Horseless Horse project. She believes the Horseless Horse project is a good place for 4-H’ers to start to see if they enjoy horses.

          “It’s step by step on how to take care of your horse the proper way,” she said. Covering 20 different horse-related subjects, “the project is very basic but there’s a lot to it.”

          The Horseless Horse project is just one way the 4-H program allows members to learn about animals without owning one. Members may also lease livestock as long as it isn’t a market animal, which will be sold at the fair. Our program has lease agreements for feeder calves, horses, and dairy cattle.

 A lease agreement makes it possible for 4-H’ers who don’t have the ability to house or purchase animals have a positive learning experience and learn how to be responsible for an animal.

          A former 4-H’er, Abbey Werstler said she leased a handful of horses in her 4-H career and learned so much. As a Wayne County Hoof and Hide 4-H Club adviser and cattle owner she is now leasing her Jersey calves, heifers, yearlings and cows to 4-H’ers. “It makes me feel great to dedicate my time to watch these youth prosper in their dairy cattle journey,” she said. “I want them to grow and get experiences they may have never gotten before. Watching them smile and have a great time is what it’s all about.”

          Seeing the 4-H’ers smile and have fun is what Hyatt hopes to achieve in her work as an adviser. If members are taking the Horseless Horse projects, they are involved in the same educational sessions as the other horse project members. She invites them to her farm so they can watch the farrier work on her paint, quarter and miniature horses. She uses washable paint on her horses to point out the different parts of a horse and she involves the 4-H’er in the care of the horses, such as washing and brushing them.

          “We will also go to horse shows so they can interact with the other horse project members,” she said.

Wrestler said she wants 4-H’ers who lease animals from her dairy herd to experience caring for the animals with her guidance. “I require them to come out and work with the animals multiple times a week while I am present. I have my own personal agreement with the youth and their parent/guardian on what the youth needs to contribute towards the project such as time spent working with the animal, helping pay for grain, hay, bedding, shows, etc. I want it to be a great learning experience for them.”

          From her head of 11 Jerseys, she is leasing 10 of them.

“I usually lease out a majority of them so the youth can get a feel for different ages of cattle,” Werstler said. “Each stage is different in various ways, which in the end, helps the youth learn more about the dairy industry. Owning a dairy animal is a continuous learning process.”

          It’s true, 4-H has something for everyone. The program makes it possible to learn about animals even when it’s not possible to own an animal, and passionate volunteers are available to teach and help.

Laurie Sidle is an Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H program assistant and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or
This article was previously published in The Daily Record.