NC 4-H’ers Sweep Eastern National 4-H Team Titles

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The North Carolina 4-H Horse Program made history at the 2023 Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup in Louisville, Kentucky, being the first state to ever win all four team contests in the same year: Hippology, Horsebowl, Communications, and Horse Judging. In addition to the team titles, three North Carolina 4-H’ers won high individual awards and $500 scholarships for their performances in their respective contests. Union County 4-H’er Elena Hamilton won top honors in Hippology, Faith Waelz from Gaston County captured first in Public Speaking, and Chatham County 4-H’er Austen Stinson-Miller was the high individual in Horse Judging. 

A total of seventeen North Carolina 4-H’ers represented the NC 4-H Horse Program at both the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup and the All-American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio. The Congress is the largest single-breed horse show in the world. Eastern Nationals is held in conjunction with the North American International Livestock Exposition. The North Carolina delegation competed in Horsebowl, Hippology, Horse Judging, and Communications events. The Communications contests consisted of Individual Presentation, Team Presentation, and Public Speaking. 

The 2023 NC 4-H Hippology team consisted of Union County 4-H’er Elena Hamilton, Cumberland County 4-H’er Stevie Sharum, Saona Wilcox from Alamance County, and Sara Richarson from Chatham County. The team was coached by Wake County leader Beth Morgan. Hippology has four different phases: written, stations, judging, and team problems. At the Quarter Horse Congress, the team placed placing first in Written, Stations, and Team Problem, second in Judging and were the overall Team Champions. Individually, team members received the following awards:
Saona Wilcox: 1st in Written, 1st in Stations, 4th in Judging, 1st Overall
Stevie Sharum: 2nd in Written, 3rd in Stations, 2nd Overall
Sara Richardson: 2nd in Stations, 5th Overall
Elena Hamilton: 9th in Written, 7th in Stations, 8th Overall

2023 Quarter Horse Congress Hippologu Champions
L to R: Saona Wilcox, Stevie Sharum, Beth Morgan, Sara Richardson, Elena Hamilton

At the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup, the team had another impressive showing. In addition to winning the overall team title, they were 1st in Written, 1st in Judging, 2nd in Stations, and 5th in Team Problem. Once again, all four team members placed overall in the top ten, in addition to several other honors:
Saona Wilcox: 1st Written, 3rd Stations, 2nd Overall
Stevie Sharum: 4th Written, 8th Overall
Sara Richardson:5th Written, 2nd Judging, 8th Stations, 4th Overall
Elena Hamilton: 6th Written, 5th Judging, 2nd Stations, 1st Overall

North Carolina has won the Eastern National 4-H Hippology contest for the past six years.

2023 Eastern National Hippology Team Champions
L to R: Saona Wilcox, Sara Richardson, Beth Morgan, Stevie Sharum, Elena Hamilton

High Individual Eastern National Hippology, Elena Hamilton

Reserve Champion Eastern National Hippology Individual, Saona Wilcox

In the Communications contests, NC was represented by Anastasia Smith from Orange County, Faith Waelz from Gaston County, and Cayden Lowe and Emerson Page from Currituck County. Anastasia competed in the Individual Presentation contest with her presentation titled, “From the Course Designer’s Eyes.” She described the intricacies of designing courses for Jumping Competitions. Anastasia’s coach was Orange County 4-H Agent Jonathan Smith. At the Quarter Horse Congress, she earned second place, and at Eastern Nationals, Anastasia placed third. Cayden and Emerson paired up to compete in the Team Presentation competition. The title of their presentation was “Ditch the TikTok Trainer.” The girls described how positive and negative reinforcement techniques can be used in horse training, and how the methods can improve the horse’s performance and responsiveness. Their coach was N.C. Cooperative Extension, Currituck County Center Director, Cameron Lowe. Their presentation secured first place at the Quarter Horse Congress and second place at Eastern Nationals. Faith Waelz completed the Communications team with her Public Speech titled, “When the Whistle Blows.” She shared the history, structure, and benefits of Drill Team Competitions. Faith won top honors at both the Quarter Horse Congress and Eastern Nationals. She was coached by her mother and Gaston County 4-H Leader, BJ Waelz. At the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup, the NC ladies won champion team honors in the State Communications Team contest. The Team Communications Award is based on the total number of points earned in the three different communications competitions.

2023 NC 4-H Communications Team
L to R: Anastasia Smith, Emerson Page, Cayden Lowe, Faith Waelz

2023 Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup Team Communications Champions
L to R: Emerson Page, Cayden Lowe, Anastasia Smith, Faith Waelz
Coaches: Cameron Lowe, Jonathon Smith, BJ Waelz

Eastern National Team Presentation Reserve Champions Emerson Page and Cayden Lowe

Eastern National Public Speaking Champion Faith Waelz

The NC 4-H Horsebowl team was composed of Chatham County 4-H’er Kyra Worth, Makenah Allred from Alamance County, Graham Zeiders from Halifax County, Burke County 4-H’er Jenna Garrison, and Chloe Oaks from Avery County. The coaches for the team were Chatham County 4-H leaders Mary Dickerson and Ruth Vorder Bruegge. At the Quarter Horse Congress, the team placed second overall. Individually, Kyra Worth placed first overall and Jenna Garrison was fifth.

2023 Quarter Horse Congress Reserve Champion Horsebowl Team
L to R: Graham Zeiders, Kyra Worth, Mary Dickerson, Jenna Garrison, Chloe Oaks, Makenah Allred

At the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup, the team went undefeated in bracket play to win the team title. Four team members placed overall in the top ten:
Kyra Worth: 2nd
Graham Zeiders: 4th
Chloe Oaks: 6th
Jenna Garrison: 8th

2023 marks the fifth consecutive year North Carolina has claimed the champion Horsebowl team title.

2023 Eastern National Champion Horsebowl Team
L to R: Graham Zeiders, Makenah Allred, Chloe Oaks, Mary Dickerson, Jenna Garrison, Kyra Worth

Eastern National Horsebowl Reserve High Individual Kyra Worth

The North Carolina 4-H Horse Judging team consisted of Chatham County 4-H’ers Samantha Durham and Austen Stinton-Miller,  Perquimans County 4-H’er Georgia Wand, and Allee Coble from Alamance County. Union County 4-H leader Samantha Taylor coached the team. Horse Judging competitions award the top ten placings for halter judging, performance judging, oral reasons, and overall. At the Quarter Horse Congress, the team placed 4th in Halter, 3rd in Performance, 5th in Reasons, and 3rd Overall. Individually, Samantha Durham was 5th in Halter, 3rd in Performance, 9th in Reasons, and 4th Overall

2023 NC 4-H Horse Judging Team- Third Place Quarter Horse Congress
L to R: Austen Stinson-Miller, Georgia Wand, Allee Coble, Samantha Durham

In the Eastern National competition, the NC judging team placed second in halter, first in performance, and first in reasons. Their outstanding performance earned them the overall champion team title, helping NC three repeat as team champions in this contest. Team member honors included:
Austen Stinson-Miller: 1st in Halter, 9th in Performance, 3rd in Reasons, 1st Overall
Samantha Durham: 8th in Halter, 1st in Performance, 1st in Reasons, 2nd Overall
Allee Coble: 2nd in Performance, 5th in Reasons, 6th Overall
Georgia Wand: 5th in Performance, 5th in Reasons, 10th Overall

2023 Eastern National Champion Horse Judging Team
L to R: Lori Stroud (NCSU Extension), Samantha Durham, Georgia Wand, Allee Coble, Austen Stinson-Miller, Samantha Taylor, Alaina Cross (NCSU Extension)

Eastern National High Individual in Horse Judging Austen Stinson-Miller

Eastern National Reserve Champion Horse Judging Individual Samantha Durham

Congratulations to Samantha Durham and Stevie Sharum for the outstanding accomplishment of being a member of an Eastern National Champion Horsebowl, Hippology, and Horse Judging Team. Samantha (Chatham County) and Stevie (Cumberland County) won Horsebowl together in 2021. Samantha was on the winning Hippology team in 2022 and Judging in 2023. Stevie’s team was first in Judging in 2022 and Hippology in 2023. The last NC 4-H’er to earn this achievement was Harlie Cope in 2013.

Three Time Eastern National Team Champions, Samantha Durham and Stevie Sharum

The NC State Extension Equine Husbandry staff is extremely grateful for the hard work and effort that all the youth and coaches dedicated to representing the state in these events. A huge thank you to those who sponsored our state contests and events. The North Carolina State 4-H Horse program is also appreciative of the support of the  North Carolina State Animal Science Department, North Carolina 4-H, and North Carolina Cooperative Extension.