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NC State Extension



According to the latest data collected during the 2008 North Carolina Equine Study, North Carolina is home to 53,000 plus horse owners that own over 300,000 horses, ponies, mules and donkeys. The annual economic impact of the horse industry is $1.9 billion dollars and 19,183 people are employed in the industry.

Extension Horse Husbandry conducts an ongoing 4-H youth and adult educational program through county extension agents and horse commodity groups. Cooperative Extension has offices in all 100 counties and on the Cherokee reservation. Check the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service Resource Page calendar for educational opportunities in your area

Adult Programs

Adult horse owners annually receive management and training information through a series of:

  • County meetings
  • Statewide short courses and clinics
  • Webinars
  • Newsletters
  • Extension bulletins
  • Agent/Specialist consultation services

Educational conferences are a popular method of providing nutrition, breeding, business management, facility, waste management, health care, selection and training information.

Youth Programs

A nationally respected and highly diversified 4-H Horse Program provides horse-owning and non-horse-owning youth with training in basic horse science and horsemanship. The 4-H Horse Program continues to enjoy a strong industry support while developing strong leadership skills in participating youth.

A variety of educational events are offered to 4-H members throughout the year. Activities include horse bowl, essay, horse judging, public speaking, demonstration and hippology contests, stable management events, county, district and state horse shows, horsemanship camps, retreats and clinics, trail rides, cumulative record competition and five artistic expression events.

Program participation includes over 14-15,000 annual projects which rank the North Carolina 4-H Horse Program second nationally in program participation. An assortment of program educational curricula, including project books, worksheets, and lesson plans are provided to volunteer leaders and extension agents. Much of the program’s success is attributed to the assistance and dedication of approximately 700 volunteer leaders and horsemen, who are supported on the local level by county extension agents.

Advisory Council

The State 4-H Horse Advisory Council consists of 48 volunteer leaders and 7 county extension agents from each of 5 extension program districts. District 4-H Horse Advisory Councils exist in each of the 5 Districts. The Council meets annually to provide input into the development and management of youth educational programs and review of educational curricula. Subcommittees of the Advisory Council assist in the management of educational events, leader training conferences and horse shows.