Cape May Court House – The Cape May County 4-H Horse Program is pleased to announce that our county’s 4-H horse club members brought home the English Grand Championship Team Award from the NJ State 4-H Championship Horse Show at the Dream Park in Gloucester County, NJ, in August.
While the hard work and excellence of these young athletes is well known, many people do not realize the amount of personal hardships and obstacles some of these young people have overcome to achieve this distinction.
One remarkable example of this is 9th grader Mackenzie Doughty, of the Star Hollow Riders 4-H Club, who earned three Grand Championships and two Reserve Championships at the show. She was Grand Champion in Junior Equitation over Fences, Handy Working Hunter Horse, and Hunter Hack Horse and Reserve Champion in Junior Hunter Under Saddle and Junior Equitation on the Flat. She finished 3rd place in Working Hunter Horse and 6th place in English Halter.
But as Linda Horner, 4-H Program Coordinator for Cape May County, explains, “What an amazing accomplishment for this 14 year old high school freshman, who has withstood the deaths of two horses in just the last three years. It takes an uncommon determination to get back up that third time and be willing to try again, especially after such devastating loss,” Horner continues. “The hard work done by Mackenzie and her new horse, affectionately known as Donut, really paid off this year and is a testament to her bravery.”
Shore Blazers 4-H Club Member Elise Heim’s horse, Pardon Me, has battled lameness since April. Every time Elise and her brother Andrew thought he was sound enough to ride again, he would develop another hoof problem. This meant that the horse could not be ridden all summer, including at the county qualifying horse shows where youth compete for a slot on the state team. Elise was able to show the gelding in one in-hand halter class, however, which was just enough. Elise and Pardon Me won the Grand Champion in English Halter at the state horse show. Congratulations to Elise and Pardi!
Coryn Dykhouse is a member of the Star Hollow Riders 4-H Club and the Teen Ambassadors 4-H Club. She has a fascinating story to tell about the thoroughbred she has leased since 2014, King Solomon. Solomon is owned by Abby Sykes, who rescued the horse from slaughter. Solomon’s luck had run out when Sykes bought him right off the truck that was destined for a slaughter house in Canada or Mexico. Emaciated, matted and lame in all four hooves, he was a far cry from the champion that Abby and Coryn have since made him. King Solomon and Coryn won Reserve Champion in Senior English Pleasure Horse, placed 5th in Senior Dressage Equitation, 6th in Senior Equitation on the Flat, and 7th in Dressage-Training Level Test 2 & 3.
Fortunately, not all 4-H equestrians experience such trials, but all of them definitely put in countless hours of hard work. Alexa DiPalantino, of the Star Hollow Riders 4-H Club, was the Reserve Champion in Senior Hunter Under Saddle and Senior Equitation over Fences. She placed 3rd in Senior Equitation on the Flat.
Kate Pantelione, of the 24 Carrots 4-H Club, placed 4th in Hunter Under Saddle Pony, 7th in Hunter Hack Pony, 8th in Bow-Tie Pony, 10th in Barrel Pony, and 10th in Keyhole Pony. Kate and her horse Jewell demonstrated their well-rounded competitive abilities by succeeding in both English and Western Games.
Ethan Hartley, of the Hy-Riders 4-H Club, finished in 8th place in Western Halter Geldings and Devin Mathis, of the Star Hollow Riders 4-H Club, finished in 3rd place in Junior and Senior Hunter Under Saddle Pony. This was the first time that both Ethan and Devin competed in the state horse show. We expect to see many more great things from both 4-H members in the future.
Tessa Wozunk is a member of the 24 Carrots 4-H Club and the Milky Ways 4-H Club. She placed 4th in the Senior English Pleasure Horse Class and 8th in Senior Western Pleasure Horse. This was Tessa’s last year as a 4-H youth member. She and her horse project, Oliver, made the most of it by succeeding in both the English and Western Divisions at the horse show.
The NJ State 4-H Championship Horse Show is an annual three-day event that offers 4-H’ers an opportunity to compete at an advanced level and meet other 4-H horse project members from around the state of New Jersey. The state 4-H Championship Horse Show, held annually at the end of August, has 4-H representatives from throughout the state competing in the English, Western, Dressage, Very Small Equine, and Game divisions. This year, nearly 170 4-H members participated in this prestigious event.
“Competitors at the state show are the best of the best from each county; they have earned the right to participate through county-level qualifying shows and lots of hard work,” said Horner. “I am very proud of our Cape May County Team; they are all champions in our eyes.”
The State 4-H Championship Horse Show is sponsored in part by the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board as well as by businesses and individuals from throughout the state, including Shellbay Campground in Cape May Court House, V & C Hartley Fishing LLC, and the Cape May County 4-H Horse Council.
The 4-H Youth Development Program is part of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension. 4-H educational programs are offered to all youth grades K – 13 on an age-appropriate basis, without regard to race, religion, color, natural origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
Learn more about the Cape May County 4-H Youth Development Program at the 4-H Foundation website cmc4h.com or call 609-465-5115 ext. 3605.