Horsemanship Skills Program

Overview and Materials

The Horsemanship Skills Program provides a planned progression of skill development to promote safety, horsemanship, education, and life skills of youth. The program is designed to provide opportunities for all youth to be involved and succeed, regardless of their riding style, skill, or ability to own a horse. Youth are not required to use their project animals, although this is generally encouraged. Youth who do not own a horse may participate by sharing or leasing a horse. Youth with special needs may participate based on their ability and interests, and on the recommendations of therapeutic riding and health care professionals. The Horsemanship Skills Program is optional with some exceptions. Refer to the current Pennsylvania 4-H Horse Show Rule Book for requirements for showing in state show qualifying classes. Counties or clubs may choose to require the program as part of the project evaluation, for project completion, for showing, or for other purposes. Participation in the program and/or mastery of skills will satisfy some project requirements. Participation in the program should be included in the project annual record. This program may also be used in conjunction with the 4-H Horse Safety Checklist, 4-H Horse Safety Standards, and other safety resources. Development of the program is ongoing. Additional supporting materials and activities will be added as they become available. Please contact your county extension educator and check the Web site periodically for updates.

Information for Examiners

These clinics are designed to promote safety of youth and horses, develop handling and horsemanship skills, and support involvement of youth, parents, and volunteers in 4-H horse activities.

Counties or regions will periodically need to conduct training sessions to approve official Level 1-2 Examiners. Please review and follow these steps to ensure that examiners are properly trained.

For youth under 12 years of age showing junior horse projects.

Contact information for Level 1-2 Examiners can be obtained from their respective county Penn State extension office. Contact information for each county office can be found at

Updated January 17, 2017. Examiners denoted with a * are pending full approval. The final approval is dependent on their completion of 5-7 testings with experienced level 3-4 examiners.

Information for Youth Who Are Ready to Test Level 3 or Level 4