LOGAN — Hocking County Horse Team members, won high honors Saturday, September 21 at the Ohio State 4-H Groom and Clean Contest, held at Marmon Valley Farm, Zanesfield.

Hocking County’s Junior Team, made up of Kayle Bond, Abigail Smith, and Avery Dicken took an impressive third place out of 15 competitors.

The Senior Team, consisting of Andrea Klingelhafer, Stacey McKnight and Isee Beiter, walked away with fifth place out of 21 entries.

In addition to the winnings of the junior and senior, Allori Wolfe, Hocking’s junior team alternate, filled out a spot on the Mahoning Junior Team which claimed a 10th place position.

According to Dr. Kimberly Cole, Associate Professor, Unit Supervisor: OSU Equine Center, the primary objective of the Groom & Clean Contest is to provide an opportunity for youth enrolled in a 4-H horse project to demonstrate their knowledge of horses and equine related subject matter, grooming and team work skills and their showmanship skills in a competitive yet friendly and relaxed setting.

Groom and Clean is at best is an unusual event. Immediately after teams and horses arrive each team is presented with a five gallon bucket of mud, which they proceed to smear all over their horse, making it as dirty as they possibly can.

After the horse has been muddied it is thoroughly inspected. When it has been deemed sufficiently filthy, the youths take their horse back to their trailer, where it is tied, treated to a bag of hay, and allowed to dry.

In the meantime, the contestants get cleaned up and change their clothes in preparation for the competition.

Seniors and juniors are judged separately with seniors kicking off the event.

Handlers take the horses into the arena and line up at their assigned spots. The teams then come in and have 15 minutes to set their grooming tools neatly on a towel, saddle blanket or rug. Once complete, the teams leave the arena to take a written test.

The teams have a total of 15 minutes to complete the test which is valued at a possible 30 points, 10 points per member.

While the test is being taken contest judges inspect each team’s equipment and their muddied horse.

Teams then have 30 minutes to groom their horse and are judged using a specific set of rules concerning grooming, safety, and method procedures. When time is up, the teams return to their starting position away from the horse.

Judges then inspect the groomed animal.

Following the judging teams then show their horses in a showmanship class. All three members of the team will be judged on their ability to show the same horse. Scoring for this portion of the even is 15 possible points, 5 points per team member.

Total scoring is based as follows: Written test 30 points; Equipment 5 points; Safety 40 points; Teamwork and Methods 35 points; Finished Animal Condition 10 points; and, of course, showmanship, for a total of 135 points.

Groom and Clean is the last of eight state sponsored events available for 4-Her’s enrolled with horse projects. Those events also include: Horse Bowl; Communications; Horse Judging; Hippology; Skillathon; Ohio State Fair Horse Show; and State Competitive Trail Ride. Youths successfully completing all eight events will be recognized at the Year End Achievement Awards in January.

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