The 57th annual Texas State 4-H Horse Show begins today at the Brazos County Expo Complex. More than 300 4-H participants ages 9-18 from all over Texas have made their way to Bryan-College Station for the event that organizers describe as the pinnacle of the 4-H horse project in the state.
The weeklong event, which began in College Station in the early 1960s before a lengthy run in Abilene, includes barrel racing, western riding, stock horse trail and western pleasure competitions.
Jennifer Zoller, assistant professor and extension horse specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, said that 320 4-H youth will participate this week in the show, which concludes Saturday.
“These horses are their 4-H project, so they’ve been working with these horses all year, improving their skills, and this is the culmination of all that effort,” Zoller said. “They get to compete and show those skills off in front of the judges. It’s really an exciting part of their 4-H experience.”
She said that the schedule for the show includes an appearance by professional barrel racer Taylor Jacob on Sunday night and a series of presentations from collegiate equine programs and coaches called Saddle Up For College on Thursday.
Zoller said the show has junior and senior (high school) divisions, which allows young people of varying age levels a chance to learn and compete.
The Expo will host the annual event for five years after the horse show spent 35 years at the Taylor County Exposition in Abilene.
B.F. Yeates, a longtime horseman and former AgriLife horse specialist who has played a role at every Texas State 4-H Horse Show since it began on A&M’s College Station campus in 1962, spoke at last fall’s news conference announcing the show’s return to College Station.
Yeates said last September that the show floated among a number of Texas cities — including Waco and Fort Worth — after leaving College Station before finding a home in Abilene.
“It’s a homecoming for the show,” Zoller said of its return to B-CS.
Zoller said that hundreds of family members are joining the statewide group of participants in traveling here, spurring an economic boon for the Bryan-College Station area for the week.
“The amount of people coming here and checking out the Expo who have never been is exciting,” Zoller said. “A lot of businesses have jumped in and contributed discounts for our exhibitors, so they’ll get to experience the best that Bryan-College Station has to offer.”
All events will be held at the Brazos County Expo Complex, and all events are open to the public. For updates throughout the event, follow Texas Horse on Facebook. For a complete schedule of the 57th Annual Texas State 4-H Horse Show, go to animalscience.tamu.edu/livestock-species/equine/state-4h-show/.