In a rural county, people often do not have easy access to entertainment, such as a skating rink or a movie theater—or even a downtown.

“There’s not as much offered to students in a rural community,” said Susan Goldman, Madison County’s 4-H Youth County Extension Agent.

One local farmer, though, goes out of his way to make sure kids have more opportunities for fun and learning.

Middle school and high school students come every Sunday, with a horse or without one, to practice for the 4-H “Cowboys and Angels” Equestrian Drill Team.

“They are able to not only enjoy it so much, but able to learn and pass those skills to other people in the community,” Goldman said. “Which is still why 4-H was invented in the first place.”

Owner and trainer Scott Hawks, along with his wife, coordinates with Madison County 4-H to share expertise and land to help kids find perhaps their passion and make a new friend along the way.

“Keeping care on a horse is crazy. It’s basically taking care of another person. I mean, just like us gotta be fed, got to be watered. You have to clean up after them, you have to make sure that you know, that they are not sick,” Hawks said. “You know it helps them to learn and take care of something and to gain responsibility. When they are out here on just this, it is just them and a 1,200-pound animal.”

Dedication to Youth Organization

The Dancing Tree Farms’ owners are dedicated to the 4-H program and will let the kids borrow their animals if they are horseless.

“I love it, they are both great. I think they are very different, and that’s needed in a team. Full of very diverse children, with different personalities,” said Sandy Lynch, mother of a 4-H member. “One coach is softer than the other coach. And one coach is like, yeah, you can get in there.”

Some kids are here to have fun, but others enjoy the heat.

Samantha Halston, Madison County 4-H member, poses on her horse at Dancing Tree Farms on Nov. 3, 2019. Halston has been in other competitions, “but nothing compared to this, just the drill of getting your timing and facing right,” she said. (Photo/Alexandra Rios)

“I love the competition; that’s my favorite part,” Samantha Halston, a 4-H “Cowboys and Angels” Equestrian Drill Team Member said.

Hawks hopes 4-H members who are a part of the equestrian drill team are learning and will do well in their upcoming competitions.

Alexandra Rios is a senior majoring in journalism in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

 

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