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Youth gain self-confidence in horse speaking contest

Horse by a gate

Urbana, Ill. – The Illinois 4-H Horse Speaking contest helps youth gain self-confidence, courage and persuasiveness; share ideas with others; and develop the ability to speak in public to inform others about horse-related subjects and the 4-H Horse project. This year’s contest was held April 13 on the University of Illinois campus.

Youth compete in one of five divisions, and All presentation subjects must pertain to the horse industry, or be horse related, and be original and factual. Presentations cannot involve the use of live animals; however, model animals may be used. 

In Original individual formal speech youth share a prepared formal speech on a horse-related topic.

In Senior Formal Speech, Mackenzie Sherman of Bureau County took first place.  

In Junior Formal Speech, Molly Wannemacher of Henry County took first place.

In Original individual presentation youth may use either demonstration or illustrated talk on an idea or topic and may use visual aids.

In Junior Individual Presentation, Abby Johnson of Knox County took first place.

In Senior Individual Presentation, Stephanie Niesen of DeWitt County took first place.

In Original presentation team, teams use either demonstration or illustrated talk on an idea or topic and may use visual aids.

In the Team Presentation Junior Division, Jasmine Frerkes and Joceyln Erickson of Mercer County took first place.

In the Team Presentation Senior Division, Annelise Veeder and Michaela Persico of Kendall County took first place.  

In Extempore speaking, a topic is selected at the event and participants have 25 minutes to prepare a four-to-six minute speech.

In Junior Extemporaneous, Nora Moore of Madison County took first place.

In Senior Extemporaneous, Hannah Wenzel of Saline County took first place.

In Interpretive Reading youth use the art of reading aloud from a printed page. Youth may choose prose, poetry, short stories, play cuttings, narratives, book or review, or theatrical that is horse-related.

In Interpretative Reading, Callie Anne Gregg of Champaign County took first place.

This year’s event also included Horse Bowl and Hippology events.

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. 

For Further Information, Contact:

Source:  Deb Hagstrom, University of Illinois Extension Specialist, Horses

Writer:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager, 4-H State Office,


About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.