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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Virtual 4-H Liberty Horse Challenge

The 4-H Liberty Horse Challenge is an exciting new opportunity for 4-H members to demonstrate their horsemanship skills by performing a pattern that highlights the partnership between horse and handler and the willingness of the horse to move independently through a pattern as directed by the handler’s body language, aids, and voice commands.

To participate in the 4-H Liberty Horse Challenge, a 4-H member must be currently enrolled in a 4-H horse project through 4-H Online, have successfully completed EquiSTEP by June 1st of the current year, and be a member in good standing in their county 4-H program and club.

As this is the first offering of the 4-H Liberty Horse Challenge, this event will only be offered virtually in 2024.  A video recording of the exhibitor and horse performing the specified pattern must be uploaded to: by the entry deadline of 11:59pm on July 1, 2024.  An exhibitor may submit multiple entries but only one exhibitor/horse combination per level is allowed.  Submissions must include the exhibitor’s name, horse’s name, county, and 4-H club.  Any entries that do not meet the submission requirements will not be evaluated. The top 10 exhibitors in each level will be announced at the Ohio State Fair Junior Horse Show and posted online at

General Rules:

  1. Suitable exhibitor attire includes boot, long pants or jeans, shirts with a collar and long sleeves, and a suitable hat or properly fitted ASTEM/SEI approved safety headgear with the chin harness securely fastened at all times.
  2. This event can be completed with any breed of horse, pony, or small equine of any age.
  3. There is no size requirement for the arena as long as the marker placement and pattern can be completed safely within the space available.
  4. Markers indicating the center of the arena must be easily visible and spaced according to the figure provided.
  5. Prior to starting the pattern, the center of the arena should be visible on the video.  During the completion of the pattern and to improve the video quality, it is encouraged to zoom-in on the 1) competitor, 2) horse and 3) marker(s) associated with the specific maneuver.  These three elements need to be visible all the time.
  6. The video shall not be edited and must be recorded continuously.
  7. Aids (clickers, training sticks, whips) are permitted to direct and/or guide the horse.  The horse may be touched as long as it is not excessively; however, “touchless” is preferable.
  8. Treats/food is not permitted.
  9. Participants may use the assistance of a person outside the arena to read the pattern.
  10. Participants may use the assistance of a person(s) outside the arena to redirect the horse with a flag, back to the handler, in the event of separation as long as the assistance does not influence the pattern.

Diagram of Arena Set Up

Basic Level Pattern       Basic Level Demonstration Video          Basic Level Scoresheet

Level 1 Pattern              Level 1 Demonstration Video          Level 1 Scoresheet

Level 2 Pattern              Level 2 Demonstration Video          Level 2 Scoresheet