March 22, 2001 | By: Aimee D. Heald

The Kentucky Quarter Horse Youth Association wants to expand a valuable learning program to include 4-H horse clubs. The "Adopt-a-STAR" program is sponsored by the American Quarter Horse Youth Association and Wrangler. STAR stands for Skill, Talent, and Achievement Recognition, and it revolves around a comprehensive equine education program.

"The STAR program is a four-tiered program in which a youth may develop horsemanship skills, knowledge and leadership skills through the completion of workbooks done at each individual's own pace," said Susie Greenwell, youth advisor for KQHYA.

Greenwell said her goal for the program is to find youth who love horses and match them with an adult who loves horses and kids.

"The adult could perhaps sponsor the youth financially with enrollment fees for the STAR program," she said. "I plan to hold workshops for any horse-related groups to find these STAR candidates and introduce them to the program. Any 4-H youth who wants to learn more about horses can benefit from this program."

Greenwell believes involvement in the program could potentially lead to scholarship opportunities down the road. Leadership opportunities are also available if a youth wants to apply for the Wrangler All- STAR team.

Participants will learn basic horsemanship such as care, nutrition, safety, and riding skills. They will also learn to analyze conformation and soundness and begin to learn about recognizing, managing and treating common horse illnesses and diseases. Leadership skills also are an important part of the Adopt-a-STAR program.

"The Adopt-a-STAR program, like many breed association youth programs, compliments the goals of our 4-H horse activities," said Ashley Griffin, University of Kentucky Extension associate for 4- H Horse programs. "These resources should be tapped to further strengthen youth horse clubs and activities in Kentucky."

Greenwell said the program is in its infancy in Kentucky, but with cooperation from groups such as 4-H horse clubs it could become a good teaching tool and give youth horse experience they might not otherwise have an opportunity to get.

AQHA statistics show nearly 3,000 youth have participated in the program since it started in 1995 and more than 200 have graduated from the first level.

If you are interested, talk to your 4-H horse club leader and/or call Greenwell at KQHYA (502) 348-3713.


Susie Greenwell 502-348-3713