Updated: Mar 2, 2022
By Linda Wilson @LinWilsonauthor
A young neighbor who lived across the street from my family in Oakton, Virginia belonged to 4-H. Though she participated in many of her club’s activities such as arts and crafts, camping, and showing animals at fairs, her favorite activity was horseback riding.
At nine years old, she was in the beginner’s class. She had learned how to mount a horse, stop and start, ride at a walking pace and trot; and how to clean and groom a horse. Her equipment consisted of a pair of hand-me-down jodhpurs—riding pants—and a borrowed helmet. Not ideal, but okay for a beginner.
Her mother had wanted to make sure she was serious about riding before investing in equipment for her. A pair of tall, black riding boots became her goal. She wanted to prove that she planned to continue riding for a long time. But for now, she was stuck wearing her old, red rubber rainboots.
Our neighbor mistakenly entered the riding ring as a more advanced class was going through its paces at a 4-H Horse Show. Her horse fell into step with the other horses and riders and followed them over the hurdle. Our neighbor had never jumped a horse before that day.
The emcee awarded her with a ribbon for the courage she’d shown. The next day her mother bought her a pair of tall, black riding boots—real riding boots. The story of Tall Boots is based on the courage it took for our neighbor to jump her horse for the first time.
The 4-H organization has clubs all over the world in over fifty countries. Activities are hands-on, geared toward the goal of “learning by doing.” You can gain confidence in many skills, learn to be creative in whatever you do, and also experience being a team player and a leader. The four H’s stand for “head, heart, hands, and health.”
What are your interests? Raising and showing farm animals? Cultivating a garden? Cooking? Going camping? Overall, at 4-H you will learn about citizenship, healthy living, science, engineering, and technology.
If you would like to know more about how to locate 4-H programs in your area, please refer to “How You Can Join 4-H” at the end of Tall Boots. The eBook and paperback can be purchased at https://www.lindawilsonauthor.com, and at Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/author/lindawilsonchildrensauthor.