Members of the South Dakota 4-H Horse and Pony Project and their parents or leaders were surveyed about their experiences with receiving access to horse show patterns in advance of the 2012 State 4-H Horse Show. Authors anticipated improved comfort and performance with accompanied reduction in stress and anxiety in youth. Youth and adults reported this to be helpful to them, as they felt their stress and anxiety was not only minimized, but also that their ability to learn the patterns was maximized. Youth’s ability to perform, as well as their ability to have fun at the show, were also increased in the eyes of youth and adults alike. 4-H Beginners (ages 8-10) and Juniors (ages 11-13) expressed a greater preference for accessing patterns in advance of the horse show than Seniors (ages 14-18), but age did not play a role in how youth rated their stress, anxiety, fun, comfort, or their abilities to learn and perform the patterns. Adults also gleaned benefits from access, rating the effects on themselves similarly to their youth in every category except enhancing their personal comfort. An overwhelming majority of both youth (98%) and adults (95%) prefer early access to horse show patterns in the future.


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