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North Dakota 4-H Sweeps National Hippology Contest
North Dakota Ag Connection - 01/27/2023

North Dakota 4-H members earned top rankings during the hippology contest at the Western National 4-H Roundup in Denver, Colo. Representing North Dakota was the hippology team from Ward County, who were the overall national champion team. Members are Emily Fannik of Max, Olivia Lebrun of Berthold, Anne Schauer of Carpio and Mikaela Woodruff of Edgeley. They also brought home individual top placings.

Hippology is the study of horses that consists of a team learning vet science, nutrition, horse care and general horse industry knowledge. The contest has four main components: horse judging, station identification, a written test and a team problem.

"At nationals, the dial adjusts to more challenging multiple rounds of the four components as compared to the North Dakota State 4-H contest," says Emily Burkett, North Dakota State University Extension 4-H youth development agent in Ward County.

The team completed a written exam, a series of PowerPoint slide identifications, four horse judging classes and four team problem scenarios. In the horse judging portion of the contest, they analyzed two performance and two halter classes of reining, hunter under saddle, performance mares and performance geldings.

The North Dakota team came out on top, bringing home the following placings:

National champion – Overall

National champion – Exam and Slides

National champion – Horse Judging

National champion – Stations and Lab Practicum

Reserve national champion – Team Problem

Individual placings by event were:


Woodruff – national champion

Schauer – reserve national champion

Fannik – third place

Lebrun – fourth place

Exam and slides

Fannik – national champion

Woodruff – reserve national champion

Schauer – fourth place

Lebrun – fifth place

Horse Judging

Schauer – national champion

Woodruff – fifth place

Fannik – sixth place

Lebrun – seventh place

Stations and Lab Practicum

Woodruff – national champion (with a perfect score)

Schauer – reserve national champion

Lebrun – fourth place

Fannik – fifth place

Volunteer coaches who have assisted the team throughout their 4-H career include Burkett, Paige Brummund, NDSU Extension agriculture and natural resources agent in Ward County; Christopher Rockeman, Donnybrook; and Kathy Baer, Garrison.

"The effort and dedication it takes to learn the diverse and challenging contest content is not a simple task to accomplish," says Brummund. "Since two team members are college students while the other two are seniors in high school, seeing this incredible group of young women finish their 4-H Hippology careers is bittersweet."

This is the second year in a row North Dakota has won the National Hippology Contest. Last year, a team from Benson County placed first.

The next North Dakota 4-H Hippology season is beginning. Practices are in Minot on Tuesdays and Berthold on Wednesdays. To learn more about hippology, contact Burkett at 701-857-6450, or find information on the NDSU Extension website at or on Facebook at

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