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Laramie Man Receives National 4-H Award for Game Bolstering Horse Sense

December 12, 2011
Man holding a binder
Retired UW 4-H administrator Ollie Hill developed a game that teaches children about horses.

An educational game for kids has earned a Laramie man the National Communicator Award for Educational Package from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents.

4-H'ers have their horse skills critiqued in the arena and their equine knowledge tested with age-appropriate questions when playing the Kid's Arena Horse Play game created by Oliver "Ollie" Hill.

"I've always been interested in helping kids and adults and that's been the course of my career," says Hill, a retired extension educator who worked in Colorado and Wyoming and was a member of the Wyoming State 4-H Office. He retired in 1996.

A laminate sheet is posted at an arena entrance that shows a circular route. A skill to be judged is posted at up to six stations. A volunteer judge critiques the riding skills at each station and asks a question. If the answer is correct, the rider advances to the next station and skill. If wrong, the rider goes to the jail station and is asked another question.

The 4-H'er then returns to the start of the circuit. 4-H'ers successfully completing the circuit are given sheriff stickers, those who get part way receive a deputy badge and those sent to jail receive a jail bird sticker. Use of the stickers is optional but fun for the kids, Hill says.

There are almost 400 questions for beginning 4-H'ers up to 10 years of age, for intermediate riders ages 11-13 and advanced riders ages 14 and up. Questions quiz riders on English and Western riding knowledge and on equine health and nutrition. The questions are coded so clubs can concentrate on specific subjects, such as health one session and nutrition the next, and many other topics.

For more information, see or call (307) 745-4553.

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