Horse Communication Rules

Rules and Regulations

Categories offered:

  • Public Speaking
  • Individual Presentations
  • Team Presentations

Note: National rule changes will be automatically reflected in New York State 4-H educational event rules in following year.

Dress Code: A strict dress code will be enforced. Clean, neat clothing, appropriate for the event and weather conditions will be expected. Remember, contestants are representing 4-H, Cornell, and their county and region. Shirt must have sleeves and cover midriff. No inappropriate language on clothing. Skirts and shorts must be longer than the individual’s fingertips when their hands are at their sides.

A. Teams to compete in regional contests may be selected by any means agreeable to the majority of counties within that region. Regions are encouraged to allow as many youth as possible to participate in regional competitions. Regions are advised to follow state rules but may alter to fit their needs. All teams competing in state and national contests must conform to state and national rules.

  1. Seniors: Senior contestants must be at least 14 years of age but not yet 19 years of age by January 1 of the current calendar year.
  2. Juniors: Junior contestants must not have achieved their 14th birthday prior to January 1 of the current year.

Please note: For State events, a junior youth must have reached their 9th birthday prior to January 1 of the current calendar year.

3. Novice (Please note this division is optional. There is no Novice Division at the New York State Horse Communications Contest. Therefore, the following are only suggested guidelines. Every region can coordinate this division to fit their regional needs and create their own guidance.): Contestants must not have achieved their 14th birthday prior to January 1 of the current calendar year and must never have participated in a Communications contest at the regional level. At the discretion of the region, exceptions may be made to allow contestants who are 9 years of age or less to compete.

B. Age - Contestants must be at least nine (9) years of age before January 1 of the current year but not have been nineteen (19) prior to January 1 of the current year. To be eligible for selection as a member of a state team, a contestant must be at least fourteen (14) years of age before January 1 of the current year.

C. Project Enrollment - Contestants must be enrolled in the 4-H horse project in accordance with county limitations.

D. No contestants may compete at any level in the same specific event in which they have previously competed in an official 4-H contest of national character and in the same species.

  1. No member of a presentation team which competed in an official national contest may compete in team events even with a new partner but are eligible to compete in individual events.
  2. Individual presenters and public speakers who have competed in official national 4-H competition may not compete in the same specific individual event but are eligible to compete in the alternate individual event and in team competition.

E. Each contestant must have been officially designated as a contestant by the Cooperative Extension Educator, 4-H, of his/her county, and must be officially designated by the chairperson of the Regional 4-H Horse Educational Committee (HEC).

F. Youth must physically be present at the county, regional and state events. This would preclude alternative methods of qualifying, such as a videotape of the youth.

G. Contestants must not have participated in any post-secondary (university, college, junior college or technical school) competitive individual presentation/ demonstration, team presentation/demonstration or public speaking contests.

H. Opportunities to represent New York in one of the National 4-H Horse Roundup competitions will be offered to participants in the State Contest based on their placing in the contest and their availability for travel and additional training.

I. Contestants may participate in only one state-wide 4-H Horse Communications event (Public Speaking or Team Presentation or Individual Presentation) in a given year.

A. Each region may enter the following number of youths in the State Contest:

  1. Individual Presentations, Senior: 4
  2. Individual Presentations, Junior: 4
  3. Team Presentations, Senior: 4
  4. Team Presentations, Junior: 4
  5. Public Speakers, Senior: 4
  6. Public Speakers, Junior: 4

B. Registration is required. Only CCE County Educator or staff will be able to register youth via the CCE Event Registration for Programs portal. Registration for this event is online only. Register youth for Individual Presentations and Public Speaking here. For Team Presentation, register youth here.

C. Event Schedule: Individual schedules will be emailed to the youth and CCE Educators approximately 1 week prior to the event. Any special time requests must be made at the time of registration, and will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Every effort will be made to grant special requests but are not guaranteed.

D. Contestants are expected to check in with the division chairperson 30 minutes before their scheduled time. Failure to be ready to present at the scheduled time will result in elimination.

A. In each division of the contest, three judges will independently evaluate each presentation. Copies of the scoring sheets will be made available upon request, to help in preparing the presentation.

B. Rosettes will be presented to:

  1.  high ten Senior Individual Presenters
  2.  high five Senior Team Presenters
  3.  high five Senior Public Speakers
  4.  high ten Junior Individual Presenters
  5.  high five Junior Team Presenters
  6.  high five Junior Public Speakers

C. Score sheets at the State event will be made available the day of the event. If youth are not present during results, sheets will be mailed to the county to be given to the youth.

Please Note: The same communications presentation may not be repeated in the same division in subsequent years, at the State level. There must be a legitimate attempt to change the subject matter, content, title, etc.

Introductions: Introductions should be brief and simple. They should include the presenter(s) name and the title of the presentation. Other brief information may be included at the discretion of the presenter; please keep information pertinent to the presentation. The introduction will be counted in the total time of the presentation.

Technology:

A. Computer generated, integrated, and highly technical forms of presentations (i.e.: PowerPoint) will be allowed in 4-H Horse Communications Events.

B. When doing a PowerPoint presentation, everything must be designed, developed and produced by the contestant, just like a contestant would do if making standard posters and props.

C. Although a contestant may be “tied” to the computer during the presentation in order to progress through the slides, reading off of the computer screen is just like using notes, and will be judged as such.

D. The contestant is responsible for bringing, setting up and using the computer, projection unit, and other necessary equipment. Realize that completely dimming the lights in the room may be necessary for older projection units but may result in the judges not being able to see the contestant, which could result in point deductions. It would be wise to have a newer, high lumens projection unit that will not require a completely dark room.

E. If pictures and information are taken directly from another source (online or otherwise), it is necessary, as with traditional presentations, to cite where the information was acquired so that the judges are aware. Examples of citations can include placing the webpage below the picture in a small font, a slide of "pictures were taken from" listing the webpages as part of the sources, or any other means that lets the audience know that the youth did not create the picture used. When listing the webpage, it may be wise to list the homepage (ex. www.horsepictures.com) or use bityl to shorten the website url.

F. Individual Presentations - Senior and Junior

  1. This is an individual event.
  2. The subject must pertain to the horse industry. Presentations not appropriately related to the horse industry can be disqualified at the discretion of the judges.
  3. The presentation may be a demonstration or illustrated talk. All references to the term “presentation” in these rules include either demonstration or illustrated talk. A demonstration is defined as a presentation of a step by step procedure with an end product or result. An illustrated talk is defined as a presentation of an idea or topic that uses visual aids to convey the message. Both presentation forms are acceptable and will be evaluated equally, although the delivery methods are different as defined above. Both should utilize visual aids to help convey the major points of the presentation and more than one type of visual aid is preferable. Visual aids may include but are not limited to handouts, posters, props, videos, slides, and computer-generated media (PowerPoint, websites, etc.). No live animals or people may be used.
  4. Contestants may use notes. However, excessive use of notes may be counted against the contestant. This will be at the discretion of the judge(s).
  5. Presenters must supply all of their own equipment including their own computer, projector, extension cord, etc. Once an individual has started their presentation, they may not receive assistance from any coach, parent, educator, audience member, or other person, which includes, but is not limited to, the stroking of any key on a computer or other audio visual device. The penalty for violating this rule is disqualification.
  6. Creative audio-visual aids may be used, but the contestant must be involved in making or designing them.
  7. During the contest, the contestants may introduce themselves by name, region and presentation topic.
  8. Presentation should be 9-12 minutes in length. Three points will be deducted from the total score on each judge's score sheet for every minute (or fraction of minutes) under 9 minutes or over 12 minutes.
  9. Contestants should cite their own major references after the conclusion of their presentation. This will not be counted in the allotted time.
  10. Only the judge(s) may ask questions of the contestant in the contest. Question time will not be counted in the allotted time. Contestants should repeat the question then answer it.
  11. Ties will be broken first by the judge’s accumulated delivery score, second by the judge’s accumulated organization score and third on content and accuracy score.
  12. Contestants may use video recorders to tape their own presentations. It is the responsibility of the coach to provide all necessary recording equipment.

G. Team Presentations - Senior and Junior

  1. This is a team event where both participants should have an equal role in the presentation. A team consists of two members (2 Juniors or 2 Seniors - no mixed ages).
  2. The subject must pertain to the horse industry. Presentations not appropriately related to the horse industry can be disqualified at the discretion of the judges.
  3. The presentation may be a demonstration or illustrated talk. All references to the term “presentation” in these rules include either demonstration or illustrated talk. A demonstration is defined as a presentation of a step by step procedure with an end product or result. An illustrated talk is defined as a presentation of an idea or topic that uses visual aids to convey the message. Both presentation forms are acceptable and will be evaluated equally, although the delivery methods are different as defined above. Both should utilize visual aids to help convey the major points of the presentation and more than one type of visual aid is preferable. Visual aids may include but are not limited to handouts, posters, props, videos, slides, and computer-generated media (PowerPoint, websites, etc.). No live animals or people may be used.
  4. Contestants may use notes. However, excessive use of notes may be counted against the contestants. This will be at the discretion of the judge(s).
  5. Presenters must supply all of their own equipment including their own computer, projector, extension cord, etc. Once an individual has started their presentation, they may not receive assistance from any coach, parent, audience member, or other person, which includes, but is not limited to, the stroking of any key on a computer or other audio-visual device. The penalty for violating this rule is disqualification.
  6. Creative audio-visual aids may be used, but the contestant must be involved in making or designing them.
  7. During the contest, the contestants may introduce themselves by name, region and demonstration topic.
  8. Presentations should be 10-15 minutes in length. Three points will be deducted from the total score on each judge's score sheet for every minute (or fraction of a minute) under 10 minutes or over 15 minutes.
  9. Contestants should cite their major references after the conclusion of their presentation. This will not be counted in the allotted time.
  10. Only the judge(s) may ask questions of the contestant in the contest. Question time will not be counted in the allotted time. Contestants should repeat the question then answer it.
  11. Ties will be broken first by the judge’s accumulated delivery score, second by the judge’s accumulated organization score and third on content and accuracy score.
  12. Contestants may use video recorders to tape their presentations. It is the responsibility of the team/coach to provide all necessary recording equipment.

H. Public Speaking - Senior and Junior

  1. This is an individual event.
  2. Subject must pertain to the horse industry. Speeches not appropriately related to the horse industry can be disqualified at the discretion of the judge(s).
  3. No visual aids charts or other equipment may be used.
  4. Contestants may use notes. However, excessive use of notes may be counted against the contestant. This will be at the discretion of the judge(s).
  5. During the event, the contestants may introduce themselves by name, region and speech topic.
  6. Speeches should be 7-10 minutes in length. Three (3) points will be deducted from the total score on each judge's score sheet for every minute (or fraction of a minute) under 7 minutes or over 10 minutes.
  7. Contestants should cite their major references after the conclusions of their speech. This time will not be counted in the allotted time.
  8. Only the judge(s) may ask questions of the contestant in the contest. Question time will not be counted in the allotted time. Contestants should repeat the question then answer it.
  9. Ties will be broken first by the judge’s accumulated delivery score, second by the judge’s accumulated organization score, and third on content and accuracy scores.
  10. Contestants may use video recorders to tape their own presentations. The contestant will then receive 15 minutes to prepare their speech presentations. It is the responsibility of the team coach/team to provide all necessary recording equipment.

A. Four (4) senior individuals will be invited to represent New York State in the National 4- H Horse Communications Event at the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup in Louisville, Kentucky. They will be selected among the high individuals in the state contest, based on availability for the contest and rank, subject to confirmed eligibility.

  1. Individual Presentation - one 4-H youth
  2. Team Presentation - two 4-H youth
  3. Public Speaking - one 4-H youth

B. Commitment of qualified participants to be a part of the national NYS 4-H Horse Communications Team must be made prior to the first day of State Fair.

  1. If one or more of the four designated national team members are unable to participate at the national contest, the next highest ranking individual or team will be considered as alternates.
  2. National Contest is usually the first weekend in November and takes place in Kentucky. The NYS 4-H Horse Program National teams travel together on a four-day bus trip to the contest and for horse-related tours in the area. Contestants choosing to participate in the National Contest will be asked to cover a portion of the cost of the trip. Senior contestants should come to the contest prepared to decide if they will participate in the national contest if they receive a top placing.

Individual Presentations

Team Presentations

Public Speaking

For more information

contact your local County CCE Association, Jessica Tyson, NYS 4-H Horse Educational Events Coordinator, at jms943 [at] cornell.edu, or Sarah Wilhelm, NYS 4-H Horse Communication Chairperson, at sab423 [at] cornell.edu.