JAMESTOWN - Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County's 4-H Horse Program annually offers a public presentation contest known as Horse Communications. Youth participants prepare speeches, demonstrations, team presentations, videos or perform impromptu speeches. This year Chautauqua County 4-H had 29 county horse presentations, seven of which were selected to advance to the regional competition.
Public speaking teaches youth to be confident and assertive, to gain the ability to think and speak in front of a large group, and helps them to develop poise and self confidence. At the regional event, Chautauqua County youth met and competed against youth from Wyoming, Orleans, Cattaraugus, Allegany, and Erie County. More than 30 Horse presentations took place at Regional Horse Communications in Cuba, N.Y. Youth presented in four separate categories at the junior, 14 years of age and under, and senior, 14-19 years of age, levels. The top four participants in each category advance to the state competition.
The Public Speaking section of the contest requires youth to research, design, and deliver a seven- to 10-minute presentation without props or posters. In the senior public speaking division, Hailey Watkins of Orleans County won first place, Andrew Stady of Cattaraugus County won second place, and Paige Levandowski of Cattaraugus County won third place.
Ashley Crandall (left) and Kendra Hockran from the Junior Trail Riders 4-H Club in Chautauqua County placed first at regional horse communications in the Senior Team competition with their presentation “The Controversy.”
The individual presentations are nine to 12 minutes long and may be a 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. Visual aids may include but are not limited to handouts, posters, props, videos, slides and computer-generated media (Power Point, websites, etc.).
In the senior division for individual presentations, Colleen Bailey of Cattaraugus County won first place, Natalie Zeitz of Erie County won second place, Jordan Sweenten of Cattaraugus County won third place, and Lara Bannister of Wyoming County won fourth place. In the junior division, Haleigh Youll of Cattaraugus County won first place, Amy Breslin of Erie County won second place, Justin Murphy of Cattaraugus County won third place and Samantha Powell of Chautauqua County placed fourth. Gracie Morrison of Chautauqua County was the first alternate and attended state competition, filling the position for Breslin of Erie County.
Team presentations may be illustrated talks or demonstrations as well. In the senior team division, Kendra Hockran and Ashley Crandall of Chautauqua County won first place. They went on to place third in the state competition.
Horse Skills contests will continue throughout the summer, with national contests in the fall.