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Safety and education are highlighted during Keller Play Day


Grandmother assists her granddaughter by properly adjusting the equestrian riding helmet. — submitted photo

July 27, 2013 – The Keller Community Club hosted the Annual Keller Play Day, at the Keller Rodeo Grounds.

Twenty-seven youths, along with their parents/guardians, came together for a day of horse education, fun and games. Activities were provide for those on horseback, as well as those who participate in the 4-H Horseless Horse Project and for youths that do not own a horse but are interested in learning about them.

Community volunteers provided arena activities that included barrel racing, pole bending, stakes races and goat tying/goat un-decorating. They also provided “horseless” events for those that did not have horses. The very young participants were able to enjoy a slip-n-slide to cool off and “dig for money” in the sawdust pit.

WSU Colville Reservation-Ferry County Extension was called upon to provide educational information. Topics for the day included Helmet Safety & Fitting, Hay & Nutrition for Horses and Horse Identification. Linda McLean, extension educator, explained the need for helmet use when riding horses, “Head injuries, caused by falls from horses, account for most of the serious horse and rider injuries.” To demonstrate the need for proper headgear, McLean offered a hands-on experiment – Egg Drop. Each youth was given an uncooked egg and limited supplies, and were instructed to design a covering for their egg that would protect it from a six-foot drop. Some eggs survived unharmed, while others cracked, similar to what our skulls do upon impact. 4-H members participating in any 4-H equestrian activity must wear an ASTM F1163 SEI approved helmet.

The educational information continued with Curtis Beus, WSU Okanogan County Extension Director, providing information on proper horse nutrition. Samples of feeds were passed around for participants to examine. Linda McLean wrapped up the horse education with information on how to identify horses by coat color, face and leg markings. Each youth participant made a “pool noodle stick horse,” complete with the face markings of their choice. To demonstrate their knowledge of the markings and practice public speaking skills, each youth introduced themselves, described the color of their horse, the markings they drew on their horse and the horse’s name. These stick horses were used later in the day for the “Horseless Horse Races.”

The educational portion of the day ended with fire safety information provided by Henry Kuhne from Mt. Tolman Fire Center. Henry taught the youth about the fire triangle – oxygen, heat and fuel. He also provided information on campfire safety.

This event was organized and hosted by the Keller Community Club, along with partners Mt. Tolman Fire Prevention and WSU Colville Reservation-Ferry County Extension. Partial funding for this event was provided by Colville Tribal Community Network/Skilskin.

If you would like more information on this program or about 4-H, please contact Linda McLean, Colville Reservation-Ferry County Extension Educator, (509) 634-2305 or . Or you may contact Dan Fagerlie, Project Director, (509) 690-0009 / (509) 775-3087 or or Debra Hansen, Interim Ferry County Director, (509) 775-5225 ext. 1116 or the Okanogan County Extension office (509) 422-7245.

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