State 4-H Horse Show: Advance access to show patterns creates positive experiences Back »

The South Dakota State 4-H Horse show is an opportunity for youth to demonstrate new and improved horsemanship skills. Despite the fact that the event is designed to be youth-oriented and that it involves horses, horse shows can, at times, provide a source of stress for contestants. One possible cause for stress is that youth need to learn horse show patterns; historically, these patterns were often posted within hours of the start of the show.

Accessing Patterns in Advance

Over the past several years, there has been a shift in the horse show industry with patterns being posted online in advance of the horse show. In 2012, patterns for the South Dakota State 4-H Horse Show were posted in advance of the show on An online survey was made available to youth and adults who participate in, or were connected with the show about their thoughts on accessing the patterns.

Youth and adult survey respondents reported a minimization of negative feelings such as stress and anxiety, and an increase in positive indicators for youth such as the ability to perform and to have fun at the show. Youth indicated that advanced access to patterns enabled them to perform better, and affected their ability to learn the patterns and ability to show. In summary, 98% of youth and 95% of adults who responded to the survey preferred early access to horse show patterns.

State 4-H Horse Show Patterns

SDSU Extension has responded to survey feedback by offering horse show patterns in advance of the SD State 4-H Horse Show each year since 2012. This year’s show patterns can be found in the 2016 State 4-H Horse Show Contestant Packet. You can download the packet, along with other pertinent show information at the State 4-H Horse Show page on iGrow. Best wishes for a fun and educational show season!

Reference: Bott RC, Schurring AA, Denniston DJ. Posting horse show patterns before youth shows creates positive experience for youth and adults. NACTA Journal. 59(2):130-3.

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