Youth Day at the Races
Do you know the meaning of the word ‘hippology’? Those of you 4-H horse knowledge bowl and hippology whiz-bangs out there would tell me that it means the study of the horse. So what is ‘race-hippology’? Study of the racehorse!
Six youth from across Minnesota did just that – learned about race horses – at the 2015 Youth Day at the Races, held at Canterbury Park and sponsored by the Minnesota Quarter Horse Racing Association.
Youth Day at the Races is a yearly event that grants 14-18 year-olds the opportunity to learn about horse racing from an in-depth perspective. Participants start the day bright and early, diving into the daily routine of life on the racetrack and speaking with a multitude of professionals within the horse racing industry.
In addition, youth are tested on the knowledge they gained throughout the day for the chance to win a $1,000 scholarship and a trip to the AQHYA National Racing Experience.
The 2015 Youth Day at the Races took place on June 20. Beginning at 8 a.m., participants met at the Canterbury Park stable gate to commence their tour, which covered the entire racetrack from back to front. The six young ladies who partook in the experience, Katie Orth, Emily Schminich, Megan Kathrein, Alyssa Distler, Evangeline Swanson and Kennedy Stanek are all Minnesota 4-H Horse Project members.
On the backside of the track – the area where racehorses are stabled – the group visited with gate crew members, trainers, owners, and learned about alternative methods of conditioning racehorses, including swimming.
The front side tour included a visit to the Minnesota Racing Commission Office, a chat with the horsemen’s bookkeeper and clerk of scales, track photographer, stewards and a visit to the press box.
Youth Day at the Races culminated with an exam to test each participant on the knowledge she had acquired throughout the day. Kennedy Stanek, a 14-year-old from Anoka County, was crowned the winner.
Kennedy became interested in horse racing after visiting a harness racing track with her family as a youngster.
“I really loved watching the races,” Kennedy said. “So I would go on the computer and research horses and watch online races, and after a while I really got into it.”
Although Kennedy enjoys harness racing, she says that her heart lies in Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing, and hopes to seek a career in the industry.
“(Youth Day at the Races) enforced my decision to work in racing… [it] makes me think that I really need to push towards racing because if I don’t I will miss out on something big.”
Evangeline Swanson, another participant from Anoka County, enjoyed the immersive experience of Youth Day at the Races.
“(My favorite part was) seeing not just the track, but everything that goes on behind the scenes.”
“I thought it was fun, entertaining and definitely worth it!” Kennedy exclaimed.
When asked if she would recommend the experience to other youth, she simply added “Yep! Definitely!”
Youth Day at the Races is a fantastic event for 4-H horse project members seeking an opportunity to put their horse knowledge bowl and hippology studies to the test. The number of topics covered throughout the day might even spark an idea for their next horse related project, speech or demonstration!
And for those of you wondering if race-hippology is a real word, I made that one up.
Read more about the 2015 Youth Day at the Races in the July MQHRA newsletter!
Annise Montplaisir is the summer 2015 intern for MQHRA. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, comments or story suggestions.