The group toured equine higher education programs at North Eastern A & M College Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and Tarleton State University and equine related health visits with Embryologist Brad Stroud DVM, OSU Veterinarian School and Reata Equine Hospital.

Fifty-one Missouri 4-H horse project teens, including two from the Lake area, explored the western horse industry and related careers in Oklahoma and Texas May 22-28 on the 11th annual University of Missouri Extension 4-H Equine Career Tour.

Camden County had two 4-H members participate in the Missouri 4-H Equine Tour — Bailey Murphy and Jayden Stewart. 

Participants gained career insight from top equine professionals such as champion trainers Chris Cox and Gil Galyean, champion roper Tyson Durfey and wife Shea Fisher, barrel racer and fashion designer; sculptor Marrita Black, and champion barrel racer, Connie Combs. 

Special tours at two of the nation’s premier ranches, The Four Sixes in Texas and Lazy E in Oklahoma, highlighted ranch management and the opportunities available for equine career internships. The group toured equine higher education programs at North Eastern A & M College Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and Tarleton State University and equine related health visits with Embryologist Brad Stroud DVM, OSU Veterinarian School and Reata Equine Hospital. 

In addition, Dr. Billy Smith, CEO American Paint Horse Association and Captain Tim Finley shared discerning life and career encouragement. Additional stops included the Remington Park Horse Racetrack, Oklahoma City National Memorial, Fort Worth Stockyards, Teskys, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. 

According to Kat Dixon, Lincoln County 4-H, “The Missouri 4-H Equine Tour is an engaging experience that allows youth to explore the different fields of the equine industry, while being paired up with youth from all across the state. It has allowed me to see behind the scenes and see firsthand a variety of career paths and the impact they have on the industry. 

The equine tour is an exciting way to tour all fields and disciplines and meet some of the top professionals in the nation.  It has helped me broaden my horizons to see the different jobs available, meanwhile narrowing down the careers that I find to be the most suitable.  It is a once in a lifetime experience. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime.” 

Debbie Davis, 4-H Youth Specialist with the University of Missouri Extension, says, “This tour has proven invaluable for Missouri 4-H youth with an equine passion searching for career directions combining their personal skills and equine interests.  We continue to learn from former tour participants how life-changing career decisions have been a direct result of experiences from our Missouri 4-H Equine Tours. 

The annual tour has a four-year plan visiting different states and exploring the indigenous equine industry to provide the youth a unique opportunity to broaden their insight into a multi-million-dollar industry.  In 2018, the tour will be traveling to Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado.”