Students learn hippology for 4-H competition

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – School’s out but a quartet of Northeast Mississippi students continue to fill their heads with information.
They’ll go to Jackson on Tuesday to test their knowledge of hippology, the study of horses.
“It will be like taking a test,” said Dakota Belue, 15, of Belmont.
Belue and her fellow Lee County 4-H’ers will compete with 4-H students from throughout the state. The winning team will earn a trip to a regional competition in West Monroe, La., in July and a national event in Denver in January.
Any travel plans have to wait until after the contest, which comes after months of learning every little thing about horses.
They’ll face between 250 and 500 questions that will cover equine anatomy, different breeds and even specific weeds that are dangerous for horses to eat.
“It’s a lot of studying,” said Emma Collins, 14, of Shannon. “It’s just like school.”
“It’s better than Algebra II, though,” said Tori Stroupe, 15, of Tupelo.
Belue and 16-year-old Cain Havens of Guntown agreed with Stroupe, but it’s still a bunch of work.
“They have been meeting once or twice a week for about three months,” said Belvia Giachelli, Lee County Extension agent.
This week, they’ve been at it from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Lee County Extension office in Tupelo. They expect more cramming sessions before Tuesday’s competition.
The effort is made easier because all four love horses. Some are considering possible careers as veterinarians, and none see a future that doesn’t involve equine friends.
Although their horses might be happy when the contest is over.
“I think I annoyed her,” Stroupe said of her horse, Grace, “when I was learning the parts of the horse.”
scott.morris@journalinc.com