Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Sciences, Technology, and Education


Kelsey Hall


Debra Spielmaker

Third Advisor:

Stacey MacArthur


Traditional horse 4-H programs develop life skills and knowledge in youth. Horseless horse programs lack evaluation for the same benefits. This study evaluated and compared four horseless and seven traditional horse participants from Washington County 4-H in Utah for gains in horse knowledge and development of 10 life skills that are commonly found in 4-H curriculum today: leadership, teamwork, self-responsibility, personal safety, problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, goal setting, communication, and concern for others.

The researcher conducted interviews to learn about life skill experiences of the horse program participants and discover what barriers prevented horseless youth from participating in traditional 4-H horse clubs. Participants also took a short knowledge quiz and a demographic survey. Money was identified as the most common reason horseless participants don’t have access to a horse and cannot participate in the traditional 4-H horse program. When compared, traditional horse youth showed greater life skill development and knowledge gain than horseless participants.

Recommendations for future research into horseless programming included using other forms of research to evaluate the program further and identifying life skills for a statewide horseless curriculum.