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The Mackinac 4-H Horse Club encourages all 4-H youth to participate in any of our programs and events - riders and non-riders alike.

                                     Please contact for details.


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Giddy Up & Go Club

Giddy Up & Go Club

Designed for youth 5 to 8 yrs old


 - An adult must be present during the lesson.

 - Must be an MSU Mackinac County Extension Mackinac 4-H Horse Club member.

 - Must have a signed release and waiver form.

 - Must follow the Mackinac 4-H Club Handbook rules and policies.


 - Safety on the ground – how to approach a horse, how to lead a from

    the ground.

 - How to mount and dismount properly, proper position in the saddle

 - How to control a horse – proper use of the aids, emergency stops,

    maneuvering the horse around obstacles. Learning to walk and trot,

    possibly cantering.

 - The nature of horses – why horses behave the way they do.

 - General knowledge – parts of the horse, parts of the saddle, bridle,

    breeds and colors.


 - To build confidence through knowledge of the horse and learning safe horse

    handling skills, while enjoying the riding experience.

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Galloping Gliders

Galloping Gliders

Designed for youth 9 to 18 yrs old



 -  Must be an MSU Mackinac County Extension Mackinac 4-H Horse Club member.

 - Must have signed release form.

 - Must attend both Stable Orientation classes I and II before starting lessons.

 - Must wear proper attire at the stable, for lessons and wear a proper fitting helmet.

 - All students are required to volunteer at events and to attend all clinics offered by MHA.


 - Stable Orientation I – Safety procedures in the stable – Safety procedures in the pasture -

    Proper leading and tying techniques – Proper grooming techniques - General horse care and

    emergency procedures

 - Stable Orientation II - Safety while saddling and bridling - Proper fitting of both English and

    Western pads & saddles - Proper bridling and fit - Bridle and saddle parts - proper care of

    tack - Bits, bitting and how they work.

 - Lessons - program individualized to each rider’s abilities - safety is paramount - lessons

   center around teaching the balanced seat, which can be adapted to all riding disciplines (

   dressage, hunter, jumper, western saddleseat, etc.)

 - Novice - proper mounting and dismounting - proper position in the saddle - use of the aids to

   communicate with the horse - exercises to develop balance and control skills

 - Intermediate - Proper use of aids to communicate more complicated exercises – cavellette

     and drill team work

 - Advanced - Further refinement of the use of the aids through more advanced exercises -

    jumping and pattern work

 - Trail Work - Safety and etiquette - using the terrain to condition the horse - trailblazing -

    hazards - proper control and gaits

 - Around the Stable - assisting with chores - tack cleaning - saddle pad washing - horse

   bathing and trimming - farrier and veterinary visits


 - Create an atmosphere to produce capable young equestrians who acquire lifelong skills with

   an emphasis on leadership, responsibility and an appreciation for Mackinac’s unique horse


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The Mackinac 4-H Horse Club Winter Program


The Clubs meets year-round although we have no horses available in the winter. We have a monthly after school program themed around activities and lessons based on different breeds of horses and their particular fields of expertise. Using props and kid size obstacles the kids role play. They learn about how the horse accomplishes a task, measuring, timing, patterns, teamwork and more.........all the while having fun being a "horse" or "rider".

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Groups, Schools or Clubs - Are you planning a field trip to Mackinac or would you like a classroom visit?

If you are planning a field trip to the Island and would like an equestrian educational experience please contact us.


Would your class like to learn more about horses and about the horses on Mackinac? We can visit your school and explore the world of horses. There are many programs to fit your needs, please contact us.

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Benefits of Horseback Riding

To the casual observer it may look like all the rider has to do is just sit there. The horse does all the work, well anyone who has ridden a horse will know how wrong that is. There is far more to riding a horse than one might expect. The benefits of horse riding are immense enjoyment, physically and mental fitness and a chance to enjoy the open countryside.


Horse riding develops balance and improve coordination and motor function. Other advantages include strengthening of muscles, reflex acceleration, prevention of muscle cramps, increased joint mobility, boosting the cardiovascular system , improving blood circulation, stimulation of sensory integration, improved visual perception of space, the development of responsibility, patience and self-discipline, increasing self-confidence Riding a horse at a walk stimulates the internal organs just as walking on foot does. This aids in liver function and digestion. You will be burning calories at the rate of 5 calories per minute for a 10 ½ stone woman. Increasing the speed and ride duration will increase the intensity of your work out and burn more calories Horse riding is an enjoyable hobby and sport for adults and children alike. Children can learn the responsibility of caring for an animal. As you groom, clean stables, carry saddles, equipment or bales of hay you are also doing weight-bearing exercise that helps maintain bone mass. Although riding, grooming and mucking is good exercise, many riders find it beneficial to lift weights and do core strength training such as yoga and Pilates. Horse riding is an enjoyable hobby and sport for adults and children alike. Learning to control and care for an animal much larger than yourself can have a profound affect on your confidence and is a great feeling. Riding is a great way to get out and see the surrounding countryside bringing the rider closer to nature. Simply being outdoors and enjoying the countryside will boost your general wellbeing and act as a great stress buster. There is a real sense of exhalation and freedom when you ride, a feeling that is second to none.


At first you may feel that just learning to stay on and steer the horse is a challenge. When that becomes easy many more learning opportunities present themselves. As you progress with riding and horse ownership you will always have questions and problems. Even the most experienced equestrian would admit there is always something new to learn. Research has shown that lifelong learning may prevent memory loss. Just like your muscles your brain needs exercise to keep young and supple. Riding provides an active avenue for keeping your brain exercised. Riding can provide many opportunities for success. Whether you learn to rise the trot or receive high marks in a dressage test, you’ll feel good about what you are doing.


For many a horse is a connection with nature whether they ride in the arena or on a trail. Many people find companionship and solace while working with their horse. Although riding can present its frustrations and challenges most people find it a relaxing pastime. The camaraderie of people who enjoy similar activities is also appealing. It’s fun to get together with friends for a lesson, trail rides or visiting local equestrian competitions If you crave solitude, horse riding can provide that as well. Many horse owners feel their horse is somewhat of a kindred spirit in tune with their own feelings and emotions; more so than any human companion. In times of stress a horse can be a quiet friend, who is without judgment. 

©Donegal Equestrian Centre

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