Regional 4-H Tours Vernon Downs & Equine Community
August 23rd 2012 · 0 Comments
Vernon- On Saturday, August 11th more than 60 4-H members, parents and 4-H leaders enjoyed an educational, fun and entertaining day at Vernon Downs and the surrounding equine community. The 4-H Regional Track Tour incorporated participants from Oneida, Madison, and Herkimer Counties.
The day began with a greeting from Justin Horowitz, the Regional Racing Marketing Manager for both Tioga and Vernon Downs. Justin introduced the group to John Brown, aka “Brownie, who spent time talking with the group about his experiences in the Standardbred industry and what it takes to organize everything on the backside of the track. Brownie took us on a wonderful tour of the track and the backside and did a great job answering all the questions that the kids had.
After a terrific hamburger and hotdog lunch in the Gold Cup Room provided by Vernon Downs, we departed for our tour at The Root Farm. The kids learned about the Hippotherapy, Vaulting and Driving programs offered there. All the programs are designed for a wide range of abilities and can be adapted for special needs individuals. Not to mention that some of the horses that are used for the programs are retired harness horses from the Vernon Downs Track. Our group had a very entertaining time trying out vaulting positions on the barrels and everyone has been bitten by the vaulting bug!
Following the tour of The Root Farm we departed for a tour of Crawford Farm in Durhamville where they breed and race Standardbreds. Heather Reese was our tour guide and we were able to see many of this year’s mares and foals. In addition Heather showed us some of the yearlings that they have brought in and are conditioning for the upcoming sales. After seeing the breeding aspect of the farm we traveled down the road to the stabling where they keep some of their racehorses. Heather also brought out one of her horses and demonstrated the new salt water spa for the 4-H group! The kids also learned the difference between trotting and pacing and even got to practice before having their own races!
Soon we were back in the Gold Cup Room at Vernon Downs for the all you can eat buffet. We enjoyed a beautiful evening of racing. One of the highlights of the evening was a 4-H trophy presentation to the winner of the 7th race and all of the 4-Hers were in the winning picture. Each family received a copy of the win photo to take home.
Thank you to the NYS 4-H Horse Program, the Agriculture and NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund and Vernon Downs for making this opportunity possible. Additional thanks go out to The Root Farm and Crawford Farm for accommodating our group for two amazing tours.