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Massachusetts Morgan Horse Association
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HomeYouth of The Year Contest Information

 MMHS Youth Contest!!!

The Massachusetts Morgan Horse Show proudly presents the

 Massachusetts Morgan Horse Youth of the Year Contest

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Morgan Horse Association


Calling all Morgan Youth,


Youth of the Year contests are challenging, fun, exciting and a little bit nerve-wracking, but mostly they are a wonderful opportunity to share your love and knowledge of our wonderful Morgan horse. Everyone wins at a Youth of the Year contest. If you have taken the time to prepare and take part you will be rewarded with friends and experiences that will help you to succeed in all parts of life. The oral presentation will help you to develop, or improve, your research, brainstorming, writing, and public speaking skills. The horse judging phase will help with deductive reasoning, analytical, and decision making skills. The written exam will encourage you to learn more about all aspects of horsemanship; safety, rules, nutrition, veterinary care, and more. The horsemanship pattern will give you the opportunity to practice your riding skills. The following is an introduction to the Youth of the Year contest. We hope to see you all at our contest!


The contest is divided into three age groups (Senior, Junior, and Walk-Trot); competing in four phases (Written Test, Horse Judging, Oral Presentation, and Horsemastership).

  • Senior Division – These contestants represent the highest standards of the competition and prepare them to compete in the National Youth of the Year Finals. Each phase of a Senior Division is based on 250 points. Each contest must compete in at least three of the four phases in order for the senior winner to qualify for competition in the AMHA Youth of the Year Finals.
    • Written test - Seniors can be expected to have knowledge equivalent to the expectations published in the Sherman level of the AMHAY Horsemastership Program, however, challenges above this benchmark are encouraged.
    • Horse Judging – Two to four classes will be offered (at least one class will be in-hand) and at least one set of oral reasons will be required.
    • Oral Presentation - Speech topics for this division may have historical relevance, or deal with current issues facing the Morgan breed.
    • Horsemastership - Senior division competitors can be expected to walk, trot, and canter and perform extended versions of each gait in the horsemastership pattern as well as execute elements as called for in the Medal Class section of the most current edition of the USEF Rule Book.

  • Junior Division - Participants should be prepared to eventually participate in the Senior division.
    • Written test - A well-prepared contestant will be competent in the knowledge required by the Bulrush and Woodbury levels of the AMHAY Horsemastership Program.
    • Horse Judging - Two to four classes will be offered (at least one class will be in-hand) and only one set of oral reasons will be required.
    • Oral Presentation - Speech topics for this division may be similar or different to the senior division topic, though it is recommended that topics be modified for a younger contestant.
    • Horsemastership - Juniors should be expected to perform the walk, trot, and canter though test elements should be modified to accommodate a younger rider.

  • Walk/Trot Division – Designed to encourage younger competitors to try a Youth of the Year Contest with less intimidating requirements than the Senior or Junior divisions. A Walk/Trot division will consist of riders who are younger than 12 years old and have not been judged in ANY saddle class, test, or pattern that has required a canter in a recognized or non-recognized competition.
    • Written Exam – Contestants will be tested on diagrams with word blanks which will cover similar knowledge as published in the Bulrush level of the AMHAY Horsemastership program.
    • Horse Judging - Participants in this division can be expected to judge two classes and deliver one set of oral reasons.
    • Oral Presentation - A separate, age appropriate speech topic will be administered.
    • Horsemastership - Riders will not be asked to canter or back in a riding pattern, though they may drive a driven pattern without modifications.


The AMHA Youth Department has prepared some guidelines to help you do your best at the upcoming contest, use these to study and test your knowledge as you prepare. Sources for the Written Test include: The Complete Morgan Horse by Jeanne Mellin, The Morgan Horse Judging Standards, The AMHA Registration Rules, The AMHAY Horsemastership Program, The USEF Rule Book, Practical Guide To Lameness in Horses by Ted S. Stashak, The Horse by J.Warren Evans, Anthony Borton, Harold Hintz, and L. Dale Van Vleck, The Illustrated Veterinary Encyclopedia For Horsemen by Equine Research inc., and Feeding and Care of the Horse by Lon D. Lewis. Sources for the Horse Judging include: The Morgan Horse Judging Standards, USEF Rule Book, and The AMHYA Morgan Youth Judging Guide at


The oral presentation, or speech, will be on a topic provided to you beforehand by the contest organizer. There is a five minute time limit for this phase. Visual aids can add a polished look to a presentation but make sure that they are appropriate to the topic, neatly prepared, and that you have all of the materials you need. Bring three extra copies of your speech to give to the judges before you begin. Don’t forget to include a bibliography; list any books, magazine articles, websites or other resources you used, and list anyone that you may have interviewed as a part of your research. Judges will consider the following while scoring: General appearance, voice, poise, posture and manner of speech 50 points, Presentation of subject, including organization of material, proper grammar and vocabulary 75 points, Subject matter, including background information, originality and constructive thoughts 100 points, and Interview and question responses 25 points.


            The horsemastership patterns are designed to evaluate your riding or driving ability. It is important to realize that this is a horsemanship pattern, not an equitation pattern. You will be provided with the pattern beforehand so that you can practice, the pattern will be executed from memory.  Academy tack and attire is appropriate if the contestant is entered in the academy division of the show. The pattern will be scored as follows: Obedience & correctness in the execution of the pattern 50 points, Transitions & smoothness of overall performance 50 points, Position of the rider/driver and overall appearance & use of aids 50 points, Showmanship & poise 50 points, and Grooming of horse & rider/driver 50 points.


The contest may seem a bit overwhelming at first glance, but it is full of valuable life skills wrapped in the joy of horses. If you have any questions regarding the contest or want more information on how you or your youth can get involved, please contact the Massachusetts Morgan Horse Youth of the Year Contest Coordinator, Pamela Powers (413) 387-9614

2019 Contest Patterns

2019 Speech Topics

Questions about the 2019 patterns or the speechtopics should be directed to: Candace Dagneault

Massachusetts Morgan Horse Association
The Anna Ela Memorial Scholarship
Deadline August 1, 2019


  • Completed Application
  • Proof of acceptance in continuing Education/Vocation Program
  • Active Member of MMHA
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation (one from a member of MMHA)
  • Submission Deadline August 1st

UPHA Chapter 14

2017 Scholarships

Up to $7,500.00 will be awarded!

Deadline April 16, 2018

Chapter 14 of The United Professional Horsemen’s Association offers educational scholarships annually. These scholarships are open to applicants who are high school seniors or college freshmen. Applicants must be UPHA Chapter 14 Junior or Associate members or the child of an Active UPHA Chapter 14 member. UPHA Chapter 14 includes all of the New England states and New York. Applications are due by April 16, 2018. For further information or to request an application, contact Barbara Irvine at