Tag Archives: Kent County 4H Bits and Bridles club

Lend a Hand: An Unbridled Heart – Meet Stephanie Turner

By Avra Sullivan

703224_560444173981734_613738642_o (400 x 302)When the Kent County 4H Bits and Bridles club needed new leadership, Centreville resident Stephanie Turner stepped up. A long time equine enthusiast, Stephanie volunteered to co-lead the club, but she did not stop there. She “recruited” her herd of four horses and two miniature ponies for use by club members and installed a six-stall barn. Stephanie currently is finishing a large outdoor arena to give 4H members hands-on experience in all areas of horsemanship, from mucking stalls to participating in horse shows and parades.

The farm, which belongs to Stephanie’s mom, became the new club headquarters. On most Saturdays, whether there is a scheduled meeting or not, you can find kids riding, taking lessons, and caring for their four legged co-members.

Horses are expensive and need lots of care. While many kids would love to have a pony of their own, parents often cannot afford the cost of buying or maintaining a horse. For kids that want more riding time or that are infected with “horse fever,” Stephanie allows her horses to be used for free by members to use for riding lessons and in local horse shows. “If someone can enjoy them and they’re {the horses} getting used, it’s a win-win situation.”

Stephanie’s commitment to her horses was shown last year during the county fair. One of her horses, a large Norwegian Fjord named April, was brought to the fairgrounds for the two-day horse competition. Not used to being away from home, April was somewhat nervous. So Stephanie did what any equine mother would do. She grabbed a sleeping bag and spent the night in the next stall to make sure April was calm when the kids came ready to compete.

Through the 4H program, kids work with horses as well as participating in community projects. They help with fundraising and community events that benefit local charities such as the annual toy drive, community food basket, canned food drive and Festival of Trees. For more information on the Maryland 4H program visit www.maryland4h.org.