Louisiana Hosts Youth Day

Louisiana hosts one of the nation's leading regional youth days.

September 30, 2013

louisiana youth day

Louisiana youth participants gather with jockeys and LQHBA members. PHOTO: Hodges Photography

The Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association hosted youth day at the races at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans during the Quarter Horse meet on August 31. Youth member of the AQHYA and 4-H from Louisiana and Mississippi attended this educational but fun-filled day.  The Fair Grounds Race Course and staff were very gracious hosts. 

The itinerary started with observing and learning about morning works, horses at the starting gates, the clocker’s stand, visiting barns with explanations of different type of equipment used, observing a farrier, discussions with a veterinarian, a jock agent and jockeys. The participants were thrilled to receive their autographed goggles from the current leading rider in the nation by races won, John Hamilton.  During the lunch break in the track kitchen we discussed pedigrees and how to read a catalog page. 

After lunch, the focus was on the “front side.” There were guest speakers including Fair Grounds management, the racing secretary, stewards, and horsemen’s services.  Everyone shared information about their roles and how they became involved in racing.   A guided tour was provided of the silks room, the jocks room, photo finish booth, stewards area, placing judges and media production.     

The first race in the program was named the Youth Classic and all participants drew a horse that would be their horse for the first race. The participants got to meet their trainer, jockey and horse. They were able to observe the horse being prepared for the race at the barn and walked over to the paddock with the horses. Prior to the first race, the entire jockey colony put on their silks for a photo in the paddock. The youth were so anxious and excited to see their horses on the track for the first race. Yes, it was educational. In the first race a horse broke through the gate, a horse scratched at the gate and at the end of the race there was an inquiry and a disqualification. The winner was presented a trophy by the participant that drew that winning horse.  Although the youth were involved with horses in some capacity, the majority of them had never been to the races.  This group was so enthusiastic and eager to learn. 

“This was one of our best youth days at the races," said LQHBA Executive Director Leverne Perry. "I truly believe this program is an important way to educate young people about quarter horse racing and the opportunities available to them in this industry. It is our duty to share our collective wealth of knowledge and experience in this industry, by doing so, we are hopefully preparing the next generation to get involved in Quarter Horse racing and breeding. Through our youth day at the races and our scholarship program, we are able to give back to the future of our industry.  It was wonderful to see all of the enthusiasm of everyone involved with this great day at the races.”

Shawn Magee, LQHBA Board member, AQHA National Director and AQHYA Activities Committee member was hands-on throughout the program and was very instrumental in bringing this group of youth to the Fair Grounds. 

“I would like to thank everyone for their efforts in creating such a successful youth day at the races," said LQHBA President Leigh Lepinski. "It was truly amazing the support everyone provided.  It is our goal to expand our program to have a youth day at every track in Louisiana to allow the opportunity for more youth to participate and learn about quarter horse racing and breeding in Louisiana.”