BIBLE HILL -The young people who gathered at the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition grounds during the weekend were able to share a sense of accomplishment, as they were the 4-H members from across Nova Scotia who had earned the right to compete at the provincial show.
"It's pretty exciting to get to Pro Show," said 13-year-old Great Village resident Michael Congdon, who was showing 23-year-old Rosie in draft pony. "I was here last year with dairy calf and heritage project.
"My sister had Rosie for 14 years but she aged out of 4-H and I was able to borrow Rosie. This is about her eighth time at Pro Show."
He will do mane and tail braiding, showmanship and cart class with the pony.
Congdon grew up with 4-H. Both his sister and brother were involved and his mother is a leader.
Along with draft pony, Congdon takes part in light horse, dairy, tug-of-war and heritage.
When he is at home he also spends time with his off-track standardbred.
"I just love how you learn so much through 4-H that you can use in other areas of life, and have fun too," he said. "It's a wonderful organization. I'll probably stay in it as many years as possible, and will probably end up being a leader after that. I can't imagine life without it."
Caelan Ferguson, of Tatamagouche, is a member of the North Shore club and has been showing sheep for four years.
"I first heard about 4-H from a friend, then my uncle loaned me a sheep and I was kind of hooked," he explained. "I like the competition. It's fun to see how you can do and how far you can get. It's a good feeling when you know you did well in the ring."
While he acknowledges that clipping the animal is necessary for showing, he says it isn't one of the most fun parts. His work has paid off, however, as he made it to Pro Show each year with his sheep.
"This is my first year with a ram lamb and he's a little more of a handful," he added. "I've been showing Hampshire sheep the last three years. They seem calmer than the Suffolk cross I had the first year, but that might have been because of lack of experience on my part that year too."
Ferguson also takes part in welding, poultry and wilderness.
Emily Prescott's interest in rabbits got her involved in 4-H. The 16-year-old Bass River resident had rabbits before joining the club six years ago and she enjoys taking part in shows.
"I chose Holland lops because they're nice to show and they're small enough that they're not too heavy," she said. "I find they have a really good personality; they're friendly and well behaved."
She also takes part in sewing and craft programs, and said 4-H has allowed her to meet many new people and boosted her self-confidence.