4-H and FFA youth from throughout Louisiana will compete in the 48th annual LSU AgCenter 4-H and FFA State Horse Show on July 8-12 at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

The purpose of the horse program is to provide young people opportunities to participate in a series of activities designed to improve citizenship, sportsmanship, horsemanship, character, competitive spirit, discipline and responsibility, AgCenter horse show manager Dwayne Nunez said.

“We strive to provide those opportunities by conducting a wide variety of activities and experiences that promote physical, mental and social development of young people,” Nunez said.

The horse industry is an important part of Louisiana agriculture, with the latest figures from the LSU AgCenter Ag Summary showing that the total impact of the industry to the state’s economy was about $377 million in 2016.

“What horses mean to the state goes well beyond dollars spent, however. Companion animals are a source of enjoyment for all ages,” said Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture and dean of the LSU College of Agriculture.

Horse show contestants can participate in riding events in the western division, hunter division, speed division and ranch division. In addition, 4-H youth will compete in public speaking, demonstrations, quiz bowl and horse judging, which provide an opportunity for youth to develop skills in communication, analytical thinking, character building and equine science, Nunez said.

The Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor program is open to exhibitors in grades nine through 12 and includes a resume, written test, judging, skills test and an interview.

Contributing sponsors include Gerry Lane Enterprises, PotashCorp, Sunshine Quality Solutions, First South Farm Credit, Mosaic, Louisiana Land Bank and Louisiana Cattlemen's Association.

An awards banquet will be held at 6:30 p.m. on July 10.

More information is available from Nunez at 225-578-2255 or dnunez@agcenter.lsu.edu.