Katy Coombs and Shadow: Family from the Beginning
By Holly Young, Special Events and Outreach Coordinator
Not many of us can say we’ve had a four-legged friend for 20 years, starting when we were six. And this is a four-legged animal that’s pretty hard to “crate” around the country.
But that’s a proud proclamation from Katy Coombs, the newest member of the 4-H Foundation of New Hampshire. It began when Shadow, her now 20-year-old Morgan, was born at her home in Sandwich.
Shadow was her horse from that moment on—as she trained him in his formative years, as he traveled with her to Sweet Briar College in Virginia, then a horse farm in Virginia, a therapeutic riding school in New York, before coming full circle and returning home to New Hampshire with Katy.
Training was a process for both, but a continuing thread throughout was a connection to 4-H, and one of the reasons Katy decided it was important for her to become a 4-H Foundation board member.
She joined 4-H when she was five, and while working with horses was a focus for her, she also did sewing and crafts. She became a junior leader in high school, continuing until she was a sophomore in college.
“I feel a lot of what I have today is due to 4-H,” she notes. “I hope I can make kids feel the way I did.”
Katy has two brothers, one an aspiring photographer who works in the family business, and one who is serving in the Naval Special Forces. Her entire family was involved in 4-H as she was growing up, including one brother who, she laughs, even did sewing.
That Shadow is a part of her life is unquestionable. He was part of the equestrian team at college with her, served as a therapeutic horse while she worked in New York, and continues to “teach me a lot about myself. That’s why horses are so effective at therapy,” she adds.
Katy, who is now a loan officer for Yankee Farm Credit, remains active in the Morgan horse world. Earning not only a business degree from Sweet Briar, she also received an equestrian certificate in training and school horses.
After work at Yankee Farm Credit in White River Junction, Vt, she often hops into her card, along with her Llewellyn Setter, Hank, and heads to Bradford, Vt., where she continues to train Morgans at the renowned Newmont Morgans. The horses range from newborns to two-year-olds, and she feels fortunate to keep her hands in the training of this breed.
As for the 4-H Foundation, Katy’s already jumped in with both feet. She scooped ice cream at the NH Farm and Forest Expo as a 4-H Foundation fundraiser, and immediately joined the Foundation’s sub-committee for the 14th annual Tom Fairchild Friend of 4-H golf tournament coming up on May 12.
Even though, she laughs, “I don’t know golf. It’s a foreign language to me!”
Jim Doyle Named 4-H Foundation Executive Director
Jim Doyle is the new executive director for the 4-H Foundation of New Hampshire. His role in this capacity began on the retirement of long-time 4-H state specialist and former executive director Wendy Brock. Doyle will continue to serve in a concurrent role as development officer for UNH Cooperative Extension.
“Wendy Brock has worked so hard for so long making the 4-H Foundation as strong and vibrant as it is today.” Doyle said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of continuing that tradition of excellence.”
In his expanded role, Doyle will work closely with the 4-H Foundation Board of Directors to raise funds to support 4-H programs across the state. He joined UNH Cooperative Extension in 2014 as development associate, a new position for the organization as it works to expand its fundraising efforts.
Prior to coming onboard with Extension, Doyle served as director of Children & Youth Programs at Camp Calumet Lutheran in Freedom. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Emerson College.
How to apply for a 4-H Foundation Grant
4-H Foundation of New Hampshire...
Supports 4-H Horse Quiz Bowl
Over 70 4-H members from throughout the state attended the NH 4-H Horse Quiz Bowl Contest held on Saturday January 17, 2015 at Pembroke Academy in Pembroke, NH. Seven Senior Teams and Four Junior Teams competed with other 4-H members to demonstrate their horse knowledge in a fast paced contest, where members race to activate their buzzers and answer questions faster than their competitors. In the senior division, the top competitors can earn a spot on the team that represents NH at the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup in Louisville Kentucky in November. (Read more with photos)
Supports State 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl
The New Hampshire 4-H Foundation recently sponsored the New Hampshire State 4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl Contest which took place in Walpole, NH. 4-H members from Grafton, Coos, Merrimack, and Cheshire Counties participated in the event. Twenty senior members participated in the contest in an effort to earn a position on the state team which will participate in the Quiz Bowls at Eastern States Exposition and the National Dairy Quiz Bowl in Louisville, Kentucky in the fall. (Read more)
Helps Youth Thrive
4-H Foundation of New Hampshire board members were asked "Why do you want to serve? One member responded, "I enjoy working for a program where youth thrive. We are not trying to fix kids, we are giving them opportunities to discover their own talents." (Read more from the Annual Report 2014.)
(Photo: 4-H competitors in the SeaPerch Robotic Program)
Supports Animal Science Bonanza
More than 150 4-H members and volunteers from eight New Hampshire counties participated in the 4-H Animal Science Bonanza held recently at the Walpole Elementary School in Walpole.
4-H members took part in quiz bowls, "skillathons," and had the choice of attending several workshops. “Skillathons” provide information to 4-H members who are interested in cows, sheep, goats, poultry, and horses. (Read more)