Posted: January 31, 2020

To promote equine activities at both the 4-H and collegiate levels and ensure a lasting legacy, the Tioga Valley Saddle Club has established the Tioga Valley Saddle Club 4-H Horse Endowment and the Tioga Valley Saddle Club Scholarship.

To promote equine activities at both the 4-H and collegiate levels and ensure a lasting legacy, the Tioga Valley Saddle Club, also known as T.V. Saddle Club, Inc., has established the Tioga Valley Saddle Club 4-H Horse Endowment and the Tioga Valley Saddle Club Scholarship in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. The endowment will provide program support for Penn State Extension 4-H horse programs in Tioga and Bradford counties, and the scholarship supports students pursuing an equine science minor or participating in horse-related activities at Penn State, with preference for those from Tioga and Bradford counties.

The 4-H endowment was established through a $25,000 gift, while the $50,000 scholarship commitment was matched 1:1 with University funds through the concluded First-Time Endowed Scholarship Matching Program. The club has since made an additional $3,000 contribution to the 4-H endowment.

The Tioga Valley Saddle Club was established in September 1956 and incorporated on April 26, 1957. For more than 60 years, the club and its members promoted equine activities in the surrounding area. The members worked horse shows, ran food booths at local fairs, offered pony rides during Fourth of July festivities at a local park and more. The funds they raised allowed them to construct their own club house, fondly known as “Robin Hood," where they hosted horse-related functions, banquets, company and family parties, and other community events.

As with any organization, the Tioga Valley Saddle Club had to weather a few storms during its more than 60 years of existence. In recent years, with membership declining despite attempts to reorganize, the remaining club members made the difficult decision to move forward in a different way. The club decided to pursue an opportunity to create a lasting legacy for the organization in the form of a 4-H endowment and a scholarship at Penn State.

“We are excited to be able to create the endowment to benefit 4-H and the scholarship to benefit students in the College of Agricultural Sciences," said Larry Wilson, former member of the Tioga Valley Saddle Club. “Knowing the club's mission to promote horse-related activities will live on in perpetuity through these gifts means a lot to the club members, especially those who know of and were a part of its long history. We hope the 4-Hers and students who benefit from these gifts will go on to further their education in equine science and activities and continue to promote the field."

“The Tioga Valley Saddle Club 4-H Horse Endowment will enable youth within Tioga and Bradford counties to continue to gain new knowledge and skills surrounding equine care and management, while learning about career opportunities within the equine industry," said Joshua Rice, Penn State Extension assistant director for 4-H youth development programs. “This gift will also allow the 4-H members to continue developing the essential leadership skills that the Pennsylvania 4-H youth development program instills in all of its members."

“It is a wonderful gesture by the Tioga Valley Saddle Club to provide financial support for deserving students at Penn State," noted Dr. Terry Etherton, head of the Department of Animal Science and distinguished professor of animal nutrition. “Our department's equine science program is growing, and this support will benefit students who are pursuing a career interest in the equine industry," he said.

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