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Livestock

Horse Council to meet at Expo

Written by Christy Hemken

By Christy Hemken, WLR Assist. & Crop Editor

The Wyoming Horse Council, which is now organized and up and running, will meet next week in conjunction with the Wyoming Winter Ag Expo to discuss some of their planning and projects for this year.

There are now representatives on the Council from all seven districts in the state. “I’ve talked to several of the directors individually and they’re really excited about getting this going again,” says Natrona County Extension Educator Milt Green, who has helped the Council organize and now serves as their connection to the University of Wyoming.

According to Green, the Council will be doing some educational events and seminars, as well as monitoring legislation in the upcoming session. “They’re just going to take a look at building the equine industry in the state, and they have a sketch of a plan of work on things they’d like to do this year, and they’ll go from there.”

One thing the Council has already been involved in is the new equine facilities at the state fairgrounds in Douglas. “The state fair buildings are going in, and they look very good, at least as good as foundations can look,” says Green. “We’re all really excited about getting these facilities and the indoor arena.”

A small indoor arena is planned for the building, which will also include box stalls, and there is a plan already in place for an expansion at some point of the arena, if the funding comes in and if a bigger arena can be justified by demand. “That’s pending right now, after we see how we do with the existing new facilities,” says Green. “But either way, it’s a huge improvement from what we had before.”

One of the things the Council will be discussing at next week’s meeting is the potential of doing regional and possibly national horse shows at Wyoming’s facilities in the future. “We’ve got the potential to start looking at some of these larger shows because we’ve got some wonderful facilities in Gillette and in Casper, as well as other places in the state, and there’s a high potential to draw some regional horse shows,” says Green. “We’re surrounded by some great facilities in Idaho and Colorado, and I’m sure there’s a way we can dovetail into some way to work with those folks in building some really classy events in Wyoming.”

“It’s really important to keep in mind that the equine industry is a huge industry in Wyoming,” says Green. “We’ve got world-class polo in the state, as well as world-class packing and outfitting, not to mention a champion steer-wrestler. You put all of that together and it’s a huge industry in the state and all of top-notch quality. What’s been exciting to me is that we not only have the industry, but also some of the world-class amenities to support it.”

The Wyoming Horse Council will meet Jan. 7 at 1 p.m. in the conference room at the state fair director’s office.

According to Council Chairman Bill Gentle, the agenda includes a report from Fred Emmerich on equine health issues, a discussion led by UW’s Doug Hixon about the possibility of adding a horse program to the university at some point and a report by Vicki Rupert on the new construction on the fairgrounds and upcoming horse show information.