Big Wyoming Horse Expo - Event provided something for everyoneWritten by Gayle Smith
Douglas – It didn’t matter if one was a rancher, a weekend trail rider or preferred training stock dogs and driving horses, this year’s Big Wyoming Horse Expo had something to offer everyone.
The sixth annual event, which was held at the Pepsi Events Center on the Wyoming State Fairgrounds in Douglas, drew around 300 people over its three-day run April 24-26.
Those who attended the event had a unique opportunity to work with several experienced and well-known horse clinicians. Most of the clinics were made up of small groups of people, providing the opportunity to ask questions and, in some cases, receive one-on-one guidance.
Some clinicians even welcomed attendees to bring their horses.
Wyoming horse trainer Tom Hagwood, who has won back-to-back Extreme Mustang Makeover competitions in Fort Worth, Texas, taught bridle horse training to students on horseback, as well as those watching from the stands.
Cody Harrison with CH Equine taught classes on lateral control and using impulsion forwardness and speed.
But, the event wasn’t just all about western riding. Leanne Hoagland brought her draft horses to the event and taught classes on everything from harness selection, fit and safety to bomb proofing a driving horse and preparing a horse for its first hookup.
Dorrence Eikamp and Richard and Edna Grabow gave a stock dog demonstration over the noon hour on April 25.
In the round corral, Michelle Sudin taught students how to connect with their horse.
Sudin works with at-risk individuals by teaching them how to just “be” with their horse, rather than reading a book or listening to their iPod.
“The horse wants to connect with us,” she said. “They don’t worry about what humans worry about, but they can feel the imbalances in people.”
Mike Campbell and Don Gregory also showed folks Hoof Alive, which is a product Gregory developed that helps heel cracks and other conditions in the hoof.
The ingredients are all natural, he says, and will keep the hoof soft while it heals, instead of drying it out like some products.
Bill Fitzhugh, who is a brand inspector in Wyoming, talked about what individuals need to do if they plan to sell a horse in Wyoming.
According to Fitzhugh, horse owners need to have a blue brand inspection paper, which serves as title to their horse. He also cautions people about buying a private treaty horse without a title.
He says buying a horse without a title is like buying a car without a title.
After several requests in recent years, the Expo also featured endurance rider Sue Schomberg this year.
Schomberg discussed how to get involved in endurance riding, what type of equipment is needed and how to prepare the rider and horse for this type of event.
Once again, youth from all around the state came to judge horses on April 25 and defend those placings while they gave reasons.
Those who attended the Expo also visited over 50 trade show displays, watched the parade of horses and saw the drill team and pony express in action.
Overall, the committee who organizes the Expo was satisfied with this year’s event.
“I think we were down a little in numbers this year,” according to Connie Taylor, who helps organize the event. “It was just one of those weekends where they were predicting bad weather, so some of the people who had signed up to come stayed home.”
“We ended up with two days of great weather, and one rainy day,” she added.
Taylor said the organizers were pleased with the variety of clinicians they had scheduled this year.
“There really was something for everyone,” she said. “From what we have heard, everyone who attended had a good time.”
“Even some of the vendors said this was the best show they had been to. They liked that they were given as much importance as the clinicians,” she explained. “Overall, I think the feedback we have received was at least 90 percent positive. We try to keep everything the same, so the people who do come will know what to expect.”
The group is already busy planning for the 2016 event, which is planned for April 29 – May 1 in Douglas.