Big Wyoming Horse Expo offers learning opportunities for horse enthusiasts of all levels April 22-24 | TheFencePost.com

Big Wyoming Horse Expo offers learning opportunities for horse enthusiasts of all levels April 22-24

Teresa Clark

The seventh annual Big Wyoming Horse Expo has something to offer all horse lovers who want to further develop their riding skills and learn more about their horses.

This year's event will be held April 22-24 in the indoor Wyoming Pepsi Equine Center at the Wyoming State Fairgrounds in Douglas, Wyo. During this long-weekend event, horse lovers can compete in a horse judging contest, stallion row, a parade of horses, a private treaty horse sale, a variety of clinics and a large trade show.

According to co-coordinator Tanna Rodeman, the Big Wyoming Horse Expo is an opportunity for horse lovers to get some one-on-one help with training techniques by some experienced clinicians. Admission to this three-day event is free for those auditing the clinics. If they bring a horse, each session costs $50, or $150 for four sessions. Stalls are also available at the expo for $25 a day. Participants in Wyoming bringing horses to the event need a 30-day health certificate. Out-of-state participants need to provide a current coggins test within the last six months for their horses.

"If a participant wants to bring a horse, we usually find a way for them to participate," Rodeman said. However, if participants are interested in attending a particular session, they should contact Rodeman at (307) 351-4275 so she can reserve their spot.

Clinics taking horses and riders include: fitting horse tack and horsemanship, ranch horse pleasure, ranch horse trail, reining, roping, bomb-proofing your horse No. 1 and No. 2, hitching a single horse and obstacles and horse agility No. 1, 2 and 3.

Several clinicians will be teaching at this year's event. Sue Apel will be teaching horse agility classes, which is a non-mounted, competitive sport where the horse and handler work together to complete an obstacle course.

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Leanne Hoagland, who has professional certificates from the American Riding Instructor's Association in reining, western pleasure, English and driving, is one of the expo's instructors. She is also certified in equine reproduction with Colorado State University and with the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association in equine-assisted therapy and learning. She has shown and judged horses most of her life. During this year's expo, Hoagland will be teaching classes in bomb-proofing a horse and in hitching a single horse and obstacles.

Jim and Sandy Jirkovsky of J/S Training will be teaching clinics in reining, roping, fitting horse tack and horsemanship, and ranch horse pleasure and trail. This couple has judged horses for over 20 years in six different countries and 46 states.

Other clinicians are Krystal Paley giving a demonstration on equine-assisted therapy and confident rider foundation; Mike Anderson, colt starting and ground work; John Blair on saddle fitting; Dr. Harry Anderson on equine nutrition; Doug Powers on horseshoeing; Bill Fitzhugh on brand inspection laws regarding horse ownership; Jenna Anderson giving a demonstration on the equine raindrop technique and Sue Schomberg on endurance riding.

On April 22, a youth horse judging contest will be held beginning at 8:30 a.m. This contest is free, and open to all 4-H, FFA and collegiate students. Students can compete as a team or individually. For more information on the contest, contact Stacey Etchemendy at Converse County Extension (307) 358-2417.

During all three days, horse lovers can watch the Parade of Horses, which includes breed demonstrations, stallions, private treaty sale horses and more. Miss Rodeo Wyoming, Nicki Seckman, will take part in Saturday's festivities. She will present the colors during opening ceremonies during the national anthem. The Wyoming National Guard will present the colors during the opening ceremonies on Sunday.

According to Rodeman, a 50/50 raffle and drawings for prizes provided by vendors in the show will be held daily. Currently, more than 40 vendors have signed up to take part in this year's event. Rodeman says there are a few more openings in trade show. If someone is interested in setting up a display, they should contact her right away for more information. ❖