Rocky Mountain Horse Expo is a Celebration of the Horse | TheFencePost.com

Rocky Mountain Horse Expo is a Celebration of the Horse

Story & Photos by Tony Bruguiere
Fort Collins, Colo.

This future cowboy is able to get up close and personal to a horse at the indoor paddock area on the exhibitor level at the 2012 Rocky Mountain Horse Expo held at the National Western Complex in Denver, Colo.

The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo is a celebration of the horse and horse lovers throughout Colorado and surrounding states packed the National Western complex in Denver, Colo., to participate. The Horse Expo is a yearly event put on by the Colorado Horse Council and Executive Director, Bill Scebbi.

“This has been a wonderful event. In fact, it has been so exciting to put on – having everybody coming back from last year and people offering to volunteer. The Expo is really growing and it is becoming that event for everyone to come and participate in,” said Scebbi.

The Colorado Horse Council employs a full-time contract lobbyist to represent the horse industry in Colorado and has developed the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo into the largest event of its kind in the west. The 21 member Board of Directors has worked diligently with the Colorado legislature to ease the regulatory burden on horse owners in Colorado.

The Colorado Horse Council describes itself as “a grass-roots, all-breed, non-discipline specific organization dedicated to linking the horse owners and the horse industry of the State of Colorado into a powerful, common voice in order to protect their common equine interests through legislation and education.”

One of the goals of the Horse Council is to keep horse ownership a flourishing part of the Colorado lifestyle. The Colorado Horse Council describes their membership as “farmers and ranchers, breeders, trainers, showmen and women, retailers, veterinary care providers, service providers, feed producers, and individuals who seek to maintain our rights to own, maintain, and use horses in our state.”

With that broad based membership, it is no wonder that the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo has something for everyone. The Horse Expo is a four-day love affair with the horse. Vendor exhibits numbered almost 300 and they ran the gamut from horse related educational materials for your children to a parachute equipped plane to safely fly to equine events in the Rocky Mountain region.

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There were plenty of vendors that sold tack for the horse and western clothing for the rider. There were two outstanding vendors that specialized in working cowboys. Double H Ranch Saddle Shop is located in northern Colorado in Fort Collins. Saddle maker Mark Howes and his wife Linda specialize in old timer and working cowboy gear. Mark also puts on Ranch Roping events in Colorado. Representing the southern part of Colorado was the Tack Barn run by Mike and Holly Major. Major Cattle Company is on Gene Autry’s old Flying A Ranch in Fowler, Colo. In addition to fine cattle, the Major’s have an excellent horse operation with two time World Champion Versatility Ranch Horse, Smart Whiskey Doc, as their lead stallion.

One exhibit that continues to grow in substance and appreciation by Expo attendees is the Art in the Park. Art in the Park is a display and sale by equine artists. It is by invitation only and features top Colorado artists including, sculptor Amy Laugesen, painter Hanna Shook, and photographer Susan Williams.

There are many areas where horse lovers can get up close and personal with the horses such as the barns and paddock located in the equine area, a paddock located on the exhibitor floor, and the outdoor pens around the Horse Expo. It is not an uncommon site to see horses running free in the larger outdoor pens as their owners give them an exercise break to relive the monotony of the stables.

This year the Horse Expo presented a very informative demonstration of working cattle by employing a partnership between a rider on horseback and a well trained stock dog such as a Border Collie. Also new to this years Rocky Mountain Horse Expo was an intercollegiate polo game between the Colorado State University Woman’s Polo team and the team from the University of Kentucky, which CSU won with an exciting come from behind victory.

In it’s second year at the Expo was the Colorado Pinnacle Horse Show for Miniature Horses. The show is a big hit and goes a long way towards answering the question of “What do you do with them?” Susan Infante of Lakewood, Colo., is very active advocate of miniature horses and has one for each of her youngest daughters. Both of the horses are champions and were shown at the Horse Expo by seven year old Alejandra and five year old Olivia.

“I think that the miniature horses are much less intimidating. They are still a horse, you still have to treat them like a horse. You still have to respect them – things like not run up on them, lead from the correct side, and use horsemanship skills – but I think for a starter horse the miniatures are great because even a child as young as five can handle them,” said Infante. Take a look at her informative website, http://www.WhatCanYouDoWithAMini.com, that includes a video of Infante ground driving one of her miniature horses that is pulling a six foot log.

Perhaps the biggest draw of the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo is the outstanding lineup of clinicians. Where else, for the tiny price of an admission ticket to the Expo, are you able to go to lectures by world class clinicians such as Jason Patrick, Mark Bolender, Julie Goodnight, Susan Harris, and Debbi Bibb, to name just a few. As if this was not enough, if you signed up with the Ride With the Experts program, you got to bring your own horse, have a stall, and ride in the demonstration of the clinician of your choice.

The 2012 Rocky Mountain Horse Expo was the best yet and next year promises to be even better. The Ride With the Expert program fills up quickly, so it is not too early to start making your plans for 2013.