Third Annual Big Wyoming Horse Expo coming to Douglas April 20-22 |

Third Annual Big Wyoming Horse Expo coming to Douglas April 20-22

Story & Photos by Gayle Smith
Potter, Neb.
Students learn new techniques during a clinic on English riding during the Expo.

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The crowd remains focused on the clinician as he patiently explains to his young student how to move her legs to cue her horse to sidestep. As the student patiently tries over and over again, the horse finally figures out what she wants him to do and eagerly responds. The crowd claps and cheers for the student, who now has a big smile on her face.

The third annual Big Wyoming Horse Expo is coming to the Wyoming State Fairgrounds in Douglas on April 20-22. During the three-day event, clinics, seminars, a western trade show, breed demonstrations, stallion alley, a horse judging clinic and private treaty horse sales will all be held. “The Expo has something that will appeal to any equine lover, no matter what discipline they are in,” according to Sam Hales, one of the event coordinators. General admission is free. The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Horse enthusiasts have the opportunity to participate in a number of clinics in different disciplines either with their horse or as a spectator. “We have everything from reining to showing horses to pack string clinics,” according to Hales. “We have a broad-based variety.” The Expo offers horse enthusiasts everything from a way to get more help with a horse they are having difficulties with to a chance to learn new skills or a different discipline. At this year’s Expo, clinicians will teach everything from colt starting, reining, ground work, and cutting to packing mules, hunter-jumper horsemanship, and trail maneuvering.

In addition, participants can receive one-on-one training from the clinicians by bringing their own horse to the Expo. “Most of the sessions are accepting two to four participants. We still have some openings, but they are filled on a first come, first serve basis to pre-approved horses,” he said. “The response has been tremendous so far,” Hales continued. “We have several clinics scheduled, and many outside people bringing horses or providing horses for the clinics.” Those students who wish to bring a horse for a clinic will need to pay a participation fee. Hales encourages anyone who wants to participate in a clinic to contact him as soon as possible. The clinics are filling up quickly.

Confirmed clinicians at this year’s Expo include: Glenn Ryan with the US Forest Service; Steve Mantle, BLM wild horse trainer; Jessica Forliano, who is a John Lyons certified trainer; and horse trainers, Rick Gaudreault, Mike Anderson, Sam Hales, Bridgette Benson, Sarah Barton and Tracey Dalton.

Seminars will also be held throughout the weekend to educate the public on everything from equine dental work, chiropractic and acupuncture, and sports medicine to preparing their horse for the farrier. The Wyoming Horse Council will also give a presentation on horse racing in Wyoming. Speakers hosting seminars include: Dr. Bruce Connally, DVM; Dr. Cory Reng, DVM; Dr. Brenda Unrein, DVM; Robert Fowler; Sherma Cundall; and Amy Murray.

One special event during the Expo will be a horse judging clinic with live classes, followed by a horse judging seminar presented by Amy McLean, University of Wyoming equine specialist. The event, which is free of charge, is open to 4-H, FFA and collegiate youth from any state. The horse judging contest will start at 12 noon on Saturday, April 21, but participants may want to arrive earlier to register.

A stallion alley, featuring some of the best breeding stallions in the region will be featured all three days. “We have some very high quality stallions coming to the Expo. There will be Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Paints, in addition to other breeds,” Hales said. “We will continue to take stallions until the barn is full,” he added.

Hales said several horses have been consigned to the private treaty horse sales held during the Expo. “We are providing the advertising and exposure for people who have horses for sale,” Hales explained. “People are using the Expo as a venue to promote themselves and what they do. They bring a few horses along to sell, and get a two-fold benefit out of it that way. The sale is strictly between them and the buyer.”

Hales said a short demonstration time during the parade will be available for participants to show what their horses can do, in addition to an outdoor arena available to them at any time. “We recommend they put a sign on the stall that their horse is for sale,” he continued, “and if they turned their listing in early enough, the horse will be listed for sale in the program book.”

Participants in the stallion alley and private treaty horse sales, will have an opportunity to show off their horses each day from 10 a.m. to noon, and from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the indoor arena. Breed demonstrations will also be held at that time.

In addition, a 4D barrel race will be held on Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. for entry registration. Runs will start at 10 a.m. The race, which will be sponsored NBHA District 2, will cost $30 for open, $15 for youth, and $5 for peewee (8 and under). Contact Julie Gomez at (307) 259-0553 for more information.

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