Monday, June 13, 2011

Western States Horse Expo 2011

In 2010, I planned on heading to the Western States Horse Expo, held every year in Sacramento, at CalExpo. What is this, "Western States Horse Expo", you ask?

I'll tell you. It's a 3 day exposition, with lots of horse related products on display and for sale, from tack to barns, trailers to fencing, and anything in between. Also featured at the expo are horse clinicians, people who have spent years training horses who are willing to share their knowledge.

Last year, I had to work all three days, and ended up being able to go on the last day for around 3 hours. I made the mistake of bringing the husband along, and knowing how bored excited he is around horsie things, I felt rushed, therefore I didn't get any enjoyment out of my visit last year.

This year, I took a day off for the expo, and went alone. All by myself! At least until I ran into my friends and trainer from the barn, which was great because we were all there for the same reason: Horses!

I joined up with them just in time to watch my first clinician ever, Richard Winters. He spoke on "Riding like a horsemen", meaning making a connection with your horse, instead of just riding them.
I only saw the last bit of his talk, but he explained things so easily that I would definitely seek out a clinic of his in the future.

Following his talk, we headed over to Johnathan Field's talk, "Restart your Relationship: Ground Skills to Cause a Big Change." He spoke of teaching your horse respect on the ground, and finding the respect from a horse by using groundwork. Some of his stuff was confusing, though he seemed to be doing fine, the heat and bright sun had me just wishing for shade and a tall glass of water. Here he is putting a horse between two targets to reinforce the respect idea.
After Johnathan Field, we headed over to grab some food, then one of the other boarders and I decided to break off to head to the halls- where all of the shopping was!
She was looking for a blanket, and I was looking for shorter reins, so we started making the rounds. We headed to every booth, and when we got to Clinton Anderson's booth, she spied an entry box and empty ballots. She handed me an entry form and said, "Here, fill this out!" She started in on her entry form, and I figured, why not? I never win these things, and I'll probably end up on every mailing list known to man for giving out my information, but I'm already on Clinton's mailing list anyway. I filled it out and she dropped it into the box. I didn't even look to see what the prize was.
We gaped at purdy saddles and squished and squeezed all of the saddle pads we could. She bought a new helmet and I made a mental note of all of things on my wish list.
I ran to pick up husband so we could come back for that evening's entertainment- the Magnificent 7. It's a reining competition that tests a horse and rider in many events that would be used in the cattle ranchin world...cutting cattle, roping them, and keeping excellent control of your horse. I was very impressed that such control could be's sort of like "Cowboy Dressage". Pretty neat stuff, and if you ever get to see a reining competition, it's great fun. Even my husband's interest was kept.
So that was Friday....Sunday, I came back!!
I met up with HorseFriend, and we started out by shopping! Oh...and I had a teeny tiny little thing to pick up...I won I won I won!!! I won a Clinton Anderson Fundamentals Kit!!!!
It's a very expensive DVD kit, explaining the very basic ideals of groundwork and riding. Perfect for big green girls everywhere!

The box is even green....haha! I'll keep you updated on my progress with my new set of DVD's and booklets.
We then went to watch John Lyons, with "Dealing with our fear, How to make a great performance horse".

He showed that by keeping a horse's focus on his work, and yielding to his rider, fear in a horse can be overcome. I would have like to have seen it in action, like maybe someone trying to spook the horse as he worked it, but he explained that the horse he was working with was green, and he had only been working with her for 2 days, so I can see how that would be a potentially unsafe situation.
*Happy Update!* I was told in the comments below that the horse's name is Bella, and she and her rider are doing wonderful thanks to John's wisdom!
After John Lyons, we headed over to watch Charles Wilhelm, with "How Trick Training Builds a Relationship and Confidence in Horse and Rider". He explained simple ways to begin teaching your horse how to "Park", where his back feet stretch back like a show horse's, and how to begin to teach the bow. It was getting incredibly hot and his microphone started cutting out, but I was enjoying his presentation.
He had an easy way of working with his horse that I liked, and if I see any clinics with him around my area, I'd make it a point to go.

We headed back to pick up some "We're closing and don't want to haul this stuff home" sales, where I found a trail bag that hooks onto your saddle horn. I also tested out a Black Forest Treeless Saddle, and I must say, it was way comfy!!
It was more comfy than anything I've ever sat in, so I'm going to do a little more research on them.

Well, tired, sunburned, and a little sweaty, but all in all, a great horse experience!! A must see for any horse lover!!


Anonymous said...

The horse John Lyons was working with is 6 year old Bella owned by Heather Weaver. Bella is doing great and had a wonderful no spook canter filled side passing ride this morning. Reinforcing all she learned over the three days.

BigGreenGirl said...

Thanks for the update- I know Heather was very excited to ride Bella after the demo. I'm glad to hear they're doing well!