Horses join 2008 Wyoming AgXpo
Casper – This year the Wyoming AgXpo will feature an entirely new aspect of Wyoming’s agriculture community – the horse industry.
Wyoming Horse Council President Bill Gentle says when the Council was formed a year ago an expo was on their “to-do” list, but they didn’t have enough personnel to pull one off. When the Wyoming Business Council invited them to join in the AgXpo, Gentle says they were glad to participate.
“Every rancher has a horse, and everybody that would like to be a rancher has a horse,” says Scott Keith of the Wyoming Business Council. “This is a great opportunity for exposure in the equine industry, and we’re looking at doing this from the standpoint of livestock and breeding, as well as those who enjoy showing horses or riding or training. We’re trying to hit all aspects through the program on Sunday.”
Gentle says there are four sections to the equine activities – a trade show, stallion review, clinics and educational seminars.
“I think this is going to be an extremely good opportunity for some people within the horse industry to gain exposure,” says Gentle of the trade show, in which he expects 30 to 40 exhibitors.
The featured stallions, which will be presented twice on Sunday, will include 10 horses from across the state and from across disciplines, says Gentle. “We’re going to sift the entries to ensure variety, and then they’re going to be chosen randomly,” he says, noting that this year’s review is under space limitations but if all goes well he expects it to expand in the future.
Sunday’s program will also feature three Wyoming clinicians – Bill Smith of Thermopolis, Peter Campbell of Wheatland and Bruce Laird of Torrington.
While Bruce Laird will focus on the stages of getting a horse used to handling a rope, Peter Campbell will speak about horse handling safety. Bill Smith will demonstrate starting colts with horses in different stages of training.
Regarding the cost of the day’s presentations, Gentle says the three clinicians will be a good buy for attendees. “In addition, we’ll have two educational seminars – one on nutrition and one directed toward horse judging.”
Of the horse judging seminar, UW Extension Educator Milt Green, who serves as an advisor to the Wyoming Horse Council, says, “We wanted to provide some general information and education about how a judge evaluates a horse, and hopefully that will be a real drawing card for the young people.” He says he hopes it’ll give those participating in horse shows a better understanding of what the judge is really looking for in both conformation and performance.
“I think including horses in this year’s AgXpo is exciting, and I hope we can get a good draw,” says Gentle.
“We want to expose our horse owners to some possibilities and some things that are available within the state,” says Green. “We’ve got a lot of good clinicians right here in Wyoming who are extremely talented and can offer a lot of training guidance.”
Green says that, down the road, he has no idea how big the horse expo could get. “The equine industry in Wyoming is so large and complex that we could have all kinds of demonstrations and seminars. We hope this will plant the seed to do that.”
“The horse aspect of the AgXpo is an opportunity for exhibitors to go across different species, and for them to be exposed to more of the industry than just the cow/calf or sheep sectors,” says Keith. “It also opens up more opportunities for those who are involved with recreational or arena horses.”
The equine activities will begin at 9 a.m. Nov. 23 in the arena at the Natrona County Fairgrounds and continue throughout the afternoon. The stallion review will begin first thing in the morning, after which the group will be split for the second presentations between clinics. Entry costs $15 for a single person and $25 for a couple. Kids 18 and under are free, and existing Wyoming Horse Council Members may enter for $10 for single and $20 for a couple.
Christy Hemken is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.