Discover the “Gold Standard” in Equine Exposby Catherine MaderaCover photo, Outlaw Storm, by Glynnis Miller
“Let’s ride—really ride!”
Horseman Wendell T. Robie’s words inspired the creation of the ultimate in distance riding—the famous 100 mile Tevis Cup. Endurance riders from all over the world descend on the small town of Auburn, California each year to test their equestrian knowledge, talent, determination, and pure grit. Founder of the Western States Horse Expo, Miki Cohen, knows something about taking—and making—an authentic equine experience. An endurance rider for 25 years, Cohen has ridden the Tevis Cup five times. Though she no longer has horses, Cohen transferred many of the skills she learned in endurance to her job as CEO of “the nation’s finest horse expo.” For 14 years the Western States Horse Expo has been offering an equine affaire like no other. This year, from June 8-10, part of the big city of Sacramento, CA will adopt a small town feel as Expo goers—some 40,000 in total— are welcomed to the world of the horse.
It’s All in the Details In the sport of endurance, overlooking details can lead to disaster; preparation and forethought is everything. The Western States Horse Expo is more than a large trade show with dozens of world-class clinicians. There is something for everyone, including the Magnificent 7 Stock Horse Championship, an Equine Dream Art Show, horse sales, Driving Darby, Young Rider Park, breed demonstrations, seminars, Trail Symposium, BreyerWest, and the Mustang Challenge. Though the main events are impressive and draw the best in the nation, the Expo is planned with details to make attendees feel comfortable and cared for.
“It’s easy to get lost in a big event,” says Cohen, “but we own that area of town and give you a warm, welcoming feeling from the time you come in. There’s no dead space.”
A quality experience always includes quality time, from interacting with horses right on Expo grounds, to the world class clinicians presenting, to the Young Rider Park, a special place just for kids. The Western States Horse Expo has created something much more than a place to keep kids “out of the way.” Children of all ages play and learn doing activities such as painting (real) white Arabian horses, supplied from Castle Rock Arabians, making horse cookies, enjoying pony rides and a petting zoo. Children’s book author, Terri Farley will be at the Expo along with local 4-H clubs and so much more.
At the Western States Horse Expo clinicians don’t hang out at private booths on selected days, they are on site every day and available to really connect with people. This is mandatory and includes visits to Young Rider Park and the next generation of horse enthusiasts. The Expo has been the first time venue for many now famous trainers including Clinton Anderson and Chris Cox. Other presenters have included Pat Parelli, John Lyons, and many others.
“We like to take chances on up and coming trainers,” says Cohen.
Other details unique to the Expo include a Book Corral of authors and cowboy poets set up to engage and interact with Expo attendees as well as each other. This year Dr. Robert Miller will attend as well as Kate Chenery Tweedy, daughter of Penny Chenery, Secretariat’s owner, with her book Secretariat’s Meadow. New this year is an educational area—“Horse Expo University”—staffed with professors from UC Davis, among other schools, that are devoted to educating horse owners.
“The content is richer than it’s ever been,” says Cohen, of the planned presentations. “The expo is so real; it’s what we’re all about.”
Simply Magnificent There will be plenty of action to enjoy at the expo, not the least of which is the Magnificent 7 Stock Horse Championships. The top seven cowboys—consistently the best in the nation— compete in four events for a purse of around 25,000. Bob Avila, Ron Emmons, and Benny Guitron are an example of the caliber of competition this event draws; it remains a favorite of expo attendees and participants.
“This isn’t bucking out a horse in 30 minutes,” says Cohen of the event’s quality, “this is the real deal.”
Clinicians presenting at the Expo this year include 3x Road to the Horse champion Chris Cox, Steve Rother, and Eitan Beth-Halachmy, among others. Besides top quality trainers, a Driving Darby—the only one of its kind on the west coast, trade show with outstanding shopping, Project Cowboy, Mustang Challenge, and a pure equine juried art show are among the events taking place over three days.
“There’s nothing else like it in the country,” says Cohen, of the Equine Dream Art Show which will feature around 150 pieces from artists of all kinds. “This is art you’d actually buy for your house.”
Young or old, the Western States Horse Expo provides an abundance of top-notch events and action for those passionate about horses. And before heading home, those in need of a new ride may wish to check out the Rigs and Digs exhibit, the largest collection of horse trailers in the country.
So what most thoroughly tests the knowledge, determination, and grit of a former Tevis Cup rider and CEO of the nation’s finest expo? “I figured if I could do endurance and expos I could have kids—they are the toughest!” says Cohen, of her more recent adventure into motherhood.
For more information about the Western States Expo located in Sacramento, California visit: www.horsexpo.com. NWHS
Published in April 2012 Issue
Mark Bolender And The Emerging Sport of Trail Competition
Wearing a black hat and broad smile, Mark Bolender gently smoothes his horse’s mane. He makes a quip, and his comment makes his audience laugh and relax. He gathers their attention as easily as that of his horse. The small group is at his training facility, eager to learn the sport of competitive trail riding from an acknowledged master. Bolender’s relaxed appearance belies the disciplined, innovative trainer and solid competitor within. He is a nationally recognized horseman, trainer and instructor. and a leading expert in the disciplines of extreme trail, mountain trail and competitive trail.Trail course competitions are akin to English cross-country riding; they are tests of horse and rider skills over short to moderate distances. But rather than negotiating jumps, riders encounter a series of challenging obstacles that one might find on a trail ride. Courses may be set over miles of outdoor terrain or in indoor or outdoor arenas, depending on the competition format and organizer. A “trail trial” is generally a competition with obstacles in which riders are judged on skills, with a time limit for completing the course or individual obstacles. Extreme Trail competitions are races against the clock, generally held in an arena setting.Watching Extreme Trail competition gives you the sensation of participating. You can sense what a horse is thinking. The focus of horse and rider is palpable. Ideally, the human/equine team transcends individuality and becomes one living being; bold and confident, picking their way around challenging obstacles with calmness and confidence. Bolender has a healthy, enthusiastic attitude toward the emerging sport of trail, which has grown immensely in just a few years. He and his horse, Chex, have excelled in the sport. Chex is a National Grand Champion in Mountain Trail. Mark points to him as an example of what a well trained horse is capable of.“I never blocked Chex’s instincts,” Mark said. “Instead, I directed them in a way he enjoyed and was constantly reinforced, and which followed his finest aptitudes and abilities.”In addition to competing, Mark has designed many Extreme Trail and Mountain Trail courses throughout the country, including courses at his own training facility and competitive center. Bolender Horse Park in Silver Creek, Wash., is a premier horse facility built with love and attention by Mark himself. Recently, Mark designed and opened an Extreme Trail course in Florida and another operated by the Washington State Horse Park near Cle Elum. A characteristic feature in each of Mark’s courses is a design that challenges the horse and rider at each skill level in the sport.Mark’s greatest gift is his ability to teach riders precisely what they need. “Teaching the skills for Extreme Trail, Mountain Trail and Competitive Trail is my passion,” said Bollender. “In a short time, riders learn how to reinforce a horse’s instincts to please their handler.”Mark’s vast experience as a horseman, trainer and competitor comes together in his stimulating presentation style. As a former professional motivational speaker, he entertains and informs his listeners about this growing sport and his unique personal twist on horse training.“Mark brings it all together in a neat package. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a horseman; he teaches you skills you never thought of to develop a partnership with your horse,” said one of his clinic participants.“I simply combine traditional and natural horsemanship with a little magical touch to achieve my results,” said Bolender. And the results are nothing short of magical. Not a single person leaves Mark’s clinics without being profoundly changed.So what drives Mark? “My dream has been to pass along my experience to other horsemen,” he says. “A well-set up course allows the rider to feel what I feel; to redirect the horse’s behavior so that the horse is motivated to accomplish maneuvers with a grace and beauty that seems almost impossible.”To learn more about Mark Bolender and the Bolender Horse Park, visit the website www.bolenderhorsepark.com. NWHS
An Abused, Abandoned Horse Gets a New Lease on Life
The small bay Arabian could have been anyone’s riding horse. As it unloaded from the trailer onto the grounds of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch outside Bend, Ore., employee Julie Love was struck by the gelding’s curious, even bold persona. He didn’t act like a horse that had been taken into the alpine wilderness, shot twice in the face and left for dead. The horse sniffed the juniper-scented November air and considered the nearly 200 people who had gathered to celebrate his arrival. At that moment he was simply a horse - frisky, inquisitive, and very much alive.
There is no logical reason the animal survived his devastating injuries: the loss of an eye, a broken jaw, imbedded shrapnel, a raging systemic infection from an untreated leg wound and the loss of roughly half his blood volume. Veterinarians estimated the horse to be about six, barely full grown. A full set of shoes and prematurely swayed back dotted with white hairs told a story of hard use under saddle. It appeared that in a few short years the gelding had exhausted his usefulness. “Hero, his eye area still shaved from surgery, as he was upon arrival at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch.” When further details about the horse’s history surfaced they read like a sketchy job resume. Abandoned to extended stall confinement as a youngster, he was used in a local riding program for a time only to ultimately be chosen for disposal in an attempt to “get rid of” all the Arabians. Wrong breeding, wrong owners, wrong place and time. Some horses are simply unlucky. Or incredibly lucky.It seemed the gelding, later christened “Hero,” was destined to come to award-winning Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, appropriately called “The Ranch of Rescued Dreams.” A team leader, mentor, and wrangler for over five years, Julie Love had also once been destined for the ranch where she found a perfect fit mentoring troubled teens and horses. Citing her youthful experiences of exchanging an unstable home life for time in a dressage barn, Love understands the healing quality of horses. Like others, she was drawn to the small Arabian and his unbelievable story.“It’s amazing how resilient he is,” says Love who has spent the most time with Hero brushing up on ground and riding skills, helping him adjust to a new life and building a relationship with the horse. “He is so trusting,” adds Love, who says Hero readily allows her to be his sight on the blind side.Though labeled a “Level 3” horse—one best paired with knowledgeable staff and confidant riders—Hero proved to be well broke with no vices, completely sound, and very personable. After adapting to ranch life Hero was put into the program in April and has since shared the lives of around a dozen children and teens.When Hero’s story broke in newspapers and on the Internet, the ranch was inundated with phone calls and emails—some highly emotional—claiming the horse had given them new inspiration for life. Though Love shares that the letter traffic has slowed considerably, the horse’s story continues to inspire everyone it touches. “He loves people and is curious about everything,” says Love, adding, “Hero doesn’t allow things in the past to hold him back.”One of the gelding’s young friends, fifteen-year-old Ashley* has this to say:Hero is special to me because he has been through a lot. But despite everything, he is gentle and calm. When I first saw him he was alone. None of the other horses liked him. I felt like I could relate to him because when I went to a new school, not very many people liked me. So I kind of knew how he felt…Just about a week ago, I started to walk from him to get something and he started walking with me. So I started running from him (to see if he would follow) and he trotted along beside me. Finally, I felt like I had gained his trust…If he can trust me, then when we ride together, I can be his eyes and he can be my legs.” A handicapped Arabian proves that no matter the wounding, healing and new life can be embraced by a willing spirit. Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch is the recipient of the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Award for outstanding public service. For more about Hero and the ranch visit them on the web: www.crystalpeaksyouthranch.org. A special thanks to Catherine Madera for this heart-warming story about Hero.
Come Join The Fun At the NW Washington FairgroundsIt's wild. It's crazy. And it’s full of fun. It’s the Cascade Horse Fair! Mark your calendar for September 25-26 and be part of the excitement at the first annual Cascade Horse Fair to be held at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden, Wash. In addition to enjoying the spankin’ new fairgrounds facility, you can see or even take part in a multi-part ranch horse competition, learn trail tips from an experienced cowboy endurance rider and trainer, and even challenge a bull face-to-face. Allow us to explain.Got Bull? What do clinician Ken McNabb, two-time NCHA reserve world champion Bob Nelson, and a 16-year-old girl who gentles wild mustangs have in common? A cutting horse trainer by the name of Curt Storbakken.
“A cutting novice getting and education courtesy of Curt Storbakken’s HydraBull.”Photo by Tracey WestburyAfter turning out several AQHA champions, this former snaffle bit trainer found his passion in cutting horses. Always mechanically minded and a great tinkerer out in the work shed, Storbakken created mechanical cows to help keep his horses in tip-top form. That tinkering led to the HydraBull [featured previously in the June NWHS column “On The Plus Side,”] a fiberglass, cow-shaped body placed on top of a three-wheel ATV base. Now, not only could his horses learn to follow a flag that mimics a cow’s movement in one dimension, Storbakken’s horses had a 3-D figure to track that could come straight at them or turn away before jetting across the pen. But the true beauty of the bull is that the driver can watch the horse and adjust just how fast, slow, or challenging the device should be. From learning to rate the speed of the bull to getting a horse to 'sit down' on his hind end when stopping or turning over his hocks, the HydraBull is a useful tool. A rider's horsemanship skills develop right along with a horse's ability and those skills can then be carried on to a multitude of other disciplines in addition to cutting. Curt will be teaching an “Intro to Cutting” class at the Cascade Horse Fair. While the bull is a powerful tool for cutting horse ‘newbies,” Curt cautions potential participants to know their skill level. This is not for the timid rider, but for someone who is looking for something fun, fast paced and exciting to do with their horse. On hand will be four “bulls,” one arena, and a whole lotta fun as the fair hosts the First Annual Got Bull? HydraBull Cutting Competition. Riders from across the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia will gather to see who's got what it takes in this money-added jackpot event. National Cutting Horse Association AAA judge Joe Jones, Jr. will be present to help determine the winners of trophy buckles and jackpot money.
Rail To Trail Cow work not your thing? Perhaps the Rail To Trail Jackpot Benefit is more your style. Horses in the contest will compete in trail, ranch horse pleasure and reining classes. The top ten will advance into the free style portion of the event. The winning rider has the privilege of naming the non-profit of their choice as winner of the jackpot money, which is 25% of the entry fee. In addition to the winner's choice, Mustang U, a non-profit organization which deals with public education and placing wild mustangs, will receive an additional 25% of the entries. Top contestants will earn trophy buckles and prizes. Be sure to stop by the Mustang U booth while you're there and visit with Paint Me Paisley, the pinto mustang filly. Horsemanship...on the Trail If you've always wondered what it would be like to compete in one of those exciting extreme trail challenges or you simply want better control of your horse out on the trail, you can sign up for Keith Danielson's Horsemanship Clinic. Keith was a finalist in Craig Cameron's Extreme Cowboy Race as well as a finalist in two Extreme Mustang Makeover events. Keith's clinics range from basic safety and horsemanship to advanced techniques and maneuvers. All are designed to get a soft, responsive feel from your horse and make the most of your riding experience. At the end of the clinic, participants will be able to utilize the trail course and put their new found skills to use. The Cascade Horse Fair rounds out the weekend with seminars and demonstrations, including state-of-the-art computerized saddle fitting, equine nutrition, the Mission Farrier School, and more. For more information on the Cascade Horse Fair, or to print entry forms, please visit http://www.cascadehorsefair.com.
Page 1 of 3
More equine events»
Keep up to date. When we publish you get updated!
From My Saddle Blog- Popular!Northwest Horse News Horse Health
• Educational articles• Expert answers• News• Events• and more!
Current issue »
Northwest Horse Source offers information on the following topics: Idaho horse, Idaho horse shows, Idaho trail rides, Idaho horse events, Idaho horse news, Washington horse, Washington horse shows, Washington trail rides, Washington horse events, Washington horse news, Northern California horse, Northern California horse show, Northern California trail rides, Northern California horse events, Northern California horse news, Oregon horse, Oregon horse shows, Oregon trail rides, Oregon horse events and Oregon horse news.
Address: PO Box 717, Blaine, WA 98231Phone: 360-332-5579 • Fax: 360-332-1826 • Email: