Mid-Winter Getaway for Horse Lovers
by Catherine Madera
Pacific Northwest horse owners are a tough lot: riding horses in one of the wettest climates in the nation isn’t for sissies. But even the hardiest equestrian can find their spirits dampened by February and the Washington State Horse Expo is the perfect destination for curing the mid-winter blahs. Beginning immediately after Valentine’s Day (a great getaway for your horse loving sweetheart), the expo runs from February 15-17 at the Clark County Event Center in Vancouver, WA. Now in its third year of operation, the expo has an ideal location between Seattle, WA and Portland, OR and has grown to over 100 horses, 120 vendors and around 10,000 spectators. Adding to the appeal of this particular expo is a set-up where vendors surround three of the main arenas and a lot of the activities are under one roof. This year an exceptional line-up of clinicians—including headliner Julie Goodnight, exhibits, and special presentations equal plenty of fun, entertainment, and learning.
Say “Goodnight” to Bad Horsemanship
Anyone can learn to be a better horseman or woman from clinician and “Horse Master,” Julie Goodnight. Known for her award-winning RFD-TV television show of the same name, Julie’s varied background—which includes dressage, jumping, racing, reining, colt-starting, versatility ranch work, and wilderness riding—makes her uniquely qualified to teach the underlying principles important to any type of riding. She teaches “Classic Skills for a Natural Ride” and communicates clearly with horses and riders in any discipline and at any level. Julie travels coast-to-coast, and beyond, throughout much of the year to help horses and riders at horse expos, conferences, clinics, all while filming for her television “makeover” show. Julie has been featured in the top equestrian publications, including The Trail Rider, Horse & Rider—where she’s a member of Team Horse & Rider—and America’s Horse. Her syndicated columns appear in over 15 regional publications throughout North America. Her interactive websites ( juliegoodnight.com, horsemaster.tv) and pages on Youtube and Facebook reach an even wider audience. Julie is also the spokesperson for the Certified Horsemanship Association, a non-profit organization that promotes safety and excellence in horsemanship. In 2008, she was named Equine Affaire’s Exceptional Equestrian Educator—one of only three awards ever given.
Besides Goodnight, other top-notch clinicians include Craig Cameron Raye Lochert, Steve Rother, and Rick Brighton. Entertaining Texan Craig Cameron will once again host the always popular Extreme Cowboy Race while Raye Lochert inspires and educates horse owners with practical horsemanship principles for any age. Two-time winner of the prestigious Mane Event Trainer’s Challenge Competition in Canada, Steve Rother also brings a fun and effective way of learning horsemanship principles while Rick Brighton will demonstrate natural, resistance-free ways to enhance movement in gaited horses. New to the expo this year is Rick Lamb who has won numerous industry awards for his popular educational radio program, “The Horse Show with Rick Lamb,” which he created in 1997. He is a sought after addition to expos and an established emcee for live events.
Most expo-goers look forward to the Equine Emporium and the Washington State Horse Expo does not disappoint with its hundred-plus vendors. However, there are several not-to-be-missed exhibits and entertainment this year beyond the shopping experience. These include irresistible Miniature Horses, mounted shooting demonstrations (one of the fastest growing equine sports), the Extreme Cowboy Race, and Pierce Cow Dogs. Owner Marvin Pierce has been raising and training cow dogs since 1998 and will introduce the unique and handy stock dogs being bred at his ranch in Newberg, Oregon. The expo will also feature a beer garden, musical performances at the stage, and an Adopt-a-Horse Auction on Saturday night.
Admission is as follows: Adult, $10; Seniors (62+); Youth 7-12 $8; kids under 7, free. Tickets will be sold at the gate only, no pre-sales. Parking is $6 and includes accommodation for RV’s.
For more information about the Washington State Horse Expo, including hotel and travel information, as well the schedule of events visit www.wastatehorseexpo.com.
Published January 2013 Issue
Catherine Madera served as editor of the Northwest Horse Source for five years. She has written for numerous regional and national publications and is a contributing writer for Guideposts Magazine and the author of four equine-related books. She has two grown children and lives with her husband and three horses in Northwest Washington.