Completing its 19th year, Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento, California opened the gates in June to yet another appreciative group of thousands of horse people. The faithful Expo fans come without fail, and new-to-the-event people increase in numbers each year.
Even the cool weather was perfect, not typical for Sacramento in June. Attendees pulled out their credit cards as they strolled through the exhibits, and kept the cards at the ready as they bid on mustangs presented by the Bureau of Land Management. No longer wild, these mustangs were trained through a special program partnered with the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department that enlists inmates to gentle and train the wild mustangs. Overseen by horseman Joe Misner, who has won a number of Extreme Mustang Makeover competitions, he not only teaches the inmates in the art of horse gentling and training, he also helps the new horse owners by teaching them natural horsemanship techniques. The auction at the Horse Expo was a huge success, giving these now-trained horses new and enthusiastic owners.
Shopping at the Expo, of course, is always high on the list. Literally everything related to horses can be found here, from equestrian vests that inflate before impact when the rider experiences an “unscheduled dismount” to saddles resplendent with silver conchos. People browsed through the retail buildings, talking to retailers, trying on boots and hats, sitting in saddles. It’s definitely a Disneyland for horse lovers.
As always, the Horse Expo’s Art of the Horse Art Show and Sale was a peaceful place to stroll through and marvel at (and buy!) artwork focused around these magnificent animals. Young Rider Park was a popular place to sit under the shade of beautiful trees and admire young buckaroos as they fingerpainted live gray Arabian horses and made horse cookies. A fun time for kids and adults alike.
Western States Horse Expo is particularly proud of the Rigs and Digs area of this huge event, where over 200 trailers were exhibited — the largest display of trailers in the United States. The Expo even provides services for new hitches, trailer lighting — whatever it takes for the new trailer owner to safely drive off with their shiny purchase.
Laughter and cheering drifted through the air as contestants in the Poker Rodeo competition did their best to “sort out” a winning poker hand with cattle. The cows were festooned with cloth pieces over their backs that sported various playing card designations like Ace of Spades, Queen of Hearts, etc. The two-rider team had to separate the individual cow out of the herd and “pen” it, with high hopes of getting the cows sorted together that made up a winning poker hand. Shuffle the cards, pen the cows! Even the sparkly and talented California Cowgirls took a turn in this exciting competition.
It’s no surprise that Pat Parelli and his sensational Savvy team turned out with a fast-paced presentation Saturday evening — upbeat music, talented riders, precise performances — all led by one of the greatest horsemen in the country. When Pat Parelli is involved, you can bet that the event will be polished and beautiful — and it definitely was on that rockin’ evening.
Clinicians John Lyons, Pat Parelli, Josh Lyons and Brandi Lyons topped the list of headliners, along with a list of other excellent professionals. Attendees learned a variety of training techniques from this group, including proper stops, solving common riding problems, fixing annoying problems with your horse, handling spooky horses, horse fear and human fear — nitty-gritty issues all horse people face. The Horse Expo University addressed subjects by veterinarians and other experts such as equine bodywork, equine nutrition, saddle fitting, conformation, kinesiology, equine digestive health — among other informative topics.
The dust has settled from the 19th Western States Horse Expo. Now the staff is gearing up for the 20th anniversary on June 8-10, 2018. Building on the success of the past 19 years, the 20th Horse Expo is bound to be wrapped up with a big red bow!
For more information about the Western States Horse Expo, visit www.horsexpo.com or call 800.352.2411.
About Western States Horse Expo: The Sacramento location for the Western States Horse Expo celebrated its 19th anniversary in 2017 and the Western States Horse Expo Pomona, California celebrated its sixth year in 2017. The 20th Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento is scheduled for June 8-10, 2018. Founded by horsewoman and entrepreneur Miki Nelsen, the Western States Horse Expos are the largest equine expositions in the United States.