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Equine Affaire Highlights

February 1, 2009
Equine Affaire Highlights
Clinician Yonnick Firehorse discusses his connection approach to horsemanship.

The Equine Affaire, held each winter in Pomona, California, is one of the nation’s premier equestrian expositions. It offers horse enthusiasts family-oriented entertainment, one-stop shopping for everything equine, and educational clinics and demonstrations from some of the world’s top horsemen and women — all for one low admission price.

Here are some highlights from this year’s Equine Affaire, which was held from January 29 to February 1.

Chris Cox.

Popular clinician Chris Cox demonstrated straight-forward and gentle techniques for starting a young horse. Cox commented that “Success is achieved through preparation, patience, and trust.” Cox also demonstrated how a natural headset in the horse can be achieved through effective rein management. A slight variation in rein usage can have a dramatic impact on a rider’s balance and the horse’s flexibility and responsiveness. Folks can catch more of these types of horse training techniques by watching the Chris Cox Horsemanship show on RFD-TV.

Mark Rashid.

Mark Rashid, another clinician, focused on balance and collection, which, he explained, fundamentally starts with the rider. Rashid believes about 75 percent of today’s horse people ride unbalanced, which creates a slew of problems for both the horse and the rider. Success happens when a rider learns to move his or her body in a balanced manner.

Julie Goodnight.

Ever wonder why your gelding urinates on his hay? In her humorous and informative talk on horse’s communicative behavior, Julie Goodnight explained that a horse does this because it is an effective way of stopping other horses from eating his hay. Goodnight’s reputation and topical subject matter drew strong attendance for all her clinics. Those who missed Equine Affaire can catch her weekly television series “Horse Master” on RFD-TV.

Craig Cameron’s Extreme Cowboy Race.

Each evening, Craig Cameron’s Extreme Cowboy Race topped off the day’s events for a full crowd. The Extreme Cowboy Race is an exciting competition, where horse and rider teams race through an obstacle course while being judged on speed and horsemanship skills. The teams scaled dirt hills, cleared over-hanging tarps, splashed through water obstacles, and negotiated through poles while riding bareback at neck-breaking speeds. The roaring country music, on-going commentary by Cameron, and howls from the audience, all added to the extreme nature of this race.

One competitor, Don Anderson, a mounted police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, snuck in the finals as this year’s wild card. Don raced Buster, a rescued Quarter horse, and the audience loved cheering on these underdogs to an eleventh-place finish.

Completing the race in slightly over four minutes, Cam Schryver was the Extreme Cowboy Race Champion in 2009. Schryver, who is the reigning Extreme Cowboy Race World Champion, demonstrated astonishing horsemanship to finish over a minute faster than his closest competitor.

Breed Demos.

Families were able to meet horses up-close at the numerous breed demonstrations. This year’s celebrity horse highlight was Mr. T, who starred in the movie “Dreamer.” Trained by Rex Peterson, one of Hollywood’s most well-known horse trainers, Mr. T showed his most endearing trick was re-enacting a scene from “Dreamer” in which he carries a back pack in his mouth. It was evident by the laughter and smiles of the children that they will develop a life-long passion for horses.

Stick Horse Rodeo.

In the Youth Pavilion, future cowgirls and cowboys designed stick ponies for the Stick Horse Rodeo. During the rodeo, children hopped aboard their stick pony creations and competed in fun, rodeo-type events, like pole-bending and barrel racing.

Shopping.

In spite of worries about the economy, visitors came prepared to shop, arming themselves with wheeled carts to carry goods home. Shoppers, who were looking for the best deals, knew to wait for the final day when vendors rushed to clear remaining inventory.

For more information visit www.equineaffaire.com and click on “California Event.”