Southern Equine Expo 2018

Another Southern Equine Expo is in the books. It was hands down the best one yet. The lineup of speakers and clinicians was fabulous. Since I spent most of the weekend in the Miller Club helping speakers, I had the chance to hear all of the wonderful presentations throughout the weekend. I can’t share everything, but I’ve included some highlights and

The Trailmeister Robert Eversole is a Southern Equine Expo favorite. A retired Marine and PATH instructor, he’s a top notch speaker and a great guy. He’s passionate about trail safety and brings his knowledge and experience to life with that passion. His website Trailmeister.com has a plethora of information for trail riders, including trail guides and reviews of trail equipment. He gave four talks throughout the weekend: ABCs of Trail Riding, Horse Camping 101, When the Sh*i Hits the Fan, and GPS for Trail Riders. The real joy of having Robert Eversole as a speaker, though, is the gracious and humble way he interacts with everyone who has a question or wants to share a story.  I was very glad to see him back this year!

CPT Tim Finley‘s presentation of “In the Arena: 1,000 Click of Beautiful Hell” was a personal favorite. He’s an exceptional serviceman, leading by example. I heard his presentation three times throughout the weekend, and I still teared up at the end. His story of competing in the Mogul Derby is as touching as it is remarkable. I won’t share the details and spoil it for anyone who hasn’t heard it yet. CPT Finley is currently completing a book To Live with Honor, which I highly recommending grabbing as soon as it’s available. Like Robert Eversole, he is a gracious and humble man. He was accompanied by his lovely wife, who is also a joy to speak with.

Jeanette Henderson of Equicamping.com and author of The Best (and Worst) Horse Camps across America gave three talks: Living the Trail Rider’s Dream, 10 Things You Should Know When you Hit the Road, and the Best (and Worst) Horse Camps in America. Jeanette and her husband Roy spent several years on the road with their horses. Jeanette shared her experiences and stories with attendees. Since I’m not a trail rider or horse camper, most of the material wasn’t terribly interesting to me personally, but her warm, welcoming personality makes Jeanette a wonderful, generous speaker and a joy to be with! If you are a horse camper and trail rider, I highly recommend connecting with Jeanette.

As a fan of world class Grand Prix show jumper and FEI award winner Candice King, I was really looking forward to meeting her. She didn’t disappoint! She is an old school jumper who focuses on the very best of classical horsemanship. Since discipline-specific talks don’t draw the crowd that general topics like overcoming fear or trail safety do, Candice’s talk turned into an intimate and educational Q & A. What a treat for attendees!

Lindsey LaForge of LaForge and Elder, LLC gave a lecture on the Law and Horses, which included a wide range of legal knowledge for riders, barn owners, trainers, and other equine professionals. While not as sexy as bits and saddle pads, her talk was candid and down-to-earth, giving the average horse person sound practical tips on how to protect him/herself from potentially devastating legal trouble.

Brandi Lyons, daughter of John Lyons and sister of Josh and Michael Lyons, brought her No Limits Horsemanship to the Expo, including a talk on overcoming fear and a lecture on bits and tack. Like the rest of the Lyons clan, her horsemanship is focused on teaching horses and riders without punishment or pain. She’s passionate about sharing her knowledge, growing the Lyons legacy, and empowering riders to accomplish their horsemanship dreams. She is humble and honest. She brought her lovely daughter Daisy, who provided humor through heckling and whose gracious handling of Expo guests was a testament to the strong Christian values of the Lyons family. I personally will be trying to get Brandi back to Tennessee for as many private clinics as I can afford!

Terry Peiper of Fit Right Saddle Solutions gave two lectures on saddle fitting. Having had more than one saddle fit issue in the last few years, I’ve become an avid seeker of saddle fitting knowledge, so I was thrilled to meet Terry and learn from her. Despite the involved subject matter of equine anatomy that is an absolute must for understanding saddle fitting, Terry’s material provided some simple and easy-to-understand tips for spotting the warning signs of a poorly fitting saddle. Any horse owner, trainer, or rider could walk away knowing when it was time to get help. On a personal note, I’ll be attending one of her classes in a few weeks and can’t wait!!!

Teresa Spencer, co-founder of EquestriSafe, provided talks on Fire Safety, Trailer Safety, and Preparing for Evacuations. I consider myself a pretty safety-conscious person. I’m certified on First Aid for people, dogs, cats, and horses. I have First Aid kits everywhere. I have extra copies of proof of ownership, vaccinations, and whatever else I need. Still…  Teresa managed to come up with a few things I didn’t have covered! Her talks were loaded with great safety information. Her website offers a great range of products to be prepared when things go wrong. Definitely a site to bookmark for anyone with horses!!!

I can’t wait for next year’s Expo! Make sure you put it on your calendar: February 22-24, 2019.

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