Another Great Expo

The Southern Equine Expo is over.  I’m completely exhausted, but oh so grateful for the experience.  For an introvert, talking to people for 3 days is draining, but I’m already looking forward to next year.  As usual, the expo featured wonderful horsemen and horsewomen from a variety of disciplines.  Because I had the opportunity to moderate the lecture series, I was able to interact with some of these amazing members of the horse world and come home inspired!
Colleen Kelly of Rider Biomechanics:
I have admired this spunky Australian for years.  The work she is doing in helping riders developer better seats and give horses better, more balanced riders would be more than enough to earn her my esteem, but she has also worked to develop coaches who can continue her work and continues to advocate for helmet awareness.  Her lecture was informative and funny, and she is as gracious and generous as she is knowledgeable.  If you’re interested in learning more about Biomechanics, contact Level 1 Coach Amy Vanner at Training & Riding Academy of Chattanooga.
Amanda Tidwell of Simply Beginning Horsemanship:
I’ve been seeing Amanda’s ads on Facebook for a couple of months now, thinking “I really need to take that class!” We recently brought our horses home, and it’s been nearly 20 years since I studied First Aid.  Not only did Amanda reinforce the need for that class, but she really inspired me to want to help get the word out in the horse community that we all need to be prepared to help our horses in an emergency.  Her presentation was standing room only and for good reason.  The information is important, and Amanda is an excellent teacher.  I’m signed up for her April 2nd class and am looking forward to getting certified to teach equine first aid myself.
Celisse Barrett of Equestrian Chaos:
Celisse and her husband John are remarkable people.  They brought me to tears with their stories of teaching trick riding to disabled children.  The pride they take in their students is so heartwarming.  They see these children as part of their family and are doing remarkable work in helping these children believe in themselves and achieve more than they dreamed possible.  I didn’t get a chance to catch their show, but as a fundraiser for their school and therapeutic riding program, I will definitely pay to see it any time I can!
Samantha Szesciorka of the Nevada Discovery Ride:
This exceptional woman was such a treat.  Anyone who knows me knows I hate trail riding, so there’s no way I would ever long ride, but I loved listening to her stories from the trail.  As a passionate long rider, she also has great advice for other long riders.
Jennie Jackson of 4Beat Dressage:
I admire what Jennie Jackson does for the gaited horse community.  I love listening to her talk about Dressage.  Even as someone who doesn’t ride gaited horses, I still learn something.  I love to watch her ride.  One of my closest friends participated in her clinics and learned so much, she’s still on cloud nine.
Steuart Pittman, President of the Retired Racehorse Project:
I love what this man is doing for Thoroughbreds in this country.  When I was a teen riding hunters, people were turning to European warmbloods, and more and more Thoroughbreds were heading to the slaughter houses.  Now that the slaughter houses in the US are gone, many of them are ending up in rescues or worse…  Headed to Mexico or Canada to be slaughtered.  People like Steuart Pittman are changing that by raising awareness of the versatility of these horses and helping young trainers build skills and gain experience.
Julie Goodnight of Goodnight Natural Horsemanship Training:
If you’ve been around horses for more than 5 minutes, you’ve heard of Julie Goodnight.  Not having a TV, I don’t spend much time watching trainers on TV.  I’ve never seen her show and had no idea what a skilled teacher Julie is.  I loved her two lectures on equine language and building confidence, and I love even more that she rocks a riding helmet!
Dr. Johnny Haffner, Associate Professor at MTSU:
This was my second time hearing Dr. Haffner’s lecture on Equine Dentistry, and I learned as much the second time around as I did the first.
If you haven’t been to the Southern Equine Expo, clear your calendar for the last weekend in February next year.  You won’t be disappointed!

The "Trail Meister" Robert Eversole

20160227_113541Over the weekend, I had the great pleasure of working at the Southern Equine Expo, running the Lecture Series in the Miller Club. If you missed it, make plans early to get there next year. The Lecture Series included five sessions with “Trail Meister” Robert Eversole. Not only is he an engaging speaker but he is a true pleasure to chat with. Attendees agreed, because his crowds got bigger and bigger. He was so wonderful that the Southern Equine Expo staff has already invited him back for next year.
As a former Toastmaster, there are several things I look for from a presentation perspective, but as a horsewoman, there are a few key quality questions I ask when evaluating a lecture:

  1. Does the speaker actively participate in the discipline?
  2. Is the speaker genuinely interested in providing the audience with good, relevant knowledge?
  3. Is the speaker willing to say, “I don’t know”?
  4. Does the speaker promote other horse professionals/encourage the audience to seek out other experts?
  5. Is the speaker willing to express an opinion even if it’s unpopular?

The answer to all of these for Robert was YES. He is an experienced back country trail rider, who is generous with his knowledge and his praise of other good horsemen and horsewomen. He sought to provide his audience with knowledge relevant to their interests and experience and even boldly proclaims that he wears a helmet. As a helmet advocate, I love this!
Let me start by saying I avoid trail riding like the plague. I do it only for the benefits of (a) testing my horse outside the arena and (b) giving my horse a break from the arena. More often then not, I bribe other people to trail ride my horses. Despite that, I learned a few great tips along the way. Talking to attendees who trail ride, they took away much, much more.
His five talks included the following:

  1. The ABCs of Trail Riding
  2. GPS for Trail Riders
  3. Horse Camping 101
  4. Emergency Preparedness for Trail Riders
  5. Open Q&A about Trail Riding

If you trail ride, you should check out his website. Not only does it have great resources for finding trails, camps, and maps, but it also has useful information like how to tie a knot and reviews of products you may be thinking about trying.
As I mentioned before, if you’re in the south and didn’t attend the Southern Equine Expo this year, plan to be there next year (last weekend in February)! You do NOT want to miss out on seeing Robert Eversole a second time!