By Carlie Connolly
Horse people will have a chance to learn some interesting topics and watch horses be ridden for the very first time on Nov. 29 and 30.
Lots of horse expos have gone on in the last couple of years and Bob Kaufman, the founder of the expo along with his wife Deborah judges some of the competitions that go on. There is a main event in Red Deer where they get three trainers and three horses, and they get the horses started for the first time. This means they haven’t yet been handled with saddles or blankets. They usually have three sessions and a finals. The final is a competition with a time limit to get horses started with their saddles. At the end of around three hours or so, a person has to ride them in an arena, completing an obstacle course. This is how they are judged.
“There’s a lot of pressure on the trainer to really show what he can do and get this horse to the point where he’s rideable. Its then hard on the horses too because they’re under a lot of pressure too to get this done,” he said.
He said that most people take a month to get ride a horse safely. These guys at the expo will be doing it in three hours so its extra fast.
“In agriculture, there’s safety concerns. I mean these are 1100-1200 pound animals and it’s very easy to get hurt,” he said. “Our intent is to have an educational and safety lesson.”
The expo will be presenting a theme called foundation to finis. The two horses that are owned by the parsonages are run wild in the Cypress Hills on the Saskatchewan side and are brought in, never having been saddled. The two guys who are quite accomplished in horse training include Craig Reesor, who is from a fairly large scale ranching family and Amos Abrahamson who trains horses on the side. Jeff Hoar will also be present. His ranch team just won the ranch rodeo at the finals in Edmonton, and so he is also quite skilled.
“These guys are genuine working cowboys and that’s what we’re trying to present. We’re not just trying to do a ranching cowboy thing, because it’s for everybody.”
Everybody who goes to the expo will also have the opportunity to be shown how to handle horses safely and how to handle them once they have been trained. Local veterinarian, Megan Williams will talk on equine health and dental as topics. The expo will also have one of the top noted farriers in the province, Ian Zoerb to talk foot care and how to balance the foot. Scott Sapergia will talk about ranch roping and Kaufman himself will be doing a presentation on saddle fitting and how to take care of the gear.
He said that for fitting a saddle, you can use a template system to give horses back shape and so for some horses in performance events like dressage, those horses really want to work. The better the fit, the more they will want to work.
“Its just like us. If we were going to train for the Olympics, we wouldn’t go to Wal-Mart to buy a pair of runners, we would get a good pair of shoes,” he said
The tradeshow will go hand in hand to help pay for the building rental along with other things present at the expo.
“We’re hoping that the residents of Medicine Hat come, not just if they own horses but because its going to be a lot of fun. Where else can you see two horses get started for the very first time?”