By Frank J. Buchman
“There is just no way to see and hear everything because there’s so much going on.”
The statement has been heard and repeated numerous times in the past several weeks.
Horse enthusiasts representing every discipline, breed and interest from throughout the Midwest were thinking about the upcoming EquiFest of Kansas.
“Yes, there will be a whole lot of activities. But everybody with even the slightest horse involvement past, present and future should come,” invited Justine Staten.
Sponsored by the Kansas horses Council which Staten serves as executive director, EquiFest of Kansas is coming soon to Salina.
“Activities are officially scheduled March 18-19-20 at the Saline County Livestock & Expo Center, 900 Greeley Avenue,” Staten informed.
“However we have so much planned that we are actually kicking off a day early. That will feature a breakaway roping clinic on Thursday, March 17,” Staten said.
Considerable updates and renovations have been completed at the Expo Center to enhance convenience and attractions for attendees. “We really appreciate the hard work and great cooperation from everybody in Salina, Saline County and the area,” Staten acknowledged.
Actually, EquiFest will be in six completely different Expo Center buildings uniquely situated for ease from one to the next.
“EquiFest is the main fund raising event of the Kansas Horse Council which serves everybody affiliated with horses,” Staten said.
“Likewise this is the 25th anniversary of EquiFest. So, we have gone all out to make it the biggest and best ever,” she pointed out.
Early numbers quoted most recently verify objective to do just that has already been met. “We have at least 112 vendors and probably even more from 19 states represented in the trade show,” Staten said. “There’ll be everything imaginational and more included in the displays many offering opportunities for purchases.
“Anybody interested in horses, equitation sports and the Western way of life will love the many exhibits,” she insisted.
Completely impossible to distinguish exactly what will be the biggest highlight at EquiFest. Many will consider the clinicians presenting knowledge on horses handling and horsemanship skills as the best reason to attend.
Certainly, the “best of the best” have been lined up for presentations. In a repeat appearance who some have declared as “headliner” is Chris Cox.
Growing up on an Australian cattle ranch with only horses for transportation, Chris Cox has had a lifetime of horse training. He now uses his vast experience to teach students how to get results when training their own horses.
“Chris’ common-sense, straightforward approach allows everyone from the average rider to the advanced equestrian to gain insight into equine behavior. They can reach the ultimate goal of a useful partnership between rider and mount,” Staten verified.
All aspects of improving horse handling and care will be covered by the array of horse professionals. The gamut of Western and English horse training and activities are to be discussed. There’ll be colt starting, proficient training tactics, driving, jumping, dressage, trail riding, roping, speed competition insights and more.
An open horse judging contest is planned as Friday’s opening event with all participants invited.
A number of horse breeds with three states represented will be displayed and several are presenting special demonstrations. “Tours will be given daily to get up close with different horses and even mini donkeys for petting,” Staten promised.
Entries are coming from seven states for the mounted shooting competition. Working cowboys from two states will be in the ranch rodeos planned Friday and Saturday evenings with trick riding entertainment.
Draft horse owners from four states are expected to bring more than two dozen horses for the feed team races.
The third annual legendary horsemen’s panel will feature farrier Richard Clower, photographer Alfred Janssen, trainer Craig Cole and breeder Frank Higgs.
Opening ceremonies each day will be by the Fort Riley Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard. They will also demonstrate cavalrymen’s tactical skills in afternoon programs.
Nicodemus Buffalo Soldiers are to present their historical military march. The American Freedom Drill Team is also to pay tribute to the nation’s military forces.
A farriers contest and clinic have been planned by the Kansas Farriers Association. Kansas rodeo royalty is to be in attendance offering assistance, joining in photographs and giving autographs. A Kiddies Corral is planned with unique events for young horse enthusiasts.
Silent auctions and raffles are scheduled by the Kansas Horse Council Foundation to fund scholarships for youth pursuing horse careers.
There’ll be church services Sunday morning and then a double sanctioned breakaway roping competition with added prize money.
Climax is the special grand finale old fashioned Christian cowboy revival, according to Staten.
Impossible to list all of the times and locations of the vast numbers of attractions for EquiFest. However, they will be detailed in the program available to all attendees.
Likewise complete schedule can be found on Kansas Horse Council and EquiFest of Kansas websites as well as Facebook.
Chris Cox will present five horsemanship programs as a feature at the EquiFest of Kansas in Salina.
Justine Staten serves as executive director of the Kansas Horse Council sponsoring the EquiFest of Kansas as their main annual fundraising attraction.