Review of Equitana in Louisville, 1996
The first annual (YES, I said "annual"!) Equitana USA exposition
was held in Louisville 7/18-7/21/96. The original plan was to hold this event every other year,
but apparently the size of the crowds has justified an annual event! I personally
had a great time at Equitana and I am excited that the show will be here every year,
but I also came away with a "wish list" for next year. Prominently
missing from Equitana was the Thoroughbred horse, its breeders, owners,
and other representatives of horse racing interests. I hope this void will be
filled in years to come. But many other breeds were represented, and I liked
the displays of real horses inside the trade show, including a miniature horse
that can jump 3 feet, and a kind Haflinger watching the crowds walk by her stall.
The horses walk right down the trade show aisles, which I think is pretty cool.
Here is a Paint walking right on the carpet, and a representative of the Canadian Mounted Police
- I wonder why the Mounted Police did not participate in "The Mane Event", a variety show held in the evenings?
"The Mane Event" was very entertaining, but did not really have enough variety.
The show is heavy on gaited and Spanish breeds (lots of Paso Finos and Andalusians).
I also saw pony rides for the kids, and a white horse with the bones and muscles
painted on his outside for educational purposes! Speaking of education, I didn't
make most of the seminars because there is just too much to do in so little time.
I think the daily schedule should be extended so that people who work
in the daytime can attend the trade show and seminars in the early evening.
I heard that Linda Tellington-Jones' seminar was very good. My other gripe is
that the trade show was heavy on "gift items" instead of equipment and supplies
for the care and training of horses. I had to really hunt for a rather common
type of bit that I needed, because it seemed like all the vendors brought t-shirts and earrings.
There was a major Saddleseat Equitation competition going on during Equitana,
featuring teams from Canada, South Africa, USA, and perhaps more countries that
I missed! The American Saddlebred orginated right here in Simpsonville, KY, so
it is neat to see that interest in the breed has spread around the world. Paso
Fino and Puruvian Paso horses were heavily represented at Equitana, both in the trade show and in
the evening performances. My favorite was a ladie's drill team from Texas, about
20 members strong, who rode Puruvian Pasos in a quadrille routine to "Rock Around The Clock".
Think about how fast that song is, and you will know how fast these horses move
The highlight of Equitana for many people was the daily seminar hosted by
John Lyons. I caught his presentation on the last day, and appropriately he
reminded us that we should not get too caught up in WORKING our horses, but instead
remember to PLAY with our horses sometimes. He showed us some ways that he just "fools around"
with his buddy "Zip", including carriage driving (in this photo, "Zip" is following
John as he drives around in the golf cart and "Zip" is not tied to the golf cart!),
and riding without a bridle through cones laid on the ground. John's seminar
concluded the exposition, and all in all it was a huge success which can only get
better with time. I hope to see you there next year!
This page, and all contents, are Copyright © 1996 by Horsesales, Inc.,
Louisville, KY, USA (home of the World's Greatest Horse Race - the Kentucky Derby).