Creating a horse expo is sort of like staging a huge family picnic: The aunts bring peach cobblers and blueberry pies, the uncles bring charcoal and steaks, cousins bring the guitars and banjos, and assorted family members bring coolers stocked with refreshments and the chips and dip. Everyone knows what to do and bring; it all comes together pretty smoothly and the family has a great time.
Much like the yearly family picnic, the staff at Horse Expo Pomona knows exactly what to do. They have over a decade of experience putting on the Western States Horse Expo (the gold standard of equine expos) held every year in Sacramento (June 8-10, 2012). And this year they’re rolling out a festive and unique new event: Horse Expo Pomona, the first of its kind in Southern California, is set for February 2-4, 2012 at the Fairplex.
“When I heard that the yearly Equine Affaire in Southern California had been cancelled,” says Horse Expo founder Miki Cohen, “I called the Horse Expo team together for a luncheon meeting. I tried to mask my enthusiasm when I asked the group, ‘What if we take over those dates and put on an entirely new and exciting expo there?’
“They were stunned for a moment — as you can imagine, knowing that we only had six months to pull this off — but it only took about 37 seconds for every one of them to answer with a resounding ‘You BET!’”
Forks were put down and the team was off to the races with ideas and plans to make Horse Expo Pomona a completely new experience for attendees, vendors, competitors and clinicians.
“Now that we’ve decided to expand and present a world-class Horse Expo in Pomona, we want people to really feel welcomed, entertained and educated. In fact, we’re offering free parking for the first 100 cars each day, hearty meals for only $7, and our Expo Bucks will give you $3 off admission. So people can come armed with an Expo Buck and get entrance admission and three meals for only $36,” continues Cohen. “What a great deal!”
So what else is different about this event?
“I decided to expand all the vendor areas to include outdoor areas. People in California love being outside, and the weather that time of the year is really wonderful. One thing that stands out in the staging of this new event is the expansive presentation of horse trailers. They’ll all be displayed outside, where you can kick tires and poke your head into the living quarter models. In fact, there will even be trailer trade-in opportunities, financing, and a trailer service area. The horse trailer display will be huge, much like what Sacramento’s Horse Expo offers, including trucks, ATVs, barns, corrals and tractors.
Attendees can stroll through outdoor vendor booths on their path to the various arenas where competitions and demonstrations take place each day and on Friday and Saturday nights. Shopping is definitely going to be an ultimate experience at this event, with vendors offering everything imaginable for the horse enthusiast.
“We also really want people to have a huge sense of horses at this event,” smiles Cohen. “We’ve designed the expo layout so people have the ability to get up-close-and-personal with a variety of horse breeds, so a number of breeds will be on exhibit outside among the vendors. This kind of display will be entirely different than before, and having horses everywhere will give a real celebratory feel to the event.”
What about clinicians?
“I’m proud to state that over the years in Sacramento we’ve hosted the finest in the industry, both Western and English and various disciplines. In fact, Horse Expo has been the launching point for the careers of a number of now very popular clinicians. We’re pleased that our events play a major role in many of these clinicians’ lives,” states Cohen.
Horse Expo Pomona will showcase some of the greatest talents in the horse world. And where else can you watch this kind of talent all in one place for only the price of one admission?
Here’s the stellar line-up: Linda and Pat Parelli, Richard Winters, Kerry Kuhn, Eitan Beth-Halachmy, Dr. Christian Schacht, Charles Wilhelm, Dr. Claire Thunes, Larry Whitesell, Lydia Hiby, David Bodin and Bonnie Davis. Can’t get any better than that!
Thrilling entertainment is nothing new to the events produced by the Horse Expo folks. In fact, Miki Cohen is a bit of a thrill-seeking person herself. Between driving super-charged race cars (right alongside the ‘big boys’) to riding 100 miles in one day in the Tevis Cup Ride, she has experienced her share of adrenalin-charged thrills.
Did this excitement-seeking attitude toggle over to plans for Horse Expo Pomona? Absolutely!
For instance, competitors in Project Cowboy will strut their stuff in the finals on Saturday night after preliminaries Thursday, Friday and Saturday. “This isn’t just a whiz-bang-go-as-fast-as-you-can competition,” comments Cohen. “These cowboys have to perform for one minute in front of a movie camera, using five words given to them — they can use those words in a poem, song or speech. And then there’s the demanding obstacle course they have to ride through while answering questions about horsemanship and horse anatomy. They may even need to cook something cowboy-style (judges beware!). And to top it off, Saturday night’s finals include a “Ride ‘Em Like You Stole ‘Em” competition. This event is definitely the ‘Hollywood rock and roll’ presentation of all-around horsemanship and all-around cowboys — and then some!”
A Young Rider Park will also highlight the expo. “We’re going to have a number of clinicians speak at the Young Rider Park. Can you imagine having Pat Parelli talk one-on-one to your son or daughter about natural horsemanship?,” smiles Cohen. The Young Rider Park will be full of youth activities from fingerpainting live horses to making horse cookies to pony rides.
The Trail Symposium will focus on many of the challenges facing our equestrian trail system, as well as presentations such as horse camping, trailer loading tips and techniques, and outdoor cooking.
Horse Expo Pomona will welcome horse enthusiasts Thursday – Saturday, February 2-4, 2012 (no event on Sunday so you can watch the Super Bowl!). And remember to download your Expo Bucks on-line (www.HorseExpoEvents.com) for a $3 discount on admission tickets.
For more information about this exciting event, visit www.HorseExpoEvents.com.