DID YOU KNOW? A Look Back at the Western States Horse Expo

The concept of horse-related fairs, shows and expositions has been around a long time. Medieval Europe had several famous, long-standing “horse fairs” where breeders would sell off their equestrian stock and network with one another to improve their bloodlines, while merchants of every description sold their wares to the festival’s attendees. In the Old West equestrian focused fairs and festivals were frequent occurrences, usually held in conjunction with larger events and celebrations.

In the beginning 20th century one of the first expositions was the Eastern States Exposition. The first Eastern States Exposition occurred in 1916. It was originally conceived by Joshua L. Brooks as a way to help promote agriculture and educate young people with the skills and knowledge needed in agricultural vocations. It is interesting to note that the first record of cutting as an arena spectator event came at the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth, Texas when a cutting horse exhibition was added to the annual rodeo in 1919.

We have certainly come a long way since the early 1900’s. Today’s equestrian and rural lifestyle expositions offer horse owners, enthusiasts and professionals the opportunity to come together and watch (and even participate) in clinics with renowned clinicians, see different breeds of horses, and experience through consumer expositions (like the Mane Market Mall at the Western States Horse Expo) the latest innovations, quality products and top-notch services currently available, in one location. While there are many smaller festivals, fairs and horse expositions that pull from local and regional talent and exhibitors, there really are only four that attract international attention, recruit world-class Clinicians, Health Experts and very latest and the very best Exhibitors in contact with the equestrian and rural lifestyle community from which they generate their livelihood. For the last twenty years, the Western States Horse Expo has been one of the crown jewels in the equestrian/rural lifestyle exposition industry and continues to set the gold standard, by which all others are judged.

The Western States Horse Expo has been providing many “firsts” and many new opportunities for the Attendees, Exhibitors and the Equestrian/Rural Lifestyle industry over the last twenty years. Here are just a few examples.

Did you know that the Western States Horse Expo resurrected the event originated by Bobby Ingersoll, Cotton Rosser and Walt Rodman, originally called the World’s Championship All-Around Stock Horse Contest? It was a sporadic event that never gained traction until the Western States Horse Expo gave it a permanent home and rebranded it as the Magnificent 7 All-Around Stock Horse Championship and introduced the Reined Cow Horse events to new audiences unlike anywhere else.

Did you know that the Western States Horse Expo has partnered with Cal Expo for the last twenty years and has been one of the longest running annual events in the facilities history?

Did you know that many nationally known Clinicians gained incredible recognition by participating in the Western States Horse Expo? Some of these Clinicians include Chris Cox, Stephen Peter, Charles Wilhelm, Richard Winters, Jonathan Field, and Clinton Anderson.

Did you know that one of the most comprehensive endurance horse studies was co-sponsored by and performed at the Western States Horse Expo? The study was published by UC Davis and is still considered the standard by which other studies of electrolyte usage in equestrian athletes.

Did you know that the Western States Horse Expo has a Hall of Fame? Recipients of this award must have made a substantial contribution to the enrichment and improvement of the Art of Horsemanship and the Equestrian Industry. The award is not given annually, and only the most influential and impactful individuals and group are awarded the honor. Some of the past recipients include Frank Vessel (2001), Ray Hunt (2003), Pat Parelli (2006), Linda Tellington-Jones (2007), Richard Shrake (2008), John Lyons (2009), Bob Avila (2011), The Western States Trail Foundation( 2012), Dick Pieper (2013) and its last recipient was Shelia Varian back in 2014. The award has not been given in the last four years.

Did you know that the Western States Horse Expo helped get Extreme Cowboy Racing national attention? It was the first event where “off ranch” Extreme Cowboy Racing was televised from.

Did you know that the Mustang Makeover event got its first major public recognition at the Western States Horse Expo? The first Mustang Makeover event was held at the Western States Horse Expo.

Did you know Breyer and the Western States Horse Expo partnered to bring the first “Breyer West Model Horse Show” to life? The show was held at the Western States Horse Expo.

Did you know that the Western States Horse Expo has been celebrating the Art of the Horse for 20 years? Each year the Western States Horse Expo host an exhibition of artists, of all mediums, that focus on the horse and the rural lifestyle since the very beginning.

Did you know the Project Cowgirl/ Project Cowboy event got its start at the Western States Horse Expo? The Project Cowgirl even, created by Tootie Bland (of Road to the Horse fame) was first hosted at the Western States Horse Expo!

With such a rich history, one may wonder what the Western States Horse Expo is going to do next! Setting the industry on fire and bring the latest and greatest horse related exposition experiences to the equestrian and rural lifestyle community is always the standard!

Always on the lookout for the next big thing, the Western States Horse Expo will continue its legacy of bringing “firsts” to the equestrian and rural lifestyle community.

Now in 2018, with so many equestrian and rural lifestyle focused retailers closing their doors due to the hard times created within the industry by the economic downturn and the “low quality/low price point” merchandising which has flooded the internet, many companies that support the equestrian and rural lifestyle have very few ways to make contact and create “touch points” with the equestrian/rural lifestyle community. While the internet has its uses, if the consumer knows what they want, it does not do anything to truly educate them or allow for the consumer to experience the quality, dedication, and commitment provided by the manufacturer. One of the only places for these companies to build relationships and truly educate the community that provides them an opportunity to stay in business is the equestrian expositions. If they want to make a real impact on the community, the industry and their bottom line they simply have to have a presence at one of the Big Four. If you do not see a business, product or service represented at one of the Big Four, odds are it may not be around for long if they simply rely on “online” forms of marketing to build the much-needed relationship. The proactive companies that make their living from the equestrian and rural lifestyle community understand that expositions like the Western States Horse Expo are going to provide them with what they need to remain successful for years to come.

2018 is the 20th Anniversary of the Western States Horse Expo and it has put together a program that is second to none. The Magnificent 7 All-Around Stock Horse Championship has a $25,000 purse that is up for grabs. The Western Select Barrel Race has a $10,000 jackpot that make it one of the largest prizes west of the Mississippi. Hundreds of Exhibitors will fill four buildings that make up the Mane Market Mall. Renowned Clinicians such as Julie Goodnight, Robert Gage, Gina Miles, Warwick Schiller, Curt Pate, Scott Purdum and Jonathan Field (just to name a few) are making the program one for the history books. The Western Select Ranch, Riding and Barrel Horse sale, being professionally managed by industry leader Parnell Dickinson is going to provide the unique opportunity for Attendees to find the best equine partner for their needs while enjoying an amazing event. The R3C Mustang Program, which helps train wild mustangs as it helps to prepare inmates to a take on a new profession will be having an Adoption at the Western States Horse Expo. The Art of the Horse Exhibition and Sale will offer up some of the most exceptional equestrian-themed art for viewing and purchase. The program is jam-packed with incredible opportunities to learn, grow, laugh and be entertained.

There are even ten (10) new Ticket Packages that can take the “Horse Expo Experience” to new heights for Attendees and save them money too! The 20th Anniversary celebration of the Western States Horse Expo should not be missed.

To learn more about the 20th Anniversary Western States Horse Expo, to be an Exhibitor or to purchase your Event Tickets please visit the Event Website at www.horsexpo.com. You will be glad you did.