Events & Schedule

Conservation and Proper Use of Trails

The majority of horse owners are trail riders — and trail riders today are continuously challenged with losing trails throughout the country. At Horse Expo Pomona, politicians and trail enthusiasts gather to discuss how to keep our horse trails open and maintained, now and in the future, and how to work in harmony with state and federal officials who oversee many of these trails. The Trail Symposium offers every topic imaginable about trail riding, horse camping, and the preservation of our trails.

Politics aside, the Trail Symposium also features experts who teach how to properly tie a horse to an overhead line, how to safely tie to trees (in ways that protect the tree too), taking the mystery out of campfire cooking (including cooking everything from biscuits to cakes in a Dutch oven), and where the best horse camping spots are.

Want to learn about horse camping protocol? The Trail Symposium covers all aspects about horse camping, including trailering advice, portable corrals, feeding and watering in a camping situation, what the U.S. Forest Service requires regarding feed and hay, and wildlife information.

2019 Presenters

Veloo Foundation

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2018 Presenters

Sharing Our Trails

Jim Meyer is the Founder & Executive Director of Trails4All and past vice president of Back Country Horsemen of California/Santa Ana River Unit. He has been a member of multiple organizations all of which incorporate creating, maintaining and supporting recreational shared trails for equestrians, mountain bicyclists and hikers. His topic focuses on keeping our trails safer and more enjoyable for all.

Lightweight Packing & Riding

Gail Van Velzer is a member of BCHC-Santa Ana River Unit. Gail has taken her 48 years of experience in lightweight backpacking and outdoor skills to a new level and applied it to horse packing. She and her husband rode over 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. This class will help you learn how much your horse can safely pack, what you need to pack and the planning involved in using your riding animal as your pack animal.

Leave What You Find

Elaine Bailey has been involved in the horse world since she was a child. She has a great love for horses and the beauty of the outdoors. She is the Education Chair for BCHC-San Diego Unit. Her presentation identifies what it means to leave what you find and how crucial it is not only to our generation but for generations to come.

Being Considerate of Others on the Trail

Ray Spence is a lifelong horseman from Texas. He grew up living the ranch life and worked ranches all over the West. His recent love is for packing mules in the Southern California area. He puts on horsemanship clinics as well. He is the 2018 Vice President for BCHC-San Diego Unit.

Seven Principles of Leave No Trace

Paul Van Velzer is the past president of the Santa Ana River Unit of Back Country Horsemen of California. He has ridden over 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. He is a certified “B” sawyer with the National Forest Service and recently completed the “Leave No Trace” Master Educator course. He volunteers with San Bernardino County Sherriff’s Dept. as a Rancho Cucamonga Equestrian Patrol member.


Marcy Watton is President of the Antelope Valley Unit of Back Country Horsemen of California. She is a lifelong equestrian, originally from San Diego and for the last 22 years has resided in the Antelope Valley. She’s been mapping trails for over 10 years and will share what she knows about the basics of how GPS works, hand held receivers, the use of cell phone and tablet apps and a variety of other devices one can use in the back country. Participants are encouraged to bring their own GPS receivers to the lecture.

Stock Restraint

Greg Bruce, Susan and Ali Blankfeld are members of the Redshank Riders Unit of BCHC and live on their horse ranch in Aguanga, CA. They enjoy their horses to the fullest from Mounted Shooting and Gymkahanas to eventing trails. In 2016 they added to their interests by attending a Leave No Trace, Train the Trainers class, taught by Back Country Horsemen of California. This training was a great asset to their outdoor experience and they now teach the principles at every opportunity.

Waste Disposal

David (Roy) Chevallier retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2007 after 32 years of service with the rank of Colonel. He has been employed since then as the ranch manager for TAR Farms in San Juan Capistrano, CA, a 220 horse boarding facility. When he is not on the job he spends his time exploring the mountain wilderness and deserts of Southern California with his wife Pamela, his friends and his horses. Roy is a member of the Back Country Horsemen of California – San Diego Unit. He completed the Back Country Horsemen of California Wilderness Rider Training Program in September of 2017 and became a certified Leave No Trace Instructor.

Fire Safety

Ed Puett has enjoyed horses since his childhood. Ed is an experienced horseman having built and operated a horse business, Puett Paint and Quarter Horses in the San Diego and Riverside areas since 1994. He has been an active participant in Team Penning, Team Sorting, Cutting, Roping and also enjoyed participating in Cowboy Mounted Shooting. He has been an equine trainer for over 24 years. He spent time two summers as a packer leading vacationers up into the mountains outside of Bishop, CA. Ed is a certified Wilderness Rider, expert trainer of Leave No Trace Principles and a level B Sawyer for the Forest Service. Ed is a member of BCHC Redshank Riders and is currently co-chair of the Public Lands committee and helps out with other of the unit’s activities and events.

Plan & Prepare: The Miracle on Spitzler Peak

Thomas Firth is an outdoor humor writer and author of three books. He has been a regular columnist for Western Mule Magazine and the High Country Journal, and his outdoor humor stories have also appeared in publications ranging from Cowboys and Indians Magazine, to Western Horsemen. Thomas is a Master of Leave No Trace Educator specializing on stock in the back country, as well as the Co-Chairman of Education for Back Country Horsemen of California. A volunteer packer for the USFS on the San Jacinto District and for The Pacific Crest Trail Association, Thomas lives in Anza, California. Tom will speak about his harrowing ordeal on Spitzler Peak.

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