Trail Symposium scheduled for Western States Horse Expo in June


Trail Riding
Edited Press Release

Of the over two million horse owners in the United States, 73 percent of them participate in trail and pleasure riding. That’s a staggering figure that makes one sit up and take notice. And that’s exactly what the president of Western States Horse Expo Miki Nelsen did 15 years ago when she founded this event.

“I knew how important trail riding was to horse owners, and how important it is to my own heart,” says Nelsen. “I finished the famous Tevis Cup Ride in 1994, meeting the challenge of 100 miles over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It changed my life — riding for close to 24 hours over that magnificent terrain is something almost unexplainable.

“I also realized that people are anxious for information about trail riding, camping with horses, challenging events on the trail like endurance and competitive trail riding (American Competitive Trail Horse Association [ACTHA] and North American Trail Riding Conference [NATRC]),” continues Nelsen. “So when I planned the first Horse Expo, I wanted trail riders to have a voice in the activities at the Expo. For 15 years, I’m proud to say that we’ve continued to create and grow an informative Trail Symposium within the Expo.”

This year’s Western States Horse Expo, June 7-9, 2013 at Cal Expo in Sacramento, California, promises to host even more trail experts and trail topics than ever before.

International endurance champion Becky Hart will lend her expertise in distance riding to the audience. She is a three-time FEI World Endurance Champion, was inducted into the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) Hall of Fame, was the AHSA (now USEF) Equestrian of the Year, and won the Tevis Cup Ride twice on the same horse. Her knowledge of the mental and physical qualities of the endurance horse — and what it takes for the rider to succeed—are beyond measure.

Speakers from ACTHA and NATRC are also slated for those who want to ride at a slower pace and travel fewer miles than required for endurance. These two organizations excel in educating people about horsemanship, horse care, veterinary criteria and correct pacing on the trail. For those thousands of people who want to get out on new trails, camp with like-minded people, and see what the judges have to say about their horsemanship and their horse — these competitions are perfect.

Not all the Trail Symposium lectures and demonstrations are about competing on the trail. Horse camping is a wonderful way to be with your horse in the wilderness. Back Country Horsemen of California, represented by the Mother Lode, Sutter Buttes and East Bay units, will set up their “Gentle Use Camp” at the Trail Symposium. These experts will demonstrate what hitches to use, how to tie your horse with a high line, what to pack, how to pack — all the skills necessary to “leave no trace” when enjoying the trails and backcountry.

Horse camping expert Bonnie Davis will once again share her experiences and expertise with the audience. Drawing from her hands-on knowledge, she defines “horsecamping” as getting a horse ready to camp, rigs and trailers; feeds and feeding; weed-free feeds; selecting campsites; keeping a horse in camp; meeting environmental regulations; dealing with bears, mountain lions and elk; safety; emergency care; camping tips and more. Bonnie points out that horsecamping allows a person to enjoy longer trips and spend more time with their horse exploring the trails—regardless of one’s physical condition or age.

Additional presentations at the Horse Expo Trail Symposium are structured to educate horse people about the use and expansion of multi-use trails. Created to inform horse owners of the on-going and pressing issues facing the preservation of trails, the Symposium offers a forum to share ideas and effective actions needed to keep our trails open and used properly. Environmental and political issues will also be addressed, accompanied by blueprints of success when dealing with challenging issues.

For more information about the Western States Horse Expo, June 7-9 in Sacramento, California, visit Be sure to visit your local tack and feed stores for Expo Bucks — $3 off the gate admission price!

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