November 23, 2017

Is Ground Work Really That Important?

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Very often we hear the parents of our beginning students lament, “Why does my child spend so much time on the ground stuff? Don’t I pay you to teach them how to ride horses?”

At CRK Training Stable all students must learn to catch, lead, tie, groom, and saddle their school horse. They must also un-tack, groom and put the horse away. In the beginning of their riding careers, students often spend more time working with the horse on the ground than in the saddle. While we understand that this may not seem like what you signed up for, the ground work is a very important step to becoming an equestrian. Here’s why…

At CRK we teach horsemanship. Not just horse riding- Horsemanship. What is horsemanship? The Britannica.com definition is- Horsemanship- The art of riding, handling, and training horses. While riding is certainly part of horsemanship, it is not the only part. Handling and training is also part of the deal.

When do riders start training a horse? The very first time they step into that horse’s personal space. Every interaction a person has with a horse is affecting it’s training. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes not. We want our students to be good horse trainers and that begins on the ground.

Students learn mastery of the horse from the ground up. By entering the horses space, putting on the halter and leading the horse out of the stall, they are taking control of the horse. The mastery has begun or at least it should have. Grooming, saddling and bridling takes the mastery further.  Making the horse move over, turn, back up or stand in a certain spot all improves the control. These skills help the student better understand the horse and become comfortable around them. Students learn and take ownership of their role as the horse’s trainer/leader. Without that mastery, the student will never advance.

Students must learn how to handle the equipment which is also called tack.  They need to learn what it is called, how to put it on, how it works, and its uses. Since horses are large, horse tack is also large, long and heavy. Having students carry the saddles helps them develop the strength needed to put the saddles on the horse. The more they handle the tack, the better acquainted they will become with it. The better their understanding of tack, the better they will be able to use it.

Horses are living, breathing, thinking, feeling creatures. Just like us, they have good days and bad days.  Working with the horse on the ground gives the rider insight into that particular horse’s mood on that particular day. While working with the horse on the ground we can figure out if they are feeling lazy, crazy, mad, tired, hurt, bored or whatever. This is very helpful knowledge to have before we put our foot in a stirrup. If my horse refused to stand still in the cross-ties, pawing, moving side to side and the like, I might need to work some of the wiggles out before I hop on. If I’m dragging the horse out of the stall, and he stands, head drooped, leaning on the cross-ties, perhaps a crop or some spurs might be in order. Or, more likely, the horse is sick or injured and shouldn’t be ridden at all. I may even need to place a call to the vet. While grooming, I may encounter a cut or other sore spot that needs to be addressed. If the horse is flinching and moving away when I curry his back,  perhaps the saddle isn’t fitting well causing a sore back. That would be very helpful to know before I swing my leg over and place my behind on that tender area.  All these issues and more come to light from the ground.

Many lesson barns will groom and saddle your horse for you. You do pay extra for that service, even though you may not recognize it. Your lesson may only be 30 minutes instead of an hour, for the same fee. Or you will be required to “tip” the groom. Not only are you paying extra for this service, but you are short-changing your education. It may seem like a good idea at first, after all, it’s less work and all you have to do is ride.  But think about all the things you’ll miss out on. All the things you didn’t learn. And then what happens when you decide to lease or purchase a horse? You’ll have to learn those ground skills anyway.

So remember, the best programs always start on the ground. Horsemanship is so much more than just keeping a leg on each side. Allow yourself the time and opportunity to learn all you can. And choose a facility and instructors that will teach it to you.

  Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg is a Certified Horsemanship Association Master Instructor and Clinic Instructor. She is also an AQHA Professional Horseman. Cheryl has been teaching riding and horsemanship for over 35 years. Currently she and her husband own and operate CRK Training Stable in Yorba Linda, CA. We welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to share this article with your friends, but rights to publish this article and photos, in whole or on part, in any medium including but not limited to, newsletters, websites, blogs, magazines, etc. are reserved. For more interesting articles from Cheryl go to www.crktrainingstable.com

 

 

Equine Science Classes

Equine Science Level #1

horse colors aqhaSession One begins Jan. 16, 2016. Session Two Begins Feb. 27, 2016,  4:30-5:30 PM. $75.00/ 6 weeks or $135.00/12 weeks. (Session one is a pre-requisite for Session Two. Must register for 12 week class before taking session one to receive the discounted price.) Suitable for students 8 years and up. Adults welcome! (Students will not ride horses in these classes.)

One time textbook fee $40.00 (Textbook is good for all levels of Equine Science class and all riding classes.)

For more information go to- http://crktrainingstable.com/classes-for-home-schools-others/equine-science-level-1-syllabus/

An Ounce Of Prevention…

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION: Why Wise People Wear Closed Shoes at the Barn

By Suzi Carragher – suzicomm@gmail.com (Shared with permission)

Look around most reputable riding stables and you’ll likely see a rule “No Open Shoes.” Many folks assume that because they aren’t the ones riding the horse, the rule doesn’t apply to them. To quote that sage Bart Simpson, “Au contraire, mon frère!”

Without a why, many folks dismiss the rule. Real horse men and women know stuff happens at barns – unexpected, nasty, gnarly stuff. We know that an ounce of prevention will keep us out of the hospital and working with our beloved horses and clients. That’s why we suit up for the task at hand. Just so we’re all on the same page here, a closed shoe is one where both the toes and heel are covered, e.g., boots, athletic shoes, a sturdy walking shoe. The shoes should encapsulate your foot in a sturdy fabric or leather and offer foot and ankle support.

Injury Prevention: The most obvious thought that pops in people’s minds when they read the “Closed shoes only” rule is a hoof-on-foot injury. If you haven’t experienced this form of pain, let me tell you from personal experience – IT HURTS… A LOT! In my case, I was escorting a horse back to his stall, when I stopped to answer a quick question. He shifted his weight and lazily put his hoof directly on my right pinkie toe. POP! It was broken. Thankfully, I was wearing my boot, because without it, the toe likely would have been taken clean off. I was lucky.

Other reasons aren’t as obvious. Stables are busy places. Errant shoeing nails, carpentry nails, staples, thumb tacks, jump cups, hoof picks, improperly disposed needles, trash that didn’t quite make it to the bin, and other items are more likely to cause an injury if discovered by a foot in an open shoe than a closed shoe.

One of the most common forms of footwear is the flip flop sandal. They are wonderful things. They are summer, the beach, and popsicles! But, they are terrible for your feet. They lack arch support, which can lead to plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the thick band of tissue along the bottom of your foot. Riders: Try dropping your heel and feel the pain! Flip flops are also blamed for a number of other injuries, including: stress fractures of the metatarsals, stubbed toes, and broken toes. One Washington, D.C. podiatrist says he sees at least one flip-flop related injury weekly from May through September.

Infection Prevention: Remember, barns are busy work places. Vets are in and out treating patients. Dewormings are being administered. Machines are being used. Critters other than horses visit or take up residence in the feed area or shavings. Urine, manure, blood, pus, nasty week old beverages, and other stuff make their way onto the ground. In researching this section of the article, I found enough data on zoonosis, diseases that can be passed from animals to humans, to write quite a few articles. The fact is closed shoes provide more protection against picking up an infection than open shoes. There are a number of infections that can be picked up at a barn ranging from fungal infections, like ringworm, that will ruin your summer swimming plans to rabies.

Tetanus Tetanus is a bacterial infection that occurs when Clostridium tetani bacterial enters the body though a wound and produces toxins that impair your motor neurons. It gets transmitted through wounds like puncture wounds, crush wounds, splinters, and infected cuts. The risk is increased if the area is contaminated with dirt or manure, both of which are plentiful at barns. If you contract tetanus, you can look forward to spasms and stiffness in your jaw muscles, stiff neck, difficulty swallowing, abdominal muscle stiffness and ultimately painful body spasms. You may also endure fever, sweating, elevated blood pressure, and rapid heart rate.

Tetanus can be treated, but not cured, according to the Mayo Clinic article on the subject. Treatment includes the administration of antitoxin medication, antibiotics, vaccination, sedatives to control muscle spasm, other drugs to regulate involuntary muscles, and in some cases, people with tetanus get to stay in the hospital to receive respiratory support. Still think open shoes are okay at the barn?

Campylobacter Does your barn have a mare with a foal? Or kittens? Or bunnies? Do you stand closely to pet them? Campylobacter is a common infection in baby animals that when passed to humans can cause diarrhea. It’s important to know that animals shed the germs for up to seven weeks if untreated, and all it takes to enter your system is a small nick on your foot. “But, my sandals are so cute, and I’m just here to watch the lesson,” you say.

Worms I remember my friend dewormed her new horse, and we stood amazed by what came out of that gelding. It was spectacular! Now, had we not been wearing our boots we’d have been standing in a wide assortment of intestinal parasites, including hookworms, tapeworms, and roundworms. It seems that little ones get the brunt of the worm invasion, because they’re not great at hygiene. Roundworms are intestinal parasites that infect 10,000 children annually. Untreated they can cause blindness. Hookworms attach themselves to the intestinal lining and can cause life threatening blood loss. Infections are treatable with anti-parasitic drugs, but you’re not going to like what happens until they’re cleared out. Are you reconsidering your footwear?

Leptospirosis Leptospirosis is caused by Leptospira interrogans, a spirochete. (Spirochete is such a cool word. It means spiral shaped bacteria, so now you can astound your friends at parties.) It is considered to be “the most widespread zoonosis in the world,” according to MedicineNet.com. It is spread through contact with bodily fluids, like urine, as well as contaminated soil and water. It enters the body through minor cuts. Once inside, the spirochete heads for the kidneys, liver, and central nervous system where it multiplies and wreaks havoc. Symptoms include: rash, fever, chills, headaches, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe cases are accompanied by kidney failure, liver failure, and meningitis. Pregnant women who become infected have a high rate of fetal mortality. Leptospirosis can be treated with antibiotics, though some cases require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.

If this doesn’t convince you to wear closed shoes to the barn, then consider that venomous snakes, spiders, mice, rats, staph, and other no-see-ums can also be present at horse facilities. The prevention steps for all these infections all include proper hygiene, e.g., hand washing, and avoiding the pathogen, e.g., wearing closed shoes.

Lastly, consider this message on the University of Connecticut’s Department of Animal Science webpage: Steel Toed Boots

  • If you are working at any of the livestock units, steel toed boots are a must! For individuals concerned about the risks of using steel toed boots, MythBusters Episode 42 has dispelled the myth that you can lose toes if something heavy actually lands on your reinforced boots. In any case, according to Federal Law it is still required.

**One Last Tip on Open Toed Shoes**

It’s the pet peeve of some professors in the department that students wear open toed shoes in laboratories. Closed toed shoes are actually required in all laboratories and at all livestock units even if you are “just visiting”. Let’s try to keep our professors and our toes happy! The bottomline: Your instructor cares about you and your well-being. They aren’t telling you to lose your sandals at the barn to cramp your style or be a cosmic killjoy, but to keep you and your family safe so you can continue having fun with the horses. Tip: Keep your sandals and clogs in your car, so you can change out of your boots after your time at the stable.

Sources that informed this article:

Certified Horsemanship Association Region 10 Conference

061CERTIFIED HORSEMANSHIP ASSOCIATION REGION 10 CONFERENCE

SEPTEMBER 20, 2014

“A Day of Equine Education”

Riding Lessons

Riding Lessons

Silent Auction Deals!

Silent Auction Deals!

 

What is it?- An Educational Event with Speakers, Riding Demonstrations, Silent Auction, Vendors and Private Riding Lessons

Where is it?- PepperGlen Farms 3563 Pedley Ave. Norco, CA 92860.

Who can attend?- Anyone who loves horses!

Who can ride in the lessons & demonstrations? Rider spots still available! Call today to reserve your slot!

Riders must be at least 9 yrs old, bring your own horse & tack and be able to ride a walk, jog/trot and lope/canter. For more info go to- http://crktrainingstable.com/cha-region-10-conference-2014/horse-rider-information/

How much does it cost?-

Spectator Pre-sale tickets $40.00 w/lunch included.

Children 6-14 years $25.00.     Under 6- Free

Riders- $25.00 per session or $100.00 all day. (Private lessons excluded.) Riding spots still available! Sign up before they are all gone! Call today for more info- 714-693-4886.

Riders private lessons- $25.00/30 minutes. Available on Saturday or Sunday.

Dinner, Drinks, Dessert & Discounts- $18.00

At the gate tickets- Cash or Credit Card Only- $45.00/$30.00 no lunch.

How do I buy tickets?- Go to- https://www.eventbrite.com/e/copy-of-cha-region-10-conference-a-day-of-equine-education-tickets-

Spectators & Riders mail in registration form- http://crktrainingstable.com/cha-region-10-conference-2014/cha-region-10-conference-2014-registration/

 See our Speaker Schedule for more information- http://crktrainingstable.com/cha-region-10-conference-2014/conference-schedule-tentative/

Stall Reservations- http://crktrainingstable.com/cha-region-10-conference-2014/cha-region-10-conference-2014-stall-reservation-form/

ACTHA Arena Obstacle Challenge Sept. 21, 2014- For more info go to- https://www.actha.us/aoc/1465/view

Bring a chair or blanket to sit on. NO DOGS PLEASE!

Apparently I’m Abundantly Average…

            I was reading a survey that was done by the folks at Stable Management magazine. I remember being asked to participate in this online survey, so I was counted among the number of people who responded. They asked many, many interesting questions about those people who run, manage or work at equine businesses. Here is just a sample of the questions and responses-

1. What is your position?
66.1% Barn Owners
15.6% Trainers/Instructors
11.3% Barn Managers
5.4% Breeders
1.6% Employee

2. How long have you worked at or owned the current business?
36.8% Over 20 years
26.8% 11-20 years
25.7% 6-10 years
10.7% Less than 5 years

3. Age of the respondents (in years)-
61+- 30.5%
51-60- 36.0%
41-50- 19.3%
31-40- 10.2%
Under 30- 4%

4. Education level-
High School- 20.4%
College- 57.3%
Master’s- 17.2%
Doctorate- 5.1%

5. Residence State
California 9.6%
Florida 6.8%
Pennsylvania 6.6%
New York  5.6%

6. 80% of respondents own their property. Property sizes-
Less than 5 acres- 15.5%
6-15 acres- 24.6%
16-25 acres- 10.7%
26-50 acres- 13.8%
50+   15.5%

Making Money
65.2% of respondents said their equine business was their secondary form of income. Only 20% were making more than $100,000.00 per year in gross income, with the largest group (64.3%) making under $50,000.00. Most of the respondents felt they were underpaid (56.2%) while only 0.9% felt they were highly paid.

            Boarding was the largest source of income reported at 42.8%. The average (47.0%) board fees for full care ranged from $251.00 – $500.00 per month. Lessons came in second on the income spectrum at 18.9%.

            Most respondents felt they had no change in income from the previous year (37.6%) while 25.7% felt their income had decreased by at least 15%. Only 2.7% felt business had increased. The largest expense reported was feed at 60.5% with labor coming in second at 14.3%.

Staffing & Hours-

            Most of the equine businesses are being staffed by sole proprietors while a few have some help.

            Just me- 46.2%
Less than 5- 44.5%
6-10- 4.2%
11-20- 3.0%
20+ 2.1%

            A full time work week is usually considered to be 40 hours. But in the equine industry, that is not the case. Most owners work well in excess of 50 hours weekly.
Hours worked per week-
50+- 27.4%
40-49- 19%
30-39- 16.9%
20-29- 23.2%
Less than 20- 13.5%

            So looking at all these statistics tells me that I fall into the following categories along with most of my counterparts.

            I own the property and have worked at it for over 20 years.
I live in California.
I am over 51 years old.
I have a college degree.
I am grossly underpaid!
I work more than 50 hours a week.
Our biggest expense is feed.
It’s a good thing Steve has a great job or I wouldn’t be able to do what I love every day!

            I remember reading somewhere that if you do what you love for a living, you’ll never work a day in your life. Well,  I do what I love and it (usually) doesn’t feel like work. Having great horses and clients makes everyday worth getting up for!

 

A Day of Equine Education!

    CERTIFIED HORSEMANSHIP ASSOCIATION
REGION 10 CONFERENCE
SEPTEMBER 21, 2013

“A Day of Equine Education”

DSC03565 DSC03538 DSC03773 DSC03546 078
Great Speakers!
Group Riding Lessons
Private Lessons
Networking Opportunities!
Silent Auction

What is it?- An educational event with Speakers, Riding Demonstrations, Silent Auction, Vendors and Private Riding Lessons

Where Is It? PepperGlen Farms 3563 Pedley Ave. Norco, CA  92860.

Who Can Attend?- Anyone who loves horses!

Who can ride in the lessons & demonstrations? Riders must be at least 9 yrs old, bring your own horse & tack and be able to ride a walk, jog/trot and lope/canter.

How much does it cost?- Spectator Pre-sale tickets $40.00 w/lunch included. Children under 14 years $25.00. At the gate tickets $45.00/$30.00 no lunch. Riders are $25.00 per lesson or $110.00 all day in addition to spectator fee. Stalls $10.00-20.00 per day. Private lessons $25.00/30 min. Lunch tickets $8.00.

How do I sign up?- Spectators may purchase tickets at www.Eventbrite.com. Search for “CHA Conference”. Pre-sale ends September 15, 2013 @ 6:00 pm or when sold out.

Riders must contact Cheryl R. Kronsberg directly. Rider spots and stalls must be paid in advance.

 For More Information-  714-693-4886    

Or to register-      http://crktrainingstable.com/cha-conference-2013/conference-registration/

CHA REGION 10 CONFERENCE

“A Day of Equine Education”

Speaker and Demonstration Schedule

8:00 -8:30– Registration and Introductions.

       Silent Auction and Vendor Booths Open

Main Arena Riding Demonstrations-

8:30-9:30How to “Open the Doors” for Riding Success- Dallas McClemons- CHA Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

 9:45-10:45-“Sideways”-Teaching Sidepass and Pivot to riders and horses- Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg-CHA Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

11:00-12:00Canter/Lope- From first time to lead changes-  Christy Landwehr- CHA Chief Executive Officer, Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

12:00-1:00- Lunch- Included in pre-sale ticket price!

1:00-2:00Extension and Collection at all gaits- Theresa Kackert- CHA Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

2:15-3:15How to Conduct a Safer Trail Ride– Dallas McClemons- CHA Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

3:30- 4:30Riding Hunter Courses– Theresa Kackert- CHA Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

All Day-  Private lessons– Sign up with your favorite instructor. Only $25.00 for 30 minutes.

Lecture Area-

8:30-9:30–   What Would You Do?- An Interactive First-Aid Experience-  Dr. David Treser, DVM-

9:45-10:45How to Save $$ on Your Taxes- Rebecca Bambarger E.A

11:00-12:00– California’s Dual Agency Law in Horse Transactions- Lisa Lerch, Esq.    

12:00-1:00- Lunch- Included in pre-sale ticket price! Keynote speaker- Christy Landwehr- Certified Horsemanship Association C.E.O., Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

1:00-2:00Bits & Bitting Demystified- Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg- CHA Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

2:15-3:15Risk Management for All Equestrians- Christy Landwehr- CHA C.E.O.,  Master Instructor & Clinic Staff

3:30- 4:30How To Make Your Business Famous!- Suzi Carragher

4:30-5:00- Make your final silent auction bids!

5:00- Close Silent Auction & Award Trivia Contest Prizes

5:30- CHA Region 10 Meeting

For More Information-  714-693-4886    or

Or to register-      http://crktrainingstable.com/cha-conference-2013/conference-registration/

What’s A Riding Style?

Which Style of Riding Should You Choose?

            Riders new to my facility are given the choice between English and Western riding. After some discussion most choose to start Western.  A smaller number will choose English. An even smaller number will choose one style only to switch to the other. Does it make a difference? What is the difference between the styles?  How do you choose? Here is some information to help you make your decision.

Western

            Western style riding originated with the Vaqueros from Mexico. The American cowboy made necessary adaptations to the style and created what is now know as the western riding style. Western saddles are large, heavy and have a deep, comfortable seat. The stirrups are attached to the saddle with wide, leather fenders that protect the riders leg from rubbing on the horse. These fenders lack mobility which helps keep the riders leg still. However; it also limits the riders ability to move their leg and puts leather between the rider and the horse which prevents easy cueing of the horse.  Most western riders sit, rather than post, the trot which is easier to learn if the horse moves slow and smoothly. Western riders also sit the lope rather than riding standing in a half-seat.  While this will take some practice, it can be easier to learn.              

Western disciplines range from the fairly simple to the very complex. Western Pleasure is usually learned in the beginning and allows the rider to master the basics of moving their horse forward in the walk, jog, and lope. Backing-up is necessary to compete in this event along with an extended trot. More advanced forms of Western Riding include-

Barrel Racing,

                                                                                                 

Trail riding,

       Roping,

Reining 

and Western Dressage.

            All these forms are best learned after you have a good grasp on the basics such as: Lengthen and shorten the stride of all gaits, recognition of leads and a good seat without stirrups. 

 

English

 

            It should come as no surprise to learn that English style riding came from England. The British nobility used horses for basic transportation and for sport, such as fox hunting. The Hunt Seat saddle was designed to be lightweight and easy to move around in. The saddle has a shallow seat for ease of movement either forward or backwards,  padded knee rolls for stability and loosely hanging stirrup irons for mounting and ease of leg movement. The riders wear knee-high, tall boots to protect their legs from rubbing against the stirrup leathers or horse. Due to the short stirrup length and the overall size of most English horses, most riders will post the trot i.e. moving forward (standing up) out of the saddle and back (sitting down) with the horses movement. Often the canter is ridden partially out of the saddle as well. This is called the “half-seat”, which is not to be confused with the “two-point” which is the very forward, out of the saddle position used while jumping.  Because the rider is often not in contact with the saddle, English riding requires more athleticism and energy then Western Style .

 

            English disciplines range from the simple to the very complex also. English Pleasure is usually learned in the beginning and allows the rider to master the basics of moving their horse forward while steering in the walk, trot, and canter. Backing-up is necessary to compete in this event along with an extended trot.  More advanced forms of English riding include-

Hunters & Jumpers,                                                                                 Dressage,                             

Saddle Seat 

                                                                    
and Trail Riding
.

            While Saddle Seat is considered an English Discipline, it is very different from Hunt Seat Style. Saddle Seat style originated in the U.S. and is often used while riding American born gaited horses such as the Saddlebred, Tennessee Walking Horse or the National Show Horse. The basic Saddle Seat Saddle is still English but the seat is very flat and shallow. The stirrups are longer than Hunt Seat style, but the rider will post the trot, if the horse does indeed trot. (Many gaited horses do not have a true trot.) The Saddle Seat saddle does not have padded knee rolls because these saddles are not designed for jumping.

             No matter what style of riding your choose you will need time, patience, and practice before you and your horse can perform together. Whether that performance is at a national show or just in your own backyard. And remember just because you choose one style, there is always more to learn in this grand adventure we call Equestrian Sports. Perhaps later you will choose to learn another style also.  Enjoy The Ride!

Please feel free to share this article with your friends, but rights to publish it are reserved by the author. Tell us about your favorite riding style. We’d love to hear your stories!

Happiness Is…

Happiness is…

“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.” – William Butler Yeats    

           How will you grow? A few weeks ago I choose to do some growing by attending the Horse Expo in Pomona. There were going to be several speakers that sounded good. I also usually spend a day or so working in the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) booth. And, of course, I shop! Now, I’m not one to collect lots of things, but I always have a craving for knowledge!

            This is the first time the Horse Expo has been held at the LA Fairgrounds. For as long as I can remember, Equine Affaire had the “honored” Super Bowl weekend spot. This year, they gave it up and Horse Expo stepped in to take their place. I wasn’t sure if the change would be good or bad, so I decided to check it out for myself and see.

            The first change was downgrading from 4 days to only 3- Thursday, Friday & Saturday. I guess they decided not to try competing with the Super Bowl. It did make the event a much smaller one. I don’t know if the booth prices reflected that change or not, but I hope so. The daily ticket prices were comparable and parking was the same as previous years. The next change I noticed was being greeted at the entrance by riders on horseback. Every day a different group took the greeters role. The first day it was the Project Cowboy cowboy’s. Their friendly “Howdy ya’ll,”  filled the air as their horses stomped hooves and chomped bits in the early morning sunshine. The only downside was that they seemed to have forgotten to have a clean-up crew on hand. While it’s true that most horse people don’t mind a little fertilizer lying around, but it did put a damper on the effect I believe they were going for. Especially since you had to walk directly through the horses to get into the Expo. I wasn’t wearing my barn boots that day, so I was not prepared to “tiptoe through the tulips”, as it were. A situation I’m sure I shared with many others in attendance.

            The plan for that Thursday was for me to work in the CHA booth and team-teach a lecture with CHA CEO Christy Landwehr.  While I stayed at the booth, Christy went to the lecture venue to set up our PowerPoint presentation. Upon arrival there, she discovered that nothing was available for the PowerPoint. No computer, screen or projector. Only a microphone. Another downside to the venue is that it was outside, making it nearly impossible to see pictures on a screen in the bright sunlight.  Christy quickly scrambled to make other arrangements and moved the lecture to a private booth sponsored by Farnam. We waited at the official venue until most of the spectators gathered and then we marched them all to our alternate location. The lecture then went off without a hitch, but the Horse Expo powers-that-be were none to pleased. They promised the problem would be fixed before Christy’s lecture on Friday.  The rest of the day went well with lots of good visitors to the CHA booth. I worked with my Co-Regional Director, Lori Hall-McNary. We spent the day chatting with those who came by, imparting information about Riding Instructor Certification and all the other programs CHA offers.

            Friday dawned clear, sunny and warm. This day we were greeted by the Cowgirl Drill Team all decked out in their flashy red, white and blue sequined outfits. We were also greeted with the same manure problem as well. Alas, some things take time… I spent this day watching some speakers and checking out the vendors. I always try to find someone who is standing in a booth sponsored by some big feed or veterinary company. They are usually bored because they aren’t selling a product at the expo. What they are GIVING AWAY is great information. Be sure to take the time to wander up to their booth and ask them what’s new in their industry. You are sure to come away with first-rate updates on all the latest trends. This is an oft overlooked opportunity for personal and professional growth, so be sure to take advantage of them.   

            This is also when I will scope out the items I want to purchase. If you ask, you can often get a good deal and maybe some freebees thrown in for good measure. As with most of the shoppers, I will wait until the last day to make my purchases because that is when items will be at their cheapest. Many vendors don’t want to ship stock back home therefore it will be deeply discounted, often as much as half price. Of course you always risk the items being sold out if you use this method, but it’s a risk I’m usually willing to take.

            When the time for Christy’s next talk came around, I met her back at the booth to help run the PowerPoint Presentation. However, when we got to the venue we encountered most of the same problems. We did have a screen, but it was in the sun. We didn’t have a table for the projector, but we set it up on a bench. I ran the slideshow, but to no avail. It simply wasn’t visible in the bright sunlight. It turned out to be a positive turn of events however because it drove people back to the CHA booth to request a free copy of the PowerPoint Presentation to be emailed to them. This gave us the opportunity to chat with these fine folks. They were looking for some growth as well, and we gave them many opportunities. CHA is all about educating horse people and helping them grow as owners, instructors and facility managers.

            Saturday was much the same but I finally did my shopping! I didn’t buy much, but I did get some really good deals on the things I did buy. Overall I’d say Horse Expo was a great experience. I met some wonderful people, learned many, many new things and had fun. I was able to grow both my relationships and education. If that isn’t happiness, I don’t know what is.

Cheryl Rohnke Kronsberg is a Certified Horsemanship Association Master Instructor and Clinic Instructor. She is also a registered AQHA Professional Horseman. Cheryl has been teaching riding and horsemanship for over 30 years. Currently she and her husband own and operate CRK Training Stable in Yorba Linda, CA. We welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to share this article with your friends, but rights to publish this article are restricted.

About William Butler Yeats-Irish author William Butler Yeats, known for his mysticism and Celtic imagery, won a Nobel Prize for his plays but ultimately achieved more renown as a poet. He was born in Dublin in 1865. Co-founder of the Abbey Theater, he served as its resident playwright and worked with actress Maude Gonne, who inspired the romantic longing expressed in many poems. He married at age 52 and co-wrote A Vision with his wife, a book with occult roots that explores the mythology in his poetry. He died in 1939.