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Women and Horses Expo Rides Into Oklahoma

After a successful premiere in October of 2008 the Women and Horses Expo is headed for Oklahoma and the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie. The event has, not only, a new location this year, but new dates ( November 6-8), new ideas and a new attitude. Rest assured, though, that the event will still be celebrating horsewomen and all the things the public loved about the expo last year will be returning in 2009. The entire staff is very excited about this year’s event being held in Oklahoma.

"We had such a great response to the event. Our e-mail box was full when we got back to the office after the event last year," Cathy Childs, one of the organizers, commented. It seemed that all who attended had found the event interesting, diverse and different. Being different is the goal of the Women and Horses Expo, " We want to think outside the box, or maybe I should say the box stall," Cathy joked. This year's event appears to be in keeping with that tone.

The new venue allows for some new and different features this year. The Lazy E Arena is a state of the art equine facility. The layout of the Lazy E Arena allows the Women and Horses Expo to, literally, have everything under one roof. The vendors will be located on the Main Arena floor. Those attending can easily locate the products or services they may need by going down Vendor Avenues with names such as Natural Horse Care Avenue and Truck/Trailer Avenue.

The Lazy E will also allow for some new interactive features that will enhance both the vendors’ and spectators’ experience. These features have never been seen at similar events. "We are offering a Hands on Product Demonstration.

We are inviting vendors to demonstrate a product in our Hands On Arena, located adjacent to the vendor area," Cathy explains. “This gives vendors a way to interact directly with potential customers.” Vendors can present their products in the arena (whether their product is tack, saddles, manure spreaders, farrier supplies, or any other product for horse owners) and invite the public to have a " hands on" experience with the product. The event organizers know that the vendors are an important part of making a successful event. “ I really think that our vendors appreciate the fact that we pride ourselves in customer service for them, as well as those attending," Cathy said.

Another new feature this year will be a Rare Breeds Horse Show. The show is open to all rare breeds of horses from Akhal Teke to Weser Ponies. It is also open to both male and female competitors. At the 2008 event rare breeds dominated the event. There was a large contingent of Gypsy Horses as well as Friesians, Paso Finos and Mustangs (to mention a few) so having a Rare Breeds Horse Show seemed like a logical step to take. Several Women and Horses Expo committee members own rare breeds themselves, so they are well aware of the need for shows open to those breeds of horses. Organizers of the event felt this would be an audience draw for the event as well. It gives those attending a venue to see these breeds in action rather than briefly in breed demonstrations.

Another new feature this year will be "Meet the Breed Avenue" where those attending will be able to meet the breeds up close and personal, again having a " hands on horse experience" . The “Meet the Breeds Avenue” will also be located on the arena floor adjacent to the vendor area and the Main Arena. Horses will be housed in stalls on the arena floor with hospitality areas and two small presentation rings.

This year qualified trainers will be conducting training clinics in several different disciplines from dressage to reining. These trainers will be at the top of their field and have experience in giving training clinics. The goal is to disseminate good training advice that will enhance the lives of both human and horse. They also want to give these trainers a venue to promote their training techniques, as opposed to similar events that may only want to promote the people who are giving clinics that are the “hot topics” of the moment.

The popular Women and Horses Versatility Challenge is back for 2009.

This event consists of three phases - Horsewomanship; Teamwork Over Obstacles; and Freestyle Favorites. As last year’s winner, Sally Scott, put it - the event was fun and the women competing were a "great group". Sally was

so impressed by the women she actually sent out thank you notes to each of the women who competed. Talk about a friendly competition. Spectators enjoyed the competition as well, especially the Freestyle phase where the ladies pulled out all the stops by performing to music and in costumes. This phase evoked laughter and, at times, tears fromthe crowd. One competitor, Sandy Walton, paid tribute to the beloved gelding she had lost earlier that year. Sandy rode her mare in the competition, but her heart still belonged to her gelding as she competed in the Freestyle. This year the Freestyle will be held in the Main Arena on Saturday night because, as someone watching put it, these ladies did such a great job they earned the right perform on Saturday night.

The Friday evening entertainment “Dancing in The Dark” comes back bigger and better in 2009. Charro Jerry Diaz and his family will headline the show. Charro Gerardo “Jerry” Diaz is a fourth generation charro, continuing the traditions that originated with his great grandfather over 150 years ago. Jerry will perform with his wife Staci and their son Nicholas on their dancing horses. The Royal Friesians of Kansas City Drill Team will also perform. This group performs to music in medieval costumes while riding magnificent Friesian horses. Also performing will be the Wild Women of the Frontier who dress in historically accurate 1880’s costumes while portraying actual women in history.

Lippitt Morgan Mint Jacob will be performing, as well, and although he may be the smallest equine performer this little Morgan stallion shows his talent and versatility by performing high level dressage movements as well as Spanish garrocha movements . The show will bring together history, culture and music with one common denominator - the magnificent horse.

Also coming back this year will be the " Opening Ceremony. The Women and Horses Expo invited all the women attending to ride their horses into the Main Arena. Last year they rode in to the Helen Reddy song " I am Women" and, while it wasn't clear yet if that will be the song for 2009, you can be assured that once again this year the women will mount up and ride in to kick off the event that celebrates them and their passion for horses.

The event seems to have really struck a chord with horsewomen across the board as well as a few horsemen, too. So as the Women and Horses Expo mounts up and hits the trail to the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie this November they invite those who attended last year (and those who didn't) to saddle up and join them.


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