Equine Expo’s sophomore year bigger, better

Laura Field, veterinary student

WCVM veterinary student Laura Field with one of the demonstration horses at the 2012 Saskatchewan Equine Expo.

One year after the first Saskatchewan Equine Expo took place in Saskatoon, the annual equine event has “grown up” to include an expanded trade show, more demonstrations and more activities that will appeal to people of all ages.

The 2013 Saskatchewan Equine Expo, which takes place from February 15-17, is a collaborative effort involving Saskatoon Prairieland Park, Saskatchewan Horse Federation (SHF), Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) and a range of equine breed organizations from across Saskatchewan.

The first Equine Expo, which was held in February 2012, was an overwhelming success that attracted more than 9,000 horse enthusiasts. In response to keen interest from Saskatchewan’s horse industry, some additions and changes have been made for this year’s show, says Brenda Sapergia, Prairieland Park’s livestock manager.

“For example, this year we’ve organized an Equine Extravaganza for both Friday and Saturday evenings,” says Sapergia. “It’s the same show on each night, so we hope this will help to ensure that everyone gets a chance to see the Parade of Breeds and other equine demonstrations.”

Sapergia adds that organizers have expanded the tradeshow space by another 20,000 square feet, and participants will have Friday as well as Saturday and Sunday to visit the show’s 120-plus exhibitors with over 200 booths in two halls.

Another Expo addition is the 2013 Saskatchewan Horse Federation’s annual general meeting and awards program that will take place at Prairieland Park’s Hall A on Saturday, Feb. 16.

Back in the arena, the three-day Trainer Challenge will feature Dale Clearwater of Hanley, Sask., defending his 2012 title against Jesse Lussier of Ste. Rose du Lac, Man., and Clint Christianson of Bracken, Sask. Expo visitors will also have the opportunity to watch local riders hone their riding skills in a three-day “Training for Courage” clinic led by Paul Dufresne of Pritchard, B.C.

A new attraction is Canada’s Ultimate Cow Horse Competition where top horses and riders will show their skills in herd work, reined work and cow work on Friday and Saturday. The winning horse and rider will earn Canada’s Ultimate Cow Horse title.

“Events like the Trainer Challenge highlight the skills and techniques of the riders, but we also wanted the chance to showcase the capabilities of these high-quality, honest cow horses that work every day on ranches and farms across the West,” says Sapergia.

Besides the performance horse events, people can spend the weekend soaking up horse health information at a variety of demonstrations and talks that are all organized by the WCVM — Western Canada’s regional veterinary college.

Horse health events begin on Friday morning when WCVM representatives will give a group of Expo visitors a tour of the college’s newly expanded Ryan/Dubé Equine Performance Centre and demonstrate some of its key features including the longeing ring, the equine standing MRI and the equine treadmill.

“Now that all upgrades to our equine performance centre are complete, we can offer a whole new range of clinical services to the Veterinary Medical Centre’s equine clients,” says Dr. Steve Manning. The WCVM associate professor and field service clinician is co-ordinating the college’s team of volunteers at the Equine Expo.

“This is a chance for local horse owners to get a behind-the-scenes look at our new facility and to meet some members of our equine health team. Plus, I think these kinds of events help to remind people in Saskatchewan’s horse industry about the real benefits of having a regional veterinary college based in their ‘back yard.’”

Throughout Saturday and Sunday, Expo visitors can stop by the Prairieland arena’s wash rack area and watch WCVM veterinarians and students work with live horses to demonstrate practices such as body condition scoring, proper restraint of horses and physical examinations.

The health team will also demonstrate procedures such as acupuncture, ultrasound examinations, endoscopy, dentistry (power floating) and work with local farriers to show corrective trimming and shoeing.

At the Equine Expo’s Information Theatre in Hall B, WCVM veterinarians will give presentations on topics including equine nutrition, vaccinations, deworming, foal care, equine emergency response, dentistry and breeding the problem mare.

One of this year’s new horse health features is the “Ask the Experts” open table discussions. Three WCVM clinicians — a surgeon, internal medicine specialist and a reproduction specialist — will be available to answer equine health questions from Expo attendees during the lunch hour on Saturday and Sunday.

Manning says the specialists look forward to talking one on one with local horse people and hearing about their health concerns.

“In fact, the Equine Expo is something that all of us look forward to every year — it’s the ideal opportunity for our clinicians, staff and students to share horse health knowledge with owners and riders. In turn, it gives us the chance to ask them questions about what we can do better to help them take care of their animals.”

Visit the Saskatchewan Equine Expo site for more details.


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