May 2016 - Western States Horse Expo

A new kind of nightlife highlights June 10-12 gathering.

For many of us, the ultimate party involves something with or about our horses. Even at non-horsey social events, we find each other as if drawn by mysterious gravitational forces. With that in mind, the ever-evolving Western States Horse Expo has added a new kind of nightlife to the agenda for the June 10-12 event at Cal Expo in Sacramento.

“Horse Expo PM” will feature educational presentations that continue well into the night, with a full schedule of clinician presentations running ‘til 9 pm on Friday and Saturday. That’s three hours after the shopping opportunities in the tradeshow shut down, easing the otherwise difficult task of choosing where to go when. Arena demonstrations and clinics will now be dark for a 1.5-hour lunch break, allowing attendees to socialize and shop without missing any learning opportunities.

WSHE is the gold standard in its field. Other events have come and gone during the last two decades, but Horse Expo has always been the top dog. Founder Miki Nelsen credits that primarily to a commitment to top quality education.

“I attribute our longevity and success to consistency, commitment and a high standard when bringing in clinicians.” Headlined by world-renowned natural horseman Pat Parelli, this year’s line-up exemplifies that. Even through the economy’s ups and downs, “We have never wavered in that.”

Featured clinicians include a “who’s who” of the equine world, along with a slate of exciting first-time presenters. The line-up covers a variety of topics, from natural horsemanship to dressage to reining. Topics in Horse Expo University range from emergency first aid and horse and rider fitness, to barn management and horse camping. Regardless of attendees’ experience level – from novice to veteran, Horse Expo provides limitless opportunities to take their knowledge to the next level.

Cover photo: Dressage trainer Chemaine Hurtado joins top clinicians at Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento, June 10-12, 2016.

It’s also a unique opportunity for riders in various disciplines and approaches to learn from those who’ve had success by doing things a little differently. In his recent autobiography, master horseman and show jumping Olympian George Morris emphasizes that the best horse people have open minds and the attitude that learning about horses is a lifelong endeavor. Horse Expo is the perfect stage to adopt that attitude or continue it in new and exciting directions.

Clinicians aren’t the only ones dispensing the knowledge. Miki notes that Horse Expo’s many and diverse exhibitors are great resources. That’s true for the guy embarking on a big barn building project, the pony rider in need of new breeches and everybody in between.

A long history of “firsts” in the industry is another reason for Horse Expo’s success, Miki notes. The list includes the first Extreme Mustang Makeover by Patti Colbert; the first of Craig Cameron’s Extreme Cowboy Race held off his ranch; the first Magnificent 7 All Around Stock Horse Championship (now it its 15th year); the first Ultimate Super Horse by Charles Wilhelm; 18 years of the Equine Dream Art Show; 15 years of the Premium Horse Sale; and the first Project Cowgirl by Tootie Bland.

The newbie this year is the “Horsemax” Horse Sale format. “Our auction has been replaced by a one-of-a-kind private treaty horse sale format,” Miki explains. “Meet the seller and the horse, take the horse for a scheduled ride, hire a vet check and take home your new family member.” This new format welcomes horses of all breeds, ages and abilities and the equine marketing guru expects it to be a huge hit. “It’s far superior to a flier hanging in the bathroom or the pressure of buying at auction for those that don’t like to rush important decisions!” she asserts.

That Who’s Who

Perhaps the most famous of Horse Expo’s presenters is Pat Parelli, known worldwide for his innovative, fun and educational Natural Horsemanship program.

Equally inspirational and far reaching in their impact is the whole list of presenters. These include:

  • Chris Cox, trainer and competitor, who has won the Road To the Horse Competition three times.
  • Craig Cameron, trainer, clinician and inductee in Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
  • Jonathan Field, creator of “Inspired by Horses” program, designed to teach the human to think the way the horse thinks.
  • Eitan Beth-Halachmy, creator of fast growing new discipline of Cowboy Dressage.
  • Charles Wilhelm, who once again brings his Ultimate Super Horse Challenge to an eager Horse Expo audience.
  • Julie Goodnight, who helps riders master their equestrian dreams and skills.
  • Brandi Lyons, who teaches gentle training methods.
  • Chemaine Hurtado, who trains horses and riders to Grand Prix level of dressage.
  • Richard Winters, who’s won championship titles in National Reined Cow Horse Association competitions as well as winning the Road to the Horse.
  • Warwick Schiller specializes in reining horses, and has created multiple training videos appropriate for all disciplines.
  • Gary Lane, whose gaited horse demonstrations teach riders about ultimate gaits.
  • Lana Grieve specializes in groundwork, especially for Miniature horses.

Hit The Trail

Horse industry statistics show that over 80 percent of horse owners are trail riders. Western States Horse Expo is proud to present speakers who are at the forefront of trail riding, packing, horse camping and educational fields such as nutrition and veterinary care.

These experts include:

  • Bonnie Davis, renowned for “Horsecamping: Expanding Your Trail Adventures.”
  • Robert Eversole, owner of the largest database of horse riding and camping areas in the U.S.
  • Jerry Heitzler, who works with horses and mules in the backcountry and focuses on preserving the legacy of backcountry stock use.
  • George Archer teaches horse packing and leads packing trips.
  • Debra Mason teaches backcountry Dutch Oven cooking to veterans and inexperienced folks alike.
  • Carolyn Gilmore is an advocate for equestrian trails and is a member of the Back Country Horsemen of California Wilderness Rider Program.
  • Nancy Loving, DVM, will discuss the challenges of distance riding for both horse and rider.
  • Win Wolcott is a pioneer in the development of lower starch feeding programs for performance horses.
  • Richard Godbee, PhD has his doctoral degree in animal nutrition and nutritional biochemistry; his most recent work is the effect of nutrition on immunity and inflammation.

Combine the demonstrations and educational presentations with other events the Expo offers, and the three Expo days will whiz by. Shopping alone can occupy three days of equestrian bliss. Other unmissable attractions include the Young Rider Park, Equine Dream Art Show, Breed Revelation, Trail Symposium, University, Ultimate Super Horse Challenge and the Great American Truck Display.

Check the Expo website before the event so you can plan your schedule and not miss your favorite clinicians and educators. There is something for everyone! Gates open each day at 9 am. On Friday and Saturday, the tradeshow closes at 6 pm but arena demonstrations (“Horse Expo PM!”) continue until 9:00 p.m. The event closes at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Tickets are available online or at the main gate. For more information, visit or call 800-352-2411.

New Exhibitors ... New Products!


• Big D Blankets
• Buckwild Breeches
• Centered Riding
• Cowgirl Tuff Company
• Creative Feeding Solutions
• EZ Kut Products
• Freedom Ice Therapy Wraps
• Girls With Guns Clothing
• Golden Forge Custom Designs
• Hands On Grooming Bathing Gloves
• High Quality Saddles, LLC
• JUG Waterers
• Juniper Lamp Co.
• Mrs. Conns Bath Day
• Nightingale Farms
• Parma Company
• Point Two Air Vests
• Queen Margaret’s School
• Superior Concrete Products
• Thais Helena Studio
• Trailwise Saddles
• Zaoril Solar Mosquito Solution