June 12th was another hot and muggy day at the Waller County Fairgrounds in Hempstead, Texas. But among the Garage Sale lookers and the Bar-B-Que cookers their gathered another mixture of people with one common goal - the horse.
Members from the Waller County Horse Council, the Greater Houston Horse Council and the Waller County AgriLife Extension Service join together and held a "Performance Horse Advanced Skills Clinic & Whole Horse Health Fair" for the purpose of providing a service for additional education to horse enthusiast and the general public.
Upon arrival and registration the day got under way with a moving show of patriotism as Deborah Black and Cory Crissman, two members from the Bellville Heritage Cowgirls Drill Team, rode around the arena presenting our Colors as a DVD with Whitney Houston singing "The Star Spangle Banner" played in the background.
Dr. Doug Householder (Ph.D. Texas A&M, 30 years Animal Science, 4H & FFA, Speaker, Teacher, Equine Judge) open the clinic with an overall presentation of general information and what to expect from the days teachings. Then he and his assistants provided 20 riders, of various ages and skills, and spectators a day full of educational techniques and maneuvers on equipment, training aides, suppleness, departures, circling dynamics and speed control, lead changes, rollbacks and backing.
If that wasn't enough, vendors were available for those who liked to shop and in between rest breaks and during lunch we had the opportunity to listen and learn from different Clinicians, who not only talked to us individually, but gave presentations on various health and other related issues pertaining to our equine companions.
The Clinicians were: Loren Hardie - The Horse ToothFairy - Equine dental health and nutrition. Bonnie McAree - Body Balancing Body mechanics of the whole horse. Darren Stoner - Creator of the Perfect Bit - The mechanics of the bit and how to maximize your horse's performance and comfort.
Tony Dingianni - Certified Journeyman Farrier
- Corrective and orthopedic issues for your horse. Dr. Elaine Knape - Haslet Veterinary Clinic on current equine health issues. and Don Griffin - Trainer/Farrier - Confirmation of the horse through different breeds and disciplines.
I deeply regret that I was not able to watch all the presentations by our Clinicians but I have commented on the ones I was able to attend.
Don Griffin presented an interesting discussion using several horses as models as he talked about conformation and how it relates to the different disciplines.
ToothFairy, Loren Hardie, educated us on the care and mechanics of the horse's mouth. We learned that horse dental care does not have to be an unpleasant experience nor involve the use of drugs. Hmmm Loren, I wonder if my dentist could learn a thing or two from you on that subject. Loren also taught us that yearly dental checkups, just like what we are taught about our own teeth, is one of the keys to good health. If your mouth is sore or you can't chew your food to retain the nutrients, this can cause weight loss and lead to a host of other health issues for your horse, not to mention what it can also do to your budget.
Bonnie McAree spoke to us on the body balancing mechanics of the whole horse. Bonnie showed us how just one problem can throw your horse's movement out of balance.
She educated us with the why and demonstrated the how it needs to be corrected.
Geoff Anderson, Barn Manager for the Houston SPCA, was also in attendance. I had the pleasure of visiting with him about the new facility out on FM 2920 that they are opening. He will be one of our speakers at a future WCHC meeting with more information.
In between our Vendors: Wanda Wiktorik with Lone Star Leather, Sherri Kortz with Galloping Gems and our Clinicians, merchandise and services were available for the pleasure and partaking of everyone that attended.
We would like to thank Steve Long, HorseBack Magazine, for being our official pho
tographer, bringing a stack of HorseBack Magazines for everyone to enjoy and donating one
of our door prizes. Our thanks also goes out to Barbara Chopek, Lone Star Leather, Galloping Gems and Jonna Johnson for their donations of additional door prizes.
" Thank-you's" also go out to the Monaville General Store, for being the Food Vendor for the event and "thank-you" for donations received from Brookshire Brothers #61 Hempstead, Harlan's Supermarket Hempstead, Brookshire Brothers #39 Bellville and various members.
In closing I think I can say that everyone that attended came away learning something new that will either help them enjoy life with their equine friend a little better or will help improve their horses over all being.
The members of all the participating organizations that brought this clinic/health fair to you would like to say "thank-you" for sharing your day with us. We appreciate any thoughts or comments you might have about our clinic.
The Waller County Horse Council and The Greater Houston Horse Council invite you to join us as a member as we strive to serve and provide educational opportunities for our members and communities. We invite you to visit our websites and look forward
to seeing you at our next event.
Sid Chipman, Waller County Horse Council Secretary/Board Member