The 6th Annual Hawaii Horse Expo
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There are many ways a horse may be abandoned on this island; perhaps the owner didn’t make provisions for the animal after his death, or financial difficulties do not allow for owners to take proper care of their animal.
“Through no fault of its own, a horse may wind up in dismal circumstances,” said Nancy Jones, event producer for the Hawaii Horse Expo. “We help rescue and save both tamed and untamed horses.”
The 6th Annual Hawaii Horse Expo is Aug. 10-11 at Pukalani Stables in Waimea. The event is held in partnership with the Hawaii Island Humane Society and the Paniolo Preservation Society. Proceeds from the event help to fund the HIHS Horse Rescue Fund.
Donna Whitaker, executive director of HIHS said the Horse Expo is an educational event that gives the Humane Society the ability to rescue more horses. Fourteen horses were rescued in the last year, and the financial costs for boarding, food, medical expenses and treatment can “cost a fair amount of money.”
“It’s not unheard of to spend $10,000 on a horse for its care and medical problems,” Whitaker said. “It’s easy to spend that amount just to get them back to health.”
Calling it a win-win situation, Whitaker said the expo helps educate the public about horses, brings in needed funds for the HIHS and horse owners are able to learn various training techniques as well as expert horse care. Anyone interested in horses, or building their awareness in a variety of horse-related disciplines is invited to attend the expo.
Over the two day event, many experts from both Hawaii and the mainland will be holding clinics and presenting information on equine health and training disciplines. Charles Wilhelm, creator of Ultimate Foundation Training, offers a demonstration on Cowboy Dressage. Sharon Camarillo, who holds the rare honor of being inducted to both the Cowboy Hall of Fame and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame will present several workshops on barrel racing. (A full listing of the 2013 presenters may be found on the Hawaii Horse Expo website listed below.)
Local presenter Solomon Singer is a horse trainer who will be demonstrating a special bareback riding technique called “Full Body Riding.” It is Singer’s first year at the expo and he is eager to show how bareback riding is not only safe, but provides a special contact between horse and rider.
“Getting rid of the saddle gets rid of all types of issues and they have no attitude,” Singer said. “It’s humane horsemanship and riding bareback uses the natural language of the horse, subtle pointing, pressure and balance. A rider can connect better with the horse.”
Another local presenter, Dr. Brady Bergin, will be hosting a workshop entitled “Common Horse Diseases.” In his fourth year at the expo, Bergin will speak about the diseases unique to our tropical climate affecting horses. One disease, called “Pidgeon Fever,” is a bacterial-based skin infection that has common symptoms but which need to be treated in specific ways.
“This expo is a huge educational opportunity for horse owners,” Bergin said. “It’s hard to match the quality of the speakers and there are different topics each year. People are always going to learn something.”
Adding that the expo benefits the horses of Hawaii, Bergin said the Humane Society has “re-homed a good number of horses,” and the funds help take the pressure off HIHS.
The first horse expo was started by Nancy Jones and Mary Buckley. Jones said they recognized there was a need for education in the community about abandoned horses, and that HIHS didn’t have the resources to rescue the amount of horses being neglected.
“Our first expo was a small undertaking compared to how it has grown now,” Jones said. “We’ve always had outstanding clinicians who have a good understanding of what is needed in equine behavior and training. In our first year we raised more than $3,000. Last year we raised $20,000. And the awareness in the community has also grown that horses need more than just grass.”
The HIHS wants the community to be able to recognize when a horse is neglected. Sometimes a horse may have been captured and put into a domesticated setting, but it is untamed. When HIHS gets an untamed horse, it is put into foster care until they can evaluate the personality and health of the horse. Each HIHS shelter on the island has a knowledgeable person who is able to know what to do when an abandoned horse is brought in.
“It takes extensive care and emotional support as well as vet care to help a horse, but it is very rewarding for us,” Jones said. “We’ve been able to to develop a great protocol. We have a holding pen in Waimea, and our ability to look after abandoned horses is better than many places on the mainland.”
This year’s expo has three different venues which will allow for programs and workshops to occur simultaneously. In addition to the clinics, there will be saddle making demos, food vendors, equine-related clothing and crafts, and HIHS will host a benefit silent auction.
The annual presentation of the Mana Award, founded to honor people who have made contributions to horse education, will conclude the expo on Sunday. Dr. Lisa Wood a veterinarian at Kamuela’s Veterinary Associates Inc. is an expo presenter. She and her committee have chosen to present the 2013 Mana Award to Wally and Edwin Nobriga.
Edwin and his wife Wallie have been involved with the Hawaii Island High School Rodeo Association for 23 years. Their passion has been to teach young people the whole approach of proper care and training of horses. Nobriga said they are happy to help perpetuate the horse industry.
“There are plenty of people deserving of the award,” said Edwin Nobriga. “We are conduits to promoting the horse industry, especially for youth to compete nationally.”
Gates open both days at 9 a.m. with demonstrations concluding at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Paniolo Preservation Society Museum will be open to Hawaii Expo attendees. Tickets for the expo are $30 per day, and are available at the gate. A listing of workshop times and locations may be found at www.HawaiiHorseExpo.com
“We’ve tried to make this year’s expo entertaining and fun as well as educational,” Jones said. “We have shopping venues, local food, and we’re also introducing a best of breed. And we thank Parker Ranch for their support in allowing the use of their arena for the demonstrations.”