Between the 150 seminars and clinics, enormous trade fair and phenomenal entertainment, EQUITANA USA is a wealth of education and shopping options.
But I’m pleased to say my game plan is coming together. My goal for October 1–3 at Kentucky Horse Park is to hit that sweet spot between education and entertainment, aka edutainment, whilst not missing a single vendor booth. Because shopping for horse goods is the best shopping. (Check out my strategy sessions for Day One and Day Two for EQUITANA USA inspo.).
For day three, I was planning to give myself a slightly later to start, so I’d have more time to shop, should I feel I need to. Which, no doubt, I will.
Then I saw this…
After two days of non-stop browsing and learning, I’m going to need a stretch, so it’ll be a early start after all. (Well played, EQUITANA. Well played.) To be fair, there’s a 12:15 pm class Stretches for Riders on Horseback & Mounted Meditation too, which honestly better suits my preferred morning routine, but it runs at the same time as another session I really want to see so here we are! Sleep can wait.
(Make sure to secure your yoga spot ahead of time by emailing the Yoga Teacher, Cathy Woods (national clinician, equestrian and author of Yoga for Riders) at Cathy@cathywoodsyoga.com.)
Plus, I’ll have an hour to shop before my next stop…
First up on the educational side of things is Teaching the Reluctant Horse to Love Going Forward & Helping the Overly Eager Horse to Settle Down—a lengthy but self-explanatory title. As a riding instructor, I can never learn too much and teaching students on poky horses and others on speed demons is par for the course. The more tools I can add to my toolbox will benefit both horse and rider. Shawna Karrasch uses a reward-based training system to engage a horse’s willingness by changing the way the brain processes information, thus limiting stress hormones such as cortisol. The less stress the better, I say.
Next is a wander around and some lunch before learning about Traditions & Changes in the Equestrian World. This is a panel discussion will discuss topics such as social inclusion, diversity, fashion, as well as rules and regulations. The equestrian world does tend to get bogged down with tradition. Change is a good thing. Gaining an understanding of how that can happen, a great thing.
Have you ever wondered what exactly PEMF, laser and ultrasound do? Me too! Dr. Vargas will walk us through rehab treatment modalities with his talk Laser, Ultrasound, PEMF Oh My! This will probably have me filling up my fourth notebook. Note to self: Pick one up at the trade fair on my way in.
After all the food I’ll have consumed during my time at Equitana USA, I think listening to Sally Batton’s talk on The Athletic Equestrian: Ride Like a Varsity Athlete is exactly what I’ll need. I may be too old to be a varsity anything, but I am not too old to be fit. Sally Batton was the Director of Riding and Varsity Equestrian Head Coach at Dartmouth College for 29 years, so when she says varsity, you can believe she means it. She will offer insights on how to get riding-fit and go over mounted exercises she calls “Equicize.” She’ll also share tools that can be used to repair almost any position fault. Basically, she’ll teach us how to look good on a horse, without huffing and puffing. Perfect.
To round out my week I am going to sit down, probably with more food and drink, to watch Laura Graves, Olympian and World Equestrian Games medalist teach some lucky riders. This time the focus is, of course, dressage. My understanding is, if you can ride well on the flat then you have a leg up in all other disciplines. I will break open my new notebook and have my pen at the ready. What a way to end three days of education, entertainment, shopping and eating.
Thank you, EQUITANA USA!