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New ND Equine Association plans expo in Minot

New equine association plans expo in Minot

A new association for North Dakota horse enthusiasts is planning its first big event as it looks to promote public education about “everything equus.”

Kaycee Wilen, who initiated the founding of the North Dakota Equine Association last March, said the nonprofit’s first North Dakota Horse Expo in Minot in June will be an opportunity for horse-related groups to come together and advertise their own events.

“I want to see them benefit, obviously, but I want to see people benefit from coming and learning. You never stop learning with horses. There’s always something new to learn,” said Wilen, a horse therapist from Max.

According to information from the association, the organization seeks to become a central hub for horse enthusiasts in North Dakota by providing the following to the public:

– A website to post free advertising for horse-related events, activities, jobs, items for sale and more.

JIll Schramm/MDN Trick rider Candice Aamot carries a flag during a ceremony at a 2019 horse expo in Minot.

– A quarterly newsletter with equine themes and information about equine-related activities in North Dakota. It will be posted on the website and distributed free via email and in print at specific drop locations.

– An annual North Dakota Horse Expo, featuring clinics, vendors and entertainment, along with other smaller events throughout the year.

– Memberships that allow for participation in the planning and production of horse-related events.

– Education of the public regarding everything equus.

– Eventual youth scholarships, direct funding and grant programs.

Prior to the formation of the association, Wilen had organized a horse expo in 2019 with a goal to raise about $2,500 for the North Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch’s horse therapy program in Minot. As the event was developing, Wilen discovered the demand from the public was larger than anticipated. She ended up renting the State Fair Center in Minot and hosting the event over three days.

After spending close to $32,000, the event made just enough money from sponsors and admission to cover the cost of the expo and donate $300 to the Boys and Girls Ranch. Wilen considered the event a success, considering its scale and the approximately 1,000 people who attended.

The experience encouraged her to pursue her vision for an association to help further equine education. She corralled other horse lovers and persuaded them to help form the association to host the expo on a larger scale and create a way for horse enthusiasts to connect with each other throughout the year.

The expo planned for June 4 to 6 at the State Fair Center will feature horse-related events, clinics, educational demonstrations and seminars, entertainment and vendors. Events and entertainment are still being booked.

The association is planning for bigger horse-themed entertainment but is keeping some of the popular elements from the 2019 expo, including door prizes and vendor giveaways. Also planned is a parade of breeds.

“The entertainment is to help draw people in, to give the association some light,” Wilen said. “But my goal is to get more people involved so they are participating by sitting at a seminar or bringing their kids for a clinic or bringing a horse to show off.”

Vendor space rental and various levels of sponsorship are now available. Wilen said vendor interest already has resulted in a dozen who have signed up to participate.

“I believe there’s definitely some pent-up demand from having the expo in 2019 and not in 2020,” Wilen said.

A website still is under construction, but the public can find North Dakota Equine Association on Facebook or Instagram to receive the latest news and learn how to get involved in either the association or its expo. Questions can be sent through Facebook Messenger or email to NEEquineA@gmail.com.

Memberships in the organization also are available. Annual memberships are $20 for individuals, $50 for families and $100 for businesses. Details are available on the social media sites.

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