Horse Expo returns to Minot

Equi-Ganza to feature all things equine

Submitted Photo A member of Pegasus Riders performs a trick-riding routine.

Equi-Ganza is coming to the North Dakota State Fairgrounds next weekend.

The North Dakota Equine Association’s annual North Dakota Horse Expo will be held June 3-5 with clinics, competitions, children’s activities, vendors and more.

The event’s Equi-Ganza nightly show features dynamic acts that will entertain audiences regardless of whether they might have a connection to horses.

The Canadian Cowgirls Precision Drill Team is an elite, rodeo-style drill team that performs synchronized routines on horses. The Cowgirls, based in Ontario, are acclaimed for their musical performances, dazzling audiences with their precision riding, stunning costumes and dangerous and daring maneuvers.

Pegasus Riders consists of two award-winning 11-year-old girls, Maddy Gatrel and Liberty Cunningham, doing mounted gymnastics. They specialize in trick riding, roman riding, dance, aerial hammock and equestrian liberty. They have performed alongside the nation’s leading equestrian performers and offer polished, fast-paced acts.

Gatrel was the 2019 International Liberty Horse Association Freestyle Youth Division Champion. Liberty was the 2021 Dusti Dickerson Trick Riding Competition Youth Division Champion. As a team, the girls won the 2021 3-C Arena Showcase and were the top-scoring trick riding act at the 2021 International Finals Rodeo Contract Act Showcase.

Kaycee Wilen, North Dakota Equine Association president, said the girls also will teach a class during the Expo for children, instructing them on how to train their horses to participate in the types of tricks performed by Pegasus Riders.

A third act features Francesca Carson with Dally and Spanky, a Jack Russell Terrier and miniature horse. The true animal friendship of the dog and rescued horse inspired the 2019 film, “Adventures of Dally & Spanky.” The dog and pony duo entertains audiences with its special brand of tricks and has been featured in a number of publications, including National Geographic.

Also at the show, Rodney Yost of South Dakota, a popular clinician who is returning from the 2019 Expo, will display his skill as a trainer in an arena performance with his horse. Equine Trivia will take place during intermission.

Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for children ages 6 to 12. A limited number of discounted tickets are available online at minotdeals.com.

As a precede to the Expo, the equine association has scheduled a parade of Expo entertainers. They will leave the south side of the fairgrounds Thursday at 5 p.m. to travel down Burdick Expressway and through Roosevelt Park before returning to the fairgrounds via a north route. Wilen said people are welcome to watch the parade in Roosevelt Park.

The Roosevelt Park Zoo is hosting a horse-themed scavenger hunt called Horses Gone Wild, starting at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Children who participate will receive a free ticket to the Expo.

The North Dakota Equine Association’s Expo opens at 9 a.m. each of the three days, closing at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission to the Expo is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 12. Children ages 5 and younger are admitted free.

Among clinics and demonstrations scheduled are Craig Cameron, a world renowned expert on horsemanship; Phil Haugen, a North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Famer who also will present on horsemanship; Elisabeth Crabtree, who will present on equine first aid and nutrition; Elizabeth James, who will speak on social media marketing, equine careers and appropriate ages to start children with horses; and Yost, who will provide horsemanship clinics, including a clinic on cattle working on Friday.

Others presenting include Clarissa Goldsack, equine scenting search and rescue; Les Vogt, horsemanship; Francesca Carson, training the miniature horse and the art of liberty; Joe Reum, horse psychology; Schaefer Veterinary Services, equine acupuncture and chiropractic; and Cameron Thornberg, herbal and natural products for horses. Wonderland Equine Sports Therapy will be conducting demonstrations.

Throughout the Expo, several events will be occurring in multiple venues. There will be live farrier demonstrations and free wagon rides provided by the North Dakota Draft Horse Association. The American Sidesaddle Association will present on the history of sidesaddle, and there will be saddle-fitting demonstrations.

There will be an adult juried Equine Art Show with youth divisions for children ages 5-10 and 11-17.

Also on the schedule are children’s games, a petting zoo and kids’ clinics on first aid on Friday and Saturday and roping for beginners on Saturday and Sunday. There will be other educational opportunities for youth as well.

Wilen said a meet-and-greet with Dally and Spanky will give the children a chance to get photos with the animals.

A Youth Ranch Rodeo is set for Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Youth up to age 18 will compete for prizes and buckles.

A Show-De-O will be held Saturday from 1-4 p.m. for youth to age 18, who will compete on horseback in barrels, poles, keyhole and flag race for prizes and buckles. The very young can compete in a stick horse horse race.

A 4-D barrel race event will be held Sunday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

More details about the schedule and events can be found at ndhorseexpo.com.


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