Just  a few short weeks ago, Performa Ride was lucky enough to go to the Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento. What is there to see and how does it compare to Equitana Australia?

Touted as one of the premier equine events in the United States, the Western States Horse Expo has expert clinicians, demonstrations and premier shopping. With 4 pavilions of shopping, several demonstration and competition arenas, a multitude of classroom style learning areas and also an expansive outdoor area with ‘rigs and digs’. On the first day, walking through row upon row of horse trailers (floats) was beyond imagination, with 21 brands of trailer on display and each having multiple styles on display. Every type of trailer was on display, from the European style EquiTrek through to the huge Logan Coach goosenecks (yes please!).

There was amazing horse events and plenty of learning opportunities on display. Clinicians including American Olympic Silver medalist Gina Miles, alongside Jonathan Field, expert in horsemanship. I also was lucky enough to chat with Warwick and Robyn Schiller, who are both amazing horse people, and were open and welcoming with everyone that came to their stand at the expo . I love the mantra that Warwick has, continued learning, both about horses and also from other amazing horse people.

The displays of both horse breeds and disciplines was interesting – with a large range of breeds on display, and even disciplines that I had not heard of before. The breeds on display included the Gypsy vanner, andalusian, arabian, haflinger and morgan. The haflinger display showed them in a cart, jumping, and even playing ball. As for disciplines, having not seen ‘Western Dressage’, I was curious to see exactly how the two would come together, and it seems the dressage principles remain with the addition of the ‘jog’ and ‘lope’ traditionally found in Western disciplines.

The Western States Horse Expo has as many people through the gates as Equitana Australia, but the event itself is spread over a large area, which makes the atmosphere a little less tangible than Equitana Australia. Maybe we are biased, but there is a real energy in Melbourne, a certain buzz of excitement, where as the Western States Horse Expo did not capture the same buzz. Was it an amazing event? Yes. Are we more excited for Equitana Australia? Absolutely!