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Alex City Arena - October 29th
The Coosa County Horse Council rode to victory with its first horse clinic, a hit with the equine community, in February.
Now Coosa County Horse Council’s second clinic is thundering its way into fall with invaluable opportunities for horse owners everywhere.
"The clinic is something everyone who has horses, ever wanted a horse or even liked horses should attend," said Robbin McCroskey, one of the event’s clinicians. "I think it’s great because there is going to be a lot of knowledge there—a lot of different ideas. You take those different ideas to fit your own training or riding program, and it’s free. There are very few places to go nowadays to get what you’ll get at the clinic for free. There’s been a lot of work, time and effort spent into making the clinic a success."
The upcoming clinic will be held at the Alex City Arena on October 29, and will offer a variety of resources for horse owners along with the chance to ask area experts questions on training, riding and equine healthcare needs.
Clinicians will provide training demonstrations.
"We try to get local people so they are easy to pair individuals up with and find the trainer who fits their needs and benefit them and the horse," Stephanie Jackson, Coosa County Horse Council, said.
Payton Sides of Payton Sides Horsemanship will be one of the clinicians.
"At this clinic, I plan to demonstrate, with a horse that has been in my program for quite a while, the proper relationship a horse owner can have with the horse, the response they can get out of the horse and the calm mindset they can expect if they follow the procedure and principles I believe in with horses and stick with it on a consistent basis," Payton said.
To learn more about Payton Sides Horsemanship, call (334) 434-3501 or visit their website, psnaturalhorsemanship.com.
Horse trainer Robbin McCroskey will focus her clinic on barrel racing.
"When you’re riding a barrel racing horse—just like any other horse, it doesn’t really matter what discipline—you should sit your horse evenly and naturally, and not lean to one side or the other," Robbin said. "Your body position should be even and in a natural body position with the horse. If you lean, you’re not sitting your horse properly and it affects where your horse puts its body and how it uses that."
Robbin said it is imperative to train a horse to respond to leg, hand and seat pressure.
"A lot of the clinicians use a lot of natural horsemanship techniques; these techniques involve a lot of the training and getting your horse solid on the ground before you ever get into the saddle," she said.
If a horse is trained to respond to the rider’s legs, the rider does not have to lean, she added.
"When you start riding your horse and your body position is off, you teach your horse bad habits," Robbin said. "You lose time in your barrel runs when you do those things."
Robbin is involved in competitive equine events, trains horses and gives regular riding lessons to children and adults.
She stressed riders should have a solid foundation in the basics.
"I think most horse trainers do it nowadays," Robbin said. "I teach them from the ground up. I teach them about brushing a horse, how to take care of the horse and how to saddle—the proper way to do things before they ever get on and start riding."
Farrier Clint Sides will answer questions about hoof care at the "Ask the Farrier" booth.
"I think it definitely will help to educate the horse owners about the kind of maintenance and care their horse needs as far as the hoof is concerned," Clint said. "That’s the one thing a lot of people are misinformed about. I can answer some questions and help some people gain more knowledge about it."
A lot of horse owners need to be more aware of how nutrition affects the hoof. Owners could become more educated about founder, he added.
"It’s a really serious disease affecting a lot of horses and, most of the time, the effects are caused because of improper care by the owner," Clint said.
He recommended attending the event.
"It’s just going to be a good overall event where you can learn about the total horse and how you can improve your own horsemanship," Clint said.
He answered hoof-care questions at Coosa County Horse Council’s first clinic and they were able to reach a lot of people for a relatively-small sized county—as far as population is concerned.
"We hope we can continue to grow, get the word out and educate as many people as we can and try to better the horse industry," Clint said.
Dr. Gary Koepp will answer questions regarding equine healthcare at the "Ask the Veterinarian" booth.
Koepp said the clinic will not only be an opportunity for the horse community to have an enjoyable afternoon, but to also receive education and exposure to all of the different disciplines and knowledge available.
"Hopefully there is something for everybody and they find new things to do with their horse as well," he said.
Koepp said one of the greatest issues concerning equine healthcare is proper nutrition and maintaining weight and body condition.
Feeding a horse could become confusing to some owners since there are many different ways to feed horses and plenty of different types of hay and feed to choose from, he continued.
He added the "Ask the Veterinarian" and "Ask the Farrier" booths will be great resources for horse owners to ask questions.
Attendees will see different breeds of horses and information regarding different riding disciplines will be available.
An adult drill team as well as a 4-H drill team will perform. A carriage club will provide driving demonstrations.
Stephanie said the demonstrations and performances would allow attendees to see if they would like to try a new discipline.
Even people who do not own horses can watch and glean knowledge from the clinic, she added.
Campfire cooking demonstrations will also be available.
Lake Martin Humane Society is one organization with a booth at the event.
"You know, most people who have horses have dogs and I think it’s a great venue for them to come and see what’s available," Stephanie said.
ALFA Insurance is another organization with a booth at the clinic.
Stephanie said the ALFA Insurance booth will be an excellent resource to learn about horse insurance as well as what ALFA does to support the horse industry.
Other vendors, local feed stores and tack stores will also have booths at the event.
The Coosa County Horse Council expected a turnout of 30-50 people at the first clinic held at the Coosa County Cattlemen’s barn in Hanover, but were pleasantly surprised when over 160 people attended.
"I hope we can trump what we did in February," she said. "Because of Alex City having a bigger arena, I’m expecting or hoping it to be—maybe we can hit the 200 mark of people who come and enjoy."
Stephanie encourages equine enthusiasts to join the Coosa County Horse Council or attend a meeting.
"This is definitely not an exclusive group," she said. "It is open to anyone and everyone who wants to participate and help the betterment of the horse community."
Jade Currid is a freelance writer from Auburn.