More than 1,000 students from Kentucky public schools will begin flocking to the educational expo at Equus Pavilion at the Alltech National Horse Show on Thursday, Nov. 3.
The “world series of horse shows” runs from Nov. 2-6, coming to the Kentucky Horse Park for the first time in its 128-year history.
The Equus Pavilion’s expo is aimed at revolutionizing equine education. The students will visit from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, with an upward estimate of about 40,000 spectators and exhibitors from the Alltech National Horse Show viewing and participating in the expo throughout the horse show.
Technical Coordinator and Course Designer for the Alltech National Horse Show, Bobby Murphy, began developing the educational expo in July when the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships were underway at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“Mason Phelps and I had spoken about how we could make a difference with the equine education, and the expo came out of that,” explained Murphy. “I knew we had the resources to accomplish the educational expo and provide the clinics and demonstrations necessary to make it educational and interactive.”
The Equus Pavilion is designed to simulate the design of a show ring, and even has its own competitive schedule, which allows participants to partake in interactive educational booths, compete in a horseless horse show, take part in clinics and demonstrations, and complete arts and crafts projects, all revolving around an equine education curriculum.
Such an expansive educational expo involves the support of many different contributors. “We have the support from the local and state government, the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, Kentucky Horse Council, University of Kentucky’s Equine Initiative, Department of Agriculture, ASPCA, Alltech and the National Horse Show,” Murphy said. “The Alltech National Horse Show is in a place where we can structure community development into equine education. Being in the Horse Capital of the World gives us the opportunity to develop an equine education system that works, and hopefully reform it for the entire industry.”
Eight universities have signed on to participate in the Equus Pavilion, while other participants include the United States Equestrian Federation, the United States Pony Club, Seraphim 12 Foundation, ASPCA, the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, Alltech and the National Horse Show.
“All of these committees, clubs, foundations and organizations have come together to make a difference,” Murphy remarked. “We are trying to make the students and the visitors feel like part of the show system where we are not only trying to build equine education, but also actually give them the emotional value of what it is like to compete as a rider and a horse.”
Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital has several hands-on interactive educational exhibits ranging from podiatry, interactive ultra sound stations, to the footfalls of the horse, to even a full display area of a surgery table and Intensive Care Unit. Another crowd favorite from Rood and Riddle will be “Sarge” the horse skeleton.
“Our main goal is to show to everyone the many advances that have been made in equine veterinary medicine and we’d like to highlight some of those advances we have at Rood and Riddle,” Dr. Tom Riddle stated.
Rood and Riddle will also host a Sporthorse Symposium on Thursday, November 3 from 5-7 p.m.
Rood and Riddle will have several exhibits at the Equus Pavilion, including one in the Upper Airway Diagnostics exhibit with a full-size mare and foal stall attached. Photo Courtesy of Rood and Riddle.
The ASPCA station includes activities like the Equine Emergency Rescue and the ASPCA: 145 Years of Compassion. This booth will educate visitors on how the ASPCA has saved horses’ lives during emergencies for 145 years, and how the same rescue equipment invented by the ASPCA in the 1800′s is still used today. Dr. Pam Corey of the ASPCA and Michelle Melaragno of the HEART Horse Ambulance will provide an interactive demonstration on how the HEART Ambulance works and why it is a lifeline for horses at horse shows. Practical advice on emergency horse care will be presented.
Renown-equine welfare advocate and horse racing expert Alex Brown will host a book signing for his recent novel, Greatness and Goodness: Barbaro and his Legacy, – a tribute to the legendary racehorse, Barbaro. Participants will also be able to join Nancy Perry, Sr. Director of ASPCA Government Relations, Dr. Pamela Corey, Equine Veterinarian with ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, and Officer Joe Pentangelo, Assistant Director of Humane Law Enforcement and star of Animal Precinct on Animal Planet as they explain how the ASPCA fights animal cruelty and strengthens laws to protect animals.
Georgina Bloomberg, Paige Johnson and Brianne Goutal will teach riding clinics demonstrating leg position, posture and the strides of the horse, to the public school groups coming through. The United States Pony Club will teach the markings of the horse to participants, explanation of horse colors and form allowing for everyone to understand conformation and its importance in the show ring.
Other activities include the infamous horseless horse show, the Alltech Equestrian Games, which will allow spectators to compete for the blue ribbon and participate in numerous competitive activities. Also featured is an arts and crafts project center, demonstrations from the World Equestrian Games (WEG) and a piece of history with the actual WEG podiums.
Murphy has been working on an equine education in the Kentucky public school system for about ten years, when he and Betsey Fishback first developed SPEAKS (Supporting and Promoting Equine Awareness in Kentucky Schools.)
“One of our main goals is to incorporate the school curriculum and the equine education into the 1,100 schools and 640,000 students in Kentucky. The Kentucky Horse Park Foundation is helping to develop that project through the state government; with their help, that is where progress can really begin. Everything right now is a step in the right direction, and it’s the Alltech National Horse Show leading us down the path” concluded Murphy.