The Mane Event: Canada’s Premier Equine Expo

By Catherine Madera

The first rule for success in real estate can be summed up by three words: location, location, location. With that in mind, the prime location of The Mane Event in Chilliwack, BC might also be summed up in three words: English, English, English! Known for its active dressage, jumping and eventing communities, this region boasts impressive yearly competitive events with Thunderbird Show Park ranked # 2 in North America. And, for those English riders wishing to become more competitive, The Mane Event, held October 23-25 at Chilliwack Heritage Park, is the premier expo and learning event to get excited about.

Improve Your English

For the last 12 years The Mane Event has served the English orientation of the local equestrian population by consistently bringing in some of the best clinicians anywhere. In the past these included George Morris, Mac Cone, Bernie Traurig and Nick Karazissis (jumping) and Jane Savoie, Betsy Steiner, Dr. Cesar Parra and Axel Steiner (dressage). Considered a “founding father” of hunt seat equitation, George Morris has chosen The Mane Event exclusively as his expo of choice and has appeared three times.

This year The Mane Event has done it again, bringing only the best of the best to the region. English riders will not want to miss Jimmy Wofford, a 3-time Olympian who has spent his life with horses. Wofford is one of the best known eventing trainers in the world today and has had at least one student on every U.S. Olympic, World Championship and Pan-American team since 1978. In 2000, Wofford was listed by the Chronicle of the Horse as one of the “50 Most Influential Horsemen” of the 21st century, and in January of 2012, he was awarded the Jimmie Williams Trophy for Lifetime Achievement, the sport’s highest honor. A Hall of Fame member of both the United States Eventing Association and Culver Military Academy, he trains at his farm in Upperville, Virginia and travels extensively, teaching and giving clinics. Jimmy will be giving jumping clinics at The Mane Event and there are limited opportunities to ride with him. Interested riders must supply a video or video link.

Those partial to dressage will not be disappointed to find Kristi Wysocki on the schedule of attending clinicians. She has competed successfully through the grand prix level on numerous horses, included CDI competitions, winning many local and national awards including her USDF gold, silver and bronze medals. Kristi is an FEI 3* dressage judge, a USEF dressage sport horse judge and an FEI 4* para-equestrian dressage judge. In addition, she is the USDF sport horse committee chair and serves on the USDF sport horse seminar faculty and the USEF dressage committee. She has coached many students to show ring success and takes a unique perspective when teaching, using both her engineering background and sport horse expertise to help others understand the horse bio-mechanically. With this improved understanding, students can communicate with the horse using more logical, clarified aids.

Natural Longevity

Opinions about the natural horsemanship movement may vary, but no one can deny the impact of Pat and Linda Parelli on the horse industry as a whole. Over the last two decades they have proven their methods have longevity and Parelli Natural Horsemanship centers are now found on three continents with hundreds of thousands of students all over the world benefitting from a natural approach to training horses, Parelli style. The Parellis are fulfilling a lifetime goal of inspiring the world of horse training for horses and the people who love them. It has been a number of years since Pat has visited the Pacific Northwest and Mane Event attendees can expect plenty of inspiration and education when he returns in October. Pat will present all three days and will also be working with participants. Those interested in riding with him should submit an application and video to be considered.

Learning to ride well, no matter the discipline, is a focus of this expo and reflects in the roster of attending trainers and clinicians. Besides those already mentioned, The Mane Event welcomes cowboy dressage clinicians Dale Rumens and Dr. Jenni Grimmett, barrel racing clinician Doug Leasor and others who will be presenting on general horsemanship and reining.

Unique Challenges and Experiences

Returning to The Mane Event is the ever popular Trainer’s Challenge. This year expect excellent horsemanship from three very different competitors: David Simons, Australia; Glen Stewart, British Columbia; and Sonny Garguilo, New York. The Trainer’s Challenge is a unique opportunity to see three trainers put their skills to work and show the public their ability to train an unbroke horse. This Challenge is meant to be a venue to educate the public that there is more than one or two ways to start a colt and succeed. It is not the way these trainers would normally start a colt. What they do over the three days of the Challenge would normally take 30 – 60 days (or more) to ensure the horse is comfortable and working well. The format is as follows: three trainers, three horses and three judges. Judging is based 10% on the horse, 60% on the trainer’s ability to train the horse and 30% on the trainer’s ability to educate the attendees. The winner of the challenge will be the trainer that can achieve the highest success with both the horse and the spectators. Trainers will work with colts brought in from the Douglas Lake Ranch.

New this year and sure to become a crowd favorite is The Working Ranch Challenge. This special event will feature six historical British Columbia ranches with their teams of genuine working ranch hands. Teams will compete against each other, showcasing skills used daily with stock such as branding, doctoring, roping and sorting cattle. The Working Ranch Challenge begins on Friday.

Besides education and learning, The Mane Event offers plenty of opportunities to relax, shop and socialize with other horse lovers. The trade show features all things equine, from everything needed to care for and ride a horse, to art, clothing, home décor and pet products. Visit the show and gear up for success with your horse. In addition to shopping, the very popular Equine Experience show is returning and is not to be missed. In the past the show has included thrilling demonstrations on horseback from Jonathan Field, Dan James, Clay Webster and others. This year the expo welcomes Young Gunz Trick Riding. All riders on this team are under the age of 14 and they will thrill audiences with fast paced entertainment that includes Roman riding, vaulting and rope tricks. The show is a treat for spectators young and old.

Due to overwhelming demand, the Equine Experience will also be offered on Friday night to accommodate expo goers. Tickets for the show can be purchased separately, in advance, for guaranteed seating Friday or Saturday. Also new this year is a Trainer’s Challenge VIP package, perfect for those who can’t get enough of this exciting competition. Package price is $140.00 and includes the following: weekend admission to all expo events and trade show; VIP guaranteed seating at all Trainers Challenge sessions and finals; admission to a VIP reception; access to the VIP lounge all weekend; access to exhibitors’ lounge to buy meals, snacks, beer and wine; 20% discount in The Mane Event souvenir booth; and a special 2015 VIP gift.

General admission for The Mane Event is $15.00 daily or $40.00 for the entire weekend and includes over 81 hours of clinics, demos, the Trainer’s Challenge, trade show, and the Saturday night Equine Experience. Find more information about the Mane Event, including a complete schedule, camping/hotels or how to apply to exhibit or ride with the clinicians at maneeventexpo.com or email [email protected]