RALEIGH -- GaWaNi Pony Boy firmed his stance, gripped the neck of the
palomino quarter horse and swung his hips onto her back, displaying to
a Southern Horse Festival audience the proper way to do a bare-back
The startled horse backed up, bucked and bumped into the chain-link
fence that caged the two, causing Pony Boy, who promotes natural
horsemanship methods based on Native American culture, to jump off and
adjust his tight Wrangler jeans and starched white shirt.
"And that's how you do an emergency dismount," he said to the chuckles
of about 100 people watching his clinic on controlling and
communicating with horses in tight spaces. A few tugs on the reigns
later, the horse was calm.
His was just one of the dozens of demonstrations, exhibits and classes
at the three-day expo at the state fairgrounds.
Organizers estimate that by the time the festival ends today, about
1,500 equine enthusiasts will have visited the Jim Graham Building and
Dorton Arena to shop, learn about riding and feeding techniques,
listen to lectures on equine diseases, share stable stories and
otherwise horse around.
The event, which is one of the largest of its kind on the East Coast,
features about 150 exhibitors and almost two-dozen equine breeds
including donkeys, mules and horses, said Kim Spell, the festival's
Today's events include clinics by nationally known horse trainers or
riders such as Pony Boy, Anne Kursinski, Lynn Palm and Curt Pate.
Lecture topics include horse showmanship, grooming, breeding and
"It's a one-stop shop," said Glenn T. Petty, president of the North
Carolina Horse Council. "We've got something for everybody from the
accomplished horseman to the guy who is thinking about getting a pony
for his daughter or son."
To wit, it's where one can buy a $3,000 saddle and painted horse
plates, take a few steps and learn about emergency preparedness for
large animals, speak with a horse insurer or learn more about
high-stepping Tennessee walking horses -- or even low-carb diets for
Molly Daly and her mother woke up with the sun Saturday and made the
three-hour trek from Arapahoe to attend the festival.
Molly, 10, had the Christmas list: A purple riding jacket, pink boots
and a purple blanket for her 6-year-old paint mare, Patches.
Her 39-year-old mom, Jennifer Daly, had the wallet.
Still, Molly said: "We both agreed to come here."