The Western States Stock Horse Show will take place on the Crook County Fairgrounds during a span of three days and feature clinics on showing horses

by: PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY STACY JO HARTLEY - Horse show competitors will compete in a variety of different classes and divisions during the three-day event.

Western States Stock Horse tries to host more than the typical horse show.

The organization, representing nine states in Region 6 of the American Stock Horse Association, has infused the standard show with clinics designed to teach people more about showing horses and encourage them to give it a try.

Later this month, they will bring their Stock Horse and Versatility Clinics and Horse Show to the Crook County Fairgrounds for a three-day event that is open to all who want to participate.

“This is our first show in Prineville,” said Stacy Jo Hartley, secretary for Western States Stock Horse. “We have a large membership from Central Oregon (about 20 to 25 percent of their 350-person membership) and tons of people asking us to have a show over there. My husband and I have shown in Prineville years ago, and we thought we would try it out.”

The event starts on Friday, a day focused primarily on educating people who show horses or those who have considered doing so. The clinics, which are open to anyone, are broken into a morning and afternoon sessions in which groups of 10 people rotate between lessons on the four stock horse showing classes.

One class, pleasure, measures the ability of the horse to be functional and a pleasure to ride while being used as a means of conveyance from one Western stock horse task to another.

The trail class tests the horse’s ability to cope with many situations encountered in everyday riding, with the horse navigating a pattern of obstacles representing typical work for a stock horse. Reining measures the ability of the horse to perform basic maneuvers, and the working cow horse class requires demonstration of its ability to do cow work.

“The education part is really huge,” Hartley said. “There are so many people who have wanted to show, but to take that step and actually go and participate, it’s a pretty overwhelming thing.”

She added that the clinic tend to prompt interaction between the show participants, often leading to new friendships.

“They are rooting for you the whole weekend, versus a typical horse show atmosphere where everybody is competing and not talking to each other,” she said. “There is just a whole different feel to our shows.”

Hartley went on to praise the clinicians conducting the courses. She said the seven individuals put in long hours helping people throughout the entire weekend.

“It is a great thing that they do.”

The following Saturday and Sunday, the focus of the event shifts to showing the horses. Saturday features the stock horse pleasure class and the stock horse trail classes, and on Sunday competitors will show in the stock horse reining and stock horse cow horse classes.

Each class features six different divisions including open, non-pro, green horse, limited non-pro, novice and youth. The ASHA-sanctioned event requires competitors possess a membership card.

Hartley stressed that while the event is a stock horse show, it is open to any breed of horse.

“When people think about stock horses, they think about a ranch horse, or a foundation horse, or a quarter horse, which is very traditional,” she said. “What they are looking for is the versatile horse, meaning the horse you can take out on the ranch and do all of the different parts – say, working on a cattle ranch or a working horse ranch.”

For the Crook County Fairgrounds, the three-day show will rank among their largest events of the summer. Manager Casey Daly said they have been working on securing the show for quite a while and hope for a successful event.

“They are going to use the outdoor arena, the indoor arena,” he said. “They are going to have the camping area full. They will have the horse barn full. This is a pretty big event.”

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