The Four States Ag Expo saw low turnout for its annual event this week at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds, but a few local horse owners and riders still took advantage of the clinics to learn something new.
Dory Daniel of Durango recently found out her horse Gunsmoke was a gaited horse, one that can perform a gait that is smoother and faster than normal.
Daniel said the clinic with horse trainer and instructor Jimmy Brown was an opportunity to learn how to ride her horse in the smooth gait.
“I never thought I’d be able to learn to do it in an hour,” she said.
Brown travels the country offering clinics like the one at the Ag Expo. Based out of East Texas, Brown has been training and riding horses for more than 30 years.
Daniel was one of two riders at his gaiting clinic Saturday, so she was able to work directly with him for most of the 1½-hour session.
Horse trainer Randy Helm of Arizona also gave clinics for riders on how to build a foundation and partnership with the horse, and which exercises help get a horse’s attention at the start of a working session.
Jean Oliver, a local rider, said she was glad to take advantage of a lesson with Helm and only two other riders.
Mounted patrol deputies from Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office sat in for a brief portion of the clinic with Helm.
The expo aims to bring riders, ranchers and farmers together so they can learn about the latest agricultural technology and innovations, as well as advance their horsemanship skills. The event has taken place annually for three decades in the spring, but it was delayed this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consignment tack for horses and other equipment were available for sale in the main building, but the number of vendors was lower than previous years.
Mike Smith, who was selling products to help keep soil healthy, said there “hasn’t been much foot traffic.”
Courtney Mael, a veterinarian who had a booth at the event, said fewer people came this year, most likely because of COVID-19.
In a normal year, the booths and the walkways are packed, but many of the vendor spaces were empty. Some were taken up by causes outside agriculture, such as information about becoming a foster parent.
“It’s a little bit slow this year,” Mael said.