By Danika Overstreet
A few weeks ago I was blessed to attend the first annual NW EquestFest hosted by Region 5 at the Bellevue Courtyard Marriott. This day was full of forums and activities for the equine enthusiast, and catered to a wide range of disciplines and breeds. I spent most of my day at the AHA booth we had set up with the intention of informing others about our beautiful breed. It was great to see old faces and have people come up and tell us about their Arabian horse. It was even nicer though to see the wonder and interest on other equestrians who have never had experience with Arabian horses. Throughout the day I talked to many inspirational equestrians and connected with people from all different breeds and communities.
I was lucky enough to attend the Equitation forum and Sport Horse Trends forum. The Equitation form was so helpful. It was a nice jogging of the memory as we close in on the show season, and a great way to learn about other disciplines. I learned a lot about Showmanship, and it definitely peaked my interest. The English training tips were very informative and I felt that they were applicable to all disciplines. For example, I never really thought about working from your foot up. One, you learn how to hold and perfect your feet, you can move up to calf position, and then hips, and so forth. Eventually you will be a flawless equitation rider! The Equitation forum overall showed the importance of proper position when riding, as well as what each discipline is expecting of you. I later attended the Sport Horse Trends forum. This forum started off with Dressage Fashion trends. It was so cool to see all the different styles as of right now, and she explained some of the trends that have started to filter over from Europe. I learned that rust and navy colors are in, and bedazzled brow-bands are becoming more and more common. Having completely matching tack and apparel sets are a must, and who needs classic black shadbellys when you can have grey or brown ones? Mostly this presentation made me want to go on a huge shopping spree at my nearest tack store or whip out my Dover catalog.
If a trends forum wasn’t enough, there was a glorious fashion show hosted by Joyce Thomas and members of her barn. The fashion show covered everything from casual practice wear, to coats one would be terrified to ride in and dirty it up. Apparel from all disciplines were covered, and there were a wide range of styles to pick from. After the convention people who got a ticket for the banquet came in and were treated to a very delicious dinner. We had phenomenal guest speakers such as Cynthia Richardson, Stan Morey, Ron Copple, Kari Amundson, and of course our lovely director Michelle Pease-Paulsen. There was a wonderful dessert dash in which the proceeds went to help the Arabian
Horsemen’s Distress Fund, our table won and tried a Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake. The night was then followed up with numerous and well deserved awards centered on the Region 5 Highpoint Program. I was thrilled to be awarded Champion for Junior Sport Horse Under Saddle, Res. Champ for Junior Dressage, and 4th for Open 14-18. A huge congratulations to the other recipients and my Co-Director McKenzie who received the Youth Volunteer of the Year award. Overall the EquestFest was an absolute blast. There was a silent auction which benefited the AHDF, Region 5 Youth, and Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center. The turnout was absolutely amazing, and the forums ran smoothly. I absolutely adored this convention and hats off to our director for planning and running such a fantastic event. If you live in the Region 5 area, we hope to see you there next year! About the Author Danika Overstreet is the current Region 5 Youth Co-Director