2008 Texas Equine Expo
In September, the American Knabstrupper Association had a booth at the Texas Equine Expo held in Ft. Worth, Texas. The Knabstrupper breed was well-represented there by four horses owned by AKA members, Mike & Caroline Athey of Macarn Farm in Canton, Texas, Ellen Susman of Houston, Texas and Sky Johnson of Color Bound Farm in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Macarn Farm brought their wildly colorful 2004 Apollon gelding, Macarns Black Confetti (shown below being hugged at the Expo). Confetti was only 90 days under saddle and amazed the crowd with his calm acceptance of all the noise and hullabaloo. He was ridden in the exhibition ring by a novice dressage rider!
Ms. Susman brought her 2004 bay leopard Apollon gelding, Macarns Axxion (shown to the left at home with his owner aboard). Axxion was bred by Macarn Farm and sold to Ms. Susman as a yearling. He was gelded as a three year old and is competing in Houston in the dressage ring with wonderful success. Axxion was AKA's 2006 Year End Award winner in USEF Sporthorse Breed Show Competitions, outscoring many more traditional warmbloods. Axxion was exhibited under dressage tack at the exhibition and showed off his exceptional promise for that discipline.
Color Bound Farm brought two leopard geldings, Frej and Ikaros. Frej (shown to right in Florida show) was the AKA's 2006 Year End Award winner in Eventing. He is now competing very successfully in Florida in the show jumping ring with amateur rider Siobhan Gallagher. Ikaros was the AKA's 2007 Year End Award winner in Hunters. He is competing in the hunter ring in Florida under rider/trainer Dale Rochester of Bermuda.
The AKA's booth received lots of traffic as people flocked in to learn more about the Knabstrupper. An extra draw was the "Have You Hugged a Knabstrupper Today?" sign which hung over a portion of the booth that had been set aside for the Knabstruppers at the expo to take turns being mobbed by people wanting to pet, hug, kiss and take pictures with them!
Each day of the Expo, the Knabstruppers were presented in two different settings. One was in a small arena in an informal "Meet the Breed" session. The Knabstrupper session was full each day with lots of questions being asked. Most common questions were about how the Knabstrupper differs from the Appaloosa, whether they are ALL leopard colored (all four at the Expo were!) and how is their temperament for amateurs.
The other presentation was the formal exhibition in the huge show arena where there were hundreds of people watching. The AKA Knabstruppers each strutted their stuff. Confetti and Axxion showed off their gaits and temperaments in full dressage regalia. Then Frej and Ikaros gave a demonstration of the difference between competition in the hunter ring and show jumping ring.
While I explained the difference in movement and what was expected by the judges in the hunter ring, Ikaros (shown below at a previous show) and Dale Rochester jumped flawless rounds on the course of fences we had previously set up. Then the jumps were changed (and raised to over 4 feet!) and Frej and Siobhan wowed the crowd as they made spectacularly sharp turns and sailed clear over all the jumps.
The only sad part is that we were all so busy in the arena, setting jumps, speaking or riding that we were not able to get video or photos of the exhibitions. You'll just have to trust me when I say you would all be proud of our breed that day!
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