A Breed Event That's NOT About The Points & Ribbons

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I can't give you a review of AQHA's newest event, called QuarterFest, because it hasn't happened yet. It'll take place May 1-3 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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But I can say that I hope it's successful enough to inspire the powers-that-be in other breeds to get their thinking going in a similar direction.

QuarterFest is not planned as a horse show, with points and ribbons as the enticement, but as a pride-in-belonging festival. Sort of like "Sturgis for horse people." A party, to large extent.

This party's invitees are the home-based, non-competition-driven horse lovers looking for a good time, and maybe a little horsemanship education, over an extended weekend.

The event is set up to be something like a horse expo, with clinics, demonstrations, breed exhibits, vendor shopping, and plenty of chances to mingle with and hang out with other horse people.?

But here's what seem to me to be the two brilliant twists on the concept:

* Attendees have the option to bring their own horses--of any breed--then camp on the grounds, ride in the clinics (or ride out just for fun), to get R&R time as well as social and/or learning time. (You can attend without a horse, too.)

* The event sponsor's own breed gets to be the star of the show. QuarterFest will include a two-hour, choreographed showcase of Quarter Horses as its evening entertainment.

The clinician lineup happens to include two Team H&R members, Bob Avila and Julie Goodnight. Dunno know about you guys, but I'd jump at a chance to ride with either one of them.

In any case, I'm all for the idea of creating opportunities for horse people to be engaged and active. So, tip o' the hat to AQHA for thinking this one up.