By Chrystal DeCoster
The recent Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, held at the National Western Complex in Denver, offered herds of wranglers, workshops, mustangs, mules, and more.

Along with horses and horse persons of all sizes and abilities, there were dozens of horse industry-related vendors and sessions with leading equine clinicians who workshopped an array of topics such as "Discover Equusology; Your Typology and Your Horse's Typology" by

psychotherapist Melisa Pearce, and "Spookbusting In-Hand and In the Saddle" by internationally respected Anna Twinney, equine linguist, behaviorist, and founder of Reach Out to Horses, a trust-based partnership program based in the Golden, Colorado foothills.

The "Equine Comeback Challenge" segment showcased the results of a 120-day transformation process with rescued horses and the trainers with whom they were paired. This continuing program is designed to give "great rescue horses a second chance."

Frankie, a miniature therapy horse, was on hand at the "Art in the Park" art show's reception, demonstrating the reason she is so good at uplifting the folks she visits regularly at nursing homes and schools. "Minis" were also available in the petting area near the stick-horse musical chairs corral.

The "Art in the Park" gallery presented over 60 paintings by artists who possess a passion for horses. Represented were painters, equine-related photographers, sculptors, jewelers, and mixed-media artists, "all celebrating the horse from their own perspective and artistic interpretation."

This year's "Art in the Park" featured two local Lyons connections:

The photography division's blue ribbon winner, “White Stallion Runs Up,” was by Carol Walker who lives near Rabbit Mountain and has work featured and books & calendars for sale at Western Stars Gallery and Studio in Lyons. Walker's dedicated advocacy work is devoted to keeping wild horses free. She has traveled worldwide to photograph animals, concentrating since 2000 on America’s wild horses. Many of her images celebrate "the beauty of horses at liberty." She is also a book author, often teaches equine photography workshops, and maintains a stable of commercial clients. In its second printing, Walker's premier book, Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses, has numerous awards for design, imagery quality of images and writing prowess.

Peggy Judy from Crawford, Colorado, was the 2017 featured juror of “Art in the Park.” She obtained her BFA from Colorado State University, is married to an equine vet, and has spent much of her professional life breeding, raising, training, and selling Warmblood Sport Horses. Most recently, after industriously renewing her zeal for painting animals of all kinds with a western and agrarian sensibility, she was featured as an emerging artist to watch in Southwest Art Magazine's January 2017 edition. Judy's work is also proudly represented by Western Stars.

The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo is an educational and entertaining equine affair orchestrated by the Colorado Horse Council, "a grass-roots, all-breed, non-discipline specific organization dedicated to linking the horse owners and the horse industry of the State of Colorado into a powerful, common voice in order to protect their common equine interests through legislation and education. It also employs a full-time contract lobbyist, who works with the State Legislature on horse and agriculture-related issues."

For more information about year-round equestrian-related ongoings in the immediate area, The Boulder County Horse Association "promotes, protects, and unifies the equestrian community of Boulder County through education, recreation and legislation" and has been involved in "all horse-related interests" since 1971.

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