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Organizers hope many will saddle up for benefit

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An event aimed at spurring interest in horsemanship also will help raise funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri.


The El Dorado Saddle Club, Hoofprints Stables and the Boys & Girls Clubs will offer “Teach & Trot” beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday at the stables, 6925 E. Highway 50, about three miles east of Sedalia. Experienced horse handlers will offer demonstrations ranging from horse health care to horse shoeing to dressage.


Professional ferrier and trainer Rod Sullivan, a member of the El Dorado club, said the idea of doing a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs came up during a trail ride at the saddle club.


Staci Harrison, director of human resources for Boys & Girls Clubs, was part of that ride; she said once the horse club came up with its idea and stable owner Kathy Heman offered up her facility, “We gathered individuals who wanted to help and got all our talents together to make it happen.”


Sullivan said the event’s goal is to “introduce people who haven’t had much to do with horses” to the equine world, although he added, “People who are familar are welcome to come, too.”


One of Sullivan’s demonstrations will be on natural horsemanship, which he said is “how to teach a horse to do what you ask him to do without being overly aggressive.”


Large animal veterinarian and Boys & Girls Clubs board member Dr. Dana Gillig will offer sessions on anatomy and horse health, and Shaye Siegel, the 2012 Youth of the Year at the Heber Hunt Elementary site, will do a safety demonstration.


“We have a lot of people around horses at parades and fairs and they don’t know how to act around them, which can be a danger to themselves and others,” Harrison said.


There also will be a horse show including everything from miniatures to draft horses in the afternoon. In addition to the demonstrations, a kids’ carnival with crafts and face painting will be offered.


Admission for “Teach & Trot” is a free-will donation. Horse rides and some children’s activities will be available for an additional fee. The event lasts until 5 p.m., and the Smithton Boys & Girls Club Torch Club will offer a nominally priced lunch.


All the day’s proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri.


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