Many of you may know that one of my biggest aspirations is to become an equine journalist and to leave a footprint in the equine publishing industry one day. After finally graduating from business school last month, I am ready to take on whatever comes my way. So when the editor of Horse & Rider Magazine asks you to cover the 2018 National Western Stock Show in Denver, you say YES, YES and YES. It’s only January and I already received my first assignment. While the entire event is two weeks long ranging from reining, rodeo, show jumping, breeding cups, art shows and so much more, it is almost impossible to see everything. With a total of 684,580 visitors during the two week event, it is one of the major attractions our state has to offer every year in January. One of the highlights is the kick-off parade in downtown Denver, where over 40 longhorns, drill teams, mounted police, cowboys and equine enthusiasts promenade from Union Station along 17th street, while spectators celebrate the beginning of the 111th National Western Stock Show. Streets lined with cowboy boots, big and small, it’s a sight you won’t want to miss. If you plan on attending next year, arrive early (at least 30 min), otherwise you’ll end up in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th row.
The belief that National Western is only for rodeo fans is widely mistaken, because their black tie event, known as An Evening of Dancing Horses has much more in store than Old MacDonald Had A Farm. Here national talents bring together a one of a kind exhibition full of reining, dressage and liberty, while accompanied by live orchestra music of the Denver School of Arts. In the spotlight this year was Big Horse Productions, whose creator and Colorado native, Erik Martonovich, was honored with leading the opening event in patriotic attire, flag-waving, doing what he does best – standing astride two majestic Belgian Draft horses, which carried him around the arena. You have probably heard about Young Living essential oils, but have you heard about the Young Living Friesians? That is right, Gary and Mary Young love them so much that they have 20 of these incredible black beauties, along with Andalusians, Percherons, and even a Camel, on their Young Living family farm in Mona, Utah. Before the exhibition, I had the chance of meeting three of their magnificent black stallions along with incredibly sweet and welcoming caretaker Kaitlin ( I hope this is how you spell your name). Not only did these majestic creatures look like equine gods, they also smelled like one; bathed in lavender oil and satiny black manes nearly touching the ground.
Among many others, all time favorites and locals Sharee & Steve Schwartzenberger, performed a marvelous reining act inspired by The Sound of Music.