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Laura Dahl, Director
P.O. Box 430, Goodwell, Oklahoma 73939
Phone: 580-349-1354 * Fax: 580-349-1350
Email: lola@opsu.edu

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**For Immediate Release**
Festival of the Horse Planned
-released by OPSU Campus Communications 03-13-2006

Goodwell, Okla. - Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s Equine Science department is planning “Festival of the Horse” on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 28-30. The celebration includes demonstrations of a variety of horsemanship skills, a horsemanship workshop, a chuck-wagon cook off, traditional artists’ demonstrations, a western art show exhibit, cowboy poetry and music, a concert by the Red Dirt Rangers, and a horse auction.

Kicking off the event will be the Ranch Horse Versatility Show on Friday, April 28 at 9 a.m. at the University Farm. This “equine pentathlon” includes five parts in which horse and rider compete in pursuit of an overall championship. OPSU Equine Science students will compete on the horses they have trained and cared for since last August. The horses are provided by area breeders and supporters of the program and students. The versatility show is the culmination of eight months of hard work.

The five individual events include halter, pleasure, trail, cutting and cowhorse. Horses are judged on cadence and carriage in the pleasure class. In the halter portion, students groom and prepare their horses and are judged on appearance and conformation. During the trail class event, horses are guided through an assortment of obstacles and are judged on the horses’ willingness and obedience in maneuvering the course.

Two high-paced performance classes round out the event. The cutting class requires contestants to isolate or “cut” a cow from the herd, and then they are required to pen the cow in an allotted period of time. The most challenging event, cowhorse, tests the trainability and athleticism of the horse. The contest begins with the horse performing a reining pattern to showcase discipline. A cow is then released into the arena and the contestant must hold or “box” the cow in a specific area. Then the cow will be allowed to run down the fence as the horse pursues, overtakes and turns the cow. After a few “fencing” runs, the contestant will rope the cow to display the horse’s ability to stop the cow.

The Ranch Versatility Show is but one of many events taking place during Festival of the Horse. Watch for more details about it in upcoming releases!

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