Free March 15 clinic to spark enthusiasm in horse people
People have been calling Marvin Kapushion for several weeks about a horse clinic he is involved with March 15 at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.
“They can’t believe it when I tell them it’s free,” he said. “They ask, ‘Well how about if I bring my horse?’ “
“I tell them, ‘It’s free,’ Then some have asked, ‘What if I bring more than one horse?’ It’s still free.”
Part of the disbelief no doubt stems from the fact that Kapushion and his wife, Sue, have been professional horse trainers at their home near Kannah Creek for 28 years.
The walls of their home are adorned with photos and awards they have accumulated from all over the country in competition through the American Quarter Horse Association, the American Paint Horse Association, the National Snaffle Bit Association and more.
The Kapushions command top dollar for their equine expertise.
But the clinic at the fairgrounds this month is something different, the opening event in what Marvin said he hopes will be an ongoing schedule of events put on by a new organization — one that he and Sue are involved in, but that will also include many other horse people in this community.
The March 15 clinics are being sponsored by the High Desert 4-H Club in conjunction with that new organization, Western Slope Equine Community.
The idea is to educate local horse people, as well as promote the equine community and horse industry in this region.
The meeting that gave birth to the group was held earlier this year when the Kapushions invited representatives of a number of local horse groups and 4-H clubs to come talk about a potential organization.
But the idea for it began stirring in the Kapushions’ minds sometime earlier.
Although the couple conducts most horse training at their farm near Kannah Creek, to show the horses nearly always requires them to travel out of the area — to Colorado’s Front Range, to Texas, Oklahoma, California and elsewhere. They also act as judges in many shows.
Marvin is a board member and past president of the Rocky Mountain Quarter Horse Association and travels frequently to the Eastern Slope for board meetings.
Considering all that, they asked themselves, “Why don’t we know what’s going on in our own backyard?”
What they and others who attended the formative meeting of the Western Slope Equine Community recognized is that many horse groups that once flourished here are now struggling or have disappeared entirely.
“One problem is enthusiasm,” Marvin said.
Additionally, there is little interaction between groups that serve different equine disciplines or different breeds.
But there seem to be as many horses in Mesa County and neighboring counties as ever before, he noted.
And plenty of people want to do more with their horses, from trail riding to competition in various events. Often, they don’t know how to get started or which groups to contact.
That’s why the top priorities for the Western Slope Equine Community will be education and promotion.
“It’s self-serving in a way, for us, because we hope to keep people involved in the horse industry,” Marvin said, and that could lead to more clients for the Kapushions.
But promoting their horse business is not the reason the couple is pushing the group.
Besides education for horse owners and promotion of the industry, they want to create a better means of communicating among the various horse groups in the region, and to help people learn how to use their horses safely and understand what they are capable of doing with them.
Kapushion is quick to point out that there aren’t such big differences between horse disciplines as many people believe. Whether one is involved in Western pleasure or reining, dressage or jumping, or just trail riding, “We want our horses soft in the poll and in the jaw, and we want to be able to control all parts of their bodies.”
The hope for the group is that there will be other clinics in the future, sponsored by other 4-H clubs or horse groups, depending on the disciplines involved.
Once the first clinic is completed, “I plan to call another summit meeting and talk about what the next activity will be,” Marvin said. “I’m really adamant that we should keep having equine activities, not just potluck dinners or something, so that we keep people interested and involved.”
The March 15 clinic will be for all levels of horsemanship. Although it is free in terms of dollars, Marvin tells potential participants, “This is what it will cost you. We want your name, address and what your equine interest is.”
A website is being developed, but it’s not online yet.