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Equifest wraps up with close trainers' finale

July 1, 2012

Morning News — Leslie Mielke These five trainers took five horses on a 60-day trainer challenge. The trainers said they did the challenge for the exposure. From left are Ben Bonner, Mike Jones, Annalee Brighton, Russ Lott and Dirk Kunz. The top two trainers finished two points apart. Kunz beat Brighton by two points.

The first Intermountain Equifest at the Eastern Idaho State Fairgrounds concluded Sunday evening.
The Equifest featured horses, trainers, vendors and concessionaires. Trainers came from Colorado, California and Coeur d'Alene.
Trainer Aaron Ralston from Silt, Colo., demonstrated bridleless horsemanship. He worked with a 4-year-old Appaloosa stallion named Chief who had been ridden 20 times.
Ralston was part of the winning reining team at the 2006 World Equestrian Games. As he circled Chief around cones and around the arena, Ralston said, "I'm reading his ears. I'm looking for symmetry, cadence and accountability.
"I want the horse to get his thoughts on me," he said. "The horse will always loose focus. I want him to learn to check in with me.
"Give time for the horse to think," Ralston said. "Give him time to process.
"It's a little game of attention," he said as he moved his leg, hand and body to let the horse know he wanted him to turn before bringing the horse's head around with his rein.
"At an Equifest, you meet people who see the world the same way I see it," Ralston said. "We are not as crazy as our relations think we are.
"This Equifest is an important event for the industry," Ralston said. "It helps perpetuate a life style."
"It says a lot about Barry [Cellan] who took the risk to bring this in," Ralston said.
Barry Cellan from Tyhee (near Pocatello) organized this first Intermountain Equifest.

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