Expand your equine knowledge at symposium by participating in a variety of workshops. Feel inspired after listening to our keynote speakers. Explore the options for youth, adult leaders, and industry leaders, below. Workshops are grouped into tracks by audience: Teen & Collegiate, Adult, and Industry Professionals. Every attendee is welcome to attend any workshop of interest to them, despite the track they are categorized into.



Mike Joyner


Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association


The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) named Mike Joyner as the organization’s new president in October 2018. Joyner’s experience in agricultural and environmental issues runs deep. Most recently, he served as assistant commissioner of agriculture and chief of staff for Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, helping to lead the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for almost eight years. Before that, Joyner represented clients throughout Florida and the United States before the Florida Legislature and state regulatory agencies. He also served in public affairs and environmental affairs positions for The St. Joe Company and Progress Energy (now Duke Energy) and worked as chief of staff for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Mike Joyner is a graduate of the First Class of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute; an agriculture-based leadership program developed by the Institute of Food and Agricultural Science at the University of Florida. A lesser-known fact about Mike is that in his youth he was a roper and polo player. He even entertained notions of becoming a professional polo player for a brief period.

Though Mr. Joyner’s current leadership role is associated with Fruit and Vegetable Growers, the people involved in the horse industry share similar issues. Domestic labor is a challenge. Water quality and springs protection, pest management, waste management, and other environmental impacts are shared concerns. He is working to make a difference for the people he represents.


When asked; What are the best words of advice you’ve ever received? He said, “As important as what we do is how we do it.”

arena demonstrations


Joel McQuagge

Equine Instructor

Department of Animal Sciences

University of Florida

Faculty supervisor of the UF Horse Teaching Unit and Equine Sciences

Saddle Maker

Joel McQuagge is an instructor of more than 25 years in the Department of Animal Sciences as well as a faculty supervisor of the University of Florida Horse Teaching Unit and Equine Sciences Center. He is also a gifted trainer, specializing in ranch horses and a saddle maker.

Saddle fitting

In selecting a saddle to purchase it is certainly appropriate to identify a saddle that fits the rider. Though finding a comfortable saddle is important, consideration of the way it fits the horse you intend to ride is of equal importance.  In this session we will examine the parts of the saddle (construction), demonstrate how the characteristics of the saddle affect saddle fit and relate those to various shapes of horses. In addition, we’ll discuss signs of poor saddle fit. We will take a look at various types of saddle pads and make comparisons of materials, design and value.

Dr. Emily Weiss

Vice President, Equine Welfare

The Right Horse

Dr. Weiss leads the efforts at the ASPCA to achieve the goal of all equines have good welfare. The work aims squarely on increasing the rehoming of horses, the development of effective safety net programming and a third focus of effective law enforcement response to cruelty and neglect. She is a founding member of Equine Welfare Data Collective and serves on the Animal Welfare Advisory board of the American Horse Council. Weiss is a lifelong horse owner and trainer and has conducted research regarding adoption and rehoming of horses. 

Yvonne Barteau

Founder, Head Trainer

Horses Without Humans

KYB Dressage

Yvonne is a lifelong horsewoman and decorated trainer. She has earned USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medals and freestyle bars and trained over 90 horses to Grand Prix or Prix St Georges level. She founded Horses Without Humans to apply the same talents to retraining and rehoming horses in transition.

Evaluating and Training Horses in Transition with The Right Horse

Horses typically have multiple owners in their lifetimes and can be at risk anytime they are transitioning between homes or careers. How do we as an industry tackle this challenge and prevent horses from falling at-risk? The Right Horse Initiative unites industry and welfare professionals to collaboratively help at-risk horses transition into new homes and careers. This combination workshop and demonstration will explore the mission of The Right Horse Initiative, the challenges it tackles, why increasing adoption is so important, and how youth and leaders can make a difference responsibly and effectively.


Dr. Emily Weiss will present an informative presentation about The Right Horse including examples of existing youth programs collaborating effectively with rescues. In the demonstration, Right Horse Partner Yvonne Barteau will bring it to life in the arena by demonstrating how good horsemanship can be applied to the critical piece of evaluating and training horses in transition. A key tool is the Basic Behaviors Profile, a scientifically valid, reliable assessment of 14 basic handling skills to determine a horse’s training level and needs. Together this presentation and demonstration will give youth and leaders an understanding of the issues facing at-risk horses, what this means to them and to our industry, and how to make a meaningful impact.”

Dr. Rebecca Speelman

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Culture.  Community. Communication.  What makes these three words timeless and essential in our lives?  If you are a teen leader of youth, an adult leader of youth, or a youth industry professional, this workshop is designed to help you meet your purpose and goals.   Join us as we interact with one another through small group discussion and roleplay to learn five pillars of professionalism and leadership in today’s world. We will brainstorm ways to meet the unique culture of your hometown communities and the best ways to effectively communicate with others to reach your organization’s goals.  Participants will have an opportunity to gain confidence in their ability to lead others by learning practical planning tips, specific communication strategies, and engaging ways to encourage greater group involvement. Participants will have an opportunity to learn skills to better lead, engage, and educate others about the value of culture, the importance of community, and the essential need for effective communication in our world today.

Courtney Smith

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Take your riding to the next level without being in the saddle. Improve rider performance through “performances”, aka exercise, geared for equestrians by equestrians. This workshop will be a hands-on, or full body on, interactive presentation that will introduce you to ways to become better in the saddle while out of the saddle. Incorporating a “performance” routine to your riding program can help overcome poor riding posture, gain balance and strength, increase stamina, develop mental toughness and learn to isolate important muscle groups used for riding. These “performances” will bring rider awareness to the importance of controlling and using body parts independently. Learn how to use what is in the barn or in your home to make “performing” simple and fun. Learn how to teach “performances” for all fitness levels correctly and in ways to promote self-confidence and self-accomplishment. Challenging ourselves beyond the ride will develop resiliency, courage, and determination making you the ultimate equestrian athlete.

Gail Silkwood

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Whether you are planning to attend a University, trade school or apprenticeship program, paying for higher education is a great worry for any family or youth. This session will help walk you through how financial aid works in the University system, how to find scholarships and how to be successful in obtaining them. The information covered here will be beneficial to youth in the 8th grade – 12th grade, parents, grandparents, caring adults that want to help kids or adults looking for ways to pursue their secondary education reach their dreams!

Barbara Nagle

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Horses are majestic creatures with bright eyes, soft muzzles, and shiny coats; and riding them brings us untold pleasure. But are we putting them in a position to succeed or fail? Not every human is capable of running a 4-minute mile no matter how hard they train and condition, and not every horse is capable of jumping a 4-foot fence no matter how hard we train and condition them. Our sport horses have limits based on how they are put together (i.e. their conformation). We all know that a horse’s temperament affects how they accept training. What many people don’t know is that a horse’s conformation can make it either easy or hard for them to accomplish what we ask them to do. It also contributes to their ability to stay sound and healthy while they are training and performing to the best of their ability. So let’s take a look at how we can select the best horse for the job so that they can succeed.

Dr. Jennifer Zoller

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Dr. Chelsie Huseman

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Being an advocate goes much farther than just standing up for your industry’s opinion in a heated moment. It’s who we are on an everyday basis. How we conduct ourselves, how we impact others, and where we choose to give of ourselves. Join us in learning how you can dive deeper into being an everyday advocate and make a more profound impact on the equine industry. Develop skills that will prepare you to tackle small advocacy hurdles, and large hurdles too! Plan to engage in lively discussions, spirited role play, and thoughtful reflection and leave equipped to change your industry for the better, one day at a time.

Kaylee Layton

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Kailey Vandekamp

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This interactive workshop is intended for youth who want to build public speaking skills. Public speaking can be a scary thing. However, the ability to confidently and effectively present ideas can be beneficial in all aspects of life including, job interviews, one on one communication, and oral reasons. The workshop will include a short lecture on three key aspects to build public speaking and oral reasons skills, as well as two interactive games. The three key aspects that will be discussed are knowledge and preparedness of the topic, style of presentation, and easy confidence. One interactive game will help students become more confident speaking in front of people and help participants get to know each other. The second game will help students learn to think creatively on the spot. It is for these reasons that you should join us for our workshop!


Dr. Nettie Liburt

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This interactive workshop will present an overview of the equine digestive system, using PowerPoint slides as a guide, and hands-on materials to represent different parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Attendees will be called upon to help build a model of the equine GI tract, while explanations of each segment will be discussed. Facts about each segment will be highlighted on slides with a related discussion of the subject matter. By the end of the workshop, attendees will have built a model of the GI tract and have a better understanding of how a horse digests food, the essential nature of fiber and water, and why the horse can be so delicate! The equine digestive system evolved to process small, continuous meals, but that often not the way domesticated horses are fed. Protein, carbohydrates and fat are digested in the small intestine, while fiber is processed in the cecum and large colon. The byproducts of fiber digestion provide energy and some vitamins that the horse can use to support a healthy metabolism.


Who has had trouble kicking negativity to the curb in their horse programs? Cliques, prejudices, and losing the feeling of belonging will derail the research-proven positive impacts of horse programming. Positive culture changes are doable with a few easy steps. This works whether the group contains beginners and/or advanced equestrians. We will discuss evaluating where the negativity stems from and why, positive youth-adult partnerships, building comradery, adding educational opportunities beyond riding, and conflict resolution skills through the eyes of 3 counties with 3 different horse programs. Be prepared for an interactive and hands-on session focused on giving you tools you can use to reboot your program to make a positive impression in a youth’s life. The ability to be able to teach and facilitate these tools within your program allows one to not only create but also sustain a positive culture.

Amanda Pittman

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Kelsey Irvine

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Stephanie Conner

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Is this your first year as the coach of the Horse Judging team? Perhaps you're the dedicated coach of the Pony Club Quiz Rally, and are in desperate need of some new ideas? Maybe you're a Senior 4-Her, hoping to assist your coach and lead your Horse Bowl team to victory? The Science of Teaching Equine Science begins this process by introducing attendees to the rudimentary learning styles (visual learning, auditory learning, kinesthetic learning, etc.) and discussing how to identify and use specific activities to cater to each of these learning styles. This workshop then focuses on specific ways to combine topics (such as anatomy, nutrition, reproduction, tack, etc.) with the rudimentary learning styles to create interactive multi-level learning modules to teach with. Towards the end of the presentation, attendees will be able to participate in example interactive modules themselves and will receive lesson plans of activities to use as examples when formulating their own activities.

Rebecca Gunderson

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Melissa Tucker

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Lesley Porterfield

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A crime has been committed, and your team has been put on the case.  Now it’s time to process the crime scene. Collect and document all possible evidence.  Step under the yellow tape and let’s get started. Welcome to the Forensics EQ crime lab.  We know you have good problem-solving skills; you’ll need to jump right into these crime scenes with your team.  The crime scenes will have a lot to say...

Youth working in small groups will have an opportunity to process up to five crime scenes with unimaginable horrors lurking around each corner.  Reports will be completed, evidence logged, and photos taken. If teams encounter roadblocks advisors and leaders can help by providing clues. This activity provides each member with a better understanding of how to manage horse facilities, regarding the safety of the horse and or pony, how to evaluate facilities for safety, and examples of changes that can be made to better their horses’ environment, safety, and health.

Bethany Bickle

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Lew Tumble

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Joe Stanco

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Lori Little

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Dr. Karen Waite

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Taylor Fabus

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Like all aspects of showing horses, good sportsmanship starts long before we ever set foot on the show grounds.  This workshop will focus on the definition of good sportsmanship in competitive equine activities as well as hands-on methods leaders and youth can use to develop and share this important character trait all year long. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop computer or phone with internet access.

industry professional workshops

Zoe Bowden

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Learn about increasing engagement with youth audiences by understanding audience media preferences and crafting impactful social media messages. This workshop will include a 20-minute presentation and 25-minute group activity focused on the influence of message framing on audience perceptions. As social media has evolved to become a legitimate source of information and news, it has become necessary for organizations to communicate strategically on these platforms. Just having an account is not enough, it is important to understand how to prioritize social media efforts to the most effective platforms and actively engage with audiences rather than just push content their way. The key techniques that will be elaborated on in the workshop are target audience analysis and message framing. Understanding the preferences and perceptions of the youth audience will allow communicators to frame their messages strategically to best represent themselves and their organizations and encourage audience engagement.

Rebecca Gunderson

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Many state agriculture youth programs and colleges have added judging to their programs covering market livestock, land, dairy, meats, and horses. Being a part of a judging team has shown to help in the development of key life skills such as communication, decision-making, organization, and others. Despite the growing demand for online courses for judging teams and coaches, there are limited online resources for horse judging content. Therefore, this project created a virtual and accessible standardized Horse Judging School that allows students and communities access to materials needed to learn proper judging techniques. This online resource covers the criteria needed to judge each class, proper note-taking techniques, oral reasons, and calculating judge’s scores. The content is presented through different activities in order to reach multiple types of learners. The online platform allows teams that are geographically distant to still practice as a team. By developing the online resource, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will help horse judging programs grow their membership and expertise to continue to increase students’ life skills and horse knowledge.


Conflict is unavoidable, but it doesn't have to be destructive.  This session will introduce attendees to five district conflict resolution styles-  competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating (Bell, 2002; Robin, 2002; Wertheim, 2002).  Participants will identify their own dominant style using the Conflict Style Assessment and will further discuss difficult situations with volunteers in which each style may be beneficial and appropriate in terms of reaching the desired outcome. Participants will further gain hands-on-experience in practicing specific strategies of conflict resolution- engage, do not engage, and negotiate (Gatlin, Wysocki, Kepner, Farnsworth, and Clark, 2002.  Additionally, participants will be provided with vetted resources related to conflict resolution appropriate for use with both 4-H youth and adults.

Shane Michael

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Megan Mann

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Stacey Ellison

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Lyndsey Androstic

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Suzanne Boarts

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Do the adults set the stage and the teens follow?  Do you provide opportunities for a group effort in teaching others?  As ONE team, we all have different titles but we are all working toward the same outcome… knowledgeable, safe, happy youth horse riders.  Learn about techniques, activities, and formats that have set the PA Regional Horse Camp apart from others.  We will provide you with tools to build respect and unity between youth and adults. If you want to help build better relationships between your leaders, youth and adults, then come join us and find out how!

Jessie Hadfield

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Megan Hendrickson

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Do you ever wonder why it is that youth are involved in your programs at a young age, but then seem to leave for other opportunities?  We know the youth ensure the future of the horse industry – whether it’s showing, training or other horse programs. Keeping them engaged throughout their youth years is the key.  Utah 4-H has been a pioneer of youth leadership, and has seen significant growth in their programs as a result. Incorporating positive youth development into any organization has been shown to help with both retention and overall growth.

With that in mind, this workshop will be a hands-on opportunity to evaluate your program and design it in a way that will better empower your youth. 

Barbara Nagle

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Saundra TenBroeck

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The Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 was created in reaction to the abuses found across various youth sports organizations. This act creates a new standard of care that is affecting youth-serving organizations across the country. The law is impacting not only Olympic sports, but also camps, public and private schools, collegiate sports, country clubs, community organizations, and sport facilities., The new requirements that are being imposed on coaches, trainers, club leaders, and even volunteers is changing how, where and when programs can be delivered. All staff and volunteers authorized to interact with minor athletes are now mandated reporters and are required to limit one-on-one interactions, including but not limited to; meetings and individual training sessions, social media and electronic communications, and travel. Through group discussion, we will explore how we can maintain quality athletic programs while complying with the Safe Sport Authorization Act.

teen & collegiate workshops




1 Gainer Rd

McDonald NM 88262


Kids + Horses = Magic

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