Seminar presentations have long been a part of Horse Progress Days. Increasing knowledge and improving life is a quest upon which humans have been on since the very first ones set foot on this good earth. In communities where basic needs are met, there is time and incentive for learning new ways, and in some cases, re-examining old ways that may have relevance for the present day. The local and national planners of Horse Progress Days are determined to keep learning in the forefront, and entertainment out back.
Be sure to check the flyer you receive when you enter the grounds of Horse Progress Days to see how many other seminars have been added to the event.
Properly Fitting Collars and Harnesses
by Knepps Collar Shop
Horse Progress Days 2022 is fortunate to have resources for this seminar from an ongoing business established in 1977. When Norman Knepp, the collar maker of the outfit, left his formal education upon completion of the eighth grade, he continued his education in his Dad’s shop, making collars. That was 32 years ago. So he has a wealth of knowledge related to the making of collars and he will also be talking about how to properly fit a collar. The reason it is so important that a collar fit properly, of course, is so that horses can do their work without developing sores. And since southern Indiana is horse pulling country, the Knepps make a lot of pulling collars. Talk about fitting a collar; no horse is going to pull with all his strength if there is something bothering him under his collar. So if you want to learn something about this subject, you may never have a better opportunity.
This shop also makes harnesses for many different kinds and sizes of equines. And then there are the leather belts and carpenter nail pouches that keep another two brothers busy in the shop. Norman or one of his brothers or Dad Dave will talk about properly fitting harnesses too. This shop provides work for all four of the boys who grew up with it, and from time to time various of the grandchildren work or have worked there too. Each piece that comes together here represents handwork, but is also a work of art. From this seminar you will learn the practical side of things.
by Javin Lehman
The resource person for this seminar is a young and energetic horseman who has seen his share of success in his chosen field of training and sale prepping of various breeds of horses. Javin is from the Arthur, Illinois area. His prepping and fitting outfit is called Rolling Meadows Equine; it is familiar to many. For quite a few years now, he has been a participant in the Mid-America Sale better known as simply Gordyville, as well as other mid-western horse sales. His horsemanship skills have resulted in the handling and sale of some high selling horses, and while he is not abandoning this profession entirely in favor of his more recent horse dentistry endeavors, he is cutting down on it so that he can be even more effective for his horse tooth customers.
Javin credits his former Illinois neighbor John Hershberger for teaching him a lot about equine dentistry and there are others he has learned from as well. He also appreciates the support of his wife Kaitlyn. Why is horse dentistry important? What about wolf teeth in young horses? How do properly aligned teeth contribute to the health of a horse? What does a horse’s teeth condition have to do with bit comfort? Javin describes himself as a horseman at heart with a passion for making horses comfortable. Join this seminar to learn about this and much more!
Colt Starting and Handling Young Horses
by Brian Schrock
Our presenter for this seminar is a full-time horseman also from Sullivan, Illinois. He grew up on a dairy farm that is owned by his father Eldon Schrock, immediate past vice president of the Horse Progress Days Board of Directors. Here he became intimately acquainted with the farm’s chosen breed; Belgians. For many years his family has stood a stallion, raised foals, and started young horses. But it was with the reading of books and the taking of seminars with professional trainers that he developed his own unique style of training.
He will be drawing on his last 10 years as a trainer and sale horse prepper, backed up by his lifetime exposure to horse flesh, to resource his presentation. His goal with a young horse is to get it to “soften up.” This means teaching the horse to be willing to give a good measure of cooperation to whoever is the handler, beginning with the very basics; like leading. He uses the advance and retreat method to train. This is a method that has been proven to work well in this era of training horses rather than “breaking” them. Problem horses are also at times part of his training efforts, but he finds that it is often necessary to train the people who handle them too, so that the things the horses learn in his program are not wasted by bad human horse handling. Brian will be bringing some training supplies with him for those who might wish to use his methods when they return home.
Jerald Keegan on pulling horses and Lester Raber on draft horses
Two highly-qualified individuals with lifetimes of experience make up this team of presenters. Jerald Keegan hails from Montgomery Michigan. His dad was the one who introduced him to the pulling horse world. He has competed in as few as 15 competitions in a season and up to as many as 30. His job will be to evaluate a pulling bred horse standing there in front of him, “picking it apart.” This will be interesting. He’ll talk about how confirmation might affect the number of years a horse might be able to compete and when to start training and what to look for in the horse’s shoulder and when to put a horse into competition.
At his farm he has about 60 to 65 horses at any one time, including 13 mares and their foals, yearlings, two year olds, and three year old offspring. He stands two stallions in southern Indiana, and keeps two on the farm. He also feeds a few cattle. He farms 250 acres of which 150 are in hay that he puts through his animals. In the wintertime he logs in the woods, buying the timber and selling it himself. At 44 years old, he and his wife have three kids and one grandkid. When he was in high school or just out, he tried working in a veneer shop. He lasted 18 hours, and the experience made clear that living and working outdoors would be the only way for him.
Lester Raber is a buggy horse guy; mostly standardbred. He has been actively buying and selling horses for over 20 years. It’s more of a hobby for him since he has a business called J and R Heating that sells gas boilers, but some people still would call him a horse dealer or jockey. He prefers to think of himself as a professional equine relocater since it is not unusual for him to travel as far as New Holland Pennsylvania with a load of horses to sell and return to his southern Indiana home with a load he bought; also to resell. He will talk about the importance of a good head on a horse and the differences he sees in confirmation between horses of old and the more modern type favored today; heavier boned versus light boned horses. He started his horse career at a young age with mini horses and is still closely connected to the mini horse world. He might mention the importance he sees in having mini horses around for young children, and how that might affect their interest in and future abilities to handle horses.
Grazing/Pasture Maintenance Seminar
by Victor Shelton
We all know that pastures play an important role in the keeping of livestock. They provide nutrition, exercise and recreation for our animals. Our presenter for this seminar is retired from a 35 year career working for the United States Department of Agriculture as an agronomist and grazing specialist. His work took him to many countries outside the USA including New Zealand, Australia and countries in Central America where he did consulting work. He has also spoken at many national conferences and has done a lot of writing on the subject. His monthly column called Grazing Bites appears in a variety of print and digital formats.
He will talk about what a good pasture looks like, and how to manage it to achieve that end. He grew up on a cattle farm, and on his small spread today he keeps some cattle and raises Katahdin sheep. Take this seminar to learn about pastures from an expert on pastures with lots of practical and academic experience and exposure.