Sydney Horse Expo rides off into the sunset
‘ We had a really good weekend’
Well-known for hosting hockey games and music concerts, Centre 200 was transformed into a horse arena over the weekend for a first-of-itskind Sydney Horse Expo.
The three-day event kicked off Friday and concluded Sunday afternoon, drawing dozens of riders and horses and thousands of fans.
Mira resident Rebecca MacKeigan took part in a number of competitions and demonstrations over the weekend with her horse Dandy.
“We had a really good weekend,” she said. “I really think it was a success. I hope that they can have it again. There was a lot of work that went into this and we all, as riders, really appreci- ate it because it’s something different.”
In the stands, many people were also taking in all the expo had to offer, including Crystal MacLean of Marion Bridge.
“I’ve always loved horses,” she said. “I like watching it all. I like the barrel racing and the reining.”
The Sydney Horse Expo was sanctioned by the Nova Scotia Equestrian Federation and fea- tured demonstrations, competitions in both western and English pleasure classifications, a trade show, and opportunities to learn more about caring for horses.
The expo also featured Ross Millar and his Horse Power Live show, and a special guest appearance from Amber Marshall, star of the hit CBC Television series “Heartland.”
As of noon Sunday, Paul MacDonald, manager of Centre 200 and a member of the expo’s organizing committee, said approximately 2,000 people had come through the gate of the expo.
“I think it was a great success. You go into something for the first time and you don’t really know how it’s going to turn out but I’m thrilled,” he said. “Those that were watching were entertained, which is one of the goals, and I think we opened some eyes about what’s going on in the horse industry in this area.”
MacDonald said they worked through a lot of logistical challenges associated with hosting an event for the first time and proved that Centre 200 can host a first-class horse event. The hope now is to make it an annual event.
“We’re already talking as a committee about who we’re going to bring in and what we’re going to do,” said MacDonald. “And I think it’s going to be exciting for everybody again next year.”
Joan Reid, chair of the expo’s organizing committee, said she was thrilled with the feedback she was hearing from fellow riders and fans.
“Everybody I talked to was saying that they enjoyed it and had fun and that’s the big thing,” she said.
Reid said the expo served to raise awareness of the horse industry in Cape Breton, and Centre 200 was a great place to showcase it.
“It’s a fabulous place to come and show your horse,” she said. “We’re right in downtown Sydney and we’ve got lots of services handy, places to eat, places to stay, and it was quite convenient.”
Rebecca MacKeigan and her horse Dandy took first place in the open hunt seat equitation class Sunday morning at the Sydney Horse Expo. The threeday expo, which ended Sunday afternoon, drew dozens of riders and horses and thousands of fans to Centre 200.