Big weekend

Niki Flundra's ultimate equine event “Heart of the Horse” is premiering just outside of Nanton at the Silver Slate Arena Sept. 20-22. The extravaganza will feature Dan James, Glenn Stewart, Matt Robertson and Amberley Snyder. Amber Marshall, star of the CBC hit TV show “Heartland” will also be a featured guest.

“Heart of the Horse” is an event designed to recognize the heart and unbelievable abilities of both horse and trainer. It will showcase the true art of horsemanship through a colt starting competition, demonstrations and mini clinics to spread knowledge and understanding and will also feature top-notch entertainment.

According to organizers, the colt starting competition is an informative and extremely entertaining event where three trainers choose a colt from a herd and, over the course of three days, compete to start and train at the highest level to win the competition. On the final day, trainers must attempt several challenges and an obstacle course before the winner is determined. Along with the thrilling competition, the event will feature a trade show and equine industry-related highlights.

Dan James is a two-time international World Champion Colt Starter, a multiple-time Freestyle Reining Champion, a multi-discipline crowd favourite several times over, and a Mustang Makeover finalist. Glenn Stewart is a former Champion of the Cowboy-Up Challenge at the Calgary Stampede and was chosen as one of the Canadian representatives in the 2012 Road to the Horse (the World Championship of Colt Starting), and was also nominated as one of “Western Horse Review's Horseman of the Year.” Matt Robertson said he went through high school, college and a few years of the PRCA - riding saddle bronc horses and got a degree in welding and did that long enough to know, “I belonged out on a ranch riding a horse,” he said.

Amber Marshall doesn’t just play a horse lover on the CBC television show - she lives the cowgirl lifestyle. As a horse owner and accomplished horsewoman, there is nobody better to represent the upcoming event, noted organizers. Marshall has special ties to “Heart of the Horse,” as she and Flundra became good friends when the event producer first started working on “Heartland” performing stunt riding for Marshall and providing her specialty liberty horses for the show.

“I'm just really excited the way it's all coming together,” Flundra said.

For some time, producing an equine-related event has been on Flundra's mind. “I do have a background in production and entertainrsment. It just seemed like the time to do it and once I took that leap and got the ball rolling it kept going faster and faster and here we are,” she said. Flundra started out as a professional trick rider, as well.

Flundra hopes audience members leave the event having an amazing time with a feeling of being both educated and entertained.

“I am a student for life of horsemanship. I know a lot of people involved in the equine world feel the same. We're always thirsty for more knowledge, points of view, and different ways of doing things. I think people that have that hunger for horsemanship will be excited of all 'Heart of the Horse' has to offer,” she said.

Of course to do it in an entertaining way, she added, is what she really hopes to do. Many of this year's Flundra has worked with many of this year's special featured guests in some way in the past or have crossed paths.

“It has been a tremendous effort to put on an event of this nature,” she said, adding she is incredibly passionate about it and has a drive to make it a success.

For more information about the event please visit online at theheartofthehorse.ca.

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