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Horse Expo 2011 underway, benefits Humane Society

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

Hawaii Island Humane Society’s Hawaii Horse Expo 2011 kicked off Thursday evening with a welcome reception at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

Among those in attendance were the equine veterinarians and Mana Award winner Pudding Lassiter.

Lassiter said she was surprised and honored to be selected to receive the Mana Award.

Pudding Lassiter

“I’m just always happy to help out where I can,” she said.

Nancy Jones, who helped found the event in 2008, said she was pleased that Friday’s medical symposium sold out. That she said indicated Big Island horse owners and ranchers are interested in learning more about the animals.

Top equine veterinarians Dr. Robert Miller from California, Dr. Brady Bergin of Waimea and Dr. Mark Fitch from Colorado had a full day planned to discuss issues related to better animal care.

Jones said there are still tickets available for the Saturday and Sunday events.

Miller, Fitch and Bergin, accomplished horseman and trainer Tommy Garland, RFD TV host Rick Lamb, “HorseThink” founder and trainer Scot Hansen, and TTouch founder Linda Tellington-Jones are slated to conduct hands-on demonstrations beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Anna Ranch Heritage Center in Waimea.

Sunday begins with a Blessing of the Horses. Horse owners are welcome to bring a strand of their horse’s mane or tail for a traditional Hawaiian blessing.

Also Sunday, Hawaii Horse Expo will present the event’s Mana Award to recognize Lassiter who has inspired and educated the community about horses in line with the goals of Hawaii Horse Expo. The award is sponsored by Veterinary Associates Inc. in Waimea.

Hawaii Island Humane Society executive director Donna Whitaker said the number of abandoned and neglected horses has stabilized after a couple years when owners just could not afford to care properly for their horses.

However, she said, the expo and the funds it has raised have had a significant impact in the Humane Society’s ability to assist the island’s horse population.

Proceeds from the annual event benefit the Humane Society’s Horse Rescue Fund, which helps abused and abandoned horses on the island.

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