TRAVERSE CITY — Beth Tisdale thinks northern Michigan’s horse culture has taken a step back.
The founder of the Northern Michigan Horse Showcase and Stallion Expo returned to the area from Florida and found the industry hurting.
“Years ago we used to have a lot of horse shows up here,” Tisdale said. “And since then it’s kind of dwindled down a bit. It has to do with the economy.”
Tisdale hopes to help boost the local industry with her first annual horse and stallion expo that runs Friday through Sunday at the Northwestern Michigan Fair grounds.
Horse breeders will display stallions and promote lessons. Clinicians will lead seminars on how to start, hold and show a horse. Horse owners can learn to give equine massages. Kids activities include face-painting and knot-tying.
A live country band Saturday night will be followed by cowboy church Sunday morning. Attendees are invited to bring their horses to the service.
“Things like this kind of helps pick people’s morales up,” Tisdale said of the showcase.
She expects a couple thousand attendees to roll in from the Upper Peninsula and downstate. Some vendors are traveling from out of state.
Local businesses and farmers will also be represented at the expo, Tisdale said.
“It really is kind of open to anybody. It’s not necessarily just horse people,” she said.
The expo runs Friday 12-8 p.m., Saturday 10-8 p.m. and Sunday 10-5 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for kids. For more information, visit nmhorseshowcase.com