First Annual Horse A-Fair Takes Flight

On Saturday, November 7th nearly 50 riders and their horses enjoyed the first ever trail ride within the boundaries of the St. Louis Regional Airport in Bethalto, Illinois. 

The two and one-half hour ride featured natural terrain and man-made challenges parallel to the airport fenceline. As riders returned they enjoyed lunch and heard from the Dr. Kevin Kline, President of the Illinois Equine Foundation about the new Illinois Equine Emergency Response Fund. Dennis French, DVM, shared his experience from Hurricane Katrina, The Good, Bad & Ugly of Equine Disaster Response.    TETHER (Technical Large Animal Rescue) displayed their newly formed organization and recruited volunteers for training and participation.   

All of this information was geared towards Horsemen's Council of Illinois' recognition that we need a coordinated statewide equine disaster response plan and funding.  Participants browsed and purchased horse supplies, food, clothing, jewelery and decor from a number of vendors.  Special guests were Miss Rodeo Illinois, Ariel Wienmann; State Senator, William Haine; State Senator, Andy Manar; and Mayor of Bunker Hill, Tom Ament. 

Metro-East horsemen and business community, under the leadership of Denise Maxwell, created a model event that raised more than $1100 to benefit the Illinois Equine Foundation. The funds will be split evenly between Trails Advocacy work and the Illinois Equine Crisis Response Fund.   The Horsemen's Council hopes to stimulate similar events in other areas of the state as we look forward to assisting the Horse A-Fair to be bigger and better next year.

On behalf of Illinois Equine Foundation, Horsemen's Council of Illinois and those who will benefit from these new funds, thank you to each rider, vendor, sponsor, volunteer and participant!


Horsemen's Council of Illinois

Top Secret Designs

St. Louis Regional Airport

Illinois Boots & Saddle Club Inc.

Indian Hills Thoroughbred Farm, Inc.

 Brian E. Keister & Associates

Triangle H Farm LLC

Jack Schmitt Chevrolet

David & Maribeth Rahe

Hamel Co-Operative Grain Co.

Metro Deaf Interpreting Professionals LLC

Illinois Horse Network

Prairietown Feed Service

ABC Horsemanship

Happy Trails Equestrian Club

Donna Vogt 


Denise Maxwell - Chairperson; Chris & Ken Sherer - Trail Bosses; Jude Graves, Marcia Shetley, Michell Bickell, Ed Bickell, Leesa Schneider, Angie Fredrick-Garrett, Genie Manterfield, Karen White, JT Kolesa, Karen Margulis, Mary Davidson, Mary Beth Parker, Debbie Sakadaris

Line em up!

Day of the Horse 

Photo Contest

December 1 – December 13

Our Illinois Horse Fair Queen, Becca Schweiter and Princess, Kiersten Pratt are leading an effort to honor Day of the Horse in Illinois. Beginning December 1 they will be posting on the HCI Facebook Page an interesting fact or photo about horses, especially Illinois horses. 
We invite you to participate by sharing your own stories and photos that capture the connection between you and your horse their significance in your life.

Beginning December 1 share photos with a corresponding number of horses. For example, on December 1st share a photo with just one horse in it. On the 2nd of December a picture of two horses, and so on. Please add your identification and comments about the horses in the picture.  If you don't use Facebook, email them to

Becca and Kiersten will create an album that HCI will use throughout the year. A winning photo will be announced before Illinois Horse Fair and be displayed at the HCI booth.  The winner will receive free admission to Horse Fair and some special perks. 

On November 18, 2004 Senate Resolution 452 was unanimously passed, recognizing December 13 as the National Day of the Horse and encouraging the people of the United States to be mindful of the contribution of horses to economy, history and character of the United States.

Horseman Dennis Reis of Pengrove, California is recognized as the founder of the National Day of the Horse. His outstanding effort created a special day focused on our horses for the entire nation, for which we are all grateful.


Illinois Horse Fair

March 4 - 6, 2016

Springfield, Illinois


Sarah Winters-Dawson & Chris Dawson

 Gary Lane. Smith Lilly, Curt & Polly Hagey, 

Brody Robertson, Marilyn Weber, and MORE! 

Heartland Horseman's Challenge

IPRA Wooten Rodeo both nights

Special THANKS to our Illinois Horse Fair 2015 presenting sponsors:


See You Next Year:
March 4-6, 2016
© Horsemen's Council of Illinois       P O Box 788, Quincy, IL 62306-0788              217-689-4224           


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