WACO, Texas — Texas has a reputation as being a “cowboy country” and that’s shown to be true by the million or so horses living within our borders -- the most of any state in the U.S.
Each year, Texas hosts thousands of horse-related shows—rodeos, horse and cattle shows, and more.
One Central Texas venue is proving to be a favorite.
Modern-day horse shows got their start in medieval Europe with tournaments and agriculture fairs. Imagine knights jousting from atop their mighty steeds.
Things are much tamer today. But at the Extraco Events Center Show Pavilion, state-of-the-art facilities make this a popular place to show a horse.
“I mean, this is a great arena. Look how the walls are all smooth. There's not a lot of distraction except me up here," said Robin Drennon, founder of Charity Horse Shows of Texas.
Drennon holds the Charity Horse Shows of Texas every year in Waco, focusing on specialty breeds like Tennessee Walkers and Friesians.
“This is the Friesian breeding. Big, majestic horses that are high stepping and they can be a pistol sometimes," said Drennon.
“I got it started because there are a bunch of little, small, almost endangered breeds throughout Texas or the states, and we needed a place to show. So I thought, well, I'll just create a horse show. We'll make it a charity horse show we'll benefit the community where we are having our show," said Drennon. "And so I did a couple in Dallas and then a couple in Corsicana and one in Terrell, and now we're in Waco because we like this arena a lot.”
“We love to hear that. We want people to want to come back," said Melinda Adams.
She heads up Marketing/PR and Sponsorship Development.
“We're standing in front of the covered arena, which is where we do a lot of warm-ups. We do some competitions back here and we've got two additional warm-up arenas where people can go and warm up their horses and lunge them and things like that," said Adams.
With 800 horse stalls for competitors and special areas for washing and grooming, they host all kinds of equine events. Everything from barrel races to English Hunter jumper shows.
And these events draw lots of horses and people to town throughout the year.
“We have 101 horses here and typically with each horse, 3 to 5, or 6 people come along with that horse. We’re a charity, so we really only work on donations. So we've had some very generous people here in Waco donated to this event. And to help us put on this show," said Drennon.
“We want people to want to come back. We love to host events. We’re Extraco Events Center, we’re in the events business, and we want people to want to come here. We want them to have a great experience while they're here, and we'd love to have them back," said Adams.
Texas and horses – it’s a long-standing tradition of respect and partnership. You can enjoy horse show events all through the year right in the heart of Waco.