High school students considering an equestrian career and young kids just wanting to pet a horse for the first time are in luck this weekend.
The first Arizona Equine Youth and Career Fair is coming to Queen Creek. Its goal is to introduce kids of all ages to horse culture.
"This event is the first ever in the United States," said Lise Streit, director. "There's no other like it."
Streit also puts on the annual Festival of Horses at Westworld in Scottsdale. While there are a few youth activities, workshops and shows at the December festival in Scottsdale, it's mainly geared toward adults.
This, on the other hand, will let kids learn about horses. There will be petting clinics, chances to see different breeds showcase their talents, demonstrations from groups including the Golden West Cowgirls and Arabian Horse Association of Arizona, and opportunities to learn how to do basic horse first aid and even equine massage.
"Horses love massages so much, they sometimes fall asleep during a massage," Streit said. "They're just like people."
And there will be some more unusual demonstrations, too. For instance, a game of horse soccer; a horse psychotherapy demonstration; and a precision drill performance by a miniature horse team, the Arizona Mini Mystiques, are all on the schedule.
Older kids who think they might want to go into careers ranging from veterinary medicine to equestrian fashion design are in luck, too.
There will be 12 different career stations where students can talk to professionals about their jobs and what kinds of preparation they need to get into the field, Streit said.
Streit said she's trying to make the event friendly for a wide variety of people. For instance, the clinics will satisfy requirements for a Girl Scout badge, Streit said.
And for kids or adults who don't own a horse but think they might like to, Streit said she hopes the event will "help you make an educated decision."
If the event is successful, Streit hopes it's used as a model to host similar days in other parts of the country. But for now, she's expecting 750 to 1,000 people a day at the inaugural event.