EQUUS Film & Arts Fest and The Mustang Summit

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in Westcliffe Colorado, September 28, 29, 30 & October 1, 2023

Westcliffe, CO – The EQUUS Film & Arts Fest, along with their educational program The Mustang Summit, will gallop into Westcliffe, Colorado in September as part of the initiative to expand the Mustang education of the horse loving general public. The Mustang Summit will be a platform for Americans and Mustang enthusiasts to learn, express views, share experiences and discuss issues on an open stage. The Mustang Summit will be hosted at the B-bar-B Ranch in Westcliffe and the EQUUS Film & Arts Fest will be based out of the Westcliffe Center for the Performing Arts and the Jones Theater. Local artist, Melody DeBenedictis, is the Westcliffe Fest Coordinator and local contact for the event.

With support from local area partners, Custer County Tourism , Peaks Integrity Wealth Management and Insurance Services, Colorado Horse Source, a generous secret supporter, and Courtyard Country Inn, EQUUS has been able to create an event that will be fun for the whole horse loving family. Kids will even be able to talk with Lucus and Levi White, from L & L Manquest, two brothers who are traveling across the United States on horseback (with their parents) for the ultimate home-schooling adventure project!

The Mustang Summit will be a safe environment to ask questions, listen to experts, watch training seminars and demos to help the general public understand more about the current conditions of the American Mustang Horse off range. EQUUS will be working in partnership with The Cloud Foundation. Founder, Ginger Kathrens and Executive Director, Kerry Ferguson, will be joining in the event. The various panels will be discussing issues such as healthy mustang numbers, mustang gathers, mustangs in holding, successful gentling and training programs, competitive events, kill pens, youth programs, prison programs, veteran & healing mustang programs.

Thursday evening’s VIP Fundraiser at B-bar-B Ranch, festival host and sponsor, will help local area Veterans through the “Mustang Mountain Project”, run by Rebecca Wills. The Wet Mountain Valley area in Colorado is home to over 2,000 Veterans. Those Veterans are without any equine assisted healing programs, we are working to bring awareness to this and help bring the horses (preferably Mustangs) to the Veterans who need the healing powers of the horse. The musical entertainment for the evening provided by High Country Junkies, and friends.

EQUUS Film & Arts Fest has a selection of Mustang and Wild Horse Documentaries screening in Westcliffe, along with a collection of equine therapy and healing documentaries running in the film program. There will be Panels with filmmakers and Authors. Scheduled conversations with those involved in the day- to-day interactions with American Mustangs. The list of guest speakers in the online program.

We will host six of the country’s top Mustang trainers, partnering each trainer up with one of the BLM’s six untouched yearlings they will be showcasing at The Mustang Summit, the Mustangs will be available for adoption after the event. The selected trainers are West Taylor from Utah, the team of Sky Epperson, from Indiana, with Annamaria Sims from Illinois, Stefanie Skidmore, from Colorado, Bruce Anderson from South Carolina, Andrea Zsitvay-Incitti from Colorado, and “PaPa” Mike Cassidy from Kentucky.

There will also be an Adoption Event on Sunday to place the six yearling Mustangs working with the trainers at the summit. The Colorado BLM Team will be on hand to take care of the placement paperwork.

Performances by Mustang loving Country Western Star, Lacy J. Dalton, with opening act Jared Rogerson, and Native Story teller and dancer, Larry Yazzie will be part of the entertainment lineup at the Jones Theater.

Westcliffe Center for Performing Arts will host the EQUUS Literary Corral authors and artist. Outside of the Arts Center will be an equine vendor area and a round pen with different equine lectures and demos running through the weekend. The EQUUS Literary Corral will have a wonderful group of authors.

Lisanne Fear will also be there to talk about her cross-country journey with 3 Mustangs and a Mulestang on the Mustang Discovery Ride Project. The list of amazing equestrians in the fest goes on and on…

Schedule of Events:

Thursday, Sept 28 – Opening evening VIP Event – B Bar B Ranch – 3 pm – 8 pm

Friday, Sept 29 – Mustang Summit Demo Programs – B Bar B Ranch – 8 am – 3 pm Friday, Sept 29 – Larry Yazzi – Opening Ceremony – Westcliffe Arts Center 11 am

Friday, Sept 29 – EQUUS Art & Literary Pop-Up Gallery – Westcliffe Arts Center 11 am – 5 pm Friday, Sept 29 – EQUUS Film Fest Films – Jones Theater – 2 pm – 7:30 pm

Friday, Sept 29 – Larry Yazzi Native American Storyteller Jones Theater – 8 pm – 9 pm

Saturday, Sept 30 – Mustang Summit Demo Programs – B Bar B Ranch 8 am – 3 pm Saturday, Sept 30 – Larry Yazzi – Opening Ceremony Westcliffe Arts Center – 1:30 pm

Saturday, Sept 30 – EQUUS Art & Literary Pop-Up Gallery – Westcliffe Arts Center 11 am – 5 pm Saturday, Sept 29 – EQUUS Film Fest Films – Jones Theater – 12 pm – 4:30 pm

Saturday, Sept – Lacy J. Dalton Concert with Opening Act – Jones Theater – 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Sunday, Oct 1 – Mustang Summit Demo Programs – B Bar B Ranch – 8 am – 4 pm

Sunday, Oct 1 – EQUUS Art & Literary Pop-Up Gallery – Westcliffe Arts Center – 11 am – 4 pm Sunday, Oct 1 – EQUUS Film Fest Films – Jones Theater – 11 am – 4 pm

We are developing a full and interesting group of guest speakers and panelists for The Mustang Summit. Our program includes local Colorado Mustang specialists as well as guest speakers from across the country.

These Exhibitors and Guests are already in the Program:

Lacy J. Dalton – Musical Guest

Larry Yazzi – Native American Storyteller

Matt Manroe – Mustang Champions – Executive Director – Texas Ginger Kathrens – Cloud Foundation – Filmmaker / Founder – Colorado Kerry Ferguson – Cloud Foundation – Executive Director – Colorado West Taylor – Mustang Trainer – Utah

Wylene Wilson – Mustang Extremist – Texas

L & L Manquest Team – Cross Country Mustang Traveling Family Lynn Thomas – Horses for Mental Health – Executive Director – Utah George Brauneis – Mustang Trainer – Colorado

Lisanne Fear – Mustang Discovery Ride – Wyoming

Julianne Neal – Mustang Discovery Ride Project – Filmmaker – South Carolina Sky Epperson – Mustang TIP Trainer –Mustang Adoption Academy – Indiana “Papa” Mike Cassedy – Mustang Trainer – Kentucky

Stefanie Skidmore – Wild Horse Outreach & Advocacy – Colorado Andrea Zsitvay-Incitti – Liberty Trainer – Colorado

Allecia Maine – Animal Healer & Communicator – Colorado

Alecz Adams – Mustang Trainer – Veterans Program – Author – Colorado Bruce Anderson – Mustang Trainer – Guest Clinician – South Carolina Diana Thebo-Markworth & Cruzer – Mustang Trainer – Missouri

Mila Hollingsworth & Elsa – With Grandma Diana – Iowa Amanda Held – Mustang Veterans Program – Ohio Michelle Kaye – Equine Veterans Program – Colorado

Annamaria Sims – Neuro Pathway work with Mustangs – Illinois Felicitas Funke – The Cowboy’s Documentary – Filmmaker – Colorado Ann Souders – Forever Branded – Mustang Educator – Texas

Wild Horse & Burro BLM Colorado Team – Colorado

Bree Thompson – Wild Hearts Haven Mustang Restart – Colorado Taryn Hillman – Wild Hearts Horsemanship – Colorado

Kim Tattle – Peaceful Ass Ranch – Colorado

Cayla Stone – Wild Rose Mustang Advocacy Group – Colorado Teri & Jeff Hall – Mustang Advocates – Colorado

John Barnhardt – Filmmaker – Colorado Matthew Cohn – Filmmaker – Washington DC Donna Wells – Filmmaker – New Mexico Melody DeBenedictis – Equine Artist – Colorado

Ronda Gregorio – Mustang Author & Photographer – Artist – Virginia Kami Sue Taylor – Equine & Drum Artist – Utah

Jared Rogerson – Musical Guest – Wyoming

High Country Junkies – Musical Guest – Colorado M.J. Evans – Author – Colorado

Corinne Joy Brown – Author – Colorado Robin M. Davis – Author – Colorado Tracy Ane Brooks – Author – Colorado

Mustang Ambassador Program – Youth Program – Colorado And more!!!

We will be accepting applications for local equine artists and authors to join the Art & Literary Corral at the Westcliffe Center for the Performing Arts, where a 3-day art and literary event will take place.

Event is Open to other vendors in the equine industry.

EQUUS Film & Arts Fest highlights and rewards the diverse and creative efforts of those who pay artistic homage to the horse. Every horse has a story, it’s our mission at the EQUUS Film & Arts Fest to share those stories, through film, art and literature.

EQUUS Film & Arts Fest 2023 will take place both “Virtually” and “Live” in Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 16 – 19, 2023

Visit our website at www.equusfilmfestival.net and like us on FaceBook and Twitter.

About Westcliffe, CO

Westcliffe, Colorado, is located in Custer County in the Wet Mountain Valley and nestled between the Wet Mountains to the east and the Sangre de Cristo Range to the west. Enjoy endless outdoor activities, savory eats, and cultural events in a small-town atmosphere. https://townofwestcliffe.colorado.gov

About Melody DeBenedictis

Melody is the Westcliffe Colorado Coordinator of the EQUUS Film & Arts Fest and The Mustang Summit. SEEING THE WILD OF THE WEST THROUGH THE EYES OF AN ARTIST

The palette of rich color Melody uses to recreate the images of the west come alive with each stroke of her brush. Over recent years, Melody has been called ‘prolific’ in her creative abilities. https://www.melodydebenedictis.com/

About Horses For Mental Health

Horses for Mental Health is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to increase awareness, public engagement, funds, and access to programs incorporating horses for mental health and personal growth. We partner with nonprofit organizations, philanthropists, celebrities, influencers, and companies to realize our collective vision of a world where all mental health needs are met – together.

We seek to strengthen engagement to create a community of inclusivity and diversity while increasing access to quality mental health programs incorporating horses that serve all groups of people. https://horsesformentalhealth.org/

JA Media Productions is a boutique creative studio in South Carolina, specializing in podcast production, documentary shorts and content creation. Services include creative direction, social media, remote content creation and production. For more information, please contact Julianne Neal at jamediaconnections@gmail.com.

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