The fourth annual Ozark Spring Roundup attracted agricultural enthusiasts and horse lovers from around the region to the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield, Missouri, last weekend.

The event offered opportunities for visitors to learn about everything from stockmanship and stewardship to pasture weed management and growing native grasses. Cowboy mounted shooting and barrel racing provided fast-paced entertainment to the crowds.

“We had a phenomenal weekend,” said Cassie Reid,  livestock director at the fairgrounds. “Our vendors offered great variety and specials for all attendees to shop. Our clinicians complimented each other very well and expressed great joy in returning to southwest Missouri for our event. Our youth events were well attended, from the horse judging contest to the preview shows. Our Kids Corral even saw record numbers with exciting activities for the young cowboys and cowgirls.”

The event’s clinicians included Curt Pate, Dave Recker, Michael Richardson and MFA’s Adam Jones.

Visitors had the opportunity to enter to win a $500 Shopping Spree, a PFI gift card and an Applegate round pen. Winners will be contacted by the show staff.

Ozark Spring Roundup 2019

The Youth Horse Judging Contest took place Friday morning in the Corwin Auto Arena.

Youth from around the Four States had many opportunities to participate in the Roundup. On Friday, 4-H and FFA members participated in the Youth Horse Judging Contest in the Corwin Auto Arena.

At the Missouri State University Bear Classic show on Saturday and the Ozark Spring Roundup Steer and Heifer Show on Sunday, youth exhibited their cattle to compete for grand champion honors.

Clinician Dave Recker, known as “The Mule Enthusiast,” demonstrated his method to getting horses and mules to lie down to mount, a method without cruel or harsh techniques useful for those who cannot mount their animals or have difficulty doing so.

Ozark Spring Roundup 2019

Dave Recker, known as "The Mule Enthusiast," demonstrated his technique to teach mules and horses to lie down for mounting.

“My policy is… you have to be gentle but firm,” he said, explaining he uses pressure and release in his training of the animal.

Recker demonstrated his technique by tapping one of the mule’s front legs behind the knee to get it to raise its leg and then tying the leg up with a rope tied to the saddle. The rope is wrapped around the pastern and the rope holds the hoof off the ground. Tying the leg up results in the mule lying down.

“They’re looking for an escape from the pressure,” he explained. When the mule lies down, the pressure is released.

“A mule has to think about it,” Recker said, adding you may work with a mule for a day and see they just about have it and then come back the next day and grasp the concept.

Recker added is usually takes four days or less to teach them to lie down. However, 30 to 45 days of practicing the technique consistently is recommended.

 “Once you get them to lie down, it clicks with them,” the clinician said.

The technique can be used to teach older mules, he continued. He also recommends desensitizing the mule to the stick or pole used to tap on its leg. Once the mule understands the technique, you can use your hand. He also recommended rewarding the mule when they get up when asked but not if they get up without being asked.

Reid added, “Looking into 2020, we are pleased to welcome Guy McLean of Australia to the Ozark Spring Roundup, March 27-29.”