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Mississippi State Fairgrounds Hosts Heart of the Horse Expo and Trainers Challenge


STATE FAIRGROUNDS, Miss. – Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson is excited to announce the kickoff of the Safe Horse Project’s latest event, the 2023 Heart of the Horse Expo and Trainers Challenge, to be held at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds. The event is a spinoff from previous Safe Horse Auctions, with an emphasis on promoting a regional trainers challenge.

During this event, horse trainers from five states will converge at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds on Saturday, January 14, to pick their equine challenge partner from a lineup of over 30 untrained rescue horses. They will take them home for a 120-day training period before returning to exhibit the results of their training and to compete for over $15,000 in cash and prizes provided by the Safe Horse Project. The public can follow their favorite horse and trainer teams through social media during the 120 Trainer Challenge; attend the finals competition at the Kirk Fordice Equine Center in Jackson May 19-20; and bid on their favorite horse at the live Safe Horse Auction that will conclude the event on May 20, 2023.

The horses participating in the Trainers Challenge will be available for adoption through the Safe Horse Auction, along with a number of other horses that have been fully vetted, evaluated and trained. All potential adopters/bidders must be pre-approved for adoption by submitting an online application to Mississippi Horses at and must make arrangements to meet with the horse and its trainer in advance of the auction in order to bid. This type of auction provides the setting to match buyers and horses appropriately according to the suitability of the horse for the abilities and activities intended by the buyer, thereby ensuring long-term interest and lasting homes.

The Safe Horse Project’s mission is to grow participation in equine ownership as well as support for equine professionals and businesses. There is an epidemic of unwanted, untrained or poorly trained horses on the market, leaving those wanting to enter the world of horse ownership at a loss on how and where to find a horse suitable for their skill level. The Safe Horse Project, spearheaded by Mississippi Horse Rescue, hopes to bring awareness to the problem by promoting responsible horse ownership through events like the Heart of the Horse Expo and Trainers Challenge. Follow your favorite horse and trainer team on social media and by visiting the Safe Horse Project’s web site at is a news source covering Simpson and surrounding counties as well as the State of Mississippi.

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Patrice is married to Greg Boykin and they have two sons, Bradley & Alex Boykin. Patrice is a lifetime resident of Simpson County. Patrice retired after 25 years in the Insurance industry where 23 of those years were with State Farm Insurance in Magee. She is very active in the community and has served in several leadership roles. Patrice has been a Secretary for the Magee Touchdown Club for 19 years and President of the MS Scholars of Simpson County. Patrice was a member of the Magee Adopt A School Program. She was elected to a term on the Simpson County School Board. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Magee Chamber of Commerce. She serves on the Keep Magee Beautiful Committee and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Simpson County Technical Center. Patrice is a member of the Simpson County Republican Executive Committee. Multiple times, Patrice was named Parent of the Year for Magee Schools as well as District Parent of the Year for the Simpson County School District. Patrice & her family are members of New Hope Baptist Church.


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