LONDON, OH, June 14, 2016— Equine Affaire returns to the Eastern States Exposition in W. Springfield, MA, on November 10-13, 2016, bringing the very best in equine education, shopping, entertainment, and, of course, the ultimate test of horsemanship—the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition. A select group of talented horses and riders will tackle a challenging “obstacle course” in pursuit of $5500 in cash and the coveted title of Champion at the 2016 Versatile Horse & Rider Competition. The Versatile Horse & Rider Competition—aka “VHRC”—is a timed and judged race through a course that presents a unique set of riding challenges and tests a wide range of horsemanship skills. In contrast to previous events, this year’s competition will consist of just one round that will take place in the afternoon on Friday, November 11th, in the coliseum at Eastern States.
“The Versatile Horse & Rider Competition is now in its ninth year at the Massachusetts Equine Affaire, and it has become a very popular part of the expo for event attendees and area horsemen who want to put their skills to the test,” explained Eugenia Snyder, the President of Equine Affaire. “The competition attracts some really top-notch horses and riders and poses a real test of riding skills in an unusual format. The race can also be pretty unpredictable. You can’t know how any horse and rider team will perform until they’re on the course—and a lot of unexpected things happen.”
The cornerstone of every Equine Affaire is education, and, though the VHRC is clearly a competition, it fits the educational mission of Equine Affaire. “Riders in the audience can envision how they would approach the obstacles, imagine how they and their horses would do, and empathize with the contestants as their horses succeed at some obstacles and fall short at others,” Snyder continued. “Horse people who watch the race learn a lot by observing the different approaches that contestants take in tackling the same obstacles – and a lot of what is demonstrated can be applied to challenges that all riders face with their horses.”
The Versatile Horse & Rider Competition is open to all riders age 18 years and older and horses of all breeds and disciplines. A maximum of only 25 horse/rider teams will be pre-selected based on application materials submitted. The VHRC course will feature a combination of traditional and very unique riding obstacles and riding patterns that may include jumping over or through structures, backing through a pattern, pole bending and/or roll backs, gait changes, various gymkhana games, ground tying, operating gates, and riding over or through difficult or spooky objects. The performance of each horse and rider team will be judged on each obstacle for both quality of horsemanship and timing.
Cash prizes will be awarded to the top four contestants with the first place team receiving $2,500 and the title of Versatile Horse & Rider Competition Champion and the second, third, and fourth place teams receiving $1,750, $1,000, and $250 respectively. All awards will be presented at the conclusion of the race on Friday afternoon.
For details on the VHRC and an entry form, visit equineaffaire.com, click on the Ohio event and “Participate” links to access the VHRC page or contact Coagi Long at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (740) 845-0085 ext. 114. The entry fee for each horse/rider team is $350 and includes stabling for Thursday and Friday nights and three single-day tickets to Equine Affaire for the contestant. Applications and support materials will be accepted by Equine Affaire through September 9th. They will be reviewed by the management of Equine Affaire, which will select the final contestants for the competition and notify contestants by September 30th.
The 2016 VHRC will provide plenty of action and suspense as contestants do their best to meet the challenges posed by the unique course of obstacles. Admission to the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition is included in general admission to Equine Affaire—providing just one more reason to travel to Equine Affaire in W. Springfield, MA, this November. Seating at the VHRC is always at a premium, so plan to get there early! Visit equineaffaire.com for everything you need to know to attend Equine Affaire including the clinic, seminar, and demo schedule; ticket information; and details on discounted rates at our host hotels.