04 25

THANK YOU FOR CELEBRATING EQUINE AFFAIRE’S BIG 30TH ANNIVERSARY WITH US!

LONDON, OH, April 25, 2024 – Along with tens of thousands of excited horse lovers, Equine Affaire proudly celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of its flagship event in Ohio on April 11-14, 2024. For four days, equestrians and equine enthusiasts gathered to ride, drive, exhibit, compete, shop, and adopt horses, not to mention talk about them, teach about them, and of course, admire them! The Ohio Expo Center in Columbus provided an expansive backdrop for an array of equine-centric activities, from clinics, seminars, and demonstrations to competitions to shopping marathons to the incredible nighttime show, Fantasia, which took place for three nights, April 11-13.  

The Ohio Expo Center has been home to Equine Affaire in Ohio since 1997; before that, Equine Affaire was produced at the Hara Arena Complex in Dayton from 1994-1996. That means 2024 marks the thirtieth year that Equine Affaire has served as a mainstay of equestrian culture in the Midwest and beyond. 

“We had a wonderful time celebrating such an important anniversary in our home state,” said Coagi Long, president and owner of Equine Affaire. “Equine Affaire means so much to so many people, and our staff members are honored to be part of bringing the joy of horses to our attendees year after year. We’d like to say thank you to everyone who has supported our event over the years. It wouldn’t be Equine Affaire without all of you.” 

One of the biggest draws of any Equine Affaire is its educational program, which consists of hundreds of educational clinics, seminars, and demonstrations presented by industry experts. This spring, Equine Affaire was pleased to host headliners Mike Major, Ken McNabb, Pat Parelli, Steve Lantvit, and Chelsea Canedy, as well as a slew of discipline-specific clinicians like seven-time Olympian Phillip Dutton (eventing), Congress champion Kevin Raber (reining), Dave Treharne (roping), Mark Bolender (mountain trail), Cynthia Hankins (hunter/jumper), Lauren Sammis (dressage), Larry Keith (ranch sorting), Stacey Giere (driving), Lynn Newton (Western dressage), Duane Esser (English pleasure), and many more. The educational program also featured presentations by veterinarians, equine business experts, authors, farriers, and lots more. 

Equine Affaire also expanded this spring’s clinic program by including a new educational feature, Cowtown in Cooper! Sponsored by Western Life Today, Cowtown in Cooper was an expansive two-day tour of cow-oriented Western disciplines that introduced horses, riders, and audiences to disciplines like ranch riding, ranch sorting, roping, reined cow horse, and others. Cowtown in Cooper provided a fascinating glimpse into cowboy culture for our Ohio audience and met with rave reviews from clinicians and attendees alike. It also marked the first time that cattle were on site for clinic work in ten years! The cattle were provided by Dave Treharne of Treharne’s Training Center in Negley, OH. The Cowtown clinician roster included Steve Lantvit, Dave Treharne, Ken McNabb, Larry Keith, and Kevin Raber. 

Another feature that drew rave reviews included the interactive Drive a Draft activity, presented by the owners and horses of Whispery Pines Percherons! Kellie and Sam Rettinger brought six gorgeous Percherons to the event to host Drive a Draft, to exhibit in breed demonstrations, and to perform in Fantasia. The Drive a Draft activity enables attendees to experience ground driving a single Percheron or a pair of Percherons in harness under the expert eye of the Rettingers. Participation is included with general admission, but the time slots for each activity always fill up quickly – and attendees who got to partake in the experience were unanimous in their enjoyment. 

Thank you for including Whispery Pines Percherons and Drive A Draft,” one attendee wrote after the show. “It is a fantastic addition to Equine Affaire! I’ve been coming for 27 years and this was one of the best shows I have attended.” 

The Whispery Pines Percherons were also instrumental in helping present a special anniversary celebration surprise this year, teaming up with John May of May Farm Activities to bring in a stately stagecoach and a pair of May Farm Percherons to provide carriage rides to attendees on the grounds. The carriage rides proved to be incredibly popular, especially during the weekend when the weather was bright and sunny. 

On Friday of the event, the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition – sponsored by Espana Silk – went off without a hitch in the US Equestrian Coliseum. Twenty-four horses and riders went through a challenging obstacle course that featured drags, jumps, mounted and unmounted maneuvers, gates, and more, but only one pair came out on top: Sidney Hawk and TJ Smokin Silverado! Sidney and TJ won the championship with a score of 64, taking home $2,500 in cash, a rosette, and a special prize pack from Espana Silk Grooming Products. The competition was judged by Steve Lantvit and the master of ceremonies was the official voice of Equine Affaire, Noah Rattner. The president of Equine Affaire, Coagi Long, and the owner and president of Espana Silk Grooming Products, Trudy Midas, presented Sidney and the remainder of the top ten placers with prizes. Adam Black and his gorgeous mule, Just June, came in second with a score of 59, winning $1,750; Randy McStoots and Docs Gay Gold Digger scored third place and received $1,000; and Kristin Fouty and Dun Got It Goin On won fourth place and won $250. For full results, please visit equineaffaire.com/press!  

First introduced at the 2023 Equine Affaire in Massachusetts, the Great Equestrian Fitness Challenge debuted in Ohio this spring on Saturday of the event and proved to be a tremendous hit. Attendees loved the opportunity to compete in the Bouncy Pony Race, the Horse Nugget Relay, and the Barn Chores Marathon, winning both medals and bragging rights. Sponsored by Boot Barn, the Great Equestrian Fitness Challenge is a fun and exciting competition that’s open to all attendees, no horses needed, and challenges competitors to flex their barn muscles and show off their talents at everyday barn chores like hauling hay, mucking stalls, carrying buckets, and more.  

The Equine Affaire Best Booth Award Contest also debuted in Ohio. The Best Booth Award Contest was designed to reward especially innovative or interesting booth designs of trade show, Breed Pavilion, and Horse and Farm exhibitors. The staff of Equine Affaire toured the show on Thursday to select the top five finalists, which were then posted on Equine Affaire’s official Facebook and Instagram profiles for audiences to vote for their favorites until Saturday of the show. When the votes were tallied, this year’s winner was Stable Riding at Horsehaven Stables, which was located in the Bricker Building. This booth inspired attendees to learn how to “ride more, fall less” with Solange’s Stable Riding System. Solange and her team demonstrated the basics of her Stable Riding System by inviting attendees into the booth to practice riding on Equicizers. Stable Riding at Horsehaven Stables’ booth was crowned with a Best Booth Award Banner, and they also received a credit toward next year’s exhibit space. Second place in the Best Booth Award Contest went to the US Trotting Association and Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association booth in the Breed Pavilion, which featured a harness cart and a virtual reality headset that literally enabled attendees to “take the reins” and experience harness racing from the driver’s seat. Congratulations to all our finalists and honorable mentions!  

Over the course of the show, the ASPCA hosted its annual Adoption Affaire event for 32 horses from eight ASPCA Right Horse Adoption Partner organizations as well as from the ASPCA Equine Transition and Adoption Center in Oklahoma. Each group brought along several adoptable horses, including riding horses, ponies, minis and companion horses and the ASPCA was present to support them and answer the public’s questions about equine adoption. The Adoption Affaire event resulted in 30 horses being adopted, including a special adoption by the owners of Equine Affaire adopting two sweet senior ponies Cookie and Abrilla, with pending adoptions for the two remaining horses.   

“We are thrilled to celebrate the 30 successful adoptions from this year’s Equine Affaire and are grateful for our ongoing collaboration with Equine Affaire to find loving homes for many more incredible horses,” said Cailin Caldwell, director of the ASPCA Right Horse program. “We encourage the horse-loving public to visit the Adoption Affaire at future events and in the meantime, meet adoptable horses nationwide at myrighthorse.org, the ASPCA’s online adoption platform for equines.”

Fantasia, Equine Affaire’s musical celebration of the horse, returned for three nights only and showcased an incredible variety of performances by some of the nation’s top riders and performers. Sponsored by Equine Medical & Surgical Associates, Fantasia featured a stunning dressage freestyle by Lauren Sammis, an exciting and patriotic drill performance by the Young Guns Equestrian Drill Team, a reining freestyle by Kevin Raber, a spectacular driving act with the Whispery Pines Percherons and John Squibb’s miniature horse hitch, a beautiful pas de deux act with Brendan Wise of Unbridled Wings and Kaleigh Marie of Braveheart Beasts, bridleless jumping by Brendan Wise, and a heart-stopping trick riding, trick roping, and gun spinning act by seven-time NFR performers and 2020 PRCA Dress Act of the Year Rider and Bethany Kiesner. The show also featured a jaw-dropping mounted archery performance by Equestrian Chaos, who were newcomers to Fantasia! This team of female mounted archers from Mobile, AL, channel the traditions and costumes of warriors of old while wowing audiences with their skills at shooting arrows upside down and backwards on horseback. Sergeants Jerry Paulsen and Nathan Lolley, accompanied by Bauke K of Miley Friesians, also opened each evening with a moving tribute to fallen soldiers, including prisoners of war and those missing in action. Just as it has been for decades, Fantasia proved to be the perfect way to end a horse-filled day spent at Equine Affaire for thousands of our attendees!  

If you missed this year’s event, we invite you to save the dates for our next two Equine Affaires. Equine Affaire will be at the Eastern States Exposition in W. Springfield, MA, on November 7-10, 2024, and at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, OH, on April 10-13, 2025. 

Equine Affaire gratefully acknowledges the sponsors that help make this event possible: Equine Medical & Surgical Associates, Rod’s, GGT Footing, US Equestrian, Western Life Today, Boot Barn, Pro Earth Animal Health, Espana Silk Grooming Products, and Best Sand Equestrian Sand. For more information about Equine Affaire, please visit equineaffaire.com or follow us on Facebook and Instagram @equineaffaire. We’ll see you at Equine Affaire! 

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04 13

MEET THE 24 OHIO VHRC CHAMPIONS!

COLUMBUS, OH, April 13, 2024 – A very special congratulations is in order for Sidney Hawk and TJ Smokin Silverado, our newly-crowned champions of the 2024 Ohio Versatile Horse and Rider Competition! Sidney and TJ “smoked” the competition and won with 64 points in a class of 24 horses and riders. This spring’s event was sponsored by Espana Silk Grooming Products.

 

Sidney Hawk and TJ Smokin Silverado, 8 year old American Quarter Horse gelding 

Sidney started TJ when the gelding was a two-year-old, and they’ve been together ever since. Sidney is currently attending the University of Findlay as a double major in equine business management and equine Western studies, with a minor in marketing. She has been riding horses since she was just five years old, and they’re her passion in life. After graduation, she wants to be a horse trainer and run her own business from her farm. This is her second time competing in the VHRC; last year, she placed in the top ten with Zippo’s Blue Sky. She came back to try it again, this time with TJ.

“I want to give my show horse a chance to show what he can do!” Sidney said.

You certainly did, Sidney, and TJ did not disappoint! Sidney won the championship, $2,500 in cash, a beautiful rosette, and a special prize pack from our title sponsor, Espana Silk Grooming Products. The competition was judged by Steve Lantvit and the master of ceremonies was the official voice of Equine Affaire, Noah Rattner. The president of Equine Affaire, Coagi Long, and the owner and president of Espana Silk Grooming Products, Trudy Midas, presented Sidney and the remainder of the top ten placers with prizes.

Here is the complete list of official 2024 Versatile Horse and Rider Competition Results.

1. Sidney Hawk, TJ Smokin Silverado, Score: 64
2. Adam Black, Just June, Score: 59
3. Randy McStoots, Docs Gay Gold Digger, Score: 54.5
4. Kristin Fouty, Dun Got It Goin On, Score: 54.5
5. Wendy Montgomery, SF Distinguished Gentleman, Score: 47.5
6. Marissa Filbrun, Hancocks Lucky Draw, Score: 44.5
7. Kelley Forster, Jolene, Score: 44.5
8. Myron Martin, Newt, Score: 44
9. Charli Cuvelier, Sweet Baby Jesus, Score: 42.5
10. Natalie Vizard, Posie, Score 41
11. Taryn Homier, Docs Genuine Show, Score: 39.5
12. Amy Bailey, Lucy Lu, Score: 37.5
13. Diana Tomes, Rowan, Score: 37.5
14. Katie Finley, Travel Gun, Score: 36.5
15. Robin Ball, Bentley, Score: 33
16. Miranda Roesel, Shamrock, Score: 33
17. Kat Weigand, WHR Tiny Dancer, Score: 32
18. Bella Sweigard, Shelby Dreaming, Score: 31.5
19. Olivia Giuffrida, Tiny, Score: 26
20. Kiersten Bradley, Flo Dun It Again, Score: 23.5
21. Kelsey Spencer, Raggedy Ann, Score: 21
22. Kayla Schlabach-Bossler, Masquerade, Score: DQ
23. Jessica Mammel, Fancy Lik That, Score: DQ
24. Tori Bromme, I’m Going to Ace This, Score: Timed Out

Congratulations to all of our incredible competitors. We’re very proud of you and look forward to seeing you again in the future! Official competition photos are by Winslow Photography and will be made available online within a few weeks of the show. Contact arehnborg@equineaffaire.com for more information or a direct link to the photo gallery.

 

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04 08

WHAT’S NEW AT EQUINE AFFAIRE?

LONDON, OH, April 8, 2024 – For the staff, crew, and connections of Equine Affaire, “elevating the equestrian experience since 1994” is more than our tag line. It’s a faithful summary of our grounding mission, and we are proud to serve the people and horses of our industry through our events, which include educational programs, networking opportunities, adoption events, interactive activities, and more. This week, on April 11-14 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Equine Affaire will mark the 30th anniversary of our flagship event in Ohio with four days of exciting activities, all centered around horses and horse people.

In addition to celebrating this milestone event, Equine Affaire is proud to announce its selection as a finalist for the Equine Industry Vision Award, which is presented by American Horse Publications and sponsored by Zoetis. The Equine Industry Vision Award is given annually in recognition of outstanding leadership, creativity, and meritorious contribution toward positive changes in the equine industry. This year’s class of finalists includes Equine Affaire, Glenn Hebert, The United States Pony Clubs, Inc, and #WeRideTogether.

“We are honored to be finalists for this prestigious award alongside such outstanding individuals and organizations,” says Coagi Long, president and owner of Equine Affaire. “From our attendees to our presenters to our volunteers and staff, everyone who comes to Equine Affaire every year comes to celebrate the horse and to elevate the industry. We’re proud to have been working for the horse industry for thirty years, and we look forward to spending another thirty years promoting and serving the horse. Being selected as a finalist for the Vision Award is a wonderful way to kickstart our celebrations this week.”

The 2024 Equine Affaire in Ohio will include all the mainstays and activities that our fans and attendees have come to know and love, plus a selection of new and exciting features in honor of an extra-special anniversary. Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new this spring:

  • Cowtown in Cooper, sponsored by Western Life Today, is a brand-new educational feature that will launch on Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13! Some of the industry’s most cow-savvy clinicians, including Steve Lantvit, Ken McNabb, Dave Treharne, and Tanner Keith, will present clinics on a variety of cow-oriented Western disciplines in the Cooper Arena. Horses and riders in the clinics will have the opportunity to work with cattle under the expert guidance and tutelage of these clinicians, while audience members will learn valuable lessons about working with cattle, as well as practical methods for continuing their skills at home sans cattle. For a full schedule of Cowtown clinics, review the event schedule today: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-educational-program/ohio-presenters/.
  • The Best Booth Award Contest launched at our 2023 Massachusetts event, and we are proud to bring it to Ohio so that we can recognize the hard work of our trade show’s most outstanding exhibitors. The Best Booth Award Contest will begin on Thursday as soon as the photos and names of five finalists are published on Equine Affaire’s Facebook and Instagram profiles. Once posted, it’s up to the audience to vote for their favorite booth display. On Saturday at noon, the votes will be tallied and we’ll announce the winner. The winner will receive a credit toward next year’s exhibit space, as well as the honor of displaying an official Best Booth Award banner over their booth space. To learn about the winner of our 2023 Best Booth Award Contest, click here for our exclusive interview: https://youtu.be/xla2fKdCn9I!
  • The Great Equestrian Fitness Challenge, sponsored by Boot Barn, is coming to Ohio! This exciting competition will take place on Saturday at 3 pm in the GGT Arena in the Voinovich Livestock and Trade Center. Attendees can sign up to compete in one of three activities – a Barn Chores Marathon, a Bouncy Pony Race, or a Horse Nugget Relay – to win prizes and bragging rights! Whether you want to enter or just cheer on your friends, the Great Equestrian Fitness Challenge is a must-see. It’s free to sign up, and no horses are needed. Visit the Equine Affaire Information Booth in the Bricker Building any time prior to the competition to sign up for a slot.
  • The Whispery Pines Percherons are offering stagecoach rides daily during the event, from 12 pm to 4 pm, on the east side of the Voinovich! Enjoy a scenic stagecoach ride around the grounds and see the Ohio Expo Center like never before – from behind a pair of gorgeous horses. Rides are $10 per person or $50 per six people for a private ride. Children, ages 5 and under, ride for free with an adult.
  • Equine Affaire is proud to announce our Celebrity Horse In Residence, GG Kiss Me Kate! Owned by Samantha Hull-Crook, this gorgeous Gypsy Vanner mare has won 42 Supreme Champion titles, including 3 National Supreme Titles. She is the only mare to win a National Supreme and she is the only horse to have won a National Supreme title more than once. Kiss Me Kate will be in the Breed Pavilion as well as in the Horse and Farm Exhibits. She will also participate in a special Celebrity Horse Showcase, which will take place once a day in various arenas around the event. Consult your event schedule for your chance to see Kiss Me Kate in action!
  • In honor of our anniversary, 3,000 lucky guests at this year’s event will receive a special voucher upon arrival, good for 25% off one item of Affaire Wear! Affaire Wear is available for sale at the Equine Affaire Information Booth in the Bricker Building. Arrive early to increase your chances of receiving one of these special vouchers, and then make sure to redeem it at the Information Booth so you can celebrate Equine Affaire all year round.
  • Love raffles? You’re in luck! Equine Affaire is hosting a free online raffle before the event. Enter the raffle online and you could win one of several great prizes: a $500 gift certificate to Zero Proof Horse Treats, a travel fence from Greystone USA, a $100 gift certificate to Bronco Western Supply Co, an equestrian-themed mirror from October Design Equestrian Decor, a prize package from US Equestrian, or tickets to next year’s event! Entries are accepted through April 15, 2024, at https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-participate/ohio-win/ohio-free-raffle/.

For a full list of activities, features, exhibitors, and competitions, visit our website and review our official event program, which is available online at http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/44770363#/44770363/1.

Everyone is invited to join us at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, April 11-14, and tickets are on sale now! Single day tickets and four-day passes for Equine Affaire are available for purchase here: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-general-information/tickets/. Crown your day at Equine Affaire in style by attending one of three performances of Fantasia, Equine Affaire’s musical celebration of the horse. Sponsored by Equine Medical and Surgical Associates, Fantasia will take place Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7:30 pm in the Coliseum. Separate tickets are required for Fantasia. This year, for three nights only, Fantasia will feature an incredible lineup of performers, including the Whispery Pines Percherons, Braveheart Beasts, Kevin Raber, Lauren Sammis, Unbridled Wings, the Young Guns Drill Team, Bethany & Rider Kiesner, and many more.

If you have more questions or need to get in touch with our staff, there are plenty of ways to reach out to us! Bookmark our website (www.equineaffaire.com), follow us on Facebook and Instagram @equineaffaire, or call our office at (740) 845-0085, 9:00am-5:00pm EST (M-F). We can’t wait to see you at Equine Affaire!

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04 04

MEET THE 24 OHIO CLASS OF VHRC RIDERS, PART 5

LONDON, OH, April 4, 2024 – The competition we’ve been anxiously awaiting all this time is almost here! On Friday, April 12, starting at 1:30 pm, our riders will step into the US Equestrian Arena, prepared to ride their best in the 2024 Ohio Versatile Horse and Rider Competition as they compete for $5,500 in cash and other prizes! Join us on Friday, April 12, at Equine Affaire and cheer for all our incredible competitors. This spring’s competition is sponsored by Espana Silk!  

In this post, meet the final set of talented competitors who will join the race at North America’s premier equine expo and equestrian gathering. 

Kiersten Bradley and Flo Dun It Again, 4 year old Kiger Mustang mare 

Kiersten purchased “Flo” as an unbroken 3-year-old and started her under saddle in May of 2022. After two years together, Kiersten says that Flo is the most rewarding horse she’s ever worked with. 

“Flo has such a big heart and tries so hard at everything I ask of her,” Kiersten says. “I was chosen to compete with Flo last year, but found out I was pregnant, so one of my friends competed instead. I am super excited to compete on her this year!”

Robin Ball and Bentley, 10 year old Appaloosa gelding  

Robin Ball and Bentley have been together for eight years, trail riding and riding recreationally. But when they competed in last year’s Versatile Horse and Rider Competition, something changed for Robin – in a good way! 

“I’ve always grown up with horses and ridden every chance I could, but last year’s competition made riding an everyday event,” Robin says. “I found so much joy in training, competing, and growing an even closer bond with Bentley. I was humbled to see how my community supported, encouraged, and cheered me on. It was awesome to watch them get excited about my equine passion. Several even came to watch!” 

Encouraged by her experiences, Robin decided to make riding and spending time with Bentley her mission in life. 

“I didn’t want to go back to just riding when I had time. I wanted to ride all the time. I wanted to share the joy I have in the saddle with the world, or at least my community,” Robin says. 

Robin and Bentley began sharing “all things equine” with their community, riding in parades and performing demonstrations at vacation Bible schools, summer camps, schools, and other festivals and fairs in their area. But Robin didn’t stop there. 

“I have opened our farm up so that people have a place to come and experience the joy and peace horses lend to us,” she says. “Equine Affaire has always been a place that holds special memories for me as a child, but for the adult I’m growing into, it has sparked a fire and opened doors and given me the courage to build my everyday life around these magnificent creatures and to share their beauty and joy with my community. I am so excited to see what opportunities are ahead of Bentley and me!” 

Sidney Hawk and Tj Smokin Silverado, 8 year old American Quarter Horse gelding 

Sidney started TJ when the gelding was a two-year-old, and they’ve been together ever since. Sidney is currently attending the University of Findlay as a double major in equine business management and equine Western studies, with a minor in marketing. She has been riding horses since she was just five years old, and they’re her passion in life. After graduation, she wants to be a horse trainer and run her own business from her farm. This is her second time competing in the VHRC; last year, she placed in the top ten with Zippo’s Blue Sky. Now she’s back to try it again, this time with TJ.  

“I want to give my show horse a chance to show what he can do!” Sidney says. 

Taryn Homier and Docs Genuine Snow, 14 year old American Quarter Horse mare 

Taryn and “Snowy” have been a team since 2013, when the mare was 3 and Taryn was 16. They’ve accomplished a lot in their time together, including many year-end Quarter Pony of the Year awards, achieving her NQPA Championship, versatility awards, and Trail Challenge winner. They’ve also traveled a lot and gone trail riding in a variety of environments. 

“Snowy is one of the quietest horses that I have ever ridden,” Taryn says. “She will take anything scary in stride. We’ve developed a bond on how to overcome scary obstacles, with patience and reassurance that I would never put her into a position that would harm her.” 

But in addition to the high points of their journey, they’ve encountered their share of low points, too – including the lowest point in 2020, when Snowy contracted an unknown illness that caused neurological symptoms and instability on her feet.  

“A week at OSU led to no answers, but she was eating fine, so they said to take her home and give her a chance,” Taryn remembers. “I was the one to give her daily injections and IV infusions. She eventually stabilized and, in the fall of 2021, I decided to see how she would handle being ridden again. She came back as if she never stopped, so I have decided we are going to ride like we don’t have tomorrow, because having her still here with me is the biggest blessing. We would love for a chance to compete in the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition to showcase that no matter how much you think stands in your way, or how many times life knocks you down, you can get back up and succeed!”

Tori Bromme and I’m Going to Ace This, 5 year old Mustang gelding 

A young horse trainer based in Dayton, OH, Tori adopted “Ace” in late July of 2023 and started him under saddle the following month. She’s training the Mustang to compete in eventing, but they’re also competing in local ranch shows and working toward learning to drive.  

Tori has competed in two Extreme Mustang Makeovers in the past two years. She has been starting mustangs for almost 3 years now. She finally decided she was going to take on her own mustang to showcase the breed and versatility of mustangs, and that’s how she ended up adopting Ace. Tori and Ace have enjoyed jumping, trail riding, ranch riding, and trick training.  

“Ace has proven to be too smart for his own good, athletic, quite stubborn, and very sweet,” Tori says, adding that she has big goals for Ace to be a breed ambassador for the American Mustang.

Wendy Montgomery and SF Distinguished Gentleman, 19 year old Rocky Mountain gelding 

Wendy and “Rocky” are familiar faces in the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition, easily identifiable thanks to Rocky’s flashy good looks. They’ve been selected to compete in five VHRCs, placed third in last spring’s VHRC, and are back to ride again!  

The pair have been partners for sixteen years and enjoy a variety of disciplines, including obstacle challenges, Western, endurance, trail, and more. In the last ten years, they’ve competed in obstacle competitions in nine different states and traveled over 7,000 miles together. But Wendy says the VHRC holds a special place in her heart, and she’s excited to come back. 

“I love this event and all the anticipation and excitement it brings,” she says. “It pushes my horsemanship skills to their absolute maximum, and I love that.  When I enter the arena, it’s not about beating my competition: it’s about the partnership I have with Rocky.  I really think he loves the crowd and loves when people cheer for him.  Rocky is my heart horse, [and] there will never be another like him. I know my time riding in competitions like this with him is growing to a close, so I want to make as many memories as possible.  I love sharing him with the world and he loves meeting new people!” 

If you’re excited for this year’s Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, make your plans today to attend Equine Affaire on Friday, April 12, and watch the competition unfold. Learn more about the competitors for this exciting event by following along on our social media channels leading up to the event, and stay tuned after the event for results! This year’s event will be judged by Steve Lantvit and the master of ceremonies will be the official voice of Equine Affaire, Noah Rattner. 

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04 02

MEET THE 24 OHIO CLASS OF VHRC RIDERS, PART 4

LONDON, OH, April 2, 2024 – Next week, the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition will return! Twenty-five horse and rider pairs will enter the US Equestrian Arena, one by one, to tackle a challenging obstacle course and see who will come out on top! Ten riders will place, four will earn cash prizes, but only one will emerge victorious. We’re talking, of course, about the 2024 Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, which will take place on Friday, April 12, starting at 1:30 pm. It’s going to be an incredible competition, sponsored by Espana Silk. In this post, meet five more of the talented competitors who will join this race at Equine Affaire. 

Miranda Roesel and Shamrock, 10 year old American Quarter Horse gelding 

Miranda and Shamrock have been a team for seven years. They compete in the ranch events at open shows, with ranch pleasure as a special favorite. This special pair are veterans of the versatility competition and are returning for their fourth round of competition. 

“Shamrock is a blast to show and seems to show off in his favorite gait, the extended trot,” Miranda says. “Outside of showing, Shamrock plays lesson horse and we also enjoy going on trail rides whenever we have time. He absolutely loves playing in water and would stay in a creek or river all day if he could. At home, I love practicing for the VHRC as it brings creativity to our rides and helps to find holes in our training.”

Myron Martin and Newt, 10 year old American Quarter Horse gelding 

Myron has been riding Newt for about six months. 

“Newt has been showing me the strings for ranch riding and reining,” Myron says. “This will be our first time in a show pen together. We are very much looking forward to it.”

Natalie Vizard and Rosie, 26 year old American Paint Horse mare 

Natalie and Rosie have been partners for thirteen years, and Natalie says it’s been the privilege of a lifetime. 

“She came into our lives 14 years ago from an ad on craigslist and was $500,” Natalie remembers. “Little did we know that she was one of the most remarkable horses our family has ever owned.” 

A fearless trail horse, Rosie excels at leading other horses on the trail across bridges and through water. Speed patterns are her specialty – in fact, she’s been the top gymkhana horse in their county for five years – but she’s also gentle enough to pack a child along the trail at a walk.  

“She is the horse we put beginners on; pull out of the pasture at a moment’s notice to give children their first ride; and to ride in a parade so the public thinks all horses walk flat-footed in the midst of chaos,” Natalie says. “She will do anything asked of her and will take care of beginners, yet has enough grit to teach them along the way.” 

Rosie also performed admirably at the last state horse show, competing against circuit horses and finishing in the top five in every class. 

“In short, I think we would be great ambassadors for the public to see that amazing animals come in simple packages, without fancy papers or prices, yet have the heart of a lion,” Natalie says. 

Olivia Giuffrida and Tiny, 14 year old Clydesdale cross mare 

Olivia and Tiny are VHRC veterans. They placed in the top ten in the 2023 Massachusetts competition and now they’re back for their fourth ride against the Equine Affaire obstacle course. They’ve been together for about four and a half years, and during that time, they’ve discovered a mutual passion for obstacle work. 

“When we first started together, we were basically starting from scratch and had no clear direction as to where we wanted to go in the horse world,” Olivia says. “But it was very clear we both like to try new things and always learn!  We have been exploring more shows in the horse world and we always like to try new things. We would love to be able to further our experience and have a fun time at the Equine Affaire!” 

Randy McStoots and Docs Gay Gold Digger, 10 year old American Quarter Horse stallion 

“Digger” was purchased at a month old as a package deal with his sire and dam, but it became clear early on that he was a keeper, Randy says. They’ve now been together for about six years, competing in ranch, reining, barrels, trail, and cattle events. 

“He has such a fun and willing personality that makes him adaptable to any environment,” Randy says. “Being a trainer’s horse, he has always been pushed to the back burner. Until recently he hasn’t been worked consistently. This year is his year to show us just what he’s got and be the main focus for once. As a team, we have dabbled in many disciplines, primarily focusing on ranch events. My goal is to showcase a true versatile stallion that encompasses a solid body, mind, and disposition.” 

If you’re excited for this year’s Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, make your plans today to attend Equine Affaire on Friday, April 12, and watch the competition unfold. Learn more about the competitors for this exciting event by following along on our social media channels leading up to the event, and stay tuned after the event for results! This year’s event will be judged by Steve Lantvit and the master of ceremonies will be the official voice of Equine Affaire, Noah Rattner. 

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04 01

THE OFFICIAL EVENT GUIDE TO EQUINE AFFAIRE IS HERE

LONDON, OH, April 1, 2024 – Horse lovers, saddle up! North America’s premier equine expo and equestrian gathering returns to the Ohio Expo Center next week, just in time to celebrate our most triumphant milestone yet. This year, Equine Affaire in Ohio commemorates thirty years of elevating the equestrian experience – and we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate this landmark anniversary with all of you! As you pack your saddle bags and prepare to head out on the ultimate road trip with your barn buddies next week, keep this trail guide handy to help plan your visit! We’ve compiled the ultimate insider’s guide with tips on who to see, where to go, and what to do when, plus added some helpful hints and frequently asked questions. Let’s get ready to ride!  

I WANT TO GO! WHERE IS IT, WHEN IS IT, AND HOW DO I GET THERE? 

Equine Affaire will take place at the Ohio Expo Center on April 11-14, 2024. The Ohio Expo Center (OEC) is located at 717 East 17th Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. Hours on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are from 9 am-7 pm (EST), and on Sunday, from 9 am-5 pm (EST). Single day tickets and four-day passes for Equine Affaire are available for purchase here.

You can access the event off I-71 from 17th Avenue on the north side of the Ohio Expo Center. On Thursday through Sunday, you can drive through the main gate (Gate 3) and park on the south side of 17th Avenue. On Friday and Saturday, you can also park in a large lot on the north side of 17th Avenue and walk through pedestrian Gate 2, near the Bricker Annex. For an overview map of the grounds, click here. We’ll also have this map and all our individual building maps printed in the official event program, included with admission.  

The Ohio Expo Center charges for parking, so please be prepared to pay the parking attendants promptly when you arrive. It’s $10/entry or $20/four-day pass. Standard parking will accept cash, credit/debit, Apple pay, and Google pay. Also, please leave your pets at home! We cannot allow any pets in any of the buildings, except for service dogs per Ohio Revised Code § 955.43 

Need more information? Click here: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-general-information/ohio-location-event-hours/ 

QUICK TIP: If you plan to come multiple days or would like to enter and leave repeatedly on the same day, purchase a parking pass from the OEC! Parking passes will be available for purchase from the parking attendants at the gate.

FAQ: When can I arrive to park on site? You can arrive and park as early as you wish, but the doors to all the exhibit buildings will remain locked until 9 am.  

WHERE CAN I STAY? 

There are a variety of host hotels near the event. A list is available on our website. Many of our host hotels still have rooms available. Here’s how to find out what’s available and how to receive a special discounted rate on your stay: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-general-information/ohio-host-hotels/ 

Are you coming in an RV or camper? Camping is available on site at the OEC. There is no advance registration. All spaces are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and there are plenty of spaces for all. The current OEC camping rate is $50/day and subject to change without notice. Camping permits can be purchased at the Ohio Expo Center’s main entrance gate (Gate 3), on the south side of 17th Avenue. Pets are welcome in the camping areas. You can learn more about camping at the OEC here. 

HEY, WHAT’S FANTASIA?  

We’re glad you asked! Fantasia is Equine Affaire’s musical celebration of the horse. Sponsored by Equine Medical and Surgical Associates, Fantasia is unlike any show you’ve ever seen – and that’s because every performance features a wide array of disciplines and styles of riding as well as a variety of breeds of horses. Whether you love the precision and elegance of dressage, the seemingly effortless high-speed turns and stops of reining, the excitement of mounted archery, or the thrill of trick riding, there’s a performance guaranteed to inspire you in this year’s show. Are draft horse hitches, flaming whips, bridleless jumping, liberty, or drill teams more your speed? We’ve got all that, too… and more! 

As the perfect end to a perfect, horse-filled day, Fantasia takes place in the Coliseum on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights during Equine Affaire. The doors open at 6:45 pm and the show starts promptly at 7:30 pm. The show typically lasts approximately two hours with one fifteen-minute intermission.  

Fantasia requires separate tickets, and tickets sell quickly, so buy yours today! You can purchase Fantasia tickets online or by calling our office at (740) 845-0085, M-F, 9 am-5 pm (EST). You can also buy tickets on the day of each performance from the Information Booth in the Bricker building until we sell out.  

QUICK TIP: Make sure to stay after the event for a special autograph signing session! All the performers come back out into the arena after the show to sign postcards and programs.

FAQ: Do I need to purchase separate tickets for Equine Affaire and Fantasia? Yes, you need to purchase general admission tickets to access Equine Affaire’s daytime activities and a separate ticket to attend Fantasia. However, if you arrive after 6:30 pm EST to attend Fantasia, you will not have to purchase a general admission ticket to Equine Affaire.  

CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT HORSES AT EQUINE AFFAIRE? 

In a word, yes! For the past thirty years, Equine Affaire has proudly served as an educational gateway to the world of horses. Our mission is to produce events that help improve the horse management, training, and riding skills of all equestrians. That’s why, year after year, we fill our first-class educational program with hundreds of clinics, seminars, and demonstrations, all presented by talented speakers and presenters who are also dedicated, passionate horse-people.  

Whether you love riding, jumping, liberty, reining, ranch work, roping, dressage, pole bending, driving, learning about horse health care and husbandry, or any number of other horse-related topics, there’s a clinic, seminar, or demonstration on our schedule for you.  

And if riding Western or working with cattle is of interest to you, we’ve added a brand-new educational feature at Equine Affaire this spring: Cowtown in Cooper! Sponsored by Western Life Today, Cowtown in Cooper is a two-day educational tour through the world of cow-oriented Western events, such as boxing, ranch riding, sorting, breakaway roping, and more. Cowtown in Cooper will take place on Friday and Saturday of the event. Wear your cowboy boots and hats and come prepared to see some incredible clinicians and riders work with real, live cattle.  

Check out our clinic schedule and a full list of presenters to find the best clinics to attend for you and your area of interest 

If you’re brand new to the horse world, make sure to stop by the Equine Affaire Information Booth in the Bricker Building and tell our friendly staff. They’ll have extra tips and info for you to help get you started! That’s also where you can pick up your official event program. And while you’re there, ask for directions to the Equine Fundamentals Forum in the Celeste Center, which is the perfect place to start learning about horses from the ground up.

FAQ: How can I ride in a clinic at a future Equine Affaire? Equine Affaire’s Ride with a Pro clinic program is a popular and affordable way to ride with and learn from one of your idols at Equine Affaire! Applications are available online starting in January and the deadline to apply is typically in early February. Learn more about Ride with a Pro here.

WHERE DO I GO TO SHOP? 

Equine Affaire is home to the largest horse-related trade show in North America. Featuring hundreds of exhibitors spread out across several buildings, you’re virtually guaranteed to find what you’re looking for! Make sure to visit the Bricker Annex, the Celeste Center, and the Voinovich Center, as well as outdoor areas between buildings, to see all the exhibitors. See a full list of this year’s vendors here.

While you’re shopping, make sure to check out our Facebook (@equineaffaire) starting at noon on Thursday, April 11, so you can cast your vote for the Best Booth Award! On Thursday morning, our staff will select five outstanding exhibitor booths and post photos on our Facebook page by noon. Then it’s up to you to vote for your favorite booth until noon on Saturday, April 13. The booth with the most votes will win the contest! Participating in the Best Booth Award voting is the perfect way to support your favorite exhibitors. Watch our Facebook feed for details on how to vote and to see who wins! 

Love shopping for bargains? Located in the Voinovich, the Marketplace at Equine Affaire is a consignment shop where people just like you can drop off their gently used equestrian items for sale, or browse for bargains among quality used equestrian goods. Learn more about consigning and shopping at the Marketplace here.

QUICK TIP: Many exhibitors host raffles at their booths during the show. Make sure to take business cards or little slips of paper pre-filled with your name, mailing address, and email addresses to make entering raffles quick and easy! You can find a list of all the exhibitors holding raffles in the event program, too. You never know what you might win! (And for that matter, don’t forget to enter Equine Affaire’s free online raffle. Entries are accepted through April 15!)

ARE THERE COMPETITIONS THIS SPRING? 

There are not one, but two competitions taking place at Equine Affaire!  

The Versatile Horse & Rider Competition will take place on Friday, April 12, 2024, in the Coliseum. Sponsored by Espana Silk, this exciting competition features horses and riders riding an obstacle course created to test communication between horse and rider, as well as each competitor’s horsemanship skills and athletic prowess. Riders are competing for $5,500 in cash and other prizes. It’s one exciting race! Check it out here: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-participate/ohio-compete/ohio-versatile-horse-rider-competition/ and bookmark that page for the future to learn more about applying to compete! 

Added as part of our special anniversary celebrations, the Great Equestrian Fitness Challenge is a brand-new addition to Equine Affaire in Ohio! Sponsored by Boot Barn, the GEFC is your opportunity to compete for fun prizes and bragging rights – no  horses needed. If you’re the king or queen of the barn chore list, love mucking stalls, or excel at stacking hay, we want you! This fun new competition is happening Saturday, April13 at 3:00 pm in the GGT Arena in the Voinovich Livestock & Trade Center during Equine Affaire. Show off your hard-earned barn rat muscles in one of three fun barnyard Olympic events: the Barn Chores Marathon, the Bouncy Pony Race, or the Horse Nugget Relay. It’s free to sign up. Just visit the Information Booth in the Bricker Building prior to the competition to sign up. The number of competitor slots is limited and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Limit one event entry per person. 

FAQ: Is admittance to both competitions included with my general admission ticket? That’s correct. No extra tickets are required to attend the VHRC or the GEFC, or to compete in the GEFC! 

HOW CAN I MEET SOME COOL HORSES AND PEOPLE? 

Visit the Breed Pavilion in the Voinovich Center and the Horse & Farm Exhibits in the Gilligan Complex! First, the Breed Pavilion will showcase dozens of horse breeds and registries with origins in North America, Europe, and beyond. You can network with horse owners, research breeds, learn about national, regional, and local breed associations and their activities, and so much more. Association representatives will be on hand to provide helpful information and answer questions about their breeds and horses, and equines from miniatures to drafts and from stock horses to sport horses will be on exhibit and presented in hand for your consideration. Under saddle demonstrations of the breeds featured in the Breed Pavilion will also be conducted throughout the weekend in the main clinic arenas, offering you a chance to understand and appreciate the conformation, characteristics, and aptitudes of horses of different breeds.  

Plus, we’re hosting a special Celebrity Horse Showcase this spring! Meet GG Kiss Me Kate of Gypsy Gold Horse Farm, a gorgeous Gypsy Vanner mare who has won 42 Supreme Champion titles, including 3 National Supreme titles. No other mare has won a National Supreme title, and no other horse has won a National Supreme title more than once. You can meet Kiss Me Kate in the Breed Pavilion and see her in action during our daily Celebrity Horse Showcase (for specific ring times and locations to see Kate, see our event schedule.

After you’re done in the Breed Pavilion, take a stroll through the Gilligan Complex and visit the Horse and Farm Exhibits. You can chat with barn and equine business owners, visit with industry professionals offering horses for sale, and plenty more. The Adoption Affaire, in partnership with the ASPCA Right Horse program, will also be going on in the Gilligan Complex all weekend. Make sure to visit the Adoption Affaire stalls (marked with green signs) to learn about the mission of various rescues and sanctuaries and meet horses up for adoption.  

Have you ever dreamed of driving a pair of giant draft horses? At Equine Affaire in Ohio, we are delighted to offer you the chance for a fascinating experience with the gentle giants of Whispery Pines Percherons! Free for all Equine Affaire attendees, the Drive A Draft activity will take place on Friday and Saturday in Rod’s Arena. Sign up by visiting the Whispery Pines Percherons’ stalls in the Gilligan Complex near the green wall.

The Whispery Pines Percherons are also helping us celebrate our anniversary in an extra-special way by offering stagecoach rides! See the Ohio Expo Center grounds like never before by enjoying a scenic stagecoach ride during Equine Affaire. The rides will be offered daily from 12 pm to 4 pm, east of the Voinovich Livestock & Trade Center. The cost will be $10/person or $50 for 6 people in a private ride. Children 5 years and under are free with an adult.  

Are you a veteran? Meet Operation Horses and Heroes at Equine Affaire. We’ve partnered with Operation Horses and Heroes to offer A Horse for Heroes, where veterans, active duty, and first responders can experience the benefits of equine-assisted therapies and activities. This activity will take place on Friday and Sunday in Rod’s Arena.

QUICK TIP: Ask all the questions! Our exhibitors love to share and showcase their equestrian experiences. Make sure to ask for business cards or pamphlets, too, especially if you’re interested in taking lessons, purchasing a horse, or asking for training services.  

WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? 

Equine Affaire is a great place to take kids of all ages, especially horse-crazy ones. The Equine Fundamentals Forum has lots of fun activities, including an arts and crafts project and a fun stick horse rodeo (3 pm daily!). 

For young adults prepping for college, check out the College & Career Fair presentations. There will be special presentations about pursuing equine-related careers and college degrees on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, as well as the opportunity to sign up for a one-on-one mentoring session with Dr. Karin Bump. You can sign up for the one-on-one sessions in advance, or on site in the Equine Fundamentals Forum in the Celeste Center. Here’s more information about this opportunity.

Equine Affaire is partnering with the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) in hosting the Western 5S Finals Show on Sunday, April 14 from 9:00am to 5:00pm in Cooper Arena. Youth competitors from throughout the region will compete in reining and horsemanship, vying for a spot to compete at the national championships. IEA is a nonprofit organization that promotes and improves the quality of equestrian competition and instruction for middle and secondary school students. Best of all, kids don’t have to own a horse to compete with IEA! Learn more about IEA by attending the competition at Equine Affaire.  

THIS EVENT SOUNDS GREAT! HOW CAN I VOLUNTEER/EXHIBIT/ADVERTISE/PARTICIPATE SOMEDAY? 

You can learn more about how to volunteer, exhibit, advertise, or participate with Equine Affaire in the future by visiting www.equineaffaire.com 

MY QUESTION DIDN’T GET ASKED! NOW WHAT? 

If you have more questions or need to get in touch with our staff, there are plenty of ways to reach out to us! Bookmark our website (www.equineaffaire.com), follow us on Facebook and Instagram @equineaffaire, or call our office at (740) 845-0085, 9:00am-5:00pm EST (M-F). We can’t wait to see you at Equine Affaire!  

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03 25

MEET THE 24 OHIO CLASS OF VHRC RIDERS, PART 3

LONDON, OH, March 26, 2024 – Next month, twenty-five horse and rider pairs will step into the US Equestrian Arena at the Ohio Expo Center, one after the other. One by one, each pair will tackle a challenging obstacle course designed to test their athleticism, their versatility, and above all, their ability to communicate with each other, all while the clock is ticking and the crowd is cheering. Ten riders will place, four will earn cash prizes, but only one will emerge victorious! We’re talking, of course, about the 2024 Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, which will take place on Friday, April 12, during Equine Affaire. It’s going to be an incredible competition. In this post, meet five more of the talented competitors who will join this race at Equine Affaire.

  

Kayla Schlabach-Bossler and Masquerade, a 6 year old Gypsy Vanner gelding 

Kayla and Masquerade are from Navarre, OH. They’ve enjoyed competing in extreme cowboy races for about two years. Masquerade won the open division state championship in Ohio in 2022 as a four-year-old. Kayla says the Gypsy gelding has a natural talent for obstacles as well as trails, liberty work, and being driven.  

“He is very smart and trainable, and loves attention and interacting with anyone who will play with him,” Kayla says.

Kelley Forster and Jolene, a 7 year old Pinto mare 

Kelley knew Jolene was meant for her the minute the little filly drew her first breath. Although completely unrelated, Jolene was the spitting image of Kelley’s horse at the time, a Paint mare named Dream Girl. Dream Girl couldn’t have a foal of her own, but here was a little filly who looked just like her! Kelley fell in love. Fortunately, the little filly’s owner agreed to sell her to Kelley for the price of her vet bill – and that’s when the real fun began. 

Kelley supervised every aspect of the filly’s care and training from the get go, teaching her about leading, manners, grooming, and play, until she was old enough to be started under saddle. Then the pair began exploring the sport of mounted shooting. 

“She took to everything as if she had always done it,” Kelley remembers.  

These days, the pair loves to go trail riding and to compete in mounted shooting and mountain trail competitions. They competed in their first mountain trail competition in November 2023, taking 3 firsts and 1 second in the four classes they entered. A few weeks ago, in their second competition, they placed first in every class.  

“Jolene has proven herself a willing and eager partner,” Kelley says. “She is truly a rock star. At barely 14 hands tall with shoes on, Jolene has proven herself equal to any challenge I have thrown at her.”

Kelsey Spencer and Raggedy Ann, a 12 year old Mustang mare 

Kelsey began training horses when she was just twelve years old. At fourteen, she knew that training horses was all she ever wanted to do for the rest of her life. As an adult, she started her own horse training business, Wild Ride Equine, in large part because of “Annie.” Kelsey met Annie when she drew her for the 2016 Extreme Mustang Makeover in Lexington, Virginia.  

“Annie and I taught each other a lot about ourselves,” Kelsey remembers. “She is why I fell in love with training mustangs.” 

At Wild Ride Equine, Kelsey specialized in training mustangs and competed in six Extreme Mustang Makeovers. She was also a TIP trainer for the Mustang Heritage Foundation for seven years. After eight years, Kelsey decided to close her business due to the economy, but her love for training and teaching remains. She’s also excited to continue working with Annie. Together, they’ve explored the disciplines of ranch roping, ranch riding, jumping, dressage, extreme cowboy racing, and mounted shooting, and they look forward to competing in the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition this spring.

Kristin Fouty and Dun Got It Goin On, a 19 year old Paint gelding 

Kristin and “Boo” have been partners for seventeen years. In that time, they’ve enjoyed multiple disciplines, including pleasure, rodeo, ranch, trail, and many more. They’ve both had major accomplishments in the professional and open circuits. 

“Boo is a wonderful gelding with a great working mind. He is always willing and sometimes a little extra willing for a cookie. He is a gentleman and takes everything in stride,” Kristin says.

Marissa Filbrun and Hancocks Lucky Draw, a 4 year old Quarter Horse gelding 

Marissa purchased “Bo” as a three-year-old stud in January 2023. Bo was barely halter-broke at the time. Marissa planned to geld, start, and resell him, but as soon as she started working with him, she realized he had a little spark in his soul – and that’s when she fell in love with him. In March 2023, she started him under saddle. Ten months later, they’ve accomplished all kinds of things together, from roping to ranch riding to jumping, trail riding, obstacle courses, and lots more.  

“I know that we are both ready fo the next challenge thrown our way,” Marissa says.  

If you’re excited for this year’s Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, make your plans today to attend Equine Affaire on Friday, April 12, and watch the competition unfold. Learn more about the competitors for this exciting event by following along on our social media channels leading up to the event, and stay tuned after the event for results! This year’s event will be judged by Steve Lantvit and the master of ceremonies will be the official voice of Equine Affaire, Noah Rattner. 

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03 19

MEET THE 24 OHIO CLASS OF VHRC RIDERS, PART 2

LONDON, OH, March 19, 2024 – The 2024 Versatile Horse & Rider Competition in Ohio is coming up quickly, and we are thrilled to introduce you to this event’s class of competitors.  

Sponsored by Espana Silk Grooming Products, the VHRC will take place on Friday, April 12, at 1:30 pm in the US Equestrian Coliseum during Equine Affaire. A class of twenty-five horses and riders will race the clock and each other as they tackle a challenging obstacle course, specially designed to test the athleticism, versatility, and horsemanship of each competitive pair. With $5,500 cash and other prizes at stake, it’s going to be one exciting race as our competitors vie for the honor of becoming the 2024 Ohio Versatile Horse and Rider Champions! In this post, meet five more of the talented competitors that will join the race at Equine Affaire.

 

Diana Tomes and Rowan, 8 year old Mustang mare 

Diana Tomes works with mustangs at her training and teaching facility, Big Lake Farm, in Davisburg, MI. “Rowan” is an eight-year-old mare from the Adope Town, WY, herd. They’ve only been working together for a few short months, and the VHRC will mark Rowan’s competition debut.  

“I’m so excited for the opportunity to showcase how truly versatile and hardworking mustangs can be,” Diana says. “Rowan has a heart of gold, and it has been so fulfilling building a partnership with her.”

Faith Johnson and Rambo, 9 year old Thoroughbred gelding 

Like many horse kids, Faith Johnson started riding before she could even remember. She started out in 4-H and tried her hand at everything: showmanship, Western pleasure, horsemanship, trail, equitation, and hunter under saddle. Eventually, she moved on from 4-H to breed competitions and began showing American Quarter Horses in hunter classes. When COVID hit, Faith took a break from showing. Then, in college, she bought a project pony and fell in love with the process of working with “project horses.” That’s how she acquired “Rambo,” a Thoroughbred who came off the track with 45 starts, a sesamoid injury, and a right eye completely blinded by a cataract. When they applied to the VHRC in February, Rambo had only 30 restart rides to his credit, but Faith has made those rides count. The pair have ridden in the arena, gone trail riding, worked cattle, and tackled some simple obstacles. Rambo has also taken Faith tubing, and Faith has launched her drone off his back.  

“I want to bring Rambo out to Equine Affaire to test my horsemanship, expose Rambo to different things, and potentially even find him a new home,” Faith says.  

Jessica Mammel and Fancy Lik That, 5 year old American Quarter Horse mare 

Jessica’s lifelong love affair with horses started when she was just three years old. One of her favorite things about horses, especially Quarter Horses, is their versatility. She says that her own horse, “Boujee,” is an amazing example of how versatile the Quarter Horse can be.  

“We have been partners for two years now,” Jessica says. “I would describe Boujee as very brave, willing, and with a huge heart. She’s willing to try whatever I throw at her. This event is something I have always wanted to compete in. I think Boujee is the partner I need to get me there.” 

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Kat Wiegand and WHR Tiny Dancer, 8 year old Gypsy Vanner gelding 

According to Kat, “Tiny” is a lot of horse packed into a little hairy body. From his start under saddle, Tiny has been a force to be reckoned with in the show world, with wins in halter, Western, English, trail, and ranch classes. For the past three years, he has ranked top 10 in the nation in points with the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society and has earned many championships and reserve championships. Outside the show world, Tiny visits nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 

“Tiny has a huge personality, and he’s a crowd favorite at shows,” Kat says. “His trademark squeal can be heard in most of his classes.” 

Katie Finley and Travel Gun, 6 year old American Quarter Horse gelding 

Katie and “Traveller” are from Navarre, OH. By profession, Katie is a Doctor of Pharmacy – but her passion is, and always has been, horses. She bought the then-three-year-old “Traveller” as a young horse in order to challenge herself, and in the process, found her once-in-a-lifetime partner. Together, Traveller and Katie show extreme cowboy racing, mountain trail, and ranch horse. They have won reserve state championships in extreme cowboy, been overall year-end high point champions in extreme cowboy, and overall grand champions in ranch horse and mountain trail.  

“Traveller even faithfully led me to an OQHA Reserve Championship in in-hand mountain trail five days before my daughter was born,” Katie says. “Traveller and I had the privilege of competing in the VHRC in 2022. We have grown so much since then, and would love the chance to go for round two.”  

If you’re excited for this year’s Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, make your plans today to attend Equine Affaire on Friday, April 12, and watch the competition unfold. Learn more about the competitors for this exciting event by following along on our social media channels leading up to the event, and stay tuned after the event for results! This year’s event will be judged by Steve Lantvit and the master of ceremonies will be the official voice of Equine Affaire, Noah Rattner. If you missed our first press release introducing our first five riders, click here to find out more!

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03 14

MEET THE 24 OHIO CLASS OF VHRC RIDERS, PART 1

LONDON, OH, March 12, 2024 – In about one month, Equine Affaire will celebrate its 30th anniversary in Ohio with clinics, a trade show, meet-and-greets, networking opportunities, breed exhibits, educational activities, and competitions – including the competition that has become a beloved annual tradition for horsemen and horsewomen all across the Midwest and beyond. We’re talking, of course, about the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition! 

Sponsored by Espana Silk Grooming Products, the VHRC will take place on Friday, April 12, at 1:30 pm in the US Equestrian Coliseum. A class of twenty-five horses and riders will race the clock and each other as they tackle a challenging obstacle course, specially designed to test the athleticism, versatility, and horsemanship of each competitive pair. With $5,500 cash and other prizes at stake, it’s going to be one exciting race as our competitors vie for the honor of becoming the 2024 Ohio Versatile Horse and Rider Champions! In this post, meet five of the talented competitors that will join the race at Equine Affaire. 


Adam Black and Just June, 8 year old molly mule 

Adam Black grew up in southeastern Ohio. His passion for horses started when he was just a small child. Today, he is an established horseman. He began Adam Black Horsemanship with a dream, a direction, and vision to help horsemen and women create an everlasting bond between people and horses. Officially established in 2017, Adam Black Horsemanship focuses on starting colts, obstacle training, cowboy mounted shooting, and competitive ranch riding. He currently works on a 70 acre equestrian center where he offers training, sale horses, lessons and a place to come and enjoy the equine partners. Adam has a long list of accomplishments to his credit, including the 2017, 2021, and 2023 Winner of the Appalachian Trainer Face-Off (hosted by Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue); becoming the Champion of Champions in the 2018 Ohio Dirt Road to the Horse colt starting competition; and many others. Adam is currently a Men’s Level 3 Mounted Shooter and belongs to the Northern Ohio Outlaws. In 2022 and 2023, Adam was invited to work with world renowned Horsemen Monty Roberts, the horse whisperer, and is currently working towards becoming Ohio’s first Monty Roberts Certified Instructor. Adam continues his dream every day and believes with patience, understanding, consistent and diligent work, horse and rider can become what they themselves have always dreamed of becoming. Adam has been riding Just June for six years. 


Amy Bailey and Lucy Lu, 13 year old Appaloosa mare
 

Amy Bailey is the manager of the Kentucky Cowtown Arena in Williamstown, KY. She has been riding Lucy Lu for nine years. They enjoy riding in local Western and English competitions as well as trail, drill, and eventing. They also travel extensively with the Young Guns Drill Team and have had the honor of riding with the team in three Fantasia performances in Massachusetts. Next month will mark their third Fantasia performance in Ohio. Amy says that Lucy Lu is a fantastic trail companion.  

Bella Sweigard and Shelby Dreaming, 6 year old Mustang mare 

Hailing from Lisbon, OH, Bella and Shelby have been together for five years. Together, they perform mountain trail, mounted archery, liberty, jumping, dressage, driving, pole bending, and trail riding. They compete in adult level 3 mountain trail challenges, introductory dressage, beginner novice jumping, liberty/bridleless riding competitions, and adult walk/trot mounted archery.  

“I adopted Shelby, untouched, from the Bureau of Land Management in 2019, fulfilling my dream of training a wild mustang,” Bella says. “Previously, I gained experience when I received a pair of underutilized racking horses that had only been used for light trail riding. I was able to get them in working condition. That experience set me up for success when I finally adopted an unhandled mustang. Since Shelby’s arrival, we have spent countless hours building trust and skills in all kinds of ways. Shelby has shown remarkable aptitude in many disciplines during our training, and I am excited to showcase our accomplishments in the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition.”  

Charli Cuvelier and Sweet Baby Jesus, 4 year old American Quarter Horse mare 

Charli and Sweet Baby Jesus have been working together for the last two years and enjoy competing in ranch, obstacle, trail, and English disciplines in lower level open shows. Sweet Baby Jesus is the first horse that Charli has purchased, trained, and broken herself. When she first began handling her as a yearling, Charli spent a great deal of time desensitizing the filly to anything she could build or get her hands on. Her eventual goal was to compete with Sweet Baby Jesus in the VHRC, so that goal gave a special direction and purpose to her training. Charli has taken Sweet Baby Jesus to as many open shows and clinics as she could afford and spent a few months working with Adam Black. 

“Adam allowed me to join him at his farm and bring my filly along to continue my training,” Charli says. “I gained a wealth of knowledge there and feel like I am ready for this competition. Sweet Baby Jesus always handles everything I throw at her with grace and gives me the best try I could ask for.” 

Christine Weimer and Sir Par Bar, 22 year old American Quarter Horse gelding 

Christine purchased “Johnny” when he was just seven. In their fifteen years together, she estimates they’ve ridden thousands of miles on trails throughout state parks, metro parks, and private farms. 

“Johnny goes wherever I ask,” Christine says. “He goes over it, under it, through it, willingly. He is always the lead horse when a new rider wants to take their horse on the trail for the first time.”  

Christine and Johnny compete in mountain trail obstacle courses through Premier Mountain Trail, which are competitions based on precision, rather than speed. They have been successful throughout the years, earning the title of Grand Champion in both riding and in-hand. They have also competed bridleless.  

“I have watched this competition for years at Equine Affaire and have always wanted to sign up, however, I never had the self confidence,” Christine says. “I am hoping that by participating in this competition we can inspire older riders with senior horses to branch out and try something new!” 

If you’re excited for this year’s Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, make your plans today to attend Equine Affaire on Friday, April 12, and watch the competition unfold. Learn more about the competitors for this exciting event by following along on our social media channels leading up to the event, and stay tuned after the event for results! This year’s event will be judged by Steve Lantvit and the master of ceremonies will be the official voice of Equine Affaire, Noah Rattner. 

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EMPOWER YOURSELF AT EQUINE AFFAIRE

LONDON, OH, March 1, 2024 – Knowledge is power, and nowhere is that more true than in the equine industry. Empower yourself this spring to become a more knowledgeable horse owner, a stronger rider, a more confident handler and trainer, and a better all-around horseperson by attending Equine Affaire in Ohio. From the very beginning, Equine Affaire’s mission has been to improve the horse management, training, and riding skills of horsemen and horsewomen everywhere. Thirty years later, that mission hasn’t changed. This spring, you’re invited to celebrate our thirtieth anniversary with us at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus on April 11-14, 2024. Come ready and eager to learn, and we guarantee you’ll leave a better horseperson than when you arrived! 

North America’s premier equine exposition and equestrian gathering will take place over four days, from Thursday to Sunday, which means you’ll have endless opportunities to learn about show jumping, dressage, reining, ranch riding, breakaway roping, positive reinforcement training, and everything in between, plus tons of sessions all about horse health care and training. With sessions going on in five arenas and on the seminar stage every day, you’re going to need to plan carefully to catch everything – and everyone! — you want to see. The full schedule for Equine Affaire is now available on our website, along with a list of the dozens of equine educators who will be on site teaching clinics and seminars and giving demonstrations throughout the weekend: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-educational-program/ohio-presenters/ 

If you’ve always been curious about Western disciplines, then this is your year! Attend Cowtown in Cooper on Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, to learn all about the Western way of riding and how horses and riders can interact with cattle safely and effectively. This brand-new educational feature is sponsored by Western Life Today and includes a variety of clinics on roping, reining, ranch riding, ranch sorting, boxing, and reined cow horse topics presented by Steve Lantvit, Tanner Keith, Ken McNabb, Dave Treharne, and others. Take part in this authentic Western experience and learn something new! 

Our featured general horsemanship and training clinicians for this spring’s event include Mike Major, Ken McNabb, Pat Parelli, Steve Lantvit, and Chelsea Canedy. Attendees will also enjoy learning from Daniel Stewart (jumping, fitness & sports psychology), Phillip Dutton (eventing), Kevin Raber (reining), Dave Treharne (roping), Mark Bolender (mountain trail), Cynthia Hankins (hunter/jumper), Kristine May (barrel racing), Lauren Sammis (dressage), Stacey Giere (driving), Solange (stable riding system), Lynn Newton (Western dressage), Duane Esser (English pleasure), Matt McHugh (trailer driving), Kellie & Sam Rettinger (Draft horses), Karin Bump (college & career fair), Jerry Paulsen (equine assisted activities), Penley Horsemanship and the Mid-Ohio Mauraders (mounted shooting), the Young Guns 4-H Drill Team (drill team), and many, many more! 

MIKE MAJOR hails from Bowie, TX, where he owns and operates Mike Major Horsemanship. Mr. Major has spent his lifetime starting, training, and showing horses in multiple Western disciplines, including ranch horse versatility, ranch riding, roping, cutting, cowhorse, and reining. He has won countless awards through American Quarter Horse Association and Stock Horse of Texas events, including three AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse Open World Championships, five AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse Open Reserve World Championships, five SHOT Open World Championships, two World’s Greatest Versatility Ranch Horse Championships, and many more. He has also received his AQHA 50 Year Breeder Certificate. Mr. Major specializes in enhancing the clarity of communication between the horse and rider through body control and softness to succeed in all disciplines and at all levels. In addition to his accomplishments in the show pen, Mr. Major is an avid supporter of the industry, serving as a Special Advisor to the Mustang Heritage Foundation and as a member of the AQHA Ranch Horse Committee. 

KEN MCNABB is a lifelong horseman who grew up on the edge of the wild-horse country on the Wyoming-Montana border, both using horses for work and observing them in wild herds nearby. Mr. McNabb decided to make horsemanship his vocation early on. He began training horses for neighbors before he was 15 and apprenticed to Colorado master John Lyons at that young age. In the years since, Mr. McNabb has spent countless hours in the saddle, many of them behind a microphone, teaching participants in regional equine expos, horse shows, horsemanship clinics, instructional DVDs, and through a national RFD TV show. His TV show, “Discovering the Horseman Within,” appears weekly on the RFD satellite channel. Ken’s methods are commonly ascribed to the “natural horsemanship” persuasion of training, working with a horse’s natural inclination towards learning and rewards. He also periodically competes in prominent horse-starting competitions, including the 2008 Road to the Horse and wins at the 2007 Colt Starting Challenge at the Mane Event in Washington and the 2008 Trainers Challenge Colt Starting Competition in BC, Canada. 

In 1982, PAT PARELLI began creating a natural horsemanship program to improve the relationship between humans and horses. Mr. Parelli promoted the concept of love, language, and leadership. His desire to spread this knowledge to the world rose up in him after watching his mentors Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt work with horses. In 1984, Parelli began teaching clinics, and in 1991, he coined the name Natural Horsemanship. Natural Horsemanship has become a viable and important aspect of the international horse industry and continues to expand and influence how horses are trained. Mr. Parelli provides amazing talent for both training horses and teaching people. Today, Parelli Natural Horsemanship and the program have spread to 76 countries, over a million people, and have improved the lives of horses around the world. For more information about Pat Parelli and Parelli Natural Horsemanship, please visit Parelli.com. 

STEVE LANTVIT is a versatility performance horseman whose training program is based on trust, gentle hands, and a true partnership with the horse. Steve focuses on creating a light horse by establishing a strong foundation and providing correct timing and consistency with his methods. Mr. Lantvit competes successfully in cow horse and ranch horse events and enjoys coaching riders in the same. His guiding mission is to help riders achieve their dreams in and out of the show pen by producing handy, steady, and well-rounded horses. Mr. Lantvit hosts the popular TV show, “Sure in the Saddle” (as seen on RFD-TV and the Cowboy Channel), and conducts clinics across the country offering effective, meaningful instruction for riders of all levels across multiple disciplines. His knowledge, common-sense approach to teaching, and humor have made him a favorite at clinics, horse expos, and other exhibitions across the country. 

Owner of Unexpected Farm in Wales, Maine, CHELSEA CANEDY is an upper-level event rider known for combining traditional horsemanship with proven training methods from the behavioral sciences, and has a reputation as someone who understands how horses think and learn. Through these integrative practices, Ms. Canedy helps riders to understand their horse, overcome their fears, and reconnect with their goals. Working with riders and horses ranging from novice to professional, she approaches athletic training for both with empathy, patience, and understanding; she deepens the horse-rider connection through more precise communication, positive reinforcement, and her “reward the try” philosophy. Ms. Canedy is a premier trainer for those dedicated to their goals, willing to navigate their personal obstacles, and discover their own mastery in the ring and beyond.    

Tickets for Equine Affaire in Ohio are on sale now! Come to the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus on April 11-14, 2024, and enjoy hundreds of educational clinics, seminars, and demonstrations; exciting competitions; a massive trade show; themed pavilions; interactive activities; and lots more! General admission tickets are available for purchase online or by calling our office. General admission tickets are $16 in advance for adults or $10 for children, ages 7-10. Four-day passes are $52. Children (ages 6 & under) get in for free. And don’t forget to buy your Fantasia tickets, too! Equine Affaire’s musical celebration of the horse, Fantasia, will take place April 11-13 at 7:30 pm each evening and feature incredible equine entertainment. Fantasia is sponsored by Equine Medical and Surgical Associates. Elevate the equestrian experience of your whole family and come to Equine Affaire! To purchase tickets, find an event schedule, review hotel accommodation information, or learn other details, visit https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/. 

Equine Affaire gratefully acknowledges the sponsorship and support of Equine Medical and Surgical Associates, official sponsor of Fantasia; Rod’s, official sponsor of the Rod’s arena; US Equestrian, official sponsor of the US Equestrian Arena; GGT Footing, official sponsor of the arena footing; Pro Earth Animal Health, the official supplement of Equine Affaire; Boot Barn, official sponsor of the Great Equestrian Fitness Challenge; and Western Life Today, official sponsor of Cowtown in Cooper. For more information about Equine Affaire, please visit equineaffaire.com or follow us on Facebook and Instagram @equineaffaire. We’ll see you at Equine Affaire! 

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ELEVATING THE EQUESTRIAN EXPERIENCE SINCE 1994 TM