11 22

Equine Affaire in Massachusetts Celebrates Another Year of Elevating the Equestrian Experience

For horse lovers, nothing kicks off the holiday season like celebrating a successful Equine Affaire in Massachusetts. On November 7-10, 2019, the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield played host to the 22nd annual Equine Affaire in Massachusetts.

As North America’s premiere equine exposition and equestrian gathering, Equine Affaire is a bucket-list destination for thousands of horse lovers, equestrian experts and equine businesses from across the United States and beyond. From the buzz of the trade show floor to the hustle and bustle of clinics and the happy hum of the barns, the event offered something special for equine enthusiasts of all ages.

“Equine Affaire is very professional and organized, and their volunteers are exceptional,” said Chris Cox of Chris Cox Horsemanship, who presented multiple clinics and sessions on general horsemanship at this year’s event. “They create a little bit of something for everyone here. Coming to an event like this for the price, you can see a lot of great horsemen and horsewomen in different disciplines. You just can’t beat it.”

This year’s event hosted more than 150 sessions with the industry’s leading horsemen and horsewomen, including Chris Cox, Julie Goodnight, Dan James, Steve Lantvit and Jason Irwin. Equestrian experts from around the world presented on topics such as dressage, eventing, show jumping, barrel racing, driving, hunters, western dressage, hunter under saddle, gaited horses, saddle seat, sidesaddle, and more.

Many of the clinics featured riders and horses who had been selected for Equine Affaire’s Ride with a Pro program, which invites individuals to apply to ride with experts at clinics during the event. Equine Affaire attendee Jade Warren participated in one of Julie Goodnight’s clinics, and said she came away with helpful exercises that she plans to continue using at home with her horse.

“What I appreciated most about Julie’s teaching style was her gentleness,” Jade said. “It really helped me out a lot that she was so calm and willing and able to help with whatever I needed. If you’re on the fence about applying for a future Ride With A Pro opportunity, my advice is to do it! You only live once.”

Between clinics, attendees browsed acres of equine-themed shopping at the east coast’s largest horse-related trade show. From gleaming horse trailers to fun equine-themed board games, there were goods of almost every kind available for purchase, including tack, apparel, jewelry, horse feed samples and plenty more. Many clinicians and presenters also hosted their own booths in the trade show, where visitors could ask questions, buy products, request autographs and more.

“I’m here all day in my booth answering questions and looking at pictures of people’s horses and hearing their stories,” Julie Goodnight said. “At Equine Affaire, you get to interact face-to-face with people you might never otherwise have a chance to see. The same is true of the vendors. We have a lot of pharmaceuticals, a lot of veterinary products and nutritional products. You can get very educated in these trade shows. If I have a question about building a stall or figuring out what I want in a horse trailer, I can come to a trade show like this and compare all the different kinds of horse trailers. There’s a lot of value to events like Equine Affaire.”

In addition to the clinics and the trade show, special events took place each day during Equine Affaire. Whispery Pines Percherons offered a brand-new activity called Drive A Draft, where visitors learned firsthand how to drive a massive Percheron horse. Attendees also had the chance to ride one of the nation’s most versatile horse breeds at the Ride A Morgan event. Another new event this year was created especially for veterans and first responders. Equine Affaire partnered with BINA Farm to offer A Horse for Heroes, which gave veterans and other heroes the opportunity to interact with a horse for the first time and experience the magical bond between horse and human.

The Versatile Horse & Rider Competition took place on Friday in the Coliseum, featuring 25 horse-and-rider pairs who vied with each other for the top prize of $2,500 and the honor of being named the 2019 Versatile Horse and Rider Champion. Judged by Chris Cox and announced by Steve Lantvit, the competition featured a daunting obstacle course specially designed to test the communication between horse and rider. Riders asked their horses to leap a series of small jumps, carry a barrel from one end of the arena to another, drag a parachute, execute a tight turn atop a small platform, and many other challenging maneuvers.

Danelle Osinchuk of Springfield, Vermont, and her horse, a 19-year-old American Quarter Horse gelding named Slip Me A Dual Pep, took home top honors with a score of 58 points and a time of 5 minutes and 9 seconds.

“The VHRC is a competition that encompasses asking you to know a little bit from all of the different disciplines,” Danelle reflected. “You might have to jump, you might have to spin, who knows. I like trying to prepare my horse for something where you don’t necessarily really know what to expect.”

Danelle and “Magic” have competed multiple times in the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, but this year marks their first win.

“I really, really love this event and I look forward to it,” Danelle said. “I would encourage anyone to try it out. I don’t make a living training horses, I don’t keep my horse with a trainer, and I have three young kids. If I can work my way to the top, I am sure many others can, too. I’ve enjoyed the journey and the camaraderie that has come with it.”

Finally, no day at Equine Affaire is quite complete unless you’ve experienced the beauty and wonder of the Fantasia. Equine Affaire’s signature musical celebration of the horse featured a variety of horse-themed acts, each one filled with the special kind of magic that only horses can bring. Ambra Andrine rallied her Arabian horses to create a fabulous equestrian ballet, complete with aerial acrobatics and dance. World-renowned horseman Dan James performed his award-winning freestyle routine atop the stallion, Don Magnum. Lisa Dufresne performed in two acts: first, she appeared in a series of stunning costumes with her beautiful Friesian, Flip; and second, she performed with a lovable team of six miniature stallions, each costumed like a lion cub. Hope Cooper executed a stunning dressage freestyle with her horse, Hot Chocolate W, and Tribe Ermes had the audience perched on the edge of their seats with their fabulous vaulting routine. The dueling draft horse hitches of Morrisville College and Whispery Pines Percherons, a Wild West show with Austin Anderson, Chelsea Fisher and Trevor Draher, and the Crimson Acres Glory Riders Drill Team rounded out an already fabulous evening. For the big finale, a team of Icelandic horses and riders literally set the arena on fire in a stunning display of horsemanship, speed and song during their Tribute to Throstur.

Equine Affaire is grateful for the generous support of its sponsors, including Absorbine, sponsor of Fantasia; US Equestrian, sponsor of the Coliseum Arena; Cosequin, sponsor of the Equine Fundamentals Forum; Farnam, sponsor of the Courtesy Shopping Bag; Horizon Structures, the official barn of Equine Affaire; Horze Equestrian, the official apparel of Equine Affaire; GGT, sponsor of the Mallary & Young Arenas; Wahl, official clipper of Equine Affaire; and Nutrena, sponsor of the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition.

For more information about Equine Affaire, visit equineaffaire.com or call the Equine Affaire office at (740) 845-0085, any time between 9am and 5pm EST, Monday through Friday. Thanks for joining us, and we hope to see you again next year!

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11 14

Danelle Osinchuk Wins the 2019 Versatile Horse & Rider Competition in Massachusetts!

Left to Right: Champions Slip Me A Dual Pep & Danelle Osinchuk, Equine Affaire President Coagi Long, VHRC Judge Chris Cox

Congratulations to the 2019 MA Versatile Horse & Rider Competition Champion, Danelle Osinchuk riding Slip Me A Dual Pep! Reserve Champion went to Melissa Ellis and Steep Way Cosmo Girl. Third place was Jason Charles and Ms. Whiz It, with fourth place to Brenda Hanson and Ace. Rounding out the top five was Jackie Rappel and Becketts Hickory Doc. See below for full results. Congratulations to all of our competitors, and a big thank you to our sponsor – Nutrena!

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11 04

Get to Know the 2019 Massachusetts Versatile Horse & Rider Competitors! (Part 4)

Our final installment of rider profiles for the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, sponsored by Nutrena, is below. Who will you be rooting for?

Stephanie Speers

Horse: Leap of Faith (aka “Faith”), 22-year-old Haflinger mare

When Stephanie acquired Faith 9 years ago she was barely saddle broke. Since then, they have had many adventures – training cross country, competing in Road Hack in the Hunter ring, beach and trail riding, and even visiting local nursing homes, birthday parties, and fairs. Stephanie has been riding and training horses for over 25 years and looks forward to testing her and Faith’s skills at this year’s VHRC.

Carly Wade

Horse: Docs Hot to Handle (aka “Lizz”, 10-year-old Quarter Horse mare

Carly is a recent graduate with a degree in Ag Production Systems with a specialty in Equine Management from Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, where she and her horse Lizz competed on the NCTA Ranch Team and earned the 2017 CSU Silver Jubilee All Around Champion Collegiate Novice buckle. She also completed a 12-week farrier program in Oklahoma, worked for a cow-horse trainer in Wyoming, and currently works trimming, training, and transporting horses. They are truly a “been-there-done-that” pair, and we look forward to their debut in the VHRC!

Loretta Rose Weber (2 horses)

Horses: Colonel Smoken Badger (aka “Smoke”), 9-year-old APHA Paint/PtHA Pinto stallion & Shining Gold Badger (aka “Badger”), 9-year-old APHA Paint/Pinto gelding

Loretta will be hard to miss on her flashy Paint/Pinto horses at this year’s competition. They are no strangers to the VHRC with both horses having competed in previous years and Smoke with multiple top 3 finishes. Loretta and her horses are truly all-around competitors and compete in western and English disciplines, including halter, horsemanship, ranch and trail classes, hunter hack, gymkhana, and western dressage.



Loretta Rose Weber & Shining Gold Badger
Loretta Rose Weber & Colonel Smoken Badger

Carolyn Weeks

Horse: Mr. Spoc, 7-year-old Mustang gelding

Carolyn and Mr. Spoc have been working together and showing at local shows and versatility challenges for the last 5 years. At their VHRC debut last year, they were just 2 points outside of the top 10. They have been working very hard this summer to improve their skills are aiming to break into the top 5 at this year’s competition.

Carolyn Weeks & Mr. Spoc

Rob West

Horse: Lori Darlin, 4-year-old Mustang mare

Just 6 short months ago, Lori Darlin was a wild mustang. Rob has been training her and working to overcome fears and tackle obstacles, and the two have grown to be trusting partners. She can now be ridden in shows and alongside traffic, and has even been brought into Rob’s home and climbed a flight of stairs upon request. Rob claims there isn’t much Lori Darlin won’t do if asked, and we can’t wait to see how they perform together in this year’s VHRC!

Rob West’s Lori Darlin


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11 03

Equine Affaire Podcast #5

In this edition of Equine Affaire, we talk to Christie Schulte Kappert of The Right Horse Initiative. Christie is the program manager for the WaterShed Animal Fund’s equine initiative, the Right Horse Initiative.

If you’re interested in adoption, click here to learn about our Adoption Affaire at the upcoming Massachusetts Equine Affaire. General admission tickets to Equine Affaire (available online here) include admission to the Adoption Affaire and all other specialty pavilions along with the hundreds of clinics, seminars, and demonstrations scheduled for November 7-10 at the Eastern States Exposition!

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11 02

Get to Know the 2019 Massachusetts Versatile Horse & Rider Competitors! (Part 3)

Read about our next set of riders for the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, sponsored by Nutrena, below!

Matt Lovejoy

Horse: Twilight Smarty 313 (aka “Jewel”), 6-year-old Quarter Horse mare

Matt was raised on an Arabian horse farm in West Virginia and began his professional horsemanship career at the age of 24. He has worked and trained under 14 world champion trainers in various disciplines including reining, reined cow horse, cutting, pleasure, roping, endurance racing, and ranch work. Matt has won 7 buckles and earned himself the nickname “Cowboy Matt.” Matt specializes in “problem” horses and acquired Jewel after she had bucked off her previous owner one too many times. In just 5 months, Jewel has proven herself to be a confident and capable mount, and Matt looks forward to showing off her versatility in the VHRC.

Matt Lovejoy & Twilight Smarty 313

Symphonie Nadeau

Horse: Invited by Krymsun (aka “Onyx”), 15-year-old Quarter Horse gelding

Symphonie has a solid equestrian background with 31 years of experience competing and training horses in different countries and working with Olympic and international clinicians. She has won several titles, including the provincial finals of the Quebec Extreme Cowboy Association in the Open Pro division.

Danelle Osinchuk

Horse: Slip Me A Dual Pep (aka “Magic”), 19-year-old Quarter Horse gelding

Danelle and Magic have been a team for 10 years, and together have competed in cutting events, stock horse shows, and versatility events. Magic was bred and trained for cutting and reining. They have won amateur and open year-end championships in The New England Stock Horse Series and placed in the top 5 multiple times in the VHRC.

Danelle Osinchuk & Slip Me A Dual Pep

Jackie Rappel

Horse: Becketts Hickory Doc (“Roanie”), 19-year-old Quarter Horse gelding

Jackie and Roanie have been competing together in reined cow horse and the VHRC for four years. They’ve placed as high as 4th and had multiple top 10 finishes. Although Jackie sold Roanie to friends about a year ago and he is now semi-retired, Jackie still rides him once a month and plans to continue competing with him at the VHRC every year as long as he’s still up for the challenge.

Jackie Rappel & Becketts Hickory Doc

Laura Ryan

Horse: Doctor’s Peppy’s Lena (aka “Jewel”), 17-year-old Quarter Horse mare

East meets west with this pair! Laura is from New York, and her mount Jewel was born in Texas before being acquired in a stableman’s lien. For the last 11 years, they have participated in western versatility, trail, and ranch horse competitions. This will be their VHRC debut.

Martin Schwartz

Horse: Show Me Sterling (aka “Sterling”), 10-year-old Appaloosa gelding

Martin and Sterling have proven their abilities time and again in the VHRC, winning back-to-back champion titles in 2017 and 2018. Because of Sterling’s owner’s back troubles, he cannot ride – so Martin has taken the reins for the past six years and Sterling has truly blossomed under him. We can’t wait to see how these two perform at this year’s competition!

Martin Schwartz & Show Me Sterling
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10 30

Equine Affaire Podcast #4

In the fourth episode of the Equine Affaire podcast, we talk to renowned horse trainer, clinician, and author Julie Goodnight. She has been helping horses, one human at a time, since 1985, when she began her training business. Julie travels both domestically and internationally to teach horsemanship. She is also a spokesperson for the Certified Horsemanship Association, holding their highest level of certification, Master Clinic Instructor.

Listen below to hear why Julie thinks the clinics at Equine Affaire are so valuable, and about some of her favorite Equine Affaire moments.

To view this year’s event schedule, which includes presentations from Julie and many other talented horsemen and women, click here. With seven venues and hundreds of sessions over four days, a little advance planning will be required! Don’t have your ticket yet? Click here to purchase! General admission tickets include admission to all clinics, seminars, and demonstrations.

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10 25

Get to Know the 2019 Massachusetts Versatile Horse & Rider Competitors! (Part 2)

Do you have a favorite contestant yet for the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, sponsored by Nutrena? Keep reading about the competitors below!

Liz Foster

Horse: Peppy Has A Freckle (aka “Frog”), 19-year-old Quarter Horse gelding

Liz and Frog have been a team for a few years, and together they participate in a variety of activities including trail riding, working cows, obstacle courses, team penning and sorting, and more. Liz earned a Hi Point Rider title aboard Frog at an Atlantic Reined Cow Horse Association event. They look forward to competing in their first VHRC!

Geoffrey Goodson

Horse: LWF Two Eyed Lynx (aka “Trevor”), 9-year-old Quarter Horse gelding

Geoff has diverse experience with equines – from researching wild Brumbies in Australia to competing at the EXTREME Mustang Makeover and training and showing all breeds and disciplines. He has been partnered with Trevor for only three months but has been working hard to develop Trevor’s skills under saddle with a focus on obstacles, versatility, and an introduction to cattle.

Brenda Hanson

Horses: Ace, 8-year-old AQHA gelding & Sansa, 4-year-old grade Quarter Horse mare

Brenda is a returning VHRC Champion and has also taken the Reserve title and several top 5 placings. She is competing on two horses – Ace, who she’s been training since he was 3 years old, and Sensa, a new partner for Brenda. Sensa was rescued as a yearling by Heart of Phoenix Equine Rescue, and almost was not able to be saved due to deformities in her legs and extreme emaciation. Sensa pulled through and Brenda took on her training once she was ready. In just 100 days, Brenda took Sansa from being only halter broke to winning all three portions of the Appalachian Trainer Faceoff!

LEFT: Sansa; RIGHT: Brenda Hanson & Sansa

Erin Harris

Horse: Belyea Gabriel (aka “Gabe”), 13-year-old Lippitt Morgan gelding

Erin and Gabe have been a team since 2010, when Erin had the opportunity to help start Gabe under saddle as a 4-year-old. Since then they have been on countless adventures together, and have successfully shown in breed shows, gymkhanas, local fairs, jumping and eventing. They’ve also worked cattle for a ranch in Colorado. Erin teaches riding lessons, horsemanship, and trains horses, and Gabe works alongside her as a lesson horse.

Erin Harris & Belyea Gabriel

Hannah Harvey

Horse: Meadow Lark, 19-year-old Mustang cross mare

Hannah and Meadow Lark enjoy many disciplines and are willing to try anything. They have participated in western, English, hunter/jumper, driving, trail riding, herding cattle, teaching children, and more. In 2014, Meadow Lark carried her rider 840 miles from North Carolina to Louisiana. Together the pair looks forward to their next challenge in the VHRC.

Jessica Knapp

Horse: River of Dreams (aka “River”), 8-year-old Palomino gelding

Jessica and River have been a team for 4 years in the hunter/jumper discipline. This is their second season showing and are currently showing in the 2’3” hunter division of local rated shows, but also compete in obstacle and trail classes. River is brave and curious, and Jessica looks forward to competing in the VHRC.

Jessica Knapp & River of Dreams


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10 10

Equine Affaire Podcast #3

In this episode of the Equine Affaire podcast, we talk to Jason Irwin about the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition. Jason is a lifelong equestrian from Southampton, Ontario, whom breeds, trains and sells Quarter Horses. He has served as a judge for the VHRC and explains what judges are looking for from the horse and rider during these competitions.

Don’t miss this year’s Versatile Horse & Rider Competition at the Eastern States Exposition on Friday, November 8! Admission to the VHRC is included in your general admission ticket to Equine Affaire. Don’t have your ticket yet? Click here to purchase!

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10 09

Get to Know the 2019 Massachusetts Versatile Horse & Rider Competitors! (Part 1)

Equine Affaire’s infamous Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, sponsored by Nutrena, will be here before you know it! Read about some of the daring competitors in our first installment of VHRC rider profiles below!

Denise Anthony

Horse: Angelina, 15-year-old Draft/Warmblood cross mare

Denise Anthony has owned her Draft/Warmblood cross for eleven years. Denise and the 15-year-old mare regularly compete in versatility challenges, hunter paces, and schooling shows. They are also avid trail riders and have logged many miles together. This will be Denise and Angelina’s fifth year competing in Equine Affaire’s Versatile Horse and Rider Competition.  Denise is riding on behalf of the Rhode Island SPCA, and as a volunteer she has raised more than $120,000 for the organization over the past 16 years!

Denise Anthony & Angelina

April Baronas

Horse: Que Sera Sera (aka “Moon”), 19-year-old Chincoteague Island Pony mare

April and Moon have been a team for 4 years, and this will be their third year competing in the VHRC. They enjoy versatility competitions, eventing, and hunt seat equitation. Moon also teaches lessons and has carried both her junior and adult NEHC Hunt Seat Pleasure Equitation riders to championships. Last year they earned a 10th place finish at the VHRC!

April Baronas & Que Sera Sera

Jason Charles

Horse: Ms. Whiz It, 10-year-old AQHA buckskin mare

Jason is a professional horse trainer from Dillsburg, PA. He currently competes in AQHA and NRHA and has won several VHRC championships in both Massachusetts and Ohio. Jason started his mount, Ms. Whiz It, as a 2-year-old and she has earned her Register of Merit in AQHA open and amateur, won many trail challenges, and is an NRHA money earner.

Jason Charles & Ms. Whiz It


Ashley Charron

Horse: Smokem Mate (aka “Track”), 12-year-old American Quarter Horse gelding

Ashley and Track have been busy this year competing at AQHA and Ranch Sorting Team Penning Association shows. They’ve placed in the top five in all ranch riding classes, first in four showmanship classes, and top 5 in team penning four times. Track got his name because of how well he tracks a cow. The pair has competed in the VHRC twice, and Ashley says they’ve been busy improving and can’t wait to show off their hard work at this year’s competition!

Ashley Charron & Smokem Mate


Lisa Doyle

Horse: Harry, 10-year-old Ster Friesian gelding

Lisa and Harry have been a team for one year. Harry was a 2017 Keuring Champion and Reserve Champion and will be participating in the Breed Pavilion at Equine Affaire. Lisa describes him as a “quirky, fun-loving boy” and says his favorite treat is Cool Ranch Doritos. Lisa works as a trainer and riding instructor and, together with Harry, has participated in the National Mounted Police training course, cow sorting, versatility competitions, trail and beach rides, and open pleasure shows.

Lisa Doyle & Harry


Melissa Ellis

Horse: Steep Way Cosmo Girl (aka “Cosmo”), 8-year-old Morgan mare

Melissa has competed in the VHRC several times. Her horse Cosmo was started by Guy McLean at Equine Affaire in a colt-starting demo in 2013. At that time, Melissa told Guy her plan for Cosmo was to compete in the VHRC! This team participates in many disciplines, but lately they’ve been working at liberty and riding bridleless.

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08 28

Equine Affaire Podcast #2

In the second episode of the Equine Affaire podcast, we talk to mother-and-daughter duo Sylvia Zerbini and Ambra Andrine. These phenomenal horsewomen are 9th and 10th generation circus performers who have traveled the world with their equestrian performing art acts, and are widely recognized for their extraordinary liberty performances incorporating aerial acts. Join us as they share what it takes to perform in the Fantasia – sponsored by Absorbine – at Equine Affaire!

For more information about this year’s Fantasia, or to purchase your tickets to reserve your seats, please click here.

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