LONDON, OH, April 7, 2023 – Equine Affaire returns to the Ohio Expo Center in just one week! As you pack your bags and look forward to the ultimate road trip with your barn buddies, check out this handy trail guide. Whether it’s your first time in Ohio or you’ve been attending this event for years, this handbook can help you plan your visit from beginning to end. Elevate your equestrian experience at Equine Affaire by checking out our insider’s guide to what to see, where to go, and what to do! We’ll also share frequently asked questions and links to all the latest news.
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 13-16, 2023. 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: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-general-information/tickets/.
You can access the event via 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, click here: https://equineaffaire.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/23-OH-Overview-Map-Combined-1.pdf.
The Ohio Expo Center charges for parking, so please be prepared to pay the parking attendants promptly when you arrive. It’s $7/day or $20/four day pass. Also, please leave your pets at home! We cannot allow any pets in any of the buildings, except for credentialed 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: 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. You can learn information about camping at the OEC here: https://www.ohioexpocenter.com/p/visit/camping-at-the-ohio-expo-center.
HEY, WHAT’S FANTASIA?
We’re glad you asked! Fantasia is Equine Affaire’s musical celebration of the horse. Sponsored by Absorbine, this special nighttime show features exciting performances by the nation’s top equine and equestrian performers. 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 at https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-general-information/tickets/ 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.
HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT RIDING AND TRAINING?
Equine Affaire is organized by horse lovers for horse lovers. Our mission is to produce events that help improve the horse management, training, and riding skills of equestrians. That’s why our first-class educational program is filled with talented speakers and presenters who are dedicated, passionate, and knowledgeable about the horse industry – so if information about horses is what you seek, information about horses is what you’ll get!
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. Check out our schedule and presenters at this link to find the best clinics to attend for you and your area of interest: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-educational-program/ohio-presenters/.
QUICK TIP: Many of our presenters will have booths in the trade show, and others are happy to answer quick questions or give brief tips after their clinics or seminars are over. The best questions to ask (according to our presenters) are short and sweet, with minimal background info, so try to keep your visit brief and to the point!
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: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-participate/ohio-ride-in-clinics/ohio-ride-with-a-pro-2/.
WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HORSES?
Equine Affaire has introduced tens of thousands of people to the horse industry over the years, and we’re proud to serve as your guide to the wonderful world of horses, too. Beginners, start your visit at the Equine Fundamentals Forum in the Celeste Center. The EFF features educational exhibits about horses, horse health, horse management, equine anatomy, and lots of hands-on activities, such as a mane and tail braiding station, identification stations, and more. There’s also a demo ring where horse-savvy experts will be hosting demonstrations on fundamental topics all day, every day, so there’s plenty to see and do and learn. We also suggest visiting the Breed Pavilion, where you can learn about breeds of horses from breed representatives, and touring the Horse & Farm Exhibits, where you can meet horsemen and horsewomen from a variety of local businesses and horse organizations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
QUICK TIP: Make sure to stop by the Equine Affaire Information Booth and tell our friendly staff that you’re brand new to Equine Affaire and to horses in general. 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.
WHERE DO I GO TO SHOP?
Equine Affaire is home to the largest horse-related trade show in the Midwest. 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 vendors here: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-trade-show/ohio-exhibitors/.
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: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-participate/ohio-sell/ohio-the-marketplace-consignment/.
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 raffle online: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-participate/ohio-win/ohio-free-raffle/. Entries are accepted through April 16!)
HOW CAN I SEE HORSES COMPETE?
There are two competitions taking place at Equine Affaire! First, the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition will take place on Friday, April 14, 2023, in the Coliseum. 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 this page for the future to learn more about applying to compete!
Next, the International Liberty Horse Association Invitational Freestyle, sponsored by EspanaSILK, is returning to Equine Affaire. The compulsories will take place on Friday, April 14, in the Cooper Arena, and the freestyle finals will happen on Saturday, April 15, in the Coliseum. This competition showcases the amazing discipline of liberty and demonstrates all the ways horses and humans can communicate with each other with little or minimal tack. Learn more here: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-other-features/ilha-freestyle-invitational/!
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 ILHA.
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.
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 once a day, Friday through Sunday, in the Cooper Arena. Sign up by visiting the Whispery Pines Percherons’ stalls in the Gilligan Complex near the green wall. Learn more here: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-other-features/drive-a-draft/.
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 once a day on Friday, April 14; Saturday, April 15; and Sunday, April 16 in the Cooper Arena. You can learn more here: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-other-features/a-horse-for-heroes/.
Are you an equestrian interested in learning more about improving your fitness? You need to meet Ifa Simmonds. Ifa Simmonds is an equestrian fitness trainer and clinician, as well as the creator and owner of Equestrian Fitness Academy. He’ll be offering live workshops on a variety of rider fitness and wellness topics during the event on Thursday, April 13; Friday, April 14; and Sunday, April 16 in the conference room in the Voinovich Center. Best of all, it’s free to Equine Affaire attendees! Sign up and learn more here: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-other-features/equestrian-fitness-academy/.
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, a fun stick horse rodeo (3 pm daily!), and a purple mechanical pony.
For young adults prepping for college, check out the College & Career Fair presentations. There will be two special presentations about pursuing equine-related careers and college degrees – one on Thursday and one on Friday – 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: https://equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-educational-program/ohio-college-career-fair-scavenger-hunt/.
The Interscholastic Equestrian Association is offering an intensive dressage judge’s clinic on Sunday, April 16, from 2 to 4 pm in the Cooper Arena. Formatted to review items from a judge’s perspective, this clinic will explore the hunt seat and dressage disciplines in the IEA show format. 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 clinic at Equine Affaire.
THIS EVENT SOUNDS GREAT! HOW CAN I VOLUNTEER/EXHIBIT/ADVERTISE/PARTICIPATE SOMEDAY?
Yes! 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, Instagram, and Twitter @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!