Equine Affaire Press Room

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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