Equine Affaire Press Room

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