Equine Affaire Press Room

10 25

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

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

Liz Foster

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

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

Geoffrey Goodson

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

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

Brenda Hanson

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

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

LEFT: Sansa; RIGHT: Brenda Hanson & Sansa

Erin Harris

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

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

Erin Harris & Belyea Gabriel

Hannah Harvey

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

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

Jessica Knapp

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

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

Jessica Knapp & River of Dreams


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10 10

Equine Affaire Podcast #3

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

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

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10 09

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

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

Denise Anthony

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

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

Denise Anthony & Angelina

April Baronas

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

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

April Baronas & Que Sera Sera

Jason Charles

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

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

Jason Charles & Ms. Whiz It


Ashley Charron

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

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

Ashley Charron & Smokem Mate


Lisa Doyle

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

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

Lisa Doyle & Harry


Melissa Ellis

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

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

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08 28

Equine Affaire Podcast #2

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

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

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08 23

Learn from the Best at Equine Affaire: Improve your skills in the saddle with clinics, demos and more

LONDON, OH, August 23, 2019 – Whether you want to learn more about your own discipline or explore new ways to enjoy riding your horse, there’s a clinic for you at Equine Affaire in Massachusetts! On November 7-10, 2019, the industry’s premier equine professionals will gather at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts, to present more than 150 individual sessions on all aspects of horsemanship. This year, Chris Cox, Dan James, Julie Goodnight, Steve Lantvit and Jason Irwin lead a star-studded lineup of more than two dozen clinicians presenting on general horsemanship, hunter under saddle, dressage, ranch riding, reining, barrel racing, driving, and more.

General admission to Equine Affaire includes entry to all clinics, sessions and demonstrations (plus the trade show, theme pavilions, and the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition!), so purchase your tickets online today at equineaffaire.com. Adult tickets are $16/day or $50/four-day pass, tickets for children (7-10) are $8/day, and children six and under are admitted at no charge. Between clinics, visit the trade show and look for your favorite clinicians’ booths for meet-and-greet opportunities. You never know who you might meet face-to-face on the grounds of Equine Affaire!

Chris Cox is an accomplished horseman and teacher who has conducted clinics and demonstrations for more than two decades. Raised on a cattle ranch in the wilds of Australia, Cox learned at an early age how to appreciate the abilities and traditions of the great men and horses around him. His training techniques have been influenced by both English and Western traditions and they can be applied universally across disciplines. From his Diamond Double C Ranch near Mineral Wells, TX, Cox is a successful trainer, breeder, and competitor in the cutting horse world who also competes in reined cow horse and team roping events. Cox provides horse enthusiasts with straightforward, authentic and practical ways to improve their relationships with their horses. At Equine Affaire, Chris Cox will present sessions on finding softness in your hands, feet and seat; addressing common riding and training problems; building rider confidence, and more.

Learn liberty, lead changes and more from outstanding horseman and trainer Dan James, who has been training horses since he was a teenager growing up on a cattle ranch near Queensland, Australia. James traveled to Japan and then the United States to gain knowledge and experience training horses before returning to Australia to manage a vast cattle operation. James’ aptitude for trick riding and entertaining first emerged at this ranch where he periodically performed for guests. In 2008, he left the outback to find his audience and began performing at El Caballo Spanish Horse Centre. There, he met his performance partner, Dan Steers, and together, they’ve developed and promoted “Double Dan Horsemanship.” James’ competitive accomplishments include being the 2012 Road to the Horse World Champion, the 2014 Freestyle Reining Champion at the Kentucky Reining Cup, a Mustang Million Finalist, and others. Dan James’ philosophy is to push the limits of horsemanship and entertainment while providing knowledge and understanding of horses. Dan James will present multiple sessions on liberty horsemanship as well as provide insights into developing better lead changes at Equine Affaire.

Beloved equine industry icon Julie Goodnight established a connection with horses at a young age, and after a successful run as a youth rider on jumping horses, she galloped her way through college riding racehorses. For nearly four decades, she has been at home in the Colorado Rockies, pursuing wilderness sports and riding cow horses. After founding her training business in 1985, Goodnight’s reputation as a horse trainer grew far and wide. In 2008, she began producing “Horse Master with Julie Goodnight”, a popular how-to horse training series that has aired weekly on RFD-TV for more than a decade, with 260 episodes. She now educates horse owners everywhere through her online training programs at JulieGoodnight.com. This year’s Equine Affaire will feature sessions by Julie Goodnight on regulating your horse’s speed; bridleless riding; and finding balance, rhythm and a soft hands in your riding.

Steve Lantvit is a multiple World Champion and Reserve title winner in ranch horse competition who believes in training versatile, well-rounded, and capable horses and riders through confidence, mutual respect and solid communication. As an award-winning clinician and trainer, Lantvit builds confidence in horses and riders through cross-training and exposure to a variety of situations, improving their performance and attitude whether on the trail or in the show ring. Mr. Lantvit has used his decades of experience in the horse industry to create his own line of training aids for the everyday horse person, including training DVDs, tack and other equipment. He travels the country teaching clinics in addition to training horses, teaching lessons and hosting clinics at his ranch in LaPorte, IN. At Equine Affaire, Lantvit will conduct sessions on achieving collection in the bridle; the correct spin; the foundations of neck reining, and more.

Lifelong equestrian Jason Irwin grew up on his family’s farm in Southampton, Ontario, breeding, training and selling Quarter Horses. Those experiences provided Irwin with his first taste of horse training through colt starting and fixing problem horses. He has since moved on to include advanced and liberty training in his repertoire. Irwin runs his training business, Jason and Bronwyn Irwin Horsemanship, with his wife. He currently conducts 25-30 clinics a year in Ontario and Eastern Canada and is working to expand his range to Western Canada and the United States. Irwin works with both Western and English riders of all skill levels and with various problem areas. Attend Jason Irwin’s sessions at Equine Affaire to learn more about colt starting; exercises to soften and supple your horse; and horse training tips for young trainers.

In addition to general horsemanship sessions, a plethora of discipline-specific sessions will be provided by other top experts in the industry, including:

  • Charlotte Bredahl-Baker, Dressage
  • Sinead Halpin, Eventing
  • Candice King, Hunter/Jumper
  • Dan James, Reining
  • Liz Austin, Dressage
  • Jane Melby, Barrel Racing
  • Dana Bright, Driving
  • Kristin Whittaker, Western Dressage
  • Rick Christy, Hunter under Saddle
  • Gary Lane, Easy Gaited
  • Steve Lantvit, Ranch Horse
  • Kelly Hulse, Saddleseat
  • Heidi Potter, Trail Obstacles, Centered Riding™
  • Simon Cocozza, Core Strengthening and Yoga for Horses
  • Jim Masterson, Masterson Method in Motion

For the full list of clinicians, event schedule details and additional event information about Equine Affaire in Massachusetts, visit equineaffaire.com today or call the Equine Affaire office at (740) 845-0085, Monday-Friday, 9 am to 5 pm ET. Purchase your general admission tickets for Equine Affaire in Massachusetts online at equineaffaire.com and take advantage of new digital delivery options! Print your tickets at home or present them on your mobile device to be scanned upon arrival for hassle-free admission.

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