LONDON, OH, May 2, 2023 — On April 13-16, the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus overflowed with horses and horse-lovers as tens of thousands gathered to honor and participate in the 28th annual Equine Affaire! Long celebrated as North America’s premier equine expo and equestrian gathering, Equine Affaire provides the perfect platform for equine enthusiasts to gather and celebrate all things horse through learning, riding, networking, interactive activities, entertainment opportunities, shopping, and more.
“As we move steadily closer towards our 30th anniversary in Ohio, we’re honored to continue to serve the horse industry as a premier event,” said Coagi Long, president and owner of Equine Affaire. “Equine Affaire was founded in 1993 by Eugenia Snyder and held its first event in Dayton in 1994. It’s incredible to look back and see our rich history unfold as we’ve grown, developed, survived a worldwide pandemic, and then come back just as strong. We’re thankful for all the people, organizations, associations, and horses who continue to help make our events grand year after year.”
Every year, Equine Affaire fills four days at the Ohio Expo Center to their fullest with hundreds of educational sessions, clinics, and demonstrations; world-class equine shopping avenues; championship competitions; exhibits; interactive activities; and countless opportunities for visitors to meet and greet with horses and to connect with a host of elite industry professionals. The first three nights of the event also feature the Fantasia, Equine Affaire’s beloved musical celebration of the horse. Sponsored by Absorbine, Fantasia is a nighttime show filled with incredible performances by some of the nation’s most exciting equine and equestrian performers. Read on for a recap of highlights from this year’s event, and find out how you can join us next time.
AS ALWAYS, THE HORSES WERE NUMBER ONE
This year’s event was filled – naturally! – with horses. From colossal Percherons to adorable mini-Gypsy Cobs, horses of practically every size, shape, breed, and color filled the buildings, barns, and arenas as they participated in clinics and breed demos, represented their breed associations in the Breed Pavilion and Horse and Farm Exhibits, met potential new owners through the ASPCA Right Horse Adoption Affaire, or introduced people to the magic of horses through hands-on activities and meet-and-greets.
One of Equine Affaire’s primary goals is to produce events that help improve the horse management, training, and riding skills of current horsemen. To that end, more than forty of the industry’s elite equestrian educators were on site to present clinics, sessions, and demonstrations designed to educate and enlighten. Headliners included Guy McLean, Jonathan Field, Julie Goodnight, and Jason Irwin, along with a selection of discipline-specific clinicians such as Brad Barkemeyer (reined cow horse & roping), Nona Garson (hunter/jumper), JJ Tate (dressage), Bryan Penquite (reining), Rita Timpanaro (hunter/jumper), Bronwyn Irwin (pole bending), Sterling Graburn (driving), and many more.
Many of these clinics also included participants who applied for the Equine Affaire “Ride with a Pro” program earlier in the year, which enables riders to receive instruction and coaching right there at the event. Horse owners could also apply for their horses to receive training in clinics that focused on working with green horses, such as Guy McLean’s clinics.
Equine Affaire was proud to offer not just one, but two, interactive activities this year for visitors who wanted to get up close and personal with horses. First, Equine Affaire partnered with Sam and Kellie Rettinger of Whispery Pines Percherons Carriage Rides and Logging to offer the Drive A Draft activity. Interested attendees could sign up in advance to learn how to drive either a single or a pair of giant Percheron horses from the ground. Offered on three different days, the activity was incredibly popular, outgrowing its time slots and drawing rave reviews from visitors.
The other interactive activity was A Horse For Heroes, which is a special feature just for veterans, active duty, and first responders, as well as their families. Equine Affaire proudly collaborated with Operation Horses & Heroes to bring this activity to Ohio audiences. Participants signed up at the event and enjoyed interacting with horses and experiencing the effects of equine-assisted activities and therapies, all while working hand in hand with the experienced and compassionate staff of Operation Horses and Heroes. OH+H is a registered 501©3 founded by Gerald Paulsen, who is a former U.S. Army NCO and proud veteran himself, as well as an avid horse lover.
In the barns, the ASPCA led an Adoption Affaire event for nearly 40 horses from 9 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, and the ASPCA was present to support them and answer the public’s questions about equine adoption. The Adoption Affaire event resulted in 21 horses being adopted on-site, with at least three adoptions pending. The ASPCA encourages horse lovers to explore adoption digitally by visiting myrighthorse.org to meet hundreds of adoptable horses in one place.
FROM LIBERTY TO VERSATILITY, COMPETITION WAS STIFF!
The Versatile Horse & Rider Competition has been a popular feature of Equine Affaire for years, and every spring, riders apply for their opportunity to tackle the Equine Affaire versatility course and vie for $5,500 in cash and other prizes. The 2023 Ohio Versatile Horse & Rider Competition took place on Friday, April 14, in the US Equestrian Coliseum, and showcased twenty-five spectacular rides. This year’s 2023 Ohio Versatile Horse and Rider Champions were Franny Galvin-Hynes and her 7 year old Fjord-Quarter Horse mare, Super Nova, who were also our champions in the 2022 Massachusetts VHRC! Franny and “Nova” came in first with a score of 53.5 and won $2,500 in cash. The reserve champions were Kristin Fouty and Dun Got It Goin On, an 18 year old American Paint Horse gelding, who scored 51. Fouty and “Boo” won $1,750.00 in cash. For the full results, check out equineaffaire.com/press!
Founded by Dan and Elizabeth James, the International Liberty Horse Association is the world’s only association dedicated exclusively to promoting the discipline of liberty and celebrating liberty horses, trainers, competitors, and fans everywhere. Equine Affaire was proud to partner with the ILHA to offer the ILHA Invitational Freestyle Competition again in Ohio. Sponsored by Espana Silk Grooming Products, the ILHA Freestyle Competition was a team competition this year and took place on Friday and Saturday of the event. The Champion Team was Sally Durbin and Reese Wolheter, while the reserve champions were Kelly Jackson and Cara Shroeder. Third place went to Kelsey Duff and Grace Thomas. Bella Sweigard and Amanda Lewis came in fourth, but also won the honor of being the “fan favorites.” Congratulations to all!
Finally, the Ohio 4-H State Horse Bowl & Hippology Contests took place on Saturday, April 15, in the Voinovich Center. A record number of teams competed as youth from all over the state came together to demonstrate their knowledge of horses in a friendly, competitive setting. In the Horse Bowl contest, Union county teams reigned supreme in both the junior and senior divisions. The senior high individual overall was Ayla Powers and the junior high individual overall was Eli Ball. In the Hippology contest, the team from Jefferson county won the junior division with Maddie Granatir being the high individual overall. Twenty teams competed in the senior division, with the team from Lorain county coming out on top and also having the high individual overall in Jordyn Simpson. Complete results are available at horse.osu.edu. Congratulations to all the participants!
FANTASIA SHOWCASED ALL THAT WE LOVE ABOUT THE HORSE
Sponsored by Absorbine, Fantasia is the must-see equestrian show of the year – and once again, high ticket sales and a sold-out Saturday night performance proved that much of the horse industry agrees with that statement. This year’s show featured a wide variety of performances, including beloved fan favorites like the Knights of Iceland and the Diamond D Cowgirls, and newcomers like the Pegasus Riders. The Pegasus Riders is a duo of 11 year old girls, Maddy Gatrel and Liberty Cunningham, who are also accomplished dancers, contortionists, barrel racers, and champion trick riders. This was the girls’ first performance at Equine Affaire and they knocked it out of the park!
Outfitted with dazzling and patriotic sparkle, the Diamond D Cowgirls lit up the arena with their award-winning mounted drill team performance. Guy McLean brought his signature Australian charm to the show with a hilarious comedic routine that paid homage to “The Man From Snowy River.” The Rettingers’ fantastic six-Percheron hitch and Crowl’s Haflingers hitch, Bryan Penquite’s reining freestyle, and a touching drill performance from the beautiful Friesian Heritage Drill Team rounded out the evening, with renowned trick rider Dusti Dickerson’s fiery Roman Riding performance serving as the grand finale.
EQUINE AFFAIRE IS HOME TO THE LARGEST HORSE-RELATED TRADE SHOW IN NORTH AMERICA
Fans of Equine Affaire continue to put shopping opportunities at the top of their list of reasons for why they love the event, and this year’s trade show floors did not disappoint. Super stores such as Rod’s Western Palace, State Line Tack, Cashman’s Horse Equipment, and Circle L Saddle Company lined the trade show buildings with impressive and attractive displays of product, featuring everything from tack and grooming supplies to décor, clothing, toys, books, and more. The Bricker building overflowed with a full range of vendors and exhibitors, including companies such as Cascada, who chose to debut their brand new app-enabled watering system at Equine Affaire. Equine Affaire’s beloved consignment shop, The Marketplace, was also a popular shopping spot for visitors throughout the weekend.
For a full list of all the vendors who populated our trade show floors, visit https://www.equineaffaire.com/events/ohio/ohio-attend/ohio-trade-show/ohio-exhibitors/.
You can also view the digital version of the official Equine Affaire program here for even more information about our sponsors, advertisers, exhibitors, and vendors: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/84beeeeb#/84beeeeb/1.
DID YOU MISS OUT? HERE’S HOW YOU CAN CATCH UP…
If you had the misfortune of missing out on joining us this year, we’ve got great news for you! Equine Affaire partnered with the Horse Radio Network and EQUUS Television in order to provide select coverage on our event for listeners and viewers at home through podcasts and videos. Here’s how to catch the coverage:
- Watch EQUUS Television Network by visiting equustelevision.com/search?keywords=equine+affaire or by downloading their mobile app today to see exclusive interviews with our presenters, street scenes from the event, quick tip videos, and lots more, including a photo essay! It’ll (almost) feel like you were there. Watch interviews with Julie Goodnight, Sam & Kellie Rettinger of Whispery Pines Percherons, Sheryl Mankel, Cynthia Keating, and lots of others.
- Listen to the Horse Radio Network by visiting https://www.horsesinthemorning.com/ or by looking for Horses In The Morning on your favorite podcast player. Glenn Hebert, America’s Horse Husband, and Allison Rehnborg, Equine Affaire’s marketing coordinator, recorded and produced three episodes live from the event, featuring interviews with vendors and exhibitors like The Funky Unicorn, Braveheart Beasts, United Horse Coalition, and Espana Silk Grooming Products; presenters like Wendy Murdoch of the Sure Foot Equine Stability Program, Jason and Bronwyn Irwin, Carl Bledsoe, Ifa Simmonds, and Sky Epperson; and Adoption Affaire partners like the West Virginia Horse Network and Horses Haven in Michigan. If you like what you hear, make sure to keep listening for more of the Equine Affaire podcast, which airs on the third Thursday of every month as part of Horses In The Morning, America’s leading daily morning podcast for the horse world.
- The official photographer of Equine Affaire is Winslow Photography, LLC. All images taken by Winslow at the event are now online and available for review and purchase here: https://winslowphoto.photostockplus.com/album/3489619/.
- Finally, follow our social media pages (@equineaffaire on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) to review play-by-play coverage of the event and to see videos and photo albums, as well as to catch all the latest news about our next events.
SAVE THE DATES, UPDATES ON THE OHIO RAFFLE, AND EVEN MORE INFORMATION
The staff of Equine Affaire are already hard at work producing our next event, which will take place on November 9-12, 2023, at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA. Save the date and revisit our website and social media channels for updates. Tickets for Equine Affaire in Massachusetts and for Fantasia will go on sale July 12.
Mark your calendars for the 2024 Equine Affaire in Ohio, which will take place April 11-14 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.
Equine Affaire gratefully acknowledges the generous sponsors who helped make this year’s event possible: Absorbine, Rod’s, US Equestrian, Espana Silk, GGT Footing, and Best Sand Equestrian Sand. Equine Affaire would also like to thank the companies who donated prizes for this year’s online raffle: Bronco Western Supply, Back On Track USA, and US Equestrian. Raffle winners have been chosen and notifications have been sent via email. If you entered the 2023 Ohio Equine Affaire raffle, make sure to check your email!
As North America’s premier equine expo and equestrian gathering, Equine Affaire elevates the equestrian experience for horse lovers of all ages. Visit equineaffaire.com for schedules, tickets, and additional details about upcoming events. Our office staff can be reached by phone at (740) 845-0085, Mon-Fri, 9 am to 5 pm ET.