Plenty of great horses, a roster of talented horse people, oodles of great horse products for sale, and a dash of equestrian competition and entertainment all make up the ingredients for Equine Affaire—the nation’s most popular equestrian gathering. The 49th Equine Affaire will launch April 10-13, 2014 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus and provide horse enthusiasts from throughout the Midwest and beyond with the opportunity to gather with horse-loving family and friends and indulge their passion for horses. Since 1994 Equine Affaire in Columbus has become the nation’s “Mecca” for horse-related education, shopping, networking, entertainment, exploration, hanging out with fellow horse people, and immersion in all things equine.
The 2014 Equine Affaire will offer a wealth of opportunities for equestrians including the largest horse-related trade show in North America, an educational program that will have something to offer for riders of all levels and tastes, Equine Affaire’s exciting Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, and the expo’s signature evening performance, the Fantasia. With a schedule of more than 200 educational sessions in seven venues, acres of exhibits to browse, breed and youth pavilions, and special events scheduled throughout the day and evening, horse fanciers will have plenty of activities to keep them busy.
Education forms the cornerstone of every Equine Affaire, and a top-notch list of clinicians has been assembled to present clinics on a broad spectrum of equestrian disciplines at this year’s event. Among those who are scheduled to present sessions on general horse training and riding topics are Guy McLean, Stacy Westfall, Kerry Kuhn, Tommie Turvey, and Richard Winters. Clinicians who will be addressing western disciplines will include Stacy Westfall on reining, Molly Powell on barrel racing, Richard Winters on reined cow horse, Dana Hokana on western pleasure, Kenda Lenseigne on mounted shooting, and Jeff Wilson on western dressage. The English disciplines will be well represented by Janet Foy and Michael Barisone on dressage, Bernie Traurig on jumping, Jim Wofford on eventing, Marc Johnson on driving, Wendy Gruskiewicz on hunter pleasure, and Dana Hokana on hunter under saddle. Carol Coppinger will share her expertise in Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship, Gary Lane will present sessions on the training of easy gaited horses, and Tommie Turvey will teach the art of training trick horses. Clinics on equine and equestrian biomechanics will be offered by Karen Ososki, and Heidi Potter will provide sessions on Centered Riding® and agility. Equine Affaire’s extensive program of clinics, seminars, and demonstrations will be conducted in four arenas, the Cosequin and Youth Pavilion demo rings, and the seminar stage and offer a wealth of information as well as a diverse variety of training philosophies.
“Foundation First” Clinic Series Added to the Schedule
Regardless of their disciplines and individual training styles, nearly all horse trainers agree that effective and individualized foundation training is essential to the proper training of all horses. In recognition of the importance of the initial training experience, Equine Affaire will feature a Foundation First clinic series from Thursday through Sunday at the event this April. Through a sequence of sessions, Guy McLean and Richard Winters will each train one unbroke horse for riding, and attendees and horse owners will be able to observe their progress through daily clinics.
The Foundation First clinics will NOT be a race or competition. The focus will be on creating the proper foundation in training a horse to be ridden and on progressing at the rate that is appropriate for the individual horse. Both clinicians will present their horses during special sessions on Sunday during which they will discuss the specific challenges associated with the training of their horses and why they used the training approaches they used. In addition to being terrific clinics to attend, the Foundation First clinics also offer unique opportunities for owners of halter-broke horses to have their horses trained by these exceptional trainers. Check out Equine Affaire’s Ride With the Best Program at equineaffaire.com for details on how to apply to participate.
Introducing the New Rod’s Equestrian Experience Pavilion
Equine Affaire will feature a broader range of equestrian disciplines and more breed spotlights than ever before with the creation of the new Equestrian Experience Pavilion sponsored by Rod’s Western Palace. Disciplines as diverse as sidesaddle, vaulting, polo, jousting, dressage, drill teams, pony pulling, gymkhana, racing, cutting, western dressage, agility, and reining will be showcased through sessions presented by associations and clinicians representing these sports at the local, regional, and national levels. The sessions will be introductory in nature and will complement the more in-depth training clinics conducted by clinicians in the other arenas.
In addition to showcasing disciplines, the new Rod’s Equestrian Experience Pavilion will provide an additional venue for breed associations and Horse & Farm exhibitors to present their horses. Horse breeds will be presented in groups by “types” including gaited horses, easy gaited horses, sport horses, stock horses, drafts, ponies, etc., and breed segments will be alternated with discipline showcases. By showcasing the breeds and disciplines that make up the “equestrian experience,” the new pavilion will provide a great introduction to the horse world for those who are new to horses—as well as a wonderful opportunity for seasoned equestrians to explore new breeds and equestrian activities.
Catch all of the Action of the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition! Equine Affaire’s hugely popular Versatile Horse & Rider Competition promises to be a highlight of the 2014 event. The competition is a timed and judged race through an obstacle course that is designed not only to push horse and rider teams out of their traditional “comfort zones,” but also to test communication between horse and rider and the horsemanship skills and athletic abilities of each competing team. Thirty pre-selected horse and rider teams will compete for the title of “Versatile Horse & Rider Competition Champion” and $5,500 in cash and otherprizes.
“The Versatile Horse & Rider Competition is a true test of horsemanship for those who are willing to put their riding skills on the line—and a whole lot of fun for horse people in the audience,” explained Coagi Long, Equine Affaire’s VP and Program Director. “Riders in the audience mentally work through the course with each team and can’t help but wonder how their own horses would respond to the obstacles and how they would approach them. They also empathize with the contestants as their horses succeed at some obstacles and fall short at others. And, apart from the entertainment aspect of the VHRC, there is a strong educational element because you learn a lot by observing the different approaches of contestants riding a variety of breeds of horses through the same obstacles.”
The qualifying rounds for this year’s competition will be conducted on Thursday morning in Cooper Arena, and the top 10 teams will advance to the finals which will take place Friday afternoon in the coliseum. All around trainer, Kerry Kuhn, will judge the competition. If you’re ready to put your skills to the test, you’ll find details on the competition and how to apply at equineaffaire.com. Just click on the Ohio event and follow the “participate link” to the competition. Applications will be accepted only until thirty contestants are selected and confirmed. And, if you plan to watch the action from the stands, be sure to get there early to get a seat for this popular event within Equine Affaire.