Here’s everything you missed at Equine Affaire in Massachusetts!
Eugenia Snyder, a keen horsewoman wanted to create a first-class, education-oriented horsemen's exposition, where horse people could convene in a non-competitive environment and share their passion for horses.
© 2020 by Equine Affaire
Last month, Equine Affaire in Massachusetts celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Eastern States Exposition – and what a celebration it was! Filled with endless opportunities to celebrate the horse, North America’s premier equine expo and equestrian gathering drew tens of thousands of eager equine enthusiasts from all over the globe to the Eastern States Exposition in W. Springfield, MA, on November 9-12, 2023. Attendance at the 2023 event increased compared to last year’s event, in large part due to the excitement of celebrating the expo’s milestone achievement.
Attendees brought their families, friends, and horses to Equine Affaire to commemorate the expo’s silver anniversary in style. They attended hundreds of educational clinics, shopped an extensive trade show, participated in exciting interactive workshops and activities, savored thrilling competitions, and engaged with horse lovers from across the industry. Visitors also enjoyed extra-special surprises, such as fun new competitions like the Great Equestrian Fitness Challenge, sponsored by Boot Barn, and the Best Booth Award Contest; screenings of HorseWeek.TV, courtesy of the Equine Network; signings from Olympians Steffen Peters and Phillip Dutton; and sold-out performances of Fantasia, sponsored by Absorbine!
“This year’s event in Massachusetts was a true celebration,” said Coagi Long, president and owner of Equine Affaire. “We’re proud to have reached the twenty-five-year mark of our event in New England, and we simply couldn’t have done it without the support of all the people who help make Equine Affaire great. Many volunteers and contracted staff have been working with us since the beginning, not to mention all the attendees who have faithfully attended every event over the years, and of course, the incredible staff of the Eastern States Exposition. It was wonderful to get to celebrate with all our friends, both old and new.”
Equine Affaire was incorporated in 1993 by Eugenia Snyder, a keen horsewoman with experience in both marketing and event production. She wanted to create a first-class, education-oriented horsemen’s exposition, where horse people from all breeds and disciplines could convene in a non-competitive environment and share their passion for horses with each other. The very next year, Eugenia and her staff produced the first Equine Affaire at the Hara Arena Complex in Dayton, OH. In 1997, the expo relocated to the Ohio Expo Center. Then, in 1998, a second Equine Affaire debuted at the Eastern States Exposition in W. Springfield, MA. Twenty-five years later, attending North America’s premier equine expo and equestrian gathering has become a beloved tradition in New England, uniting horse lovers of all ages and from all corners of the equine industry.
“It doesn’t matter which event we’re talking about – Massachusetts, Ohio, or California – people attend Equine Affaire because they want to learn more about what they love,” says Cheryl McLeod, who has been working at Equine Affaire events since 1997. “I think gaining knowledge about horses transcends anything that might make people different from one another.”
This year’s Equine Affaire featured a wealth of educational clinics presented by Mike Major, Julie Goodnight, Jason Irwin, Brandi Lyons, and Chelsea Canedy, plus Phillip Dutton, Steffen Peters, Greg Robinson, Jeanne McDonald, Mark Bolender, Bronwyn Irwin, and many more of the industry’s best and brightest instructors, coaches, experts, and practitioners. In between clinics, attendees browsed acres of shopping on sold-out trade show floors and enjoyed networking and connecting with representatives from hundreds of equestrian companies, including Absorbine, US Equestrian, GGT Footing, Horizon Structures, Fair Hill Saddlery, LRP Matting, Triple Crown, Tribute Nutrition, Espana Silk All Natural Grooming Products, Sentinel, Saddle Up Clothing Company, Equine Network, and others. The ever-popular Breed Pavilion and the Horse and Farm Exhibits presented opportunities to engage with breeds as familiar as the Morgan and the Haflinger and as exotic as the Dales Pony, the Gypsy Vanner, the Irish Draught, the Icelandic pony, and the Swiss Freiberger.
The event also produced a slew of winners through mounted and unmounted competitions as well as a Best Booth award contest for trade show exhibitors, the annual Equine Affaire raffle, and a special award for clinicians.
- On Friday, Nov 10, the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition, sponsored by Chewy, took place in the US Equestrian Coliseum as twenty-five pre-selected horse-and rider pairs raced the clock and each other to conquer a challenging obstacle course. Brittany Mayer of Cumberland, Rhode Island, won first place aboard My Sharoana’s Time to Shine with a score of 70. She also took second with her second mount, Copy That, with a score of 60. Rob West won third aboard Moonshine Lady, and Scott Keyes took home fourth aboard KC. Congratulations to all VHRC competitors! For full results, and to learn more about all the competitors and their mounts, please visit https://equineaffaire.com/press/.
- On Saturday, Nov 11, attendees enjoyed the chance to compete in the inaugural Great Equestrian Fitness Challenge, sponsored by Boot Barn! The GEFC featured three fun events: the Barn Chores Marathon, the Bouncy Pony Race, and the Horse Nugget Relay. Winners included Lydia Bajus; Elsa Lately; Dylan McCoskery; Nicole & Kasey Czarnecki; and Miriam and Sarah Slate. The event’s master of ceremonies was equestrian fitness coach Ifa Simmonds, owner and creator of the Equestrian Fitness Academy. For a full list of competitors and scores, visit https://equineaffaire.com/press/.
- In honor of the 25th anniversary, Equine Affaire also hosted the first-ever Best Booth Award contest for exhibitors and vendors. On Thursday, November 9, the staff of Equine Affaire selected and submitted five finalists to our social media audiences to vote for their favorite. The out-and-out winner was EquestriYUM Bakery, owned and operated by Katie Friesema! Congratulations to EquestriYUM Bakery and the other finalists: The Impeccable Equerry, Horizon Structures, Erreplus, and Dubarry of Ireland. The Equine Affaire staff would also like to award Honorable Mentions to the New England Equine Rescue, Sarah Lynn Richards Art, Purina Animal Nutrition, ABI Attachments, and Taborton Equine Books.
- During the final performance of Fantasia on Saturday, November 11, Jason Irwin of Jason & Bronwyn Irwin Horsemanship received the Exceptional Equestrian Educator Award in a special awards presentation ceremony. The Equine Affaire Exceptional Equestrian Educator Award was created in 2001 to recognize an individual within the horse industry who has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the education and training of horsepeople. Mr. Irwin is a lifelong equestrian and horse trainer from Ontario, Canada, who works with both western and English riders of all skill levels and ages. Congratulations to Jason Irwin!
- The official Equine Affaire raffle also produced twenty-four lucky winners! The raffle, which was hosted online through November 13, 2023, offered prizes from Dubarry of Ireland, Back On Track USA, October Design Equestrian Décor, Blue Seal-Sentinel, US Equestrian, and Equine Affaire. A full list of winners is available on our website at https://equineaffaire.com/events/massachusetts/mass-other-features/mass-free-raffle/. Review the list to see if you won, and then check your email for a winner notification. Special thanks to all of the incredible companies who donated to this year’s raffle!
Attendees also enjoyed plenty of hands-on and interactive educational activities. The Whispery Pines Percherons team offered three chances for visitors to learn how to “Drive a Draft” on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the event. With supervision from Sam and Kellie Rettinger, owners of Whispery Pines, participants took the reins – literally – and learned how to drive either a pair of draft horses or a single draft horse around the ring. Ifa Simmonds partnered with Equine Affaire to offer Equestrians in Motion, sponsored by Blue Seal-Sentinel. These three special interactive workshops provided participants with the chance to learn about different exercises to increase their balance and mobility from Mr. Simmonds, who offers special coaching and workout programs designed for equestrians through Equestrian Fitness Academy.
Sponsored by Absorbine, Equine Affaire’s musical celebration of the horse, Fantasia, returned for three spectacular performances, November 9-11, in the US Equestrian Coliseum at the Eastern States Exposition. The Friday and Saturday evening performances both sold out. Attendees were treated to a fabulous and varied display of equestrian performances, including bridleless dressage and jumping by Brendan Wise and Melanie Ferrior-Wise; drill team exercises by the Friesian Heritage Drill Team and the Young Guns Drill Team; a drive-off between the Whispery Pines Percherons and the Morrisville College Belgians; liberty and trick-riding by the Pegasus Riders; a liberty performance by Melissa Barnett; and an incredible Wild West trick-roping finale by Loop Rawlins. Loop Rawlins’ performance was sponsored by Espana Silk Natural Grooming Products. Each evening also included a solemn tribute to American veterans, POWs, and MIAs by Jerry Paulsen of Operation Horses and Heroes, who presented the audience with a special reading and a Remembrance Table display.
The staff of Equine Affaire are thankful for the opportunity to celebrate twenty-five great years in Massachusetts and look forward to celebrating twenty-five more – at least! Save the dates for the 2024 Equine Affaire in Massachusetts, happening November 7-10, 2024, at the Eastern States Exposition in W. Springfield.
Equine Affaire is also looking ahead to celebrating the 30th anniversary of its event in Ohio, which is happening April 11-14, 2024, at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, OH. Tickets for that event – and for Fantasia in Ohio, sponsored by Equine Medical and Surgical Associates – will go on sale December 6, 2023, at equineaffaire.com.
To learn more about our event, visit our website (www.equineaffaire.com) or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter/X @equineaffaire. We’ll see you at Equine Affaire!
Press release by Allison Rehnborg,