Experience The Equine Affaire
I have attended more horse shows than I can count, both as an exhibitor and as a spectator. While all such events possess their own merits (hey, if there are horses present, what more do you need?), it takes quite a bit to excite me. The Equine Affaire is one of those rare events that can do just that.
Currently the Equine Affaire runs three times a year: California in the later winter, Ohio in the spring and Massachusetts in the fall, but it wasn't always like that. The Equine Affair was one of those events that I heard much praise for, but I typically don't travel across the country to attend an event even as grandiose as this one, so I never personally experienced what it had to offer… until the first year they arrived at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts (which I believe was in 1998).
That year I was promoting Mountain Horses to the New England area rather heavily, so I decided to represent the breed at the Equine Affaire. From an exhibitor's point of view, I can state that the management and coordinators of this horse event were top notch. They bent over backwards to make sure everything flowed smoothly, and that's no small feat. I've seen tiny horse events fall apart at the seams – running shows can be quite the challenge – so the fact that the fine crew behind Equine Affaire could juggle something of its massive scope with such efficiency and professionalism is quite impressive.
But you're probably not here to read a review of what it's like to be an exhibitor at the Equine Affaire; you're probably more interested in hearing what it's like to be a spectator, right? Well, let me tell you… being an exhibitor was challenging; not because of the management, but rather due to us being so tempted to leave the booth and experience the shows and sights! We would man the booths and stables in shifts so that we could all sneak away regularly over the 3-4 days and watch a mind-blowing assortment of exhibitions, clinics, breed demonstrations. Oh yes… and so we could shop.
Every year's offerings are different at the Equine Affaire – different exhibitors, farms, etc. But one thing that doesn't differ is the immense scope of the offerings… you'll witness a wide assortment of breeds, both popular and lesser known. You'll witness clinics from prestigious horse trainers like John Lyons as well as beautiful demonstrations from lesser known, but equally fascinating, farms and exhibitors.
While the level of polish varies between demonstrators (some are professional national exhibitors while others are local farms with a big heart but less experience), overall the Equine Affair offers quite an impressive collection of talent and artistry.
I may have phased away from breeding and exhibiting Mountain Horses due to the demands on my time that my other business interests have caused, but when it comes to the Equine Affaire that's actually an advantage for me. Nowadays I can attend the multi-day affair and worry about nothing but watching what I want, when I want. Don't get me wrong, I truly enjoyed meeting hundreds of people daily when exhibiting there, but I doubt any exhibitor would be able to deny that the show is a major temptation.
As mentioned at the start of this review, it's not easy for a horse show or equine event to impress me. While I enjoy them all due to their subject matter, for the most part if you've seen one horse show, you've seen them all. Finding one that truly excels is uncommon, and the Equine Affair is one such example. Whether you're interested in attending as a spectator or as an exhibitor, if your experience is anything like my experiences were then I can almost guarantee you'll be very impressed.
Currently the Equine Affaire is offered in: