Filled with fun, the 2021 Equine Affaire in Massachusetts was the perfect celebration of all things equine.
On November 11, 2021, the doors to the Eastern States Exposition swung open wide to welcome back crowds of excited horse lovers for the 61st annual Equine Affaire! After taking a brief hiatus from live events due to the global pandemic, North America’s premiere equine exposition and equestrian gathering returned to W. Springfield, Mass., for its first in-person event since 2019. Spanning four days and featuring educational clinics, exciting competitions, a massive trade show and a plethora of networking opportunities for equine professionals, the 2021 Equine Affaire in Massachusetts was a roaring success.
“The whole staff was excited to get back to the Eastern States Exposition for Equine Affaire in Massachusetts,” said Coagi Long, president of Equine Affaire. “Everyone who attended was as enthusiastic as we were at the chance to be there in person to celebrate our love for horses with each other, especially after a year away. What’s so great about the horse is its ability to bring people together, no matter where they come from or what discipline they ride, and Equine Affaire is the perfect outlet for that togetherness.”
Since 1994, Equine Affaire’s mission has been to elevate the equestrian experience – and part of that mission includes providing continuing education to equestrians and horse lovers of all disciplines. At this year’s event, clinicians provided ample learning opportunities with a robust schedule of educational clinics, seminars and demonstrations. Headliners included American cowboy Ken McNabb, elite reining and liberty practitioner Dan James, world-class showman Lynn Palm and internationally recognized natural horseman JR Robles. Many more clinicians taught discipline-specific sessions, including Lendon Gray (dressage), Jim Wofford (eventing), Rita Timanaro (hunter/jumper), Bryan Penquite (reining and ranch horse), Stephen Hayes (dressage), Bob Giles (driving), Lynn Palm (Western dressage), Shaina Humphrey (hunter under saddle), Ed Dabney (trail and general horsemanship), Anita Howe (easy gaited horses), Karen Rohlf (biomechanics), Luke Reinbold (trail obstacles), Wendy Murdoch (Surefoot, Murdoch Method), Steven Stevens (general horsemanship), Sharon Wilsie (Horse Speak®), Fred Win (para reining), the Diamond D Cowgirls (drill teams) and others. With sessions spanning a wealth of disciplines, there was a clinic available for riders of all skill levels and interests throughout the weekend.
On Thursday night of the event, Fantasia opened with the first of three breathtaking performances. Sponsored by Absorbine, Fantasia is Equine Affaire’s signature musical celebration of the horse and a beloved tradition for many Equine Affaire attendees. Its much-anticipated return to the coliseum did not disappoint. On Thursday evening, the show began with the National Anthem, performed by Melissa Serra. Overcome with emotion, Serra paused for a moment during her performance. That’s when the entire crowd chose to lift their voices and sing with her — turning an already meaningful moment into an especially beautiful and fitting tribute for Veterans Day. Highlights from this year’s Fantasia included a tribute to wounded soldiers from para-reiner Fred Win; a beautiful long-line demonstration by Katharina Gasser with Habano the Andalusian; a drill-team routine by the Diamond D Cowgirls; Jenny Vidbel’s 16-horse liberty routine; a stunning bridleless reining and liberty routine from Luke Gingerich; and a beautiful multi-costumed performance by Shawn Drentwett and Ricco the Friesian.
On Friday, November 12, fourteen horse-and-rider pairs vied for top honors in the 2021 Versatile Horse and Rider Competition, sponsored by Nutrena. Attendees enjoyed spending the afternoon cheering on their favorite competitors with Ed Dabney as judge and Luke Reinbold as emcee. Defending their titles as the Massachusetts Versatile Horse & Rider Champions from 2019, Danelle Osinchuk and Slip Me a Dual Pep, a 21-year-old American Quarter Horse gelding, emerged as the winners with a high score of 76. There was a tie for second place between Brenda Hanson and Rob West. Rob West and Moonshine Lady won the tiebreaker and took second place. Third place went to Brenda Hanson and Ace, who won the 2019 Ohio Versatile Horse & Rider Competition. April Baronas and Que Sera Sera won fourth, and Jackie Rappel and Beckett’s Hickory Doc (Roanie) came in fifth. For full results, visit equineaffaire.com/press.
New this year, the International Liberty Horse Association hosted a two-part invitational freestyle competition during Equine Affaire. Founded by Dan and Elizabeth James, ILHA is dedicated to promoting the discipline of liberty training. In this special competition, select competitors performed freestyle liberty routines with their equine partners. Compulsories took place on Saturday, November 13, and the finals occurred on Sunday, November 14. The horses and their handlers competed in three divisions: youth, non pro and pro. Jolina Dhue and Nemo won the youth championship with a score of 58.50. The non pro championship went to Meredith Vallillo and Cricket with a score of 171.50, while the pro champions were Elliot Holtzman and Wallapeno with a score of 174.0. For full results, please visit https://ilha.allsportsequine.com/results/11909/classes/13318.html. The ILHA will also host a competition at the 2021 Equine Affaire in Ohio.
Equine Affaire is home to North America’s largest horse-related trade show, giving attendees the opportunity to shop for everything from supplements to saddles to show clothes. This year, the trade show included the Marketplace Consignment Shop. Featured in the Mallary North, the Marketplace was the perfect place for attendees to consign items they no longer needed or wanted and then browse for bargains galore. Attendees consigned items such as equestrian apparel, tack and equine apparel, riding gear and accessories, training equipment, stable equipment and more. This was the first year of the Marketplace in Massachusetts, and attendees jumped at the chance to buy and sell gently used items. The Marketplace will also take place at the 2021 Equine Affaire in Ohio.
One of the biggest draws of Equine Affaire is the opportunity to interact with horse breeds from all over the world. The Horse & Farm Exhibits and the Breed Pavilion were a popular destination throughout the weekend and included breeds as familiar as the American Quarter Horse and as exciting and diverse as the Friesian, the Fjord and the Icelandic horse. Visitors also had the opportunity to meet the very first Menorcan horses to set foot in the United States, courtesy of PR Menorcan Horses. First recognized in 1989, the Menorcan horse is a breed indigenous to the island of Menorca in the Balearic Islands. These beautiful black horses are most often used to perform Menorcan dressage during traditional festivals on the island. In addition to being featured in the Breed Pavilion, the Menorcan horses performed in several breed demonstrations throughout the weekend.
Another new feature this year included the official Equine Affaire Mechanical Horse! Housed in the Equine Fundamentals Forum, this fun purple pony is part of a new initiative to raise funds for a special Equine Affaire scholarship fund. The mechanical horse was also the feature of a social media campaign via the official Equine Affaire Facebook page. For three weeks, Equine Affaire’s fans voted for their favorite name for the horse in a two-part naming contest. The Prince-inspired moniker, Purple Rein, came out on top! Be sure to visit Purple Rein at a future Equine Affaire for pony rides and contribute to the Equine Affaire scholarship fund.
Equine Affaire wouldn’t be possible without the support of our sponsors. Thank you to Absorbine®, sponsor of Fantasia; US Equestrian, sponsor of the Coliseum arena; Farnam, sponsor of the Courtesy Shopping Bag; Horizon Structures, the official barn of Equine Affaire; GGT, sponsor of the Mallary & Young Arenas; Nutrena, sponsor of the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition; Cowboy Magic, sponsor of presentations by Ken McNabb; and Mane N Tail, sponsor of presentations by Dan James.
Did you miss out on this year’s Equine Affaire? Save the dates! Join us April 7-10, 2022, at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio, for the 2021 Equine Affaire in Ohio. Equine Affaire in Massachusetts will return to the Eastern States Exposition in W. Springfield, Mass., on November 10-13, 2022. We can’t wait to see you at Equine Affaire! Visit us online at equineaffaire.com for updates. If you have questions, call our office at (740) 845-0085 any time from 9:00 am-5:00 pm EST, Monday-Friday. For fun contests, photos, videos and event updates, follow Equine Affaire on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via @equineaffaire.
*Pictures Available Upon Request