The world's largest and longest-running national equine exposition and equestrian gathering, Equine Affaire, will once again invade the Ohio Expo Center, in Columbus, Ohio, April 7-10. The event is expected to draw more than 100,000 horse enthusiasts from across the nation to experience the massive trade show, educational programs, the Breed and Youth Pavilions, two Celebrity Horse Showcases and special appearances by the industries top-ranked clinicians and trainers.
Equine Affaire's signature event, the Pfizer Fantasia will, once again stampede into the Wrangler Arena in the coliseum on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The show, which starts at 8 p.m., requires a separate ticket that can be purchased from the Equine Affaire office at 740/845-0085 or by logging onto www.equineaffaire.com. The tickets range from $12 to $24. This years' event will include a variety of equine spectacles choreographed to an array of musical styles. Some performers include the Friesian Spectacular with Clay Maier, a horseback vaulting routine by the American Vaulting Association's Friendship Team, the Priefert Texas Thunder Percheron Draft Horse Hitch, Vince Bruce, a British equestrian who wows crowds with his talents of trick riding and roping, a Haflinger-driven drill team, the Swedish equestrian comedy of the Svensons, a freestyle reining performance by Stacy and Jessie Westfall and special breed spotlights said Marci Young, Marketing Associate for Equine Affaire.
The Celebrity Horse Showcase will be hosting two horses, Goliath and Nevada Joe. Goliath's name tells his story, he is the world's largest living horse, measuring 19.1 hands and weighing in at 2,500 pounds. The black Percheron gelding is owned by Priefert Manufacturing, Inc. and will be introduced in the Youth Pavilion Friday, April 8 at 2 p.m. Nevada Joe is an American Mustang adopted through the Bureau of Land Management as part of the Wild Horse Project by the Wahl Clipper Corporation. He was brought to the Wahl Equestrian Center in Sterling, Illinois, where he was trained for equestrian sports. His training and riding progress were illustrated in the pages of Horse Illustrated through the 2002 year.
Nevada Joe is now quite the traveler, making appearances at equine events across the country, hoping to bring more public interest and awareness to the adoption of wild horses and burros. Nevada Joe will also be part of the 1st Ohio Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association's clinic at Equine Affaire on Saturday. Nationally ranked shooter Diane Holmes-Purcelli will ride him.
This years Equine Affaire will feature more than 200 clinics, seminars and demonstrations that will take place in the eight different venues. “We take great pride in hosting many of the industry's most respected and most accomplished competitors, coaches and trainers,” said Eugenia Snyder, president of Equine Affaire. “Though what truly sets Equine Affaire apart is our inclusion of up-and-coming trainers and other top professionals that attendees would not typically have access to.” The list of presenters at this year's event reads like a who's who list of equestrian trainers; Olympian David O'Connor for those interested in eventing, Dr. Cesar Parra and Betsy Steiner will each present dressage clinics, Louise Serio will offer clinics for hunters Tim Grubb will hold jumping seminars, hunter under saddle clinics will be given by Gail and Bill Mitchell, David Earehart for driving and English pleasure and Brenda Imus's seminar for easy-gaited horse enthusiasts.
Those interested in western events, such as barrel racing, will be able to attend world champion barrel racer Charmayne James seminar and team roping clinics by Speed Williams. Al Dunning will host seminars on reining, reined cow horse and horsemanship, Dana Hokana on western pleasure and horsemanship and Clark Bradley will present western riding seminars. Cindy Morehead hosts trail and western horsemanship clinics while Chuck Smith will host cutting horse seminars and Ginger Ryals will hold a seminar for gymkhana fans. For attendees who want general training hints, they can attend clinics hosted by some of the top trainers in the industry. Dennis Reis will present clinics on his Universal Horsemanship, Craig Cameron, Donna Snyder-Smith and Chris Irwin for general training issues. Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard will hold clinics for those interested in beginner horsemanship strategies. There will also be clinics hosted by the American Vaulting Association's Friendship team, the United Mounted Games Association and a clinic hosted by Jason Goodman and Priefert's Texas Thunder Percheron Draft Horse Hitch. Dale Myler will aim to teach a bit about bitting your horse while Bill Burden will host a clinic on the long-eared mule. Hosting a clinic on long lining will be Clay Maier and Todd Draheim will head the clinic for training for sport horse inspections.
Other special showcases are Ben Risney; an X-treme Art Sculptor wowed audiences in 2004 with his woodcarvings and is prepared to do the same in 2005. Beginning with a block of wood, Risney whittles them into amazing formed sculptures of horses and other animals not by whittling them, but by using a chain saw. Then there's Johnny Nix, host of the popular Campfire Café television program. He'll provide live cooking demonstrations for outdoor cooking, trail riding demonstrations and horse camping.
The Equine Affaire also takes special notice of the young horse enthusiasts who visit each year. They will have the opportunity to learn about horses by professionals at the Lash's Lessons Youth Pavilion, which will be located in the Voinovich Livestock & Trade Center. “Children are essential to the future viability of the equine industry,” Snyder said. “It is important for us to encourage their interest in horses and to give them the same level of educational experiences we offer to all horse lovers at Equine Affaire.” At the Youth Pavilion, youngsters will find interactive stations that will include the opportunity to make their own stick horses and participate in a stick horse rodeo. Kids will also get a free Equine Affaire coloring book, face painting, and a trivia game to aid kids in learning about different horse breeds and horse care.
Other popular staples at Equine Affaire are the free raffles. This year's prizes include an English and Western saddle package, a western show outfit from the Berry Fit Co., an English show outfit from Equestrian Collections, a blanket package from Valley Vet Supply and tickets to next year's event. The Cashman Breed Pavilion in the Voinovich Livestock and Trade Center and the Horse and Farm Exhibits in the Gilligan Complex are great opportunities for attendees to become acquainted with different horse breeds up close and personal. Horse breeds will be showcased daily through live demonstrations throughout the event. “Both the Breed Pavilion and the Horse and Farm Exhibits offer a unique opportunity for people to become familiar with breeds of horses that they may have never seen before,” said Snyder. “It is a wonderful chance to find out about stallions, farms, boarding stables, training and breeding services in the region.”
As always, Equine Affaire will also give visitors the opportunity to browse the largest equine-related trade show in the nation. Of the more than 500 exhibitors, you're guaranteed to find everything you want and need whether it's tack, riding apparel, barn equipment, jewelry, equine publications or gifts and western décor. The shopping experience is one that some drive hundreds of miles to see, nearly forgetting the actual horse events.
“The Equine Affaire is for all breeds, all disciplines; we offer something for everyone. There is such a diverse array of what we offer,” said Young. Equine Affaire will be open Thursday, April 7th 9:00 a.m. -7:30 p.m. through Saturday, April 9 and closes on Sunday, April 10, with hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Daily admission is $12 for adults and $7 for children ages 7 to 12 which includes access to all clinics, seminars, demonstrations, Breed and Youth Pavilions and the trade show. Four-day passes are available to adults for $36 and $21 for children. For more information on the 2005 Equine Affaire, contact the Equine Affaire office at 740/845-0085 or log onto www.equineaffaire.com.