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A Quick Look at the Equine Affaire, 2012

Published: 11/14/2012
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By Maddy Butcher Gray

You'd never know a hurricane and a recession have both ravaged the Northeast. Tens of thousands of smiling, eager equestrians with open wallets swarmed the grounds of the Big E for the annual four-day extravaganza known as the Equine Affaire.

The event's 46th edition had sunny skies, mild temperatures, and nearly 500 vendors and presenters.
I offer a few highlights and personal notes. Please use the Comment Bar to add yours!
More to come on the West Springfield, Massachusetts event in later features.

  • Guy McLean is one of the hottest touring horse acts this year and he didn’t disappoint at the Equine Affaire.
He brought the young horse he started at the Road to the Horse in March and worked two other horses at liberty while riding his saddle horse.

Pretty amazing stuff.

The horses all latched onto his subtle cues, but were relaxed enough to niggle-naggle amongst themselves. Picture four school kids standing in a perfect line but still managing to pinch each other and send secret notes back and forth.
The horses worked like a drill team but broke out for solo acts, too. He lay them down, galloped in place, stood over one horse with another horse, to name a few highlights.
Unlike most of his peers, McLean told the audience he has no interest in doing clinics or having apprentices. He’d rather be an inspiration.
Judging from the enthusiastic applause, I’d say he succeeded.
While he might not sign people up for clinics or push a lot of products, he did have his trademark words of wisdom, repeated in press releases, DVDs, and in the Equine Affaire arena last weekend:
“You’ll need four tools for working with horses and you can’t buy one of them: knowledge, compassion, patience, and imagination.”

  • Other presenters worth seeing and hearing:

Jim Masterson, the Masterson Method of Integrated Equine Performance Bodywork.

Dr. Joan Norton, of Norton Veterinary Consulting and Educational Resources.

Anne Gribbons, Olympic dressage rider and coach.

Dan James, Australian horseman, half of Double Dan Horsemanship, and competitor at next year’s Road to the Horse

  • These folks probably all have Trailers with Living Quarters... I love Trailers with Living Quarters... I asked my friends at the Trailer Depot in the Mallary Complex if they would give me a Trailer with Living Quarters... They said, 'No.'

I was disappointed there was no Versatile Horse and Rider competition this year.
An Equine Affaire representative told me: "The competition was rotated similarly to the way we rotate clinicians from year to year. We're always striving to keep the event fresh and are in the process of determining when the competition may return along with exploring and evaluating additional ideas for the educational programs. There are numerous factors that affect each of these decisions."

It was a great spectator event and Mainers have faired well. Read more about their performances here.

The horse in the photo at right was shaved with all the branches of the military. Pretty cool but what’s the poor fella going to do come winter?

If you were among the tens of thousands of attendees who opened their wallets, what did you spend on?
I was frugal, but still went home with a lovely beaver blend felt hat from Debbie Newson and her husband, Jamie, at Newt’s Hat Company. I bought a Clip from Smart Tie for running a lead line through. It’ll hook to a trailer, high line or wherever. It doesn't tie hard, but will give to the horse a bit if he panics and pulls back.

I wanted to talk with the folks at the Bio Heat display. Who wouldn’t want to heat with manure? Fuel from the middle stall instead of the Middle East.

What did you like?
What did you buy?
We would love to know!

View Reader Comments:

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11/15/2012 Bobby
Dear Maddy, I will be happy to give you a trailer with living quarters. (As soon as Mike gives ME one!)
11/15/2012 Maddy at Nickernews
Thanks, Bobby. Good to know. We'll have to work on that angle. ;)

"Nothing on four legs is quicker than a horse heading back to the barn" - Pamela C. Biddle/Joel E. Fishman