You long-time readers know that we are just about to my absolute favorite time of the year when it comes to the equestrian calendar: Equine Affaire Ohio.
Every year I take two days off from work to spend Thursday-Friday in Columbus, Ohio. I stay with my aunt who lives just north of the Ohio State Expo Center where the festivities take place (and also feeds me), and meet up with my mom, my psuedo sister Laura, and horsey friends from all over.
A lot of people go to Equine Affaire for the shopping. I go for the clinics.
The first few times I went, I only cared about the jumping and dressage stuff. The older and horse-crazier I get – the more I love and want to see them all. I love the little nuggets of training and horsemanship I get and can take home to Ace, but also just love getting educated about all kinds of different training systems, aids, skills, and disciplines.
In short, Equine Affaire is paradise for the horse-addicted researchist who loves to know everything about anything equine.
(Never heard of Equine Affaire? It’s a 4-day convention filled with clinics, demonstrations, and performance from top trainers across disciplines. It happens three times a year: once each in California, Massachusetts, and Ohio. It brings in the big guns like Linda Allen for jumping, Steffen Peters for dressage, Julie Goodnight for horsemanship, and Monty Roberts and John Lyons for the natural horsemanship crowd. They rotate speakers every year, so the devoted attendees like me don’t hear the same speakers and lessons over and over again. Oh, and there’s a gigantic tradeshow with every horsey item you can imagine – and some you can’t).
At any rate, my planning is in full swing because Equine Affaire Ohio edition begins one week from today! I’ve been busy highlighting, crossing out, and re-highlighting all the sessions I want to attend (too many that overlap!), buying tickets for the Pfizer Fantasia show for me and my friends, and planning meet ups with all the horsey people I know who will be there.
If you are going to Equine Affaire next week, first leave a comment so we can try to hook up and say hi!, and second – here are my tips on the clinics and presenters you have to see this year.
Equine Affaire 2011 Must See Clinicians
Yes, I’m a dressage, jumping, eventing, and Julie Goodnight buff. But if any of those sessions overlap with Aussie horseman, entertainer, and poet Guy McLean – I guarantee you will find me wherever Guy is.
He’s a new name among horsemanship gurus in the US – but is a household name in his native Australia. After years of success entertaining crowds Down Under, he and his girlfriend Emily decided to move to the US last summer with four of their horses and try to make it big here. He was an absolute sensation during the World Equestrian Games, performing both at the International Equestrian Festival downtown and the KY Horse Park. I was very fortunate to meet him at IEF, and get to spend some time hanging out. I don’t know that I have ever seen a horseman/clinician as head over heels in love with his horses as Guy. Plus he’s amazing talented, and very very funny. Go read this old post I did about Guy; it has a video of Guy performing with his horses Spinnaby, Sequel, Pride, and Hope. I have my fingers crossed that they will be performing in the Pfizer Fantasia show…
For Dressage Fans – Reese Koffler Stanfield
She was at Equine Affaire and I love, love, love her! Also met her in person at WEG and she is one of the loveliest, most bubbly and friendly people you’ll ever meet. Plus, she’s an international dressage rider.
While she’s not one of the biggest names, Reese’s clinics at Equine Affaire last year were among the best, most useful dressage clinics I’ve sat through there. She made the techniques and teaching points incredibly accessible to the audience, sharing nuggets helpful for the seasoned dressage rider as well as the newbie like me.
Also for Dressage – Jane Savoie
I got to be a big fan of Jane Savoie while reading her training articles on her Barnmice blog. Her detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to teach a horse forward, the aids for collections, and the difference in aids between bending and leg yields revolutionized my ability to train Ace in those areas. I’m very much hoping for more of that practical, accessible information from her at Equine Affaire (unless of course her sessions overlap with Guy McLean – and then you know where I’ll be).
Horsemanship with Julie Goodnight
Have I mentioned before that I also adore Julie Goodnight? Well, I do. I met her briefly at Equine Affaire two years ago, and then got to spend lots of time chatting horse with her at IEF during WEG. I love Julie because she has a comprehensive approach – starting from the ground up.
She’s one of the few non-natural-horsemanship (although she sometimes gets lumped into that category) clinicians who puts a lot of emphasis on how to deal with horses on the ground, establishing manners, leadership, and trust. She blends good horsemanship skills with classical riding to teach the overall experience. I’ll forever disagree with her about hand feeding treats – but in every other area I’m a true fan.
Lynn Palm Partnership Training
I don’t know a lot about Lynn Palm, other than that she’s a partner and sponsored rider for SUCCEED. She apparently has a trademarked training system called Palm Partnership Training. I’m guessing it’s something along the lines of a Linda Tellington-Jones TTouch deal, or perhaps a Monty Roberts who caters to the recreational rider. She does English and Western. I’m interested in checking out at least portions of her clinics just to get an idea of what it’s all about.
Oh, and she’s doing a seminar on “Stress Free Mane Pulling Techniques” that I definitely need to check out so I can stop torturing my poor thick-haired pony so badly.
Daniel Stewart for Eventers
I don’t really know much about Daniel Stewart, other than that he’s very popular with the Horse Radio Network and some of the eventers I know. He’s doing some jumping stuff, so I might check that out briefly to see what he’s all about.
Who’s Who in Other Disciplines?
Yeah, so I don’t know anything about who’s who when it comes to western riding, Arabians, driving, endurance, and the other disciplines that are being covered at Equine Affaire. If any of those are your thing, please check out the Equine Affaire 2011 schedule and let me know what you think.
If you leave a comment with your must-see clinic/presenter and why, I’ll add it to this post.
Hi, my name is Jackie Baker, and I author Regarding Horses. I will be at Equine Affaire all four days. I will primarily be sitting in clinics and seminars, will be at Pfizer Fantasia Friday evening, and will most definitely be found at all things Guy McLean. If you see me wandering around, please stop me and say hi. I would love to meet you. And if you’d like to meet up intentionally, drop me an email. I’m happy to exchange numbers so we can plan something!