Equine Affaire or Shop ‘Til You Drop

I attended the Equine Affaire at the “Big E” in Springfield, MA over the weekend.  I admit that one of the reasons I chose to attend was so I could see what the Arabian Association’s display looked like.  (See the post Morgan Promotion/Equine Affaire.)  I have to say that while the Arabian Association obviously spent a TON of money, the Morgan people did a lot more outreach and education while promoting the Morgan breed.  The Arabian Association was a co-sponsor of one of the many buildings that housed the Affaire.  That can’t be cheap!  But I never saw an Arabian horse or owner.  With diligent searching, I did find the Arabian Association booth with the sofas in the Breed Pavilion.  Again, they must have spent a TON of money, because they had the equivalent of 4 or 5 booth spaces at $750 per booth.  There were lots of handouts and pretty pictures on the wall space, but no one to ask questions of, or to buy a souvenir from.  If you found this space after spending the day shopping, I can understand that the couches were a welcome respite, because I promise you, you could literally shop until you drop!

There were three large buildings full of vendors selling everything equine-related that you could think of, from horse trailers to handmade soap.  There were tack shops and gift shops, manufacturers’ reps, and crafters.  I spent about 4 hours on Saturday exploring just one of the three buildings and felt like my feet were ready to fall off.  I really didn’t intend to spend any money, but of course I found books that I couldn’t live without, new technology that I thought could be beneficial to my horses, and Christmas presents. :-)  My friend Annette got the autograph of 2008 Equestrian Olympian Courtney King at the Purina Feeds booth display.

The horse barn (Barn C) had representatives of several breeds of equines, including donkeys and mules.  There were two aisles of Morgan horses, including Morgans of Color, and Lippitts.  The New England Morgan Horse Association had one whole aisle decorated with matching stall curtains, just like they were all together at a show.  At the end of the aisle that opened into the main aisle of the barn, they had a flat screen TV (compliments of Patsy Lloyd) that played the One True Media DVD Morgan slide show that was mentioned on Above Level.  It was a big hit.  The other end of the aisle was decorated with LARGE photo/posters of Morgans showing in various disciplines.  There were also educational demonstrations using Morgans right in the main aisle that covered topics such as braiding, clipping, fitting a harness, Morgans in Open Dressage, and my personal favorite, Tramp-Pole-Line Training of the rider.  This is a series of exercises done on a mini-tramp that enhance balance and good hands while also conditioning your cardiovascular system.

I hope that you will take the time to watch the video (check back – Black Eye Beth is experiencing technical difficulties) of the Morgan breed demonstration that was done by volunteers from the NEMHA.  It shows Regional and World Champion Morgans, among others, demonstrating the versatility of the Morgan breed.  These owners and trainers took time off from work and paid for the opportunity to show the general horse-loving public what Morgan horses can do.  I want to thank them for representing us and promoting OUR horses too.

Participants in the Morgan breed demo were Sandy Wooding and Acadia’s Secret Promise showing Training Level Dressage; Judy Nason and Treble’s Tanqueray, owned by Greg and Carol Fleck, showing Western Pleasure; Dennis and Laura Tatro with Denlore’s Desert Storm and Denlore’s Gaetano showing In-Hand; Triple Sweet Morgan Farm, owned by the Ed Sweet Family, showing a weanling In-Hand; Green Mountain Equestrian Center and Hawk Ridge Bold Lass showing Walk-Trot Hunter Pleasure; Hunter’s Glen Morgans and Hollybrook Sudden Impact, owned by Eileen Glen, showing Walk-Trot English Pleasure, presented by Karen Bobbi and her daughter; Jeff and Karen Dudley showing Sunny Acres Shameless in Carriage Driving, under the direction of Gino Guaraldi; Scott Munroe and Dottie with Bethesda After Dark showing in Combined Driving (this team was the real crowd pleaser); Stepping Stone Stable owned by Jill Bertrand showing The Sky’s The Limit; Reserve World Champion L’Cima owned and presented by Teri Travers, showing Classic Pleasure Driving, under the direction of Richard Boule; Steve and Josie Davis of the University of Vermont with UVM Made To Order who was catch-ridden in English Pleasure by a very talented young woman whose name I didn’t get (my apologies); Kerry Wolfe with Equinox Romeo; and my new friend Marthe Reynolds with her stallion Statesman’s Signature showing First Level Dressage.  (Marthe is a member of the AboveLevel community who describes herself as a petite, white, chick from Delaware, who pushes rap music. – No kidding.  She really is, and she rides a gorgeous stallion who loves to make sport horse babies.)

Other Morgan promotional activities included a booth in the Breed Pavilion manned by several volunteers from the NEMHA selling Morgan-themed gifts, in addition to giving away copies of the Morgan Connection and handouts for kids.  The Vermont Morgan Horse Association also had a booth selling items from the Museum of the Morgan Horse whose attendants were outgoing and friendly.  Between these two booths was a stall that housed different Morgan horses attended by their owners or trainers on a rotating schedule throughout the four days.  I was there with Acadia’s Secret Promise who, because she nuzzled everyone who walked by, converted at least one person from looking to buy a Quarter Horse to looking for a Morgan.  Now I get the new AMHA slogan, “The horse that chooses you!”  There was a small demonstration ring in the Breed Pavilion that one of the several Morgan Youth Groups in attendance, used to run a contest to name the parts of the horse, using a live Morgan.  This drew a large crowd of passers-by eager to be close to a horse.  I also spent some time at the Lippitt Morgan booth looking at pictures of historic and modern Lippitt Morgans.  My poor feet certainly would have welcomed a couch while looking at the pictures.

All in all, it was a great weekend, although I came home more exhausted than if I had been at a show.  I am definitely NOT a recreational shopper.  I like the well-planned surgical strikes the best. :-)

7 Responses to Equine Affaire or Shop ‘Til You Drop

  1. bella92290 says:

    Thanks for sharing, it was a joy to read. And thanks to all who donated time, money and effort to promote our beautiful horses.

  2. Mocha Mom says:

    It has come to my attention that I left out one huge part of the Morgan presence at the Springfield Equine Affaire and I want to apologize to Chris Cassenti for my error. I had posted several months ago that Chris was to be one of the featured clinicians in Springfield, and then totally forgot to look for her while I was there. She did presentations on English Pleasure and Saddle Seat Equitation using Morgan horses. Now that I have a new park horse, I know I would have benefitted from watching both of them and can’t believe I missed the opportunity. Did anyone else out there attend her clinics? If so, what did you learn? Is there video?

    Once again, my apologies to Chris, her team, and Above Level for letting you down.

  3. Black Eye Beth says:

    Hey bella, thanks for the “thanks” but MochaMom was the one that went and wrote the great post. I want to be sure she gets the credit. She also shot video but I am having problems with our new computer and hope to get it up this weekend.
    BTW, Mocha, you didn’t let anyone down. As usual you went over and above by taking the time to support the Morgan breed by attending the Equine Affair, shooting video, and writing about it for everyone who couldn’t go. All the thanks and appreciation go to you!

  4. Kayla says:

    Hi, Do you ride at Settlement Farm Mocha Mom

  5. Lynn Cushing says:

    Thank you for the link to the morgan video, how surprised both I and my daughter were to discover it is the video that SHE created. She would like to remain anonymous, as she created the montage as a labor of love, to expose other young riders to the versatility of the morgan horse that she loves so much, and maybe encourage them to want to ride and own one. She spent countless hours gathering the pictures and still occasionally goes in to update with a new photo. I am so proud of her, she just says that she accomplished what she set out to do, promote the breed, and doesn’t want any acknowledgement. Morgans will always be a part of her life and in her quiet way she will always be a champion for the breed. I am her biggest fan – job well done Savannah!

  6. bella92290 says:

    Thank you Savannah! And oops to BEB and Mocha, sorry.

  7. Black Eye Beth says:

    Hey Lynn, congrats to your daughter on making such a great video. When you get a chance could you email me at blackeyebeth@gmail.com? I have a question for you regarding its availability. Thanks!

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