Saturday, November 12, 2011

Equine Affaire 2011

I put 230 miles on my new car yesterday (yay wheels!) and spent the day in Springfield, MA at Equine Affaire. Lucy's leaser L and Dreamer's girl C came too. We had a great time but it was a very LONG day. I woke up at 5, was at the barn by 5:45 to pick up C and take care of Lucy (cleaned her stall, fed her, turned her out, got her dinner ready), picked L up at 6:30 on the way up to Springfield, and we were at Equine Affaire by 9.

We dropped some of our hay off at the Nutrena booth to have it tested before we headed over to watch Anne Kursinski's jumping clinic. My barn owner is selling the hay and Nutrena was offering free hay analysis, so I brought samples of the first and second cut that we have. Both types of hay came back with "ideal" reports, so I was happy about that. The Nutrena rep did try to convince us to switch the entire barn over to their grains even though I said I was happy with the Poulin I fed my horse, but other than that we didn't have to purchase anything to get the analysis done.

Next we went and watched the first jumping clinic, about improving equitation over fences. Anne Kursinski taught the clinic and I personally learned a lot from watching the riders. She focused a lot on automatic releases and was having the participants hold their reins upside down to encourage a following hand over fences.

Here is Anne riding one of the participants horses, a grey mare who was very
stiff and bracing against the contact. Anne got on to see if she could coax the
horse down and get her to relax. This photo was taken 30 seconds after she got
on...the horse started out very stiff and looked like a totally different animal!

bracing at the trot

and then going soft and round. Anne even got her to do some really nice
stretchy circles at the trot and canter.

you can see how she's holding the reins upside down here

and that translated into an auto release very organically. I loved this chestnut.

this horse was faaaaaancy! and the rider was very talented.

After Anne's clinic, we walked through the barns and looked at all the horses.

This foal was having a nice midday snooze!
We also did a lot of shopping. Mostly browsing, as I am slightly poor for the next 72 months, but I did get everything I needed for my secret santa for COTH. I also got a cool red half pad for $20 and some peppermint wanna-be stud muffins for Lucy. L bought some winter riding gloves and C got a nice leather halter for Dreamer. Other than that, we just browsed and had a good time trying things on and seeing everything that's available on the market.

We went back to the coliseum arena and watched a colt starting clinic. The clinician, Guy McLean, had worked with the horse the day before and ridden him for the first time, so yesterday's session was a continuation of that. He did a lot of ground work to start it off, and then got on the horse and had him going w/t/c in both directions in no time! It was amazing. Then he taught the horse to pony from another horse.

starting off cautiously

he started asking the horse for his inside hind leg ("the driving leg") and once
the horse willingly gave it to him, he drove the horse forward.


the horse was a real cutie :)

teaching the horse to work around another horse

lunging the horse while riding another horse

and finally, ponying.

the day before, the horse had been very weary of the tarp so he was showing
everyone how far he'd come.
The last thing we watched was the Versatility Challenge. It's a kind of working ranch horse meets gaming horse meets jumper competition. The course didn't look too bad but it proved to be very challenging!

I will take this major hunk any day!!

His owner had just gotten him two weeks prior to the competition!

the horses had to put their front feet in the kiddie pool and then rotate around
the pool. Some horses did it no problem, and some acted like the pool was
a 1' deep horse eating monster.

excuse me while I wipe the drool off my face...

jumping in a western saddle: OUCHIES

this horse was not a fan of the jumps

but the rider was very persuasive!

We didn't get home until 9:30pm and I was so exhausted, but it was a fun day overall!


  1. Riding AND lunging the same time? WAY too much multi-tasking for me!! lol!

  2. Looks like a great time. Anne Kursinskis book is also amazing, like her...a great read on how position can effect your horses way of going. Someone else had their riders doing the upside down rein thing but I cant for the life of me remember who.


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