Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ohio Equine Affaire

I hadn't planned on attending Equine Affaire in Columbus, Ohio, this year. I've attended the event for the past four years, ever since I found out about it. This year there were other things going on around me and it just didn't seem that important to attend. Lo and behold, a friend called me Saturday to say she was going up to EA on Sunday and asked if I wanted to ride along. Opportunity knocked, so I answered.

We went to the Extreme Cowboy Race final at 9:30am. I didn't really think I'd be impressed with the event but it ended up being an enjoyable couple of hours. Watching both pro and amateur riders compete through the course in Cooper Arena was really more thrilling than I expected it to be. I had expected to be bored to tears. I'm glad I was wrong.

The winner of the event was a 57 year old female, non-pro, rider on a grade horse. Now, how much more thrilling can you get! Sally and her horse, Ghost, were up against some pro horses and riders as well as other amatures like herself, though most of the females were 30 years younger than Sally.

I tend to observe the horse more than the riders in these events. I watch their faces, their responses to their riders. Sally and Ghost were definitely partners. Ghost listened and waited for direction and responded. They were tuned in to each other more so than any of the other horse and rider teams I observed.

Probably the most crowd pleasing competitor was 65 year old Larry on his Spotted Saddle Horse. Though definitely not the fastest, his persistence at completing the course got the crowd on it's feet by the end of his run.

Second place went to a gorgeous dark chestnut QH stallion who was all muscle and definitely well trained. I believe they said he was a working cow horse from Michigan.The only problem in the tie breaker actually came from his rider who forgot the pattern to one of the obstacles, otherwise, he probably would have won the tie breaker event.

After ECR we went to Julie Goodnight's clinic on lead changes. Now, I have to admit, I am lost when it comes to lead changes. I've never had training in that area of riding and didn't really understand it. Julie did a great job at explaining the why and how of lead changes, so much so, that someone like me actually understood what she was talking about. Now I wish I was attending Julie's clinic in North Jackson, Ohio, in May. My friend applied early and will be one of the 15 riders in the clinic.

After Julie's clinic we did the shopping thing around the two vendor buildings. As I expected, there seemed to be fewer vendors this year. Enjoyed looking but didn't by a single thing not even a t-shirt!

We then went to the last clinic of the day with Craig Cameron. I was very tired by now, it was 3:30pm we'd gotten there at 9am and left for the event at 7:15am that morning. Craig was tired too, his voice just about gone. His clinic dealt with establishing communication with a horse that is spooky and maybe not well trained. Craig can be entertaining and he does like to talk! Sometimes though, I feel I get lost during his explanations.

At any rate, I do appreciate the fact that for $19.99 ($5 parking fee and $14.99 entrance fee) you can take in horse breeds of all kinds and clinics on various topics for a whole day. It's a bargain and an enjoyable experience. We're fortunate to have an Equine Affaire located in the middle of our state each year. An opportunity not often seen in these parts!

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