Every year in November, the Equine Affaire comes to Springfield , Mass, which is just down the highway. Last year I had the flu and couldn't go, so this year, I really couldn't wait to go. But before I blog about that, I must share this picture Bill sent to me while I was at work on Wednesday afternoon. One word: adorable.
The Equine Affaire is from Thursday to Sunday. On Saturday, Brandon, Kestrel and I were off to the fairgrounds where it is held. I was getting antsy because Brandon seemed to be taking his own sweet time getting into the car. Then when he got in the car, he got back out to retrieve a The Cult CD for the ride down. The Cult, really? Was he serious? Then we had to stop again for allergy medicine because Brandon is allergic to horses! But as you can see, we made it there.
One of the things I really wanted to see was Chris Cox working with horses that buck. Someone had a horse that he had never met but who bucked in the ring. The horse's name was Doc, but the lady who owned him (shown in this picture) said they usually called him something else because he was so naughty.
She was not kidding about the bucking. Doc looked awfully sweet at first, following Chris Cox around and being very cute. Chris Cox said this was a horse who was comfortable in his own skin and had very peaceful ground manners. But then once the horse had a saddle on him he started bucking like a professional bronco! Chris Cox said he bucked with real rhythm and cadence too, like he had a strategy. He said some horses just buck willy nilly without a plan. Doc had a plan. My camera is so terrible that it only takes terrible pictures. So I didn't get any good ones. When he first started to buck, he ran AT Chris Cox! But he was not afraid, and did not back down! By the end of the hour, he was riding that horse sans bucking (albeit very assertively) and the horse even followed him without a lead rope across and out of the arena. Now that's fine horsemanship.
Then we had to do a little shopping. Here are Brandon and Kestrel in the draft horse section of one of the vendor shops.
And here are Brandon and Kestrel eating. The food was actually not half bad. I had a baked potato with everything but the kitchen sink on it.
Then it was into the breed barn. Here are some very cute little donkeys.
Here is a shire getting some air.
He was a magnificent stallion.
There were also some curious mules.
And who can resist an Icelandic cutie? (No one, that's who.)
Hey, there's Stacy Westfall!!
The Chris Cox booth was mobbed because he was giving away all kinds of cool Chris Cox stuff. I did not win any of the drawings. A lady next to me won and she was really excited about it. Who can blame her? I was glad for her.
One of my favorite things to do at the Equine Affaire is watch the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition. It's a timed event where the horses have to run through an obstacle course. This one involved galloping around the ring, trotting over a narrow bridge, doing very tight serpentines with correct lead changes at a canter, unlatching a gate, backing through an "L" shaped path, and walking through two sets of tarpy fringes among other things! Most of the competitors we saw were on quarter horses, but one rider was on a gypsy vanner, and another was on a fiord. Boy could that little fiord run! He also tried to stop and eat some of the decorations(!) When we left he was tied for first place. Which was $2500!!
We were there the ENTIRE DAY. It was hot and packed with people and totally worth it. Especially when......
I GOT TO MEET CHRIS COX!!!!!!!! He is such a warm and welcoming guy! Not to mention that meeting him is a bit like meeting Jesus, or Mohammad. Do you see his giant hand on my little mouse-like shoulder? Hah! How lucky am I?