Equine Affaire Encourages Passion, Education for NHS Equine Students


Marisa Bedron

Nonnewaug’s junior and senior equine science class attended he 2022 Equine Affaire on Nov. 14. The event helped students gain industry connections and more.

Madelynn Orosz, Ag/FFA Editor

WEST-SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — As fair season ends, there is a last hurrah that occurs annually for people to flock to before the cold New England winter starts: Equine Affaire. 

Equine Affaire is a horseman’s exposition that occurs every November at the Big E fairgrounds. Originally started in Ohio, the expo has grown to include an additional event in Massachusetts.

According to the Equine Affaire website, their mission is to “improve the horse management, training, and riding skills of current horsemen, promote communication and cooperation within our very diverse national horse industry, provide an introduction to the extraordinary world of horses, and showcase the finest horses and riders representing a variety of horse breeds and equestrian disciplines.”

This equine expo provides educational opportunities, shopping for the latest horse-centered products, competitions, demonstrations, and horses for sale. 

Nonnewaug juniors and seniors taking horse management, now known as equine science, have attended the event in the past, and they attended again this year.

“We were excited to go back and make it a yearly field trip for the equine science class,” said Marissa Bedron, NHS equine science teacher. 

The students were just as excited as Bedron to attend the event in West Springfield. 

“We had so much fun,” said Faith Lally, a junior equine science student. 

Equine science students attended workshops, talked to industry experts, went shopping, and enjoyed lunch. 

Students sat in on a show jumping course demonstration with riders from across New England. This demonstration was run by a professional trainer to help teach the public and future horsemen the technique of show jumping. (Faith Lally)

Workshops attended by the students included saddle fitting, horse breed identification, and even some basic care tips and tricks.

“We learned the different breeds of horses and their colors such as blonde horses being called palomino, reddish-brown horses being called bay, and spotted horses being called painted,” said Lally. 

The group had unique opportunities to experience horse trainers and riding instructors in action.

“There were clinicians from across the country who were present with demonstration riders that had to apply to ride during the event,” noted Bedron. “It was cool to see the different levels of riding and on-the-spot thinking [of the clinicians].”

“We learned that dressage is much harder than it looks and that horses can be trained to walk sideways,” said Lally, who among other students learned many horse tips and tricks of the trade.

Top equine colleges like the University of New Hampshire, Delaware Valley, and Post University were also present at the event as well to help narrow down college searches for high school students in attendance. 

This event helped inspire the next generation of the horse industry, especially the equine science students of Nonnewaug.