This year’s celebration of the 350th Anniversary concluded with a big presence for CHHAPS and the Canadian horse at Equine Affaire in West Springfield, Massachusetts, November 12-15, where the final attendance was over 100,000.
Connecticut member, Melissa Larsen, and Massachusetts member, Liz Piacentini, organized a CHHAPS booth, breed demo, exhibit stalls, and an educational talk about the Canadian horse. During the four days, many New England CHHAPS members graciously joined them to staff the booth, ride in the demo, and educate people about Canada’s National Horse at the largest equine-related trade show on the East Coast, USA.
The booth was the central location where attendees could learn about the versatile Canadian throughout the four days. Horse enthusiasts were able to read the educational display boards, buy a 2016 calendar, or request additional information. Booth volunteers mentioned how universal the comments were from those who already had or knew a Canadian horse – they are sensible, friendly, trustworthy, hardy, love to eat, and are well-loved by their owners.
Horses on Exhibit –
Three equine ambassadors were stabled throughout the event as part of the CHHAPS Horse & Farm Exhibit. Melissa Larsen’s, Valencay Jordin Ying (aka River), greeted visitors along with two horses owned by Lise Krieger and Jo Bunny of Little Iron Horse Farm in Whately, MA. The mare, Ranch-L Roby Mahee (aka Mae Mae), and River’s new best buddy, Blanchard Gilo Funny (aka Dudley), were stellar examples of the breed’s good temperament.
Dudley won many hearts and continued to soak up attention in the Breed Pavilion, (pictured left with Lise Krieger). The Equus Survival Trust, a non-profit organization promoting awareness for endangered breeds, graciously extended exhibit stall time for the Canadian horse. Dudley and River filled openings on the schedule and had their pictures taken with dozens of visitors.
The breed demo took place on a rainy Thursday afternoon with one horse in harness, three under saddle and one in-hand. Despite the poor weather and inability to warm up outside, the horses were steady troupers as they entered the coliseum. Dudley led the way (in-harness below) with driver David Bradham of Connecticut and 16-year old navigator, Ben Swatko, of New Hampshire.
Riders included Melissa Larsen on River, Caitlin Murphy Roche on Ranch-L Zorro Jammy (owned by Pam Tenaglia), and Liz Piacentini on Du Coteau Dandy Lyrical. Once the riders entered, they were joined by Lise Krieger leading Mae Mae.
Throughout the demo an announcer read an informative script. Spectators learned about the breed’s history, characteristics, uses, and influence on other breeds. They even heard how the First Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry rode into war on the Little Iron Horse during the Civil War.
Equine Fundamentals Forum –
On Friday, Melissa Larsen and Liz Piacentini participated in this “breed spotlight” on the Canadian Horse. Melissa led 4-year old River into the presentation ring where visitors could see an example of the breed. Liz gave a 15-minute talk on the Canadian’s history and ended with an update on the current need for preservation of the breed, their characteristics, and uses. Afterwards, numerous people visited the booth and claimed they had no idea of the Canadian’s interesting background.
Clinic Rides –
Two Canadian owners took advantage of the opportunity to ride with well-known clinicians presenting at Equine Affaire. On Friday, Lise Krieger rode Dudley in a clinic conducted by cowboy Kerry Kuhn on establishing consistent leadership with your horse.
On Saturday, Pam Tenaglia of Massachusetts rode with Julie Goodnight on Ranch-L Zorro Jammy. Jammy kept his “Canadian cool” in the coliseum while other horses danced and pranced during a lesson on confidence building techniques under saddle.
CHHAPS’ participation in Equine Affaire would not be possible without the enthusiasm and support received from volunteers, riders, sponsors, members, and of course – the Canadian horses. In addition to promoting awareness and educating visitors about this heritage breed, CHHAPS gained several new members. CHHAPS sincerely thanks everyone for their dedication and enthusiasm in making Equine Affaire a successful event during the 350th Anniversary year of the Cheval Canadien!
Click on any photo in the gallery below to enlarge:
Article and photos submitted by CHHAPS member Liz Piacentini.