Vendors, Exhibits, Demos & Clinics March 14 -15

By Jennie Acklin

The fifth annual EquiFest 2015 becomes a two-day event for the first time, with more than 100 vendors, clinicians, demonstrations and discussions. The event will be held at the Hamburg Fairgrounds, 5600 McKinley Parkway in Hamburg, NY. Doors open at 10 a.m. both Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15, with just a $1 donation at the door for those 13 years and older.

A respected equestrian professional from nearby Springville, NY – Mollie Vacco – is one of the many featured presenters at EquiFest 2015.

Vacco has been a student and teacher of Parelli Natural Horsemanship for 15 years. The Parelli program is all about building a foundation for your horsemanship and a relationship with your horse, spanning all disciplines and levels of study.

A passion for understanding horse behavior, as well as bringing people and horses together, is what she practices. She travels all over the countryside giving presentations of her own and with Parelli Organizations at events such as Equine Affair and the Pennsylvania World Horse Expo, to name a few.

Vacco will be giving three presentations this year at EquiFest, along with her rider pairing of Trish Hutchinson on Denali, an accomplished dressage team from Ellicottville, and Jen Treacy of Horseheads, NY.

Her first demonstration on Saturday at 11 a.m. is called “The Art of Warm Up and Why.”  She’ll be answering questions like: What does a calm, connected and responsive horse look like? When is your horse trainable and safe? When is your horse in a “thinking and learning” frame of mind?

“I really hope to get people thinking about the ‘Why’ of wanting to warm up their horse,” Vacco says.

Look for riding demonstrations from Trish and Jen.

Then on Saturday at 4 p.m., Vacco will be demonstrating “Safe Trailer Loading.” Building confidence and relaxation in your horse will be her focus, showing that the trailer is “just another obstacle,” instead of creating tension about getting on the trailer. Teaching horses and humans to slow down instead of taking the hurry up, get in and close the door approach will be the goal of the session. Anyone who has ever had a difficult time with trailer loading will acknowledge that there is always something new to learn.

On Sunday at 11 a.m., Vacco will be presenting Bridleless Riding.

“It’s not magic or unattainable – it’s about getting connected with a higher level of communication between horse and rider. Trish and her horse Denali, and Jen will be demonstrating this Parelli exercise also.

“Equifest is such a fabulous opportunity to break out of the pattern of winter and get excited about our upcoming horse season. I love when the community can come together and share their common love of horses! I will be available over the two days for questions and to book lessons, workshops and clinics. I will have some of the Parelli products available to view and purchase,” says Vacco.

For more information, visit,, or call 716-912-8207.

Two other local equestrians also are presenting at this year’s EquiFest.

Patti Stedman, from East Otto, NY, will be presenting two sessions on endurance riding. Stedman, who with her husband Richard, competes in American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC) rides of up to and including 100-mile, one-day rides, will cover “Know What Endurance Riders Know” on Saturday at noon, and “Endurance Highlights” on Sunday at 11 a.m.

Gail Pearles, who owns a 60-acre ranch near Springville, uses a “Kinship with Horses” training philosophy based on the best of the modern masters of natural horsemanship. She travels the Northeast U.S. giving clinics, demonstrations and lessons and will present “12 Good Reasons to Understand GI Ulcers in Horses” on Saturday at 11 a.m. and “The 5 T’s to Better Horsekeeping” on Sunday at 10:05 a.m.

For a complete schedule and more information on all of the presenters and demonstrations, visit  Additional topics at EquiFest 2015 include: Purchasing a Reining Horse; Legal Issues with Horses; Dressage, Bits and Bitting; Pulling Shoes and many other subjects. You’ll definitely want to attend this first equestrian gathering of the season, and get ready for spring with your horses.