Journey to the Midwest Horse Fair

We started our journey to Madison, Wisconsin for the 2015 Midwest Horse Fair with a bang….literally.


Our equine crew, Cooper V, Versatil Imagem, Pecos and Confetti, monitored the repair closely and we were soon back on the road.


Although rainy and windy, the rest of the trip was uneventful.   After unloading the horses and equipment at the Alliant Energy Center, we tracked down a nearby commercial tire shop and got Velma (our Volvo Semi) six new shoes including fancy lo pro fronts…just in case she decided to mimic the trailer on our way home!


The booth set up, we were all ready for opening day on Friday.  The Mid-West Horse Fair is the second largest event at the Alliant Energy Center.  A record breaking 61,000 people attended the Fair this year!


Matt and his horses were very busy all three days of the exhibition, giving lectures and demonstrations on training philosophy, the different levels of dressage, lateral work, flying changes as well as piaffe and passage.  Bucket list accomplishment?  Getting his name on the Jumbotron.


Cooper V and Confetti were spectacular in the Epic Night of the Horse production on Saturday.  This was Cooper’s first time performing with spotlights and a large audience and he was absolutely brilliant.  Confetti’s routine was funnier than ever, with the help of production director John Harrison, whose portrayal of Angora, the ugly stepsister, had Matt laughing so hard he couldn’t remember his lines.

Cooper midwest (2)Confetti midwest (2)John midwest (2)

A fantastic weekend for the McLaughlin team!  We would like to send a huge thank you to the management and volunteers at the Midwest Horse Fair.  Your organization and amazing hospitality are unmatched.  We also were very impressed by the Fair attendees whose kindness, intelligent questions and interest in dressage made the weekend especially rewarding.  We truly appreciate the feedback and comments we have received since we returned home and have included some of them below.  Thank you Wisconsin!


I attended all of Matt’s sessions at the Horse Fair. What a wealth of knowledge he shared with us and his love and passion for his horses and teaching dressage was clearly evident. Plus he was funny and kind. Can’t get any better. PLEASE email the Midwest horse fair to let them know you enjoyed his visit. It would be wonderful to have Matt come again to the fair.

It is not that easy to make dressage entertaining AND informative – but you did. Very much appreciate your efforts.

Enjoyed your clinic Saturday! Love Versatil’s personality and thank you for the reminder that things don’t always go as planned and that’s okay.

All of your demos and performances were fantastic! The evening show performance was breathtaking and you were clearly the star of the show. The audience was going wild. Thank you so much for sharing with us. The schedule seemed pretty intense. I came right home and started working on the piaffe with renewed understanding.

Thank you for sharing your talent, knowledge and passion with us at the Fair this weekend! Both you and your horses were simply amazing and inspiring!

Matt and team-we were so blown away by your demo style and the beautiful, happy horses. It’s not easy to take them that far away from home, and still see the enjoyment of their job on their faces and in their body language. I also so appreciated how much YOU seem to love what you do. Your passion and knowledge of the discipline make me want to cross-train my big 17h appendix QH hunter!! Do you take vacation visitors??  Thank you again. Trainers like you re-inspire my love and appreciation for these animals all over again. Great job.

I just wanted to tell you that I have seen many different shows and exhibits but When I saw You ride to AC/DC I can’t even tell you what kind of goose bumps I got. You definitely were one of the best parts of the show. It  made my day.

My daughter, son, and I attended a couple of your sessions and really enjoyed them and we all learned something and left inspired.  My 12 year old daughter is now very inspired to teach her Welsh pony (who was one of those poor little carnival ride ponies in a previous life) to piaffe. I purchased your DVD and a cue stick for her and she is already hard at work. So please know your trip was well worth it. She has been interested in learning and improving in dressage and is now very inspired and ready to show the world just what she and her pony can do. This will be a fantastic learning experience for her. 🙂 Thanks!!!!