New Mexico State Fair keeps horse show organizer despite concern

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The New Mexico State Fair is supposed to bring us together, and most of the time it does that. But the fallout from the horse show in 2022 is creating a little friendly competition.

This year, there’s another horse show in town with shiny new buckles and the promise of free family fun.

“Horses are actually like therapy for so many people. You’re outside, you’re not staring at your cell phone for once, you’re not sitting at your computer,” said Mariah Wilson, president of the Arabian Horse Association in New Mexico. 

For Wilson, that passion is her profession: training and coaching families of all ages to perform on all sorts of stages. It’s why she helped organize the Arabian Horse Show at the State Fair in 2022. 

But things didn’t go as planned. Following the fair, exhibitors voiced their frustration with event management.

“If you are to hire her again, nobody will come back,” said one attendee. 

“This show was one of the most poorly, organized shows that I’ve ever been to,” said another attendee. 

Only to find out, the same contractor was awarded the horse show again this year. 

Wilson says she met with the exhibitors, and they all brought new ideas to the table to create another option this year for the second weekend in September.

“A lot of management-level changes needed to happen for that to continue. We just didn’t see that happening. So rather than to fight against that change we took all this feedback and things we learned that would be successful, and we’re going to build it up here in Santa Fe,” said Wilson. 

It’s called the Chile Roast, an Arabian and all-breed show. It’s a qualifying event for exhibitors with prize money, ribbons, and those coveted buckles.

Wilson says it’s a weekend full of new shows, fun events, and opportunities to introduce the community to something different.

“I think the part people enjoy the most is watching the jumpers, and we have a lot of them. There’s also going to be vaulting which is cool and different. We have a lot of ranch work which is different and trail obstacles,” she said. 

KOB 4 asked the fair why they decided to go in the same direction as last year considering the concerns. 

A spokesperson says they posted the position and no one else applied. That spokesperson says they are still expecting one of the biggest shows ever.

For more information about the Chile Roast event, click here