We spent all day Friday and Saturday at the horse fair last weekend. It was a mixed bag of not so good weather, in part likely the cause for what seemed like lower attendance compared to recent years, altho it was plenty busy.
My husband and I both agreed, the best part of fair this year was Richard Winters clinics. We soaked up "Fundamentals of Reining" and "Ride like a Horseman; Skills to Increase You & Your Horse's Comfort Zone". Richard is so practical, and adds good humor to his presentation's. He makes it about the horse. Local riders helped demo, and he did a fantastic job of working them into the clinic. Richard has an endearing way of highlighting other's/horse's and not himself, which was also obvious at last years Wind Rider Challenge finals. We had a family commitment on Sunday, and couldn't watch the finals this years.
We only caught one other clinic, Mike Majors "Training your Horse for Lead Changes & Spins" it was pretty painful to watch. He obviously knows his stuff, but needs help on presentation. We felt sorry for the (same) local riders, who stood on the side lines for 98% of the time...Mike seems like a really nice guy and has a lot to offer, hopefully he'll figure out how to share it with others at a big venue.
We really enjoyed the Friday night Rodeo, as usual. Saturday's Grand Prix jumping not so much. We watched the first round, and left at half time. If they bring it back a third year in a row, we won't go. It wasn't well attended (only half full) compared to the rodeo & last year's Grand Prix. It was really impressive to see it the first time, we truly enjoyed it - but for someone who isn't into jumping it was waaay too similar to sit through two years in a row, at the end of a long day. During half time Tommy Turvey did a shameful act of repeatedly wacking his horse reeeally hard in the shins for not bowing on command...he lost a lot of respect, and fans. What a jerk!! Bad call on his part, especially since he had such a great horse/dog act Friday night at the rodeo. If Midwest invites him back, they'll be sending the wrong message...
It was fun to see some horses I remember from the Mustang Challenge, including sweet Remington.
I am super happy to say Texas Thunder was back! Last year they had announced retirement, likely due to the economy. I never get tired of watching that absolutely amazing hitch, and Jason's Roman Riding is second to none. Not a big fan of Roman Riding perse, but Jason is just plain having fun - have you seen the grin on that man's face? Read what they did for a local kids group here.
Our trainer Patty from Iron Horse teamed up with Kathye's Equine (a new business, but longtime local expert saddle fitter/exhibitor) and shared a booth. I revamped Patty's website using her existing provider's web program, just in time for fair.
Of course it wouldn't be a complete Horse Fair without the shopping! I really didn't have anything on my wish list that I needed, but was told by our trainer to look for 2" blunt rowel spurs. I've never ridden in spurs, but will learn how to use them as an extension of my leg (gently, because I won't use them any other way). We had a ton of fun meeting Todd from Bowman Custom Spur, our farrier happened to be chatting with him when we stopped by while on our spur search. Interesting guy, who really cares about his craft. After years of searching for a decent non-bling rowel necklace, and finding nothing - including at this fair, Todd agreed to make one for me. Pretty excited! Not ready for custom spurs, but I'll take a mini-jewelry version. I had to look hard, and found these:
I wasn't looking for pretty, how long do you think they will stay shiny? Let me answer that, not long. To be honest I am not crazy about the whole spur thing, but if Koda & I are going to spin then I am going to need to learn to roll. First things first, here they are on me:
Last year at fair I got a good deal on a light brown scalloped belt, and have worn it every time I ride/work with horses for the past year. It has become comfortably soft, and doesn't look any worse for the wear. I could use a darker version "for good" if they had it, and they did. Funny how the buy list grows. I haven't changed out the buckle on either, maybe next year?
We visited several times with Nick from Reed Tack who was tooling at the show. Nice guy. We both bought spur straps from him, and will keep him in mind for other stuff. He is very knowledgeable, and we liked the quality. Here are my straps:
Brad got a couple hand-made lunge ropes from Brute Ropes. I was still searching for the elusive quality rowel necklace, and never did visit the booth. Brad is thrilled with these smooth well built ropes:
We also got a super deal, enough to make it worth hauling out to the truck, on a couple buckets of Nemo's Horseshoer's Secret. I think we did pretty good, and more importantly we learned & enjoyed the fair! I am already looking forward to Midwest Horse Fair 2012!!