Midwest Horse Fair 2012 ~ in review

I was pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed fair this year. Not that we haven't in the past, just weren't all pumped up about anything specific. Maybe that's good? I had one thing on my shopping list (a straight pair of spurs) and no plan of action. We had not seen this years key presenters in person, and weren't sure what to expect. The big three were Al Dunning, a well know accomplished horseman, Guy McLean, whom we had never heard of and then there was Linda Parelli. Things quickly changed when we sat down to watch our first clinic, Guy McLean's "Creating a Solid Foundation Part 1" it was then that I knew what our priorities would be at fair.

I cannot say enough good stuff about what we experienced watching Guy.  At the foundation clinic he worked with someone's filly, talking through what he was trying to accomplish and why. It all made sense, the rough spots he encountered were the most telling. We could have watched him all weekend. He is one of the most gentle trainers I've ever seen, definitely has horse running through him. We liked how when things didn't go right, he worked it into a teaching opportunity. If you haven't heard of this Aussie, here is his website. Guy's other clinics, and evening shows, were done with his beautiful Australian stock horses. 
Guy McLean
He is an equine performer, and puts on an impressive show with his bull cracking etc but let me tell you he comes across very sincere about horses, and as an added bonus is downright funny! We missed "Creating a Solid Foundation Part 2", but caught "Maximizing your Horses Potential" in one of the smaller arena's. It didn't really matter which one of his clinics we watched, his message was carried throughout everything he did. 

The Friday night rodeo is always a fair highlight, altho it was a bit drawn out this year. They turned it into more of a show, between the actual rodeo parts. Besides Guy, one of the other highlights was John Payne (the one armed bandit). He worked two buffalo into his show and had them load on top of his trailer. That was different, and pretty amazing. 

John Payne

We saw full metal jousting no less then three times throughout the weekend, fun to see and feel it in person, although once would have been enough for me (they were also part of both evening shows). Shane Adams, the Knights of Valor TV star, was the jousting MC at the rodeo (sorry about the crappy phone photo's). They had the horses from the show (all rescues) and rotated them.

Shane Adams
I'm sad to say I didn't catch any of the Mustang Challenge, altho I kept up with outcomes and visited the mustangs. Midwest is sooo huge, it's impossible to see everything. I got to talk to the Equine Soccer League folks, and watched a little bit of the soccer tournament. No clue how they ever score. My little gelding would have a tough time matching up against those big fearless horses charging at him. Doubtful I'll ever be able to get involved anyways, as they are all about host facilities. I'm not part of a barn, so that pretty much rules me out. Thought it was odd they don't offer a way for individuals to get involved, especially when I found out there are so many of us. No big deal, I don't need competition to have fun - we'll just play our own game!

We also watched one Al Dunning clinic (surprisingly he was not in either of the evening shows, there were parts that would have been right up his alley) called "Lead Change Logic" lets just say I wasn't impressed. I didn't take away anything, altho I do remember the nursery rhythm thing...

Throughout the weekend we ran into old friends we seldom see, and chatted up with others. I found spurs, and more - the expo was great! Every year we look at Muddy Creek raincoats, this was the year we bought them, and my hubby finally found a cowboy hat he liked! Funny how our shopping list grew.

Saturday's evening show was probably my least favorite part of the fair.  By that time I had already seen most of the acts, and they overloaded it with dressage (and I like dressage). Guess I was expecting more out of the Epic Night of the (heritage) Horse theme. However, they did do a heartfelt well done tribute to our military with Johnnie Cash's "Ragged Old Flag". It probably didn't help we were just plain exhausted. It amazes me how tired a person gets, just attending. Besides all the walking and/or standing, must be the long hours filled with the constant influx of information and activity. 

Super glad we stuck around to close out fair with a "Colt Starting Exposition" even tho it was running late. It was Guy and Aaron Ralston (still not sure who he is) together. It was clearly improv, and down right funny. It was our favorite part of fair. Near the end, Guy suddenly got off the filly. She had given him more then enough, and he wanted to end on a positive note. He surprised Aaron by letting him showcase the last five minutes solo, what a classy horseman. The biggest thing I took away from Guy McLean was not to dwell on what doesn't go right, or make it a big deal. Instead look for the positive things your horse accomplishes. Let them, and you, think on it overnight and then pick up working through any struggles where you left off. I kept this in mind the following week, on our first trail ride of the season. Post to come.

Midwest Horse Fair was three days of everything horse, we loved it!! 


Jeni said...

FUN !!! one of these years I'm going to get up there for that.

aurora said...

Jeni, I really hope you! I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Wolfie said...

The fair sounds awesome. I have been curious about jousting, but I have visions of it being physically hard on the horse, or perhaps not mentally stimulating for them. What did you think??

C-ingspots said...

Sounds like a wonderful fair! And Guy sounds amazing - my kinda teacher - nothing more entertaining for me than seeing a master at work with a horse. Unless of course, you get to ride with that same teacher!! I've never had more fun than that!! If it weren't so expensive, I'd be participating in horsemanship clinics all the time. It's incredible just how much you can learn, and how much your confidence levels improve when working with an outstanding teacher. Sure wish I could find someone to help me with Eagle. I just have so many fear issues now that I've never had before. It sure gets in the way. Again, glad you had a good time and learned some new things, and had fun shopping too!! Thanks for visiting my blog and for commenting...I always enjoy the comments.

Janice said...

Sounds like a lot of fun and informative too.

aurora said...

Wolfie, the hits didn't appear to faze the horses (more jarring of the humans) but I really don't know how hard it is on them. I do think their jousting job provides mental stimulation, with all the other parts that go with it. Good question(s)!

C-ingspots, I truly hope you find someone to help you with Eagle. Learning hands on with a trainer like Guy would be amazing!

Thanks for the comments!