Midwest Horse Fair 2015 ~ 1 of 2

One of the most obvious things to appreciate about Midwest Horse Fair this year was the impressive building improvements made to the fair grounds. The two new pavilions are gorgeous! You can count them with one hand, building one or building two. Gone are the ten plus random buildings scattered throughout the grounds. It was always a guessing game to know which one you were in and/or hoping to find. The new pavilions go on forever, for this event they housed all the stalls and two (of four) arenas.

outside a huge new pavilion (L)
The round coliseum building stayed intact, hosting the main shows and an enclosed side arena. The Alliant Energy Center remains as well, it holds a sea of vendors. This year fair attendee's were also blessed with gorgeous weather, all three days!!

My clinic reviews are going to sound a bit similar, as we really only watched one clinician intently. I can't even believe it myself, but Jim Anderson was that good. He was clear, consistent, and happened to be sharing much of where we are in our horsemanship journey. There was no show boating, cute phrases or distracting stories. His clinics were not about entertaining the audience, they were about teaching the way he handles horses. Jim was accompanied by his wife Andrea, who clearly is an accomplished horsewoman in her own right. Their handling timing was impeccable, throughout all four clinics we watched.

Of course we caught bits and pieces of other clinics, but I've learned it's not fair to review unless you watch the whole thing. We never saw Pat Parelli, and only watched a small portion of Julie Goodnight, Aaron Ralston and Al Dunning clinics. Our daughters friend rode in Jonathan Field's clinics, from what I saw I liked how he worked with the three gals/their horses. 
Much to our surprise, a dressage presenter drew us in. It was so refreshing to watch Matt McLaughlin take the seriousness out of the discipline, and share sheer joy while he talked about/did impressive dressage test moves with a big smile on his face.

We also enjoyed a Double Dan "Mastering Flying Lead Changes" clinic, but understandably it was different this year. Dan James was wheelchair bound, after a horse fell backwards on him and severely broke his leg. I commend their valiant efforts, and yes the funny was still infused. It was so sad to see Dan out of his norm. A vivid reminder, accidents can happen to even the best horseman. Unfortunately, to add to an already confusing subject, my notes disappeared! I was taking them on the new Midwest Horse Fair app. I used the app a lot, and for the most part it worked very well. I'll share the progression if I can make sense out of what I remember.

Every year fair is different, and yet some things are not. We watched the same One Arm Bandit buffalo routine from previous years, not once but twice (by default). Here it is, again: 

where the buffalo role

One Arm Bandit
(standing on a mule, turning & firing a gun,

with two buffalo on top of a trailer)
One of the reasons we don't enjoy the Saturday night shows anymore, is we have already seen many of the acts earlier during fair. However, the main reason is they've made the show so darn hokey! We thanked our lucky stars we didn't buy tickets when we saw the Fairy God Mother act previewed at the rodeo. But after I saw video and photos of my favorite trick riders doing their different Saturday night acts, I realized I missed out on some amazing riding and spot light photo opportunities. Guess you gotta take the good with the bad. Watching both evening shows makes for long days, and we opt to see the rodeo. With that said below are a few shots from the Friday night PRCA Rodeo, which is always good!! 

To see other select rodeo shots, click here. I'll post details on what Jim Anderson shared, some fun shopping finds and my overall reflection in my second review post. Until then, stay in the saddle!


C-ingspots said...

Wow, your horse affair exhibitions are way better than ours are. We've grown weary of the same old thing every year, and apparently others have too because there are less vendors, less quality clinicians and just LESS overall. You used to be able to get some very good deals on boots, tack etc but those days are gone as well. You can get just as good of prices, or better at regular outlets/stores. I'm so glad you had fun! That 5th (I think) photo is just painful to look at! The guy with the poor horse choked up so tight it amazes me his horse still works for him, and doesn't rear up and flip over!! Notice the look in the horse's eye...he's in pain and still does his job. Sad. Thanks for the links, I'll check out Jim Anderson.

C-ingspots said...

No, it's photo #6...

aurora said...

Some out of state seasoned traveling vendors mentioned to us that Midwest Horse Fair is one of the few that really try to improve every year (it's true, they do). It's really a great event, we are fortunate to have it in our "back yard". People attend/present from all over the US and some abroad. I only take photos at the rodeo (and a few phone pics) so I'm sharing a tiny tiny part of this fair. I made a decision a long time ago to live in the moment, and not watch fair through a lens. You would be amazed at all the things going on all at the same time, take a peek at the schedule it'll make your head spin!!

Grey Horse Matters said...

It looks like a big affair where you really do need to pick and choose what you want to see. We have nothing like that in the East. I'm sure you have lots more to share and will be looking forward to it.