I have had my horsey fix for awhile. Maybe not, but going to the Northwest Horse Fair and Expo in Albany for all 4 days certainly gave us a horsey high. ‘Albany’ is so much fun. We have now been in the horse community long enough to have a lot of ‘horse’ friends and a good share of them came down so we had a chance to visit and catch up. And we always make new friends.
This year we stayed in a hotel right by the expo grounds and the hotel was full of horsey people. We rode the elevator up with two couples that were there supporting their friend in her participation in the Mustang Makeover. They were in the room next to us. Peggy Brown was across the hall. In the breakfast room we visited with friends from Vancouver and visited with a lady that noticed Dennis’ Vancouver Rodeo vest and said she didn’t know about it but wanted to come. Another lady just walked up and started visiting (I don’t know of anyone who does stuff like that) and said she loved coming to Albany to see her once a year friends. We shared our breakfast table with the rep from Bloomer trailers. He was from Idaho, had a big handlebar mustache and a starched red western shirt with big white ‘Bloomer’ embroidered all over it. We rode the elevator with a guy wearing a Farnum ball cap. I said I had one just like it and he said it was from him because he designed them and passed them out. I got it at a winter feed workshop at a feed store in Pendleton. And it went on and on. Horse people everywhere. I was in heaven. Maybe if you have been around horses all your life, this wouldn’t be such a big deal. We just got our horses when we turned 50 (I just turned 60) and I have loved horses all my life so I am living a dream. And totally enjoy hanging out with horse people so this weekend was a blast.
We got to watch almost everyone on the schedule for at least a little bit and all of the clinicians were top notch. Craig Cameron was entertaining as usual and the Extreme Cowboy race was a hoot. My friend, Leeann Vanderpool from Washougal rode in it on Thursday night and Barbara Corigliano from Brush Prairie rode on Friday. They did quite well and a cowgirl won! Craig is very big on traditional cowboy ways and values and I really appreciate that. Just like Silver Buckle says - part of their mission is to teach 19th Century values to 21st Century kids. We could all use more of that.
We watched a bit of Kay Meredith on Sunday and she was wonderful. We are not Dressage people but her extensive knowledge and the two very accomplished horses (one was Grand Prix level) and riders gave a good demonstration of some of the movements as she explained their original purpose. They were maneuvers that were used in war to keep horse and rider alive. In close contact fighting the Piaffe (trot in place) and the Passage (trot very slow) were used in close contact fighting and then the extended trot was used to get the heck out of there. I don’t want to offend any of the dressage people with my oversimplification but her explanations were geared to people like me and I enjoyed it. (I just hope I got the names right) Kay had them come across the arena doing a half pass from several directions so everyone could see the beauty of the foot falls from the judge’s viewpoint, both coming and going. Watching those white wrapped legs cross each other was stunning.
I took in a lecture by Peggy Brown on “Good Hands”. That was very enlightening. She did a very good demo with reins tied to a chair back and then having someone hold the reins and play the part of the horse and what ‘the horse’ could feel through the reins.
Steve Rother had a huge audience and was entertaining while being a great teacher. Remember that he is having a clinic this weekend in Washougal hosted by Leanne of Eastwind Stables. The Friday Eve demonstration is from 7pm - 9pm and the tickets are $10 (buy one get one free) Click here for more information.
And the Mustang Challenge was awesome. Be sure to read about it in Wendy’s blog.
I thought the venders were very good this year. As usual, Coastal had a bucket and scoop giveaway so everyone was carrying around little black buckets. Those suckers are really handy. A lot of the feed venders had coupons and really cheap wormer. A good place to get your years supply. There were metal artists and tons of trailers to look at and drool over. There were a lot of tack venders and people with fun horsey clothes so there was a lot to look at and some bargains to be had. A custom hat maker out of central Oregon was there and it was fun visiting with him. BCH was there of course with their dedicated volunteers. There were several equine insurance specialists and rescue organizations, some saddle companies and supplement and feed reps so there were a lot of brains to pick and a place to get all your questions answered. Add to that, lots of specialties – leather workers, magnetic therapy, irrigation methods, potions for our tack and our hands, tractor dealers and of course food! And this didn’t include the rows of stalls to visit.
It is just so fun to walk, and visit and watch all the different horsey clothes that people were wearing. I’ve got to give Brent Skill special recognition in the clothes category. He was all dressed up in his signature Big Hat with a leather vest and an authentic elk hide hand stitched coat with fringe and elk horn buttons made by his wife, Sonia.
It was 4 days of thinking, seeing and talking horse. How much better can it get?
The show was over Sunday night but we stayed until Monday and when we went down for breakfast it was kind of sad. All the horse people were gone………