Mane Event is an annual 3 day equine experience, with the largest horse-related trade show in the province, and demonstrations and clinics offered by some big name trainers, all available to watch with just the price of admission ($15 if you pre-buy your tickets, $17 at the door for a one day admission). There is a Trainer's Challenge, where 3 trainer's attempt to start unbroken (and in some cases barely handled) young horses over the 3 day period, a pro/am challenge where a youth is paired with one of the clinicians to compete as a team on an obstacle course, and new for this year - an extreme trail contest, and a rodear dog competition.
|The clinicians for this year.|
The really nice thing about this format is that you can watch any or all of the clinicians in between shopping. The seating is rush seating (and not very comfortable). I've watched some sessions from the disciplines that I'm interested and had to leave because they were so boring, and then I've watched some sessions (mostly driving) that have had some really good information that I've taken home with me. It's a wonderful opportunity to observe other disciplines and store away some new tools in your toolbox.
However, because the seating is so uncomfortable, you don't want to sit for too long at a time. They had George Morris out a few years ago, and I drove the almost 2 hours each way for 3 days in a row to watch. I was planning on going back on the 4th day (it was an anniversary year so they added an extra day), but when I woke up in the morning I couldn't turn my neck from sitting on metal bleachers for at least 4 hours a day over the last three days. So I stayed home.
I usually just go down for one day. I always look at who the clinicians are, and if it's someone I'm really interested in watching I go down for an overnight stay. It's tough to get everything done in one day, and inevitably there are a few sessions that I would like to hit that are scheduled for the days that I'm not there.
|It's a big facility. They renovated over the last year, and now the arenas are joined to the main buildings. More shopping space!|
The best part, of course, is the shopping. Well, it would be if I ever had any money or really needed anything.
Don't get me wrong - I always find something to buy. And I've gotten some good deals there. We don't get companies there (like C4, Horsewear or most saddle companies) - for tack related stuff, it's all tack stores. So we don't tend to get blowout types of sales.
The amount of free things that you score has gone down significantly over the years as well. One year, when I did attend for all three days, I came away with 8 free rolls of Vetrap. I haven't gotten a free roll since. The guys that always gave out free chunks of Himalayan rock salt every year stopped last year. So now it's mostly pens and sample baggies of feed.
But if you are a horse person, it's the place to be on the last weekend in April. They were smart when they decided to use Red Deer as the location - it's pretty well right in the middle of the province. It's an hour and a half from the two major cities, and likely no more than about 5 hours for almost everyone else in the province. The only bad thing about this event is the time of year - it snows just about every year. I've driven through complete snowstorms on the highway, or have had just a few sprinkles of flakes as I'm driving away, but I'm pretty sure it has snowed every time I've been down there.
This year looks to be no exception - we might end up driving home in snow, but hopefully, it won't hit until the next day.
I'm only looking for a couple of things, and only at the right price (cheap). Maybe this will be the year that I don't buy anything - but I doubt it!