On Friday I left the city (for what is likely to be the only time this year) to head to the middle of the province to attend the Horse Expo. This is western Canada's largest equestrian trade show and exhibition. There are clinics, demos, discussions and seminars in many different disciplines to attend, all included in the $20 admission price.
New organizers took over the format last year after the previous family That had started the event had some, well, legal issues. The trade show last year was quite small compared to previous years, but this year it was back to almost full capacity, which was nice to see considering the current economy,
Despite there being a full house, there weren't really many tack shops things, especially English equipment. I think every feed company had a booth, as did a myriad of companies schilling their supplements, and there were a bunch of western lifestyle booths.
|How about horse trailers that cost as much as my house did? This one was $151,000 (CDN). You'd also need a $100,000 truck to pull it.
It was good for me as I wasn't tempted to spend money I don't have. I spent $10 on another spool of twine to repair my round bale net, and $13 on a Haas hoofpick that I've been wanting to get a second of for Cisco's grooming kit. Oh - and $24 on a dozen donuts from The Donut Mill (if you ever travel between Edmonton and Calgary you need to stop here). But since they weren't bought at the Horse Expo they don't really count.
|This trailer was less expensive - a mere $147,000, but had a second sleeping area, and a different layout to the bathroom, that I thought were great ideas.
I watched the jumping clinic with Robert Gharibzadeh - yeah, I'd never heard of him either. He's from the Ottawa area but is from Germany, is an international level 3 coach, and judges show jumping and dressage. I quite liked his clinic. He emphasized the importance of relaxation and thinking about the quality of the horses shape over the jump which I liked. There was one horse in the group that was a bit challenging - two strides out from the jump it would take off and charge through the gymnastic line, leaving strides out and hanging legs. Pretty sure I heard an under the breath "Christ" out of him at one point after a scary line. He pulled that horse from the exercise and moved her to just trotting over a cross pole with placement poles on either side and said if it was his horse, he'd be doing these until the horse was bored before moving on to something else.
|Trailer prices have gotten crazy. This was for a standard, 2 horse angle-haul bumper pull with a dressing room. Yikes!
|This kitchen is way nicer than my kitchen is though!
I was really tempted to head back down on the next day to see what he set up as an exercise suitable for all the horses in the group as he promised, but driving for almost 4 hours to sit for three hours on really uncomfortable bleachers was not very appealing, so I guess I'll never know.
The next clinic was the dressage clinic with Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu. The theme was lengthened gait; there was nothing exciting about it. I would have preferred to watch her Saturday session on lateral work, but again, not worth the 1/4 tank of gas.
One nice thing about these clinics is that they tend to be made up of average riders, who don't ride perfectly, and usually have some holes in their training. I'd rather watch these sessions where I might pick up some tips that will work for me now than the professional ride on a fancy horse at a level I'll probably never achieve. Total props to these riders - there are a lot of people watching them, likely quietly judging them, and they are riding with someone new who has some sort of agenda for the weekend. I know I'd never offer to do it!
The only other session I viewed was about trailer loading. It just reaffirmed that I'm on the right track with Cisco.
|The trailer used for the demonstration was a Boeckmann Grand Master, a newer version of my Big Master.
It was a good day away, though I would have liked a bit more stuff to keep me interested as I left at 4 since I'd already seen everything I wanted to see. At the very least, it was a good excuse to buy a box of donuts (of which I only ate half, the other half was promised to my parents).