An Affair to Remember

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This weekend I attended The Equine Affaire! It's four days of everything equine. Here I snapped Brandon and Kestrel's photo right after we paid to get in. I was so excited, it's like showing up at Disneyland. So I shouted, WAIT! I've got to take your picture! This is the best time to snap a photo: at the beginning of the marathon, before they start to burn out and their eyes glaze over.

As a non-rider, Brandon is still always interested in attending the Equine Affaire. So even though it starts on Thursday, I wait until Saturday so he and Kestrel can come along. Unfortunately, Saturday is when the crowds are the thickest. In any case, Brandon always stops to watch this chainsaw guy who is set up right by the entry gate. Every year he wants to stop and watch this guy. I think it is because he is using a power tool and my husband loves power tools.

We began our marathon day with a stop at the carnival-like food booths. This booth is my favorite because most fair food I cannot eat. So I always get a giant baked potato with cheddar cheese and broccoli. I only had to wait in line about 5 minutes. (Kestrel and Brandon had much worse luck at the burrito booth.)

There are 3 or 4 huge buildings at the Equine Affaire and they are filled with vendors, horses and clinicians teaching clinics. This booth is one of my faves. It's full of leather stuff from Australia. This booth makes me love Australia. When I am in this booth, I find myself wanting things I never want on any other day. Like holsters and scabbards.

You can go broke buying stuff at the Equine Affaire. Anything you can think of will be for sale there. But some of the booths are actually offering education. This one had all kinds of horse skeletons.

And this one was devoted to hay. There was a little station where you could get a hay testing kit so you could mail a sampling of your own hay to them and have it analyzed. I know my brumby gets excellent hay so I was not tempted. But it was very interesting. As I was snapping this picture, the women in the booth said, Is that for a science project? (For the world's oldest eighth grader apparently!)

At 3pm Guy McLean was having a clinic in the Coliseum. So we met my riding pal from eastern Mass there: Karen and her hubster Paul!! YEAY!!! At this particular clinic Guy was working with a green 2 year old. In this picture you see he has a plastic bag tied to the end of a handy stick. Just what my brumby cannot stand. This horse did not like it either. But Guy was so calm as he whipped it around, in just a few minutes the horse was tolerating it with no fuss. Guy said that if you stay calm you are telling your horse: I believe in you.  He also said that the second you lose your patience your horse says to himself, I knew it I knew it I knew it! You are a predator after all.

Here we all are in the stands right before Guy came out. We were having quite a lot of fun hanging out, eating fudge and surrounded by thousands of horsey people just like us.  And it was also Karen's birthday!!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KAREN!!!

Naturally, a trip to the Equine Affaire is not complete without a loop around the barns. I found Mr Pickles  happy as a clam watching all the people go by. I left the Equine Affaire with a new helmet (by Ovation), and some new winter riding boots by MUCK. Fighting the masses of people to get to the color/size/brand that I wanted was not easy. It is just as well I had eaten that enormous cheese potato earlier. I think it supported my miraculous endurance. The only thing I really need and didn't get was a cinch. The ones I found were the right style but not the right size. Looks like I will have to order one online.

 The next day (today) I was back at Bill's to ride my brumby. This picture is actually from when we got back (you can see how sweaty Lilly is), but I took it to show two new developments in today's tack. The first is Lilly's shoes. Not Cavallos today. I thought I'd use the Renegades. Lilly's feet seem so much better, so much less ouchie, that I thought I'd try a thinner (and more streamlined) option. It was worth it: she walked great and felt solid. We are getting closer and closer to barefoot status!!!!!!!!!!!! The other thing I tried today is the bitless bridle. I am not sure how the bitless bridle bee got into in my bonnet. But today, I woke up and wanted to try one. This one Lilly is wearing belongs to Bill. (because if it were mine it'd be pink)

I rode with Bill who is on Ruby. Today we trekked through a new path from the Ridge Trail over to the Parallel Trail. It was obviously a trail that does not get much use. But it was really fun. Lilly went very well in her new bridle and it looked like it was comfortable for her. However, moseying along the trail at a walk is not much of a test for a new bridle or bit. So I will have to zoom around in an open space with her to see how comfortable I really feel with it.

One thing Lilly probably liked about the bitless bridle is how she got to nibble carrots along the way unencumbered by a bit.Ruby is wearing a Chris Cox bit which Bill likes very much.

Tomorrow is a holiday so we will back in the saddle again!!!!


juliette said...

Sounds like you all had a great time! Let me know if the boots keep you warm. I would love to have warm feet this winter.

Lilly looks fabulous in her bitless bridle - pink or not - she looks great. I hope you like it when you zip around an open space. Remember to think what you want and she will do it - use your body and mind and she will listen to you - I know it - she loves you!

Paint Girl said...

The Equine Affaire looks fun!! Anything horsey is fun! The biggest thing I miss about working for the Arab barn and horse shows (Scottsdale and Tulsa) were the huge vendor tents that remind me so much of the Equine Affaire! So much horse stuff and I spent quite a bit of money on stuff!
The next thing on my list is Cowboy Christmas in Vegas!! Maybe next year!!

lmel said...

So I get to enjoy Equine Affaire vicariously, thanks to you! I'd wanted to go, but the cost of fuel, entry, and what I'd probably spend wasn't in the budget, what with the septic snafu, and now a new hot water heater to boot!
Ah--the bitless bridle! Harley loves his for just that reason--it's easier to eat carrots! Although he does know the brake pedal doesn't work so easily when he gets it into his noggin to race with the girls!
Renegades may be the next big purchase for the winter, if I don't blow it on something else for the house or barn. Do you like them better than the Cavallos? Do they stay on better? I'm trying to decide which ones to go with.

C-ingspots said...

I'm very interested in hearing how your work-out with the bitless bridle fared. I've had one for several years, and have never used it. Tried it on our big boy right after I got it and his reaction to it spelled disaster! I'm going to be riding my new horse (a wild born Mustang) soon and thought maybe he'd like it. Hopefully you'll post about your experience, I'm very curious. Love your blog by the way...I'm a first-timer here! We have those Equine Affairs here as well, but ours has been dwindling in size the last few years. I live in NW Oregon. Is your brumby a wild bred horse??

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