Friday, April 13, 2012

Things You Should Enjoy at Equine Affaire 2012 For Me

It a sunny morning to kick-off opening Thursday at Equine Affaire Ohio, and for the first time in years I’m sitting on my couch at work instead of in the bleachers in Voinovich to watch a clinic after an early morning commute from Canton to Columbus. But as much as I adore Equine Affaire, somehow waddling around the Ohio State Expo Center two weeks before my due date and two hours away from my husband and hospital didn’t seem like a great idea.

So here I am sitting at home, hoping that all of you are enjoying my favorite equestrian event for me.

After several years of attending Equine Affaire Ohio, I have the system down to a science. Here are a few tips from what I’ve learned over the years:

  • Do your shopping on Thursday. It’s the least busy day in the vendor areas, and you’ll have the best selection.
  • Shop at Big Dee’s for the best deals on basic necessities like grooming tools, de-wormer, Himalayan salt licks, and treats.
  • If you purchase any large, heavy, or awkward items from one of the larger vendors, you can usually get them to give you a ride to your vehicle in one of their golf carts. (Thank you Big Dee’s for not making me carry jump blocks to my car)
  • Pick 2-3 clinics each day, and wander and shop (and eat!) in between.
  • Attend with a good friend (or your mom), who will pick apart the clinics and take copious notes with you.
  • Pfizer Fantasia is always worthwhile.
  • Meet up with all kinds of horsey friends from around the region. Last year I got to see Glenn and Jenn from Horse Radio Network who came up from Kentucky!

Since I can’t go to Equine Affaire this year, here are some of the things I’d like to enjoy vicariously through you. Be sure to stop in and tell me your favorite experiences from Equine Affaire Ohio 2012!

Equine Affaire 2012 Clinicians I Wouldn’t Miss

My favorite part of Equine Affaire is the clinics. I take lots of notes, and then come home and practice on Ace. It’s my refresher course that gets me motivated to take his training and our relationship to the next level. Here’s who I wouldn’t miss this year:

Guy McLean: General

Guy McLean has had my heart since I got to hang with him as a relative unknown at the World Equestrian Games in 2010. Now he’s a sensation here in the US as well as his home country of Australia after winning the Road to the Horse in February. No matter what else his stuff overlapped with, even my beloved jumping and dressage, you would find me in Guy’s clinics. He’s an amazing horseman with a deep love and appreciation for the horses, and he’s talented, funny, and entertaining to boot. Please wave “Hello” to his amazing Australian Stock Horse Spinabbey for me and clap for his Man-From-Snowy-River-esque bush poetry.

Aaron Ralston: Ranch and Trail

Be still my heart! I loved this cowboy when he performed in his lime green cowboy boots at in the Fantasia show at Equine Affaire several years ago, and then loved him even more when I saw him do a clinic at the World Equestrian Games. I got to meet Aaron Ralston later at the Horse Radio Network booth (thanks Glenn for embarassing me!). He and his little cowhorse Buddy rock. Plus, I’m all for cross discipline work and I think some fun new ranch horse and trail tricks would be fun to try out with Ace.

Todd Flettrich: Dressage

I never miss out on catching a dressage clinic at Equine Affaire, and it’s always interesting to see what some of our top FEI level riders are like as teachers. If you attend, please come fill me in on the highlights from Todd’s sessions!

Peter Leone: Hunters/Jumpers

I am only vaguely familiar with this name, but I never miss out on a jumping clinic. Some of the sessions are great and I learn tons. If the clinician isn’t that great, I always enjoy picking apart the horses and riders since this is the discipline I know best.

Pfizer Fantasia: Guy McLean and Cavalia

Again, can I say Guy McLean? I was so disappointed last year that the Equine Affaire folks hadn’t quite discovered Guy’s awesomeness and had him and his horses perform in the show. At least they are making up for it this year – even if I can’t be there to watch. Here’s what the Equine Affaire website has to say about this year’s show:

The highlights of the show will be three very special and very different liberty performances presented by Australia's own Guy McLean, Double Dan Horsemanship, and the incomparable Sylvia Zerbini—fresh from Cavalia.  Be prepared not only to be entertained, but to be truly amazed as these three equestrian artists present their various horses at liberty—in presentations that will run the gamut from humorous to dramatic—and remind us just how intelligent our equine companions are . . . and how special our relationships with them can be.

Between Guy and Sylvia from Cavalia, I think this will be one of the best Fantasia shows in years. Please go. And sneak some video for me.

Note: I just looked and the website says that tickets for the Pfizer Fantasia are already sold out! That’s definitely a first. (Too bad, I was totally just contemplating calling my mom for an impromptu trip to Columbus tomorrow night to see the show – barring any signs of impending labor of course.)

Drink Wild Bill’s Old Fashioned Soda Pop

Yum! Wild Bill’s sells these sweet pewter mugs that are good for free refills all day on his Old Fashioned Soda Pop. I’m especially partial to the Sarsparilla Six Shooter, Birch, and Orange Creme. Please try all three for me (since I’m not supposed to have caffeine anyway).

Ride Frankie and Sandy’s Equicizers

Always take a moment to stop by the Equicizer booth in the Celeste Center and go for a ride on jockey Frankie Lovato’s Equicizers. Be sure to give my favorite Equicizer Bob a special pat from me. And be sure to give the miniature lassos a try while you cantering on Bob (and buy one to support Sandy’s Stampede of Dreams Therapeutic Riding Center). If Frankie has the race saddle, have him give you a jockey lesson. That is some seriously hard work!

Fun note: Toby Macguire rode an Equicizer in the bed of a truck when filming Seabiscuit!

Those are the things I will miss the most as I sit at home this year, and hope you will enjoy in my absence. I think I’ll placate myself with a little bit of baby retail therapy tonight. I have a diaper bag to return (I’ve been given the same one three times now), and think I’ll exchange it for a rockin’ activity mat with toys, lights, and music. And I will stop by the barn and love on Ace – because I do always miss him like crazy when I’m at Equine Affaire!

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