Sunday, June 8, 2008

Western States Horse Expo 2008

I've returned from two days at the Western States Horse Expo, and it was a fantastic experience. As budding amateur reporter (yeah, right), I managed to work my way into some sweet spots to take pictures and talk to the clinicians. It's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission, so in order to get the best photographs I managed to help myself to some front row seats here and there (that were probably reserved for someone else who never showed up). I got so overzealous that I managed to max out the space on my camera's memory card by 3:00 PM on the first day. I had to go back to the hotel room, recharge the battery, and erase all the not-so-important shots to make room for more pictures the next day.

I learned something about my digital camera. As long as I am taking pictures in bright sunshine or in a spotlight, the photos come out making me look really good. However, if I am indoors, in a dim light, or taking pictures under weak lights at night, the camera cannot focus. Unfortunately, the auction portion of the Mustang Challenge was at night under weak floodlights, so my pictures of Angi and Tracey did not come out well. When the lighting was right, my pictures came out colorful and crisp, like this...
However, when the lighting was bad, my pictures came out colorful and blurry, like this...
Boy! Those mustangs moved fast!

So many clinicians were kind, friendly and helpful, such as...
Charles Wilhelm and...
Bob Avila, and...
Al Dunning, and...
Chris Cox, and...
talk about rubbing elbows with the big boys! While watching the Bob and Al Show who should come and sit down beside me but John Lyons! I was in horse clinic heaven! Actually, I think I "accidentally" took his seat and he was too polite to tell me.

I'll be posting pictures, stories, and tips from the clinicians over the next few days. I want to keep it short now so that I can get some sleep. $120 a night for a bed in a hotel room where teenage girls screamed with joy in the halls, dogs barked, and neighbor's cranked their TVs all night so that they could drown out the sounds of teenage girls laughing and dogs barking in order to sleep seems like highway robbery to me.

9 comments:

Rising Rainbow said...

I have the same experience with my digital camera. Because most of my pics are inside, I get lots of blurry. I hate it.

I have to say, I know most of these Big Boys! Not bad for an snobby Arabian horse owner! LOL Well, that doesn't mean I know them personally, but I know their writings or have been to clinics etc. lol. I actually really miss that I no longer have the time to read Horse & Rider.

And you're probably right about John Lyons. I doubt he would tell you if you were in his seat....I do know him a little bit after several clinics. He even hugged me once....that was a shock. lol

Rising Rainbow said...

Forgot to say, looking forward to pics of Tracey.

Twinville said...

Yep, get some rest! Sounds like you deserve it. Another one of your whirlwind horse trips!

How AWESOME that you got rub elbows with all those horse clinicians! Did you get to talk 'shop', too, or ask questions/advice?

Bye the way, I was over on Mud Ranch and was excited to read about the mustang challenge and auction there and view some of the photos of the horses. Wow! Gorgeous.

Here's the link if you're interested:

http://mudranch.wordpress.com/2008/05/30/a-day-with-the-girls-and-guy/

Abraham Lincoln said...

I love horses and never saw such a colorful one in my life.

Laura said...

Oh - how cooool!!! I hope you got some autographs and a few minutes to chat with those pros!

I think I'm going to have to plan a vacation around an event like that in the near future. Sounds very fun. I bet the shopping was good too!

Mrs Mom said...

I have had the supreme pleasure of meeting Mr. Lyons during a couple of expos (where we had a booth for the hoof care provider I did an apprenticeship under,) and he is The Nicest Man! Meeting him, and just being able to share a casual conversation was fantastic, and The Highlight of memories of expos!

Did you know he is an ordained minister too? And that he can dress up and ride French Classical Dressage with the Best Of Them?

I sure hope you were able to have some time to talk with him, one on one! Mr. Lyons is just true blue GOOD PEOPLE, and an amazing horseman.

It sure sounds like you had a BLAST though! (Aside from the not-sleeping arrangements... ugh!)

Cant wait to hear more!

Callie said...

Sounds like you had a great time! Looking forward to hearing more!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

It sounds like some of you have some good stories you could post about, if you haven't already.

Don't get too excited. Any talks I had personally with clinicans were passing comments -- just enough for me to know that these men are hard-working, humble, and kind. I didn't attempt interviews, because I felt that I should at least read one book by each clinician before taking up his time, and I haven't had much time to read many horse training books in recent years, though I've got stacks of them on my shelf. I finished GaWaNi Pony Boy's and started Clinton Anderson's, but neither of those trainers were at the Horse Expo this year.

Next year I want to have the appropriate books read and set up interviews in advance either with the trainer's staff or the Horse Expo. This year I had plenty of opportunity to ask questions, but my mind blanked out. Plus, once people figured out who these familiar faces were, they got mobbed for autographs and advice. In the case of John Lyons, I didn't want to prevent him from enjoying the show by yammering on.

Anyone who attends these shows can ask the trainers questions by going to their booths at times when they are not showing. Most do take the time to help individuals out. I just couldn't think of a single question, because my mind was turning to mush in that Sacramento heat. I think I spent more time thinking about water and finding a place to sit than anything else.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Those Expos are so much fun. Trying to remember any specific information is difficult. My problem-so much information-very small brain-LOL.